In this week’s edition of the Weekly Waiver Wire, we have a former pitcher turned hitter, a pitcher who struck out four batters in one inning, an Australian All-Star, the next Vladimir Guerrero, and a player who hit for the cycle twice in 10 games.
There is a fine line in Fantasy Baseball that the majority of individuals don’t recognize. How do you know whether or not a player’s newfound dominance/success is a direct result of improved skill or context rather than luck? If a player has been in the Majors for, lets say 10 years, and he has maintained a career batting average of .277 and then hits .320 at the All-Star Break, something isn’t adding up. So, you dig deeper. Is his LD% higher than it has been? Is he more disciplined at the plate? What about his Swinging Strike rate? If his numbers this season align with those of previous seasons, aka he isn’t doing anything different, it’s a matter of luck. Now, if his numbers are SIGNIFICANTLY higher than his career averages, that is where it gets tricky. The guy is 34 years old, it’s too late for a breakout season, he is past his prime. Why, all of a sudden, would he be a .320 hitter this late into his career? His numbers are much higher, so, either he is on the BALCO program or he is just getting lucky. Either way, he would be a terrific sell-high player. My point is, if you look hard enough, if you dig deep enough, you will be able to tell whether or not it’s a fluke.
Week 12 MLB Waiver Wire: Players to Add:
Wade Davis (RP,KC,11% owned): For those of you who follow me on Twitter, a week or two ago I said that Davis was a sneaky pickup. That has not changed. The addition of Wade Davis should be in deeper leagues only, at least for right now. Had it not been for the fact that Davis, a setup man, has 5 wins, I probably wouldn’t have included him in my piece. Now, Davis is not going to replace Greg Holland unless Holland gets hurt. Nevertheless, you just can’t pass up on a reliever who has 5 wins, a 14.6 K/9 rate, a 0.82 WHIP, and a whiff/swing% of 36.36% on his 4-seamer, good for 2nd best in the Majors among Relievers. I mean, come on, the guy has not given up a single run in 15 straight outings. That’s gotta’ count for something, right? Wade Davis is 28 years old, he is in his prime. This isn’t luck. He is throwing his 4-seamer much more often this season at a 61.17% rate. His velocity on his 4-seamer last year was around 93 MPH. This year, the velocity on his 4-seamer is up to almost 96 MPH. His whiff/swing% on his 4-seamer is up 8% from last year and his LD% on his 4-seamer is also down 2%. He isn’t a sexy pick, but he will get the job done and has some good ratios – there is something to be said for a reliever who has a handful of outings every week and can generally be relied upon to keep your ratios in check.
Kendrys Morales (1B/DH,MIN,37% owned): Believe it or not, Morales actually used to be a pitcher way back in the day. He was an ace as a teenager playing in Cuba, but those days are long gone. We knew it was inevitable, Morales was going to be signed, one way or another – the only surprising thing was the team that signed him. The Twins are getting a lot of bang for their buck thus far but it’s only been a few games so let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. Nevertheless, Morales can hit for power from both sides of the plate. His career batting average of .280 is pretty good as well. Last season he hit 23 homers to go along with a .277 average. He’s a better than decent addition to your fantasy team if you need help at 1B. He averages 27 homers and 90 RBI’s per 162 games which is pretty darn good if you ask me for someone his age. Just as Minnesota prorated his $12 Million contract over the remaining games, his hot start is an indication that you can expect the equivalent portion of his standard line from here on out.
Corey Dickerson (OF,COL,57% owned): Last week I hinted that Dickerson is a great under-the-radar pickup. I stand by that statement. Dickerson’s ownership has risen from 17% to 57% over the past week so add him while you can. He has done a great job filling in for Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, each of whom will miss significant time. He now has three consecutive multi-hit games and as a result, his batting average lies at an impressive.347. Our Chris Meaney also suggested you add Dickerson given the news that Carlos Gonzalez had surgery on Tuesday. Again, this is not luck either. He is a much more disciplined batter this season as he is swinging at fewer pitches outside the zone. That number is actually down 8% from last year.
Week 12 MLB Waiver Wire: Hot Players:
(*These are players who are performing very well as of late. You should keep an eye on them and if they continue their great play you should take a long look at adding one or two of them)
Brock Holt (3B,BOS,22% owned): Brock Holt? Who in the world is Brock Holt? If you read the recent column by our Esten McLaren you would already have an idea of who he is. I have a feeling about this guy. In a few years I have a gut feeling that Brock Holt is going to be really good. He has already had two four-hit games, he is batting .331 with 13 RBI’s, and he has a .370 SLG%. He is turning into an everyday player for the Red Sox and is also very versatile, which should keep him in the lineup. His LD% is up almost 5% from last season and his GB% is down 7% from last year and 12% from his rookie year. His F-Strike% is also down 5% from last year and he is making more contact on pitches outside of the zone as opposed to last year.
Dellin Betances (RP,NYY,38% owned):Betances has been on my radar for a few weeks now and I feel like he has finally warranted an endorsement. Betances has yet to lose a game as his biggest worry seems to be whether or not Mariano Rivera‘s son is going to take his job. Betances has struck out 63 batters thus far while posting a 1.69 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP. His whiff/swing% on his 4-seamer is up almost 4% from last year and his HR% is also down from last season. He’s clicking on all cylinders right now and it might just be time to cash in.
Week 12 MLB Waiver Wire Players to Drop:
Tony Cingrani (SP,CIN,39% owned): According to an article on cincinnati.com, with the addition of Mat Latos back into the Reds rotation, Cingrani is out. He has lost seven games thus far, surrendering six earned runs through 4.2 innings in his last outing against the Dodgers. Right now, it is clear that Cingrani is really struggling on the mound and with a 4.68 ERA to go along with a 1.53 WHIP, it’s time to let this guy go. His whiff/swing% on his 4-seamer has taken a dip from last year as well as his slider and as a result, his BIP% has increased when throwing his 4-seamer as well as his Changeup. Also, his LD% on his 4-seamer is up from last season and his HR% on his 4-seamer is up from last year.
Grant Balfour (RP,TB,68% owned): Our Esten McLaren told you that Balfour no longer holds any value. I completely agree. The Australian-born former All-Star has definitely taken a step back since last year. The Associated Press reported that Balfour has been removed from the closer role in Tampa Bay. The Rays will now use a CBC (closer by committee) for the time being. The move is understandable as Balfour has posted an abysmal 5.88 ERA thus far. In last Sunday’s game against Seattle, he gave up 5 runs on 4 hits in only 1 inning pitched, while also walking 2 batters. I would rather have Wade Davis, Dellin Betances, or Mark Melancon, all owned in less than 50% of leagues.
Tommy Hunter (RP,BAL,47% owned): Why is Hunter still owned in almost 50% of leagues? Hunter isn’t even the closer on his own team. Now, granted, he has been on the DL for quite a while. Nevertheless, he was awful prior to his DL stint, recording two consecutive blown saves. He has posted a 5.71 ERA to go along with a 1.73 WHIP. Now, there are some of you who will disagree with me, some of you who believe that it is much too early to drop Hunter. But, riddle me this, isn’t that the same thing you said about Jedd Gyorko?
Oscar Taveras (OF,STL,64% owned): Taveras has been sent back down to the Minors. This very likely won’t be the last you see of him with the Cardinals this year but with Matt Adams‘ return he is off the roster, and if you are dealing with a short bench drop him. Simple as that.
Week 12 MLB Waiver Wire Cold Players:
(*These are players who have good track records but have not had the best start to the season. Let these guys chill on your bench until they heat up)
Aaron Hill (2B,ARI,87% owned): Any player who can hit for the cycle twice in a span of 10 games deserves a second chance right? Unfortunately, Hill has not gotten off to the best start this season. He currently has only hit five homers with 28 RBI. He’s stolen just one base thus far and is batting an unimpressive .253, and has been moved to 6th in the batting order for Arizona. Sure, his ISOP is down, his strikeout rate is up and he isn’t walking as much. And no, he isn’t stealing as many bases as he used to. He is clearly having a rough time at the plate but I am confident he will turn it around soon.
Have specific questions about your team? Questions/Comments about the article? Ask @RyanDorf on Twitter.