Deep Waiver Wire Pickups: Tom Murphy, Bradley Zimmer, Jordan Montgomery
We’ve reached the point in the fantasy season where it’s make or break in terms of reaching the playoffs. If you’re a mediocre or struggling team, you’ll take any help you can get at this point to make a push in the second half of the fantasy season.
This is where the below trio of players come into the picture. All three are available in a vast majority of leagues and can help you for the rest of the season in one way or another.
Ownership percentages are from Yahoo!
Tom Murphy (C – COL): 15% Owned
To the surprise of basically no one, the catcher position in fantasy baseball is once again mostly a wasteland. Unless you have one of the handful of productive players, you’ve probably not got much out of the position so far this season.
What if I told you that there was a catcher that’s available in nearly 80% of most leagues that can hit for a decent average and could slug 15-20 home runs the rest of the way.
You’d surely be interested right? That’s right; I saw your eyebrows raise on that one.
Colorado Rockies rookie backstop, Tom Murphy, missed the first two and a half months of the season recovering from a fractured forearm suffered in Spring Training. Originally, he was expected back in late-April, but his recovery went much slower than anticipated. However, the Rockies backstop is finally back and should handle most of the catcher duties going forward.
At every level, all Murphy has done is mash. That includes a brief 44 at-bat stint with the Rockies where he hit .273 with five home runs and 13 RBIs. That’s one home run for every 8.8 at-bats. Not too shabby.
His numbers were just as good in the minors too. Over 1,384 at-bats, Murphy cranked 73 long balls to go along with a solid .284 average. Now that’s not quite one home run every 8.8 at-bats, but it shows that the power Murphy possesses is the real deal.
If you’re struggling at catcher, go out and get Murphy. Tony Wolters isn’t setting the world on fire, so it shouldn’t be too long before Murphy is catching four-to-five games a week and hitting plenty of home runs for your fantasy team. Also, don’t forget he plays half his games at Coors Field.
Bradley Zimmer (OF – CLE): 13% Owned
This is one I just don’t understand. Bradley Zimmer is young, has plenty of potential, and has hit fairly well since his call up. I get that he’s in a slight funk right now, but his power/speed combination cannot be ignored.
If you extrapolated his current stats over 500 at-bats, you would have a 30/30 player, with over 100 RBIs, about 70 runs, and a batting average over .250. Granted, it’s not guaranteed that his current pace will continue, but a player that can put up these types of stats shouldn’t be owned in less than 20% of fantasy leagues.
It’s not like this production has come out of nowhere either. This is the type of player Zimmer has been throughout his minor league career.
Before his promotion to Cleveland, he had five home runs and nine steals in 126 at-bats. If you go further back, you’ll see that in his first two minor league seasons he averaged 15.5 home runs and 41 steals per season.
One area of concern has been his batting average and his ability to make consistent contact. Zimmer’s career minor league average was .270, which isn’t too bad but he also struck out in over 30% of his at-bats.
That trend has continued so far with the big league club. He’ll never be a batting average asset but Zimmer becoming a .250-.270 major league hitter sounds about right.
The comparison I keep using for him is former Cleveland All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore. He has a very similar skill set that translates very well to the fantasy world. If you need an outfielder, Zimmer is a highly recommended add.
Jordan Montgomery (SP – NYY): 38% Owned
Out of all the thriving youngsters in the Bronx, one that goes relatively unnoticed is 24-year-old left-hander Jordan Montgomery. He’s got everything you look for in a starting pitcher.
He’s big (6’6, 225 pounds), a lefty, and can strike batters out at a solid clip. Even with his success in the minors, Montgomery was still only the Yankees’ #13 prospect according to MLB.
So what was holding him back from being a top prospect? His arsenal, while solid, isn’t elite. He sits in the low 90’s with his heater and doesn’t feature a true wipeout breaking ball like a lot of left-handers do these days. However, Montgomery has made it work and has produced quality numbers at every level, including so far in the Bronx.
Through 12 starts, Montgomery has registered a 3.78 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and an 8.6 K/9 rate. He only has four wins so far in those 12 starts, but if the Yankees keep playing well, the wins should become more frequent for him.
If you look at his minor league stats, you should develop some faith that he can continue being a solid fantasy starter for the rest of the season. His career minor league BB/9 and K/9 rates were 2.7 and 8.9 respectively. Those are fairly strong rates.
Another reason to get a little excited about him is that he rarely allowed home runs in the minors. Over 61 appearances (57 starts), Montgomery allowed only 0.3 home runs per nine innings. Continuing to limit the long ball is key for his continued success pitching roughly half his games at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Montgomery probably won’t ever be an ace in fantasy or real life for that matter, but he’s a guy you can trust as a #4 or #5 fantasy starter.