Each week I will dig through the f/a pool to find the best potential free agents on waivers (under 50% ownership on ESPN and Yahoo). Some are good for a quick boost, others could be good long-term additions, and there will be a few speculative adds thrown in there as well. And just like in years past, I will be tracking previously recommended players and if they are still worthy of a roster spot. Now on to what you came here for.
- Robinson Cano (2B)
Everyone needs help at 2B, right? Cano started to heat up before the All-Star break, and there is a plausible reason for it. He’s healthy… simple as that. He had a string of getting hit by pitches on his hands early in the season, but now they are finally feeling good. It’s hard to hit when your hands hurt. He’s been hitting the ball hard lately (his Exit Velocity and Hard Hit Rate have both creeped up over the 75th percentile), and he’s slashing .286/.328/.757 in his last 15 games with two HR. This time of year, we’re all looking for a wave to ride that could help us move up in the standings. Cano is 36, but that’s not too old to surf. If you have room to add him, a hot Cano could do your team some good.
- Tyler O’Neill (OF)
Shhhhhh… Tyler O’Neill is who we thought he was! At least he’s been playing like it for a couple weeks. He’s currently under 30% owned so apparently we are among just a handful of fantasy baseball players who have discovered this fact. While hitting out of the four hole his last seven games, O’Neill slashed .379/.379/.1.060 with three HR, five runs, seven RBI, and one SB. He’s still striking out way too much and walking far too little (37.9% and 3.9% respectively with seven Ks with zero BBs in the last week). Hitting for average isn’t O’Neill’s strong suit, but if he continues to make hard contact batting 4th in that Cardinals lineup, he should help you in HR, runs, and RBI if you can take the batting average hit.
- Brandon Workman (RP)
Workman is 49% owned as I write this and may be well over 50% owned by the time you read this. Still, it’s my duty as your waiver wire guy to apprise you of the fact that Workman has the last two saves for the Red Sox. I know there are reports that the Red Sox plan to put Nate Eovaldi in the closer role now that he’s back from the IL, but Joey Cora threw a little water on that fire when he said earlier this week that Workman would be closing games for the Sox. Cora must be thinking if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and you should be, too. If you are in the market for saves, pick Workman up before one of your league-mates does.
- Oscar Mercado (OF)
This is (sort of) my mea culpa for putting Mercado in the Drop section of this article last week. I say sort of because he was one for July when I wrote the article last Sunday. He’s 10 for 27 (.370) since with three HR and three SB. Maybe I was too quick to pull the trigger on the drop with Mercado. Maybe he’s more like my weekly hold and carousel (sometimes rollercoaster) ride, like Christian Walker, who I haven’t been able to tell you to drop because I know a hot streak is right around the corner.
Mercado doesn’t have nearly the statcast numbers I like to see – the kind I’m always pointing to with Walker – his Exit Velocity and Hard Hit % are both below the 20thpercentile which leads me to believe the power is a mirage. But hey, we picked him up to steal bases, right? Not hit home runs. And his sprint speed is in the 96thpercentile. Let’s give him another shot and see where it gets us.
- Garrett Cooper (1B, OF)
Now this is the kind of statcast data I like to see. There is an awful lot of red on Cooper’s baseballsavant page. His Exit Velocity is in the 66th percentile, his Hard Hit % is in the 81st, his xwOBA in the 90th, and his xBA and xSLG are in the 89th and 83rd percentile, respectively. What that means to me is that the .336/.394/.963 slash line in his last 30 games (.311/.385/.891 on the year) seems sustainable – along with the power and counting stats he’s been putting up (11 HR, 40 runs, and 37 RBI in 219 at bats so far this year). His eligibility at 1B and OF is another plus. This looks more like who this guy is than just a hot streak, so I say it’s time to get him on your roster if you need help at those positions.
This is the last week Keston Hiura will appear here. His ownership rate is over 50% and he should be owned in all competitive leagues.
Continue to ADD
- Bryan Reynolds is still playing every day and continues to provide a great batting average and elite OBP.
- I told you I was going to move Niko Goodrum up from the Hold section if he had another hot week. Goodrum is slashing .317/.369/.886 with 3 HR, 4 SB, 10 runs, and 10 RBI over his last 15 games.
- Bo Bichette is still having his way with AAA pitching. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not the Blue Jays will call him up, but there’s no one better to stash if you have the room.
- Emilio Pagan has blown two of his last three save opportunities. He pitched a clean 8th inning for the Rays and the White Sox on Sunday and Adam Kolarek was called on to close it in the 9th. I still believe Pagan will get the bulk of saves for the Rays while Jose Alvarado is on the IL so if you’re hurting for saves, Pagan is better than the other options in Tampa Bay.
- Scott Oberg gave up 3 earned runs in his last two appearances, but that’s 4 less than Wade Davis has given up in his last 6.1 innings. The Rockies have stuck by Davis and his 5.83 ERA and 1.64 WHIP, but if they’re going to go for it they have to make the move to Oberg… don’t they?
- Alex Verdugo continues to start most games for the Dodgers, hitting for both average and power, and I’m still of the mind that he’s worth adding in most leagues.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Dinelson Lamet lasted only four innings against the Marlins in his start last week – only giving up one earned run, but he also allowed 6 hits and 2 walks. Lamet did have 5 Ks and that makes 19 in 14 innings. At this point the Ks are the main reason I’m holding on him. If you need them and you can take the hit to your ratios he’s worth a spot.
- Cavan Biggio had another rough week, slashing .130/.310/.450 with zero HR and one SB. He hasn’t improved upon those six HR and six SB I told you about last week. I’m going to wait and watch him this week before I tell you to continue to add or drop him.
- Despite what the A’s want, Franklin Barreto apparently would rather Jurickson Profar start at 2B. In 15 games since he was recalled, Barreto is slashing .174/.208/.382 with 2 HR and one SB – not exactly making the most of his opportunity. I think the A’s are going to give him an extended leash, but understand if you need to cut ties.
- Zac Gallen walked another 4 in his last outing. Like I wrote last week, the walks are concerning, but it looks like the Marlins plan to keep him in the rotation.
- Kyle Tucker slowed down a bit this week at AAA Round Rock, but I’m sticking to my guns and will continue to tell you to hold on to him if you have room and if you believe in the upside… and if you believe he’ll be up soon enough for all that upside to help you.
- Christian Walker had rough week (.217 batting average), but he continued to perform well in other areas with a .438 OBP and a .916 OPS with 2 HR and a SB.