Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 11
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Waiver Wire report. Today, we hope to shine some light on several names that have been performing quite well lately, with the hopes that their validity as both short- and long-term adds becomes clear. The season’s halfway mark is basically just two weeks away, meaning lots of the fluky starts that are still going might just require more than a “psht” and a wave. That said, this is also the perfect time to press on buy-low candidates who have yet to turn it around. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! But in lieu of fun, wild and risky trades, let’s see what the waiver wire has to offer, shall we?
Ownership levels are taken from Yahoo leagues and, along with the stats, are accurate through June 13.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
Jaime Garcia (SP – ATL): 30% owned
Garcia may have taken his second consecutive loss on June 11 and fallen to 1-3 over his last five starts, but if that record were even just 3-2 alongside his pristine 1.49 ERA and 28-to-7 K:BB ratio over that span then he’d be over 50 percent owned.
Granted, he has faced the Nationals — who are good — and then the Giants, Angels, Phillies, and Mets — who aren’t as good. But the man still has to deliver, and deliver he has. It isn’t like he hasn’t been a fantasy stud before, and his 65.7 percent ground-ball rate across these five starts says he’s recaptured some of that magic. He’ll take on the Marlins next at home on June 17.
Howie Kendrick (1B/2B/3B/OF – PHI): 15% owned
Kendrick has returned to his old stomping grounds at the keystone position with renewed swagger, most recently swiping three bases (and being caught in the ninth inning on a fourth attempt) on Monday to give him five steals and a homer alongside his .435 (10-for-23) average over the last week. While the 33-year-old had to deal with being shelved for a month and a half with an abdominal injury, he picked up right where he left off in mid-April and is now hitting .353 with a .938 OPS on the year.
He was notably slotted into the cleanup role on Tuesday after hitting third to open June, which is just another intriguing development for the red-hot Kendrick. While the .440 BABIP won’t last and three-steal games won’t be the norm, there’s little doubting that right now he and his stellar multi-position eligibility can be of use to many fantasy owners.
Shin-Soo Choo (OF – TEX): 15% owned
Choo has hit two homers and stolen two bases over his last three games alone, and is hitting .262 with five homers and three steals over his last three weeks of play. His 13 runs scored and 12 RBIs over that span also point to his precious slot in the order, as he’s hit either leadoff or second in every game that he’s started since May 9. It was just two years ago that the 34-year-old hit 22 homers with 94 runs scored and 82 RBIs, and now that he’s running again the threat of 12-15 steals puts him over the top as a solid buy in 12-team leagues.
Jordan Montgomery (SP – NYY): 25% owned
Montgomery followed up his six scoreless innings on June 3 with a tidy eight-strikeout win over the Orioles on June 9. The rookie has yielded just four earned runs over his last four outings — 24 innings — with a neat 24-to-5 K:BB ratio. With some improved control that hasn’t come at the expense of his K’s and a red-hot Yankee offense supporting him, he should make for an intriguing play at spacious Oakland Coliseum against the A’s on June 15. If you’re still not sold, his 12.7 percent swinging-strike rate ranks as the fourth-best in the American League behind only Chris Sale, teammate Michael Pineda and Chris Archer. Not bad, eh?
Tyler Chatwood (SP – COL): 23% owned
Chatwood is all set to face the Pirates in Pittsburgh today (June 13) in yet another road start. The 27-year-old has avoided Coors in four of his last five trips to the hill and has gone 3-1 with just four ER over 26 innings in that span.
His overall 2.53 road ERA designates him as an ace compared to the demotion-candidate that he becomes at Coors Field (7.03 ERA,) which echoes his 2016 campaign where he posted a 6.12 ERA at home against a historic 1.69 road ERA. At this point, one can’t really say much other than to play the splits. Unfortunately, he returns to Colorado to face the Giants in a home start after Tuesday’s outing.
Andrelton Simmons (SS – LAA): 24% owned
Simmons has hit safely in six of his last seven games and has really just been on fire over the past month now. From May 12 to June 12, the defensive whiz has hit .328 with 12 doubles, three homers, 17 runs scored, 16 RBIs, six steals and has only struck out five times against nine walks. Sure, he could hit a few more homers and the counting stats within this current Mike Trout-less lineup won’t be extraordinary, but that is legitimate five-category contribution right there. A sneaky 15/20 season is very possible.
Joe Biagini (SP/RP – TOR): 20% owned
Biagini the starter has let hitters log a paltry .208/.255/.299 slash line against him across 37 1/3 innings, which is actually better than he fared out of the bullpen (.227/.282/.303.) Now fully stretched out, the 27-year-old has twirled three consecutive quality starts with at least five Ks in each contest.
While he’s lost each one of those games, his 2.86 FIP as a starter says that he hasn’t been a fluke and should see plenty more chances down the road to let his offense actually support him. The Blue Jays have the fifth-best wOBA over the last two weeks (.345) so the grass should be greener in a favorable start against the White Sox at home on June 16.
Sean Newcomb (SP – ATL): 14% owned
Newcomb looked like a seasoned veteran in his first career start on June 10 against the Mets, striking out seven over 6 1/3 clean innings where only one unearned run scored. He’s been confirmed as Atlanta’s starter on Friday against the Marlins, though what his status is beyond that is anybody’s guess. One can’t imagine him going back down if he shines yet again, so hopefully, we see him continue to find the plate easily after posting a 5.15 BB/9 in his 57 2/3 innings of work at Triple-A this season. If he does, we’ll have more than just a one-time streamer on our hands.
Mitch Moreland (1B – BOS): 19% owned
This may come as a surprise to some, but Moreland is batting .282 overall with eight homers, 34 runs scored and 35 RBIs through 60 games in Boston. He’s on pace for a rough 80/20/85/.280 season, though that could rise if he continues his recent surge.
Aided by his current seven-game hitting streak, the lefty-swinger has hit .347 with six homers, 17 runs scored and 19 RBIs over his last 22 games and has hit cleanup for Boston in all but one of his June starts. We’ve seen what that opportunity led to for David Ortiz, and while Moreland is certainly no Big Papi, there’s zero reason to look the gift horse in the mouth here (aside from his lack of improvement against southpaws, but still!)
Jacob Faria (SP – TB): 18% owned
Don’t call it a comeback, as the rookie basically never got a chance to leave the big-league club after Matt Andriese lasted roughly 24 hours before getting hurt again. This vacant rotation slot went right back to Faria, who had dazzled in his Major League debut with 6 1/3 strong frames against the South Siders after earning the shot with a 3.07 ERA and whopping 12.89 K/9 at Triple-A. He’ll tangle with the Blue Jays in a good test on Tuesday before facing off with the Tigers in Detroit on June 18.
Deep League Targets – <10% owned
Jose Pirela (2B – SD): 9% owned
Pirela has stepped his game up in 2017, just when his career was likely hitting a final crossroads. The 27-year-old had failed to capitalize on some strong Minor League campaigns in the Yankees’ farm system before a trade to the Padres offered him a new environment in 2016. Of course, he hit just .154 in 41 big-league PAs with a poor .248/.295/.387 slash line and just two homers in 146 Triple-A PAs as well.
Fast forward to 2017, and the dynamic Pirela has hit .500 (13-for-26) with four doubles and two homers through his first seven games for the Pads. The opportunity was well deserved after he swatted 13 homers and stole eight bags alongside a .331/.387/.635 line through 201 Triple-A PAs this season, so one can see that something has clicked here. Yes, his BABIP won’t hold over .500 for long but San Diego has no reason to let a hot bat go to waste right now, and neither do many owners in deeper formats.
Delino DeShields Jr. (OF – TEX): 7% owned
DeShields has started to hit again, going 10-for-24 with six steals and six runs scored over his last seven games. We know he can be streaky and lose out on playing time when the bat freezes up, but we also know he possesses legitimate game-breaking speed that can turn in six-steal weeks like this with ease if afforded the opportunity to play. There’s no need to give a one-category stud tons of leash, but fantasy owners would do well to not let his wheels sit idly by when they’re turning like this.
Christian Bergman (SP/RP – SEA): 4% owned
Bergman’s overall line won’t make anyone scramble for their mouse in order to smash “add,” but outside of that horrid 10-run shellacking at the hands of the Nationals on May 23, the 29-year-old has yielded just seven earned runs over 30 1/3 innings as a starter this season. This includes his most recent three outings resulting in just three ER with six strikeouts coming in each of his last two starts. One has to wonder how much leaving Colorado did for him, but he seems to be relying on his curveball more and his changeup less, with the results illustrating this as change that one can believe in. Today, he faces the Twins in a rematch of a tough-luck loss on June 8 before a road date with the Rangers.
Eric Young Jr. (OF – LAA): 2% owned
EY Jr. didn’t register a hit on Monday, but he still swiped his fifth bag of the season and scored a run. That’s what speed can do for a guy, though he’s more here for the buzz generated by his Sunday where he stuffed the stat sheet with a homer, four RBIs, and a steal. Now with 55 plate appearances under his belt, Young is hitting a useful .298 with two homers, 12 runs scored, seven RBIs, and the five swipes.
We’ve seen decent hot streaks out of him before, but considering how 201 Triple-A PAs yielded a .354/.419/.528 slash line with five homers and 15 steals before his promotion, one has to think that this hot-hitting may have some actual sustainability to it.