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.
- Willie Calhoun (OF)
Hey, look who’s back in town! Yes, we’ve been down this road with Willie Calhoun already this season, but circumstances have changed. Playing time was the issue earlier in the year, but since he was called back up after Gallo went on the IL, Calhoun has started in all but two games for the Rangers. In his last 15 games he is slashing .283/.333/.623 with 4 HR, 11 runs, and 13 RBI. If he continues to hit like this, he will continue to play. He should be able to help your batting average, and since he is hitting mostly 4thin the Rangers’ order, he will have plenty opportunity to help you with your counting stats.
- Ian Happ (2B, 3B, OF)
I’ve always been a fan of Happ. I drafted him a couple years ago in my home keeper league and still think he’s going to live up to the high expectations that come with being the 9thoverall pick in the draft (Fangraphs still has Happ’s future value as a prospect at 55). He spent 99 games in AAA this season (more than I thought he would, and probably way more than he thought he would), and judging by the way he’s hitting since his call up, he has no intention of going back to Iowa any time soon.
Over the last seven games Happ is slashing .391/.391/1.000 with 4 HR, 6 runs and 10 RBI. Playing time has been an issue for him, especially since the Cubs acquired Nicholas Castellanos from the Tigers at the trade deadline, but I’m hoping what we are seeing from him now is the breakout the Cubs have been waiting for. If it is, the Cubs will continue to find room as they have four of their last five games.
- Aristides Aquino (OF)
The new guy in right field for the Cincinnati Reds is doing an excellent “the player we thought Yasiel Puig was going to be” impression. He’s doing it all for them right now except stealing bases. Aquino went hitless in his first two games up, but since then he’s gone 14 for 25 with 7 HR, 10 runs and 14 RBI with a triple slash of .452/.500/1.161 (yes, that’s his slugging percentage, not his OPS).
Unfortunately, there’s nothing in his profile that suggests he can continue at even close to this pace (a 35+ prospect grade from Fangraphs, for example), so we know it has to end. But if you have room to pick up someone this hot and see where it ends, Aquino is the guy this week. I was surprised to see his ownership percentage already up to 49% (especially when it took a solid weeks for Bichette’s to get up over 50%). Better hurry if you want to get him.
- J.D. Davis (3B, OF)
Davis is a regular starter for the Mets and seems as unlikely a contributor to their recent success, as their recent success seems unlikely (sorry Mets fans). A 26 year old who only played 67 games in the big leagues until this year, Davis seems to be riding a wave that should have crashed by now. The Mets’ success might not be sustainable, but a quick look at Davis’s yearlong statcast data tells us it’s entirely possible that his is.
Besides slashing .383/.446/.809 with 5 HR, 12 runs, 12 RBI, and stolen base in his last 15 games, his statcast numbers are spectacular – 94th percentile in Exit Velocity, 96th in Hard Hit %, 95th in xwOBA, 100th in xBA, and 94thin xSLG. He’s currently 46% owned so that window is closing fast.
This is the last week Kyle Schwarber, Jose Leclerc, Rougned Odor, Zac Gallen, Emilio Pagan, Scott Oberg, and Bo Bichette will appear here. Their ownership rates are over 50% and they should be owned in all competitive leagues.
Continue to ADD
- Bryan Reynolds had a great week last week – all the batting average and OBP we’ve come to expect from him and he kicked in a couple HRs, too. I can’t believe he’s still only 48% owned.
- Niko Goodrum slashed .240/.367/.520 this week with a HR, 3 runs, and 5 RBI. He’s eligible everywhere but 3B and catcher and that makes him valuable down the stretch if the steals category is still up for grabs in your league. He might get you five the rest of the year and that can be the difference between winning and losing a tight race.
HOLD (not good enough to add but maybe too good to drop)
- Christian Walker was light again this week in the counting stats (10 hits and zero RBI?). Come on, Christian. If he continues to hit like this, the counting stats are bound to come. Owning Walker is still not pretty, but I’m holding where I have him.
- Anthony Santander had a week that looked a lot like Christian Walker’s – very light in the counting stats. He slashed .345/.367/.586 with a HR, two runs, two RBI, and zero steals. The good news he’s still hitting third for the Orioles and his home games are in Camden Yard.
- Tyler O’Neill is supposed to come off the IL this week. He’s only 5% owned so if you want to drop him to make room for any of the players above, it’s likely you’ll be able to get him back if he starts off hot when he returns. If it’s an either/or situation, I’d rather have any of the guys listed above.
- Kyle Tucker is a really good baseball player. He might end up helping the Astros in the playoffs, but he’s not going to help you win your league this year. Time to let him go.
- Alex Verdugo is on the IL with an oblique with a possible return date of August 23rd. Two weeks in August is a long time to hold an inured player like Verdugo, especially when the playoffs could be on the line.
- Robinson Cano might not make it back this year according to the Mets.