With another week nearly in the books, it's time to check back in on potential waiver wire options to target. This week's Featured Pros are here to help by ranking the readily available batters in most leagues and by offering advice on top pitchers to target. So whether your team has been hit by the injury bug or you simply need to make an upgrade, read on to find out which pickups the experts recommend.
Jason Willan (The Fake Baseball)
Dave McKay (Fantasy Sports Brain)
Batter Rankings (Waiver Wire)*
|Player||Position||Team||Ownership||Best Rank||Worst Rank||Consensus Rank|
*List consists of relevant players with less than 50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues
Each expert was asked to share advice about a hitter they like along with any other waiver wire suggestions they have. Here's what the pundits had to say:
Jason Willan – The Fake Baseball
When scouring the waiver wire, I’m looking primarily for help at positions of need and potential difference makers. The latter is why I’m stowing Wil Myers on fantasy benches where I have the opportunity. He started the year at triple-A Durham a little slow in the power department, including missing a few games after fouling a ball off his foot. But Myers has two home runs and seven RBI in the last week and he has demonstrated in years past the ability to produce at a very high level, including a .314/37/109 line across double and triple A in 2012. The question remains how soon the Rays will call up one of the top prospects in all of baseball, but when he arrives, you’ll be glad to already have him on your fantasy team.
Lucas Duda was hyped by many for a breakout season in 2012, but due to a variety of factor’s including poor plate discipline, he wasn’t able to live up to the expectations. 2013 is a new year, and we’re seeing a great increase in Duda’s plate discipline, as evidenced by a 26% walk rate, compared to just 11.1% last year. As mentioned in RotoBaller.com’s Cheap Sources For Power piece published on 4/1, Duda already had the power upside and he’s now getting full time ABs in the heart of the Mets lineup. His improved plate skills are encouraging, and combined with a great Isolated Slugging of .327 (Isolated Slugging = SLG – OBP and is a great way to measure pure power), they should help sustain long-term success this year. At this point we recommend Duda as a must own in all leagues that have 4/5 OF spots. If you drafted him or picked him up, you can look forward to a potentially huge draft day/waiver wire return on your minimal investment.
While Chris Carter has cooled down a bit from his 4 HR week, he still remains one of the best low-ownership power options. He hit 16 HR in 218 ABs last year, and has 5 in 81 ABs this year so far. Yes, he strikes out a ton, and probably won’t bat over .240, but should a guy who can easily hit 35 HR with 85 RBI be available in 77% of leagues? We think not. If you need CI/OF/Util power help, Carter is a solid option with big upside.
Travis Hafner has continued to be productive in the Yanks aging but still potent lineup. With Hafner the issue will always be his health. Right now Girardi is doing a good job of getting him rest and playing the matchups, which means a couple of benchings a week. So he’s a better daily league than weekly league option. But Hafner is slugging .660 and that type of power should be owned in more than 33% of leagues. He is best used as a deep-league option at Util.
On Thursday, Travis Hafner’s Yankees began a 10 game homestand. Lefties clean up in Yankee Stadium, and thus far, Hafner’s been a great example. Get him while he’s still hot and at home. But not in a creepy way.
Dave McKay – Fantasy Sports Brain
Chris Carter is only owned in 23% of leagues but he’s worth a gamble. He’s got a full time gig, fantastic power and decent flexibility since he qualifies at OF and 1B. He also has a four-game hit streak, two in a row with an extra base hit and he’s hitting at Fenway this weekend. He makes a good bench option, especially in H2H leagues where it helps to have a HR hitter to plug in if you are lacking in power late in a matchup.
We also had the pundits give us the top Pitcher (SP or RP) available in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues that fantasy owners should consider targeting.
Jason Willan – The Fake Baseball
Carlos Villanueva (SP – CHC), 40% Owned: After bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen for most of his career, Carlos Villanueva is getting a chance to be a full-time starter with the Cubs in 2013. He’s produced a quality start in each of his first four turns, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 21:6 over 29.1 innings, an ERA of just 1.53, and a WHIP of 0.75. A lack of run support has limited Villanueva to just one win thus far and the general state of the Cubs could limit his fantasy production in that category throughout the season. However, Villanueva has been one of the better pitchers in the league over the first month of the season and he is deserving of a spot on more fantasy rosters.
Carlos Villanueva (SP - CHC), 40% Owned: It’s crazy that Villanueva is owned in only 40% of leagues right now, especially after going into Cincinnati and shutting down the Reds for 8 IP before giving up a couple runs trying to secure the CG shutout. After putting up 122 Ks in 125 IP in 2012, with a respectable 4.16 ERA and 1.27 ERA in the AL BEast, Villanueva has taken big advantage of switching to the NL. In four 2013 starts, he has 21 Ks in 29.1 IP with a 1.53 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, minuscule 1.84 BB/9 and a hugely improved 56% groundball rate. Villanueva is missing bats at a very nice clip, so the K-rate should easily rise. If his GB% and BB/9 improvements are for real, when the Ks come back you could be looking at a top 30 SP.
Dave McKay – Fantasy Sports Brain
Carlos Villanueva (SP - CHC), 40% Owned: He is only owned in 40% of Yahoo leagues, yet he’s ranked #43. His last turn he went 8.1 innings, his third start already this year with six Ks and two or fewer BBs. He’s been pretty solid the past two years, exceptional so far this year and Sunday he starts against the Marlins. Buy, buy, buy.
Vinnie Pestano (RP – CLE), 28% Owned: The easiest way to add a new closer to your roster before your opponents get him is to add him while he’s still a setup man. Kenley Jansen is probably the best setup man in the game, but he’s not readily available. Vinnie Pestano, on the other hand, is still available in most leagues, and he’s only a few more Chris Perez explosions away from the closer’s role in Cleveland.
Thanks to this week's Featured Pros for sharing their advice. Be sure to visit each expert's site for additional fantasy insight. Also, if you're looking for a fun way to play fantasy baseball AND win cash, check out FanDuel's Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship. You can still qualify for FanDuel's mega-contest that will pay out over $1 million this summer.
Enjoy the games this weekend!