Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 16
Welcome back to the weekly piece that looks to shine a light on some names who appear to be underowned and worth an add given their recent performances. While we avoid names who are owned in over 30 percent of leagues, please be sure you know where Trevor Rosenthal (34% owned) is in yours. With that said, let’s check on some widely-available names on the waiver wire that should be able to help out in the second half of 2017.
Ownership levels are taken from Yahoo leagues and, along with the stats, are accurate through July 17.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
Jhoulys Chacin (SD – SP/RP): 24% owned
It wasn’t the prettiest quality start, but Chacin still went out there and delivered his seventh QS in eight trips against the Giants on July 15. Tying a season-high mark with four walks was the big issue here, but given his recent performance (2.68 ERA since June began) and ability to remain settled without his best stuff, I remain optimistic. He gets to avoid the three-game series at Coors Field and face the same Giants team in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park on July 20.
Jose Reyes (NYM – SS/3B): 19% owned
Thanks to hitting safely in nine of his 11 games this month (with multi-hit games in seven of those), Reyes has suddenly become a mixed-league relevant name again. With three homers and a steal to his name in that 11-game window as well, the versatile 34-year-old is showing he still has plenty left in the tank after enduring some terrible luck to kick off his 2017 season. His current .237 BABIP would be the lowest of his career by over 50 points, so I’d expect his luck to continue rebounding even as he hits fly balls at a career-high rate.
Clint Frazier (NYY – OF): 28% owned
After bopping two more doubles on Monday night, Frazier now has eight extra-base hits over his first 11 games in the bigs. The rookie has shown why he was such a highly-coveted piece in the Andrew Miller deal last season with an early .308/.317/.718 slash line. While his ISO won’t stand above .400 forever, there’s something to be said for a touted prospect who has shown some pop and gets to call Yankee Stadium home.
Luis Castillo (CIN – SP/RP): 22% owned
Castillo didn’t quite meet the bar set in his 6 2/3-inning gem against the D-backs on July 8, but the rookie ended up with a quality start against a tough Nationals lineup anyway. He struck out six as he continues to endure one of the tougher starting schedules I can remember (@WAS, MIL, @COL, @ARI, WAS) as he prepares for a rematch with the D-backs at home.
All four of those teams can be found inside of the top seven when looking at the MLB’s runs-scored leaderboard. With a 13 percent swinging-strike rate that would check in as the 21st best out of all starters with at least 30 innings under their belt (he has 29), the 24-year-old remains one of the better second-half gambles out there. He’ll get a good matchup someday.
Alex Claudio (TEX – RP): 21% owned
He may be a lefty, but he’s Texas’ lefty and he’s looking good. He logged back-to-back saves on July 14-15 against Kansas City and looks to be the man for the ninth if the matchups call for it. As of now, he’s the Rangers’ lone southpaw in the ‘pen, but they may look to rectify that with the Trade Deadline approaching. Keone Kela’s return and Matt Bush’s being a righty does cast a shadow over his job security, but right now he appears to be the arm to own in the Lone Star state.
Blake Snell (TB – SP): 18% owned
Snell faces the A’s in spacious Oakland Coliseum today (Tuesday) after looking sharp in the Minors. While he owns a 4.85 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 52 Major League innings, he’s still a big name and holds strikeout upside in a plus matchup. The southpaw has only walked four over his last three Triple-A starts (17 2/3 innings) and has struck out at least seven batters in each of his seven outings on the farm. If he blossoms then maybe you can make a quick flip to a desperate believer.
Gerardo Parra (COL – 1B/OF): 12% owned
Since returning to action earlier this month, all Parra has done in seven games is go 13-for-28 with seven runs scored, two homers, and 11 RBIs. While he’s no .400 hitter, it’s not like he wasn’t clobbering the ball prior to his injury either. Now with a .341/.360/.528 triple slash through 189 plate appearances and a few key injuries allowing him to play every day, fantasy owners in deeper formats shouldn’t shy away from a hot bat at Coors Field.
German Marquez (COL – SP): 15% owned
Marquez just faced the Padres on Monday and tied a season-high with nine strikeouts. After a turbulent few starts to begin his Major League career, the rookie has gone 7-2 with a 3.63 ERA and 63 Ks over his last 12 starts (67 innings). Where I come from, those are numbers worth owning in 12-team formats. I realize Colorado is spooky, but I’m trusting the talent here in most matchups.
Collin McHugh (HOU – SP): 12% owned
McHugh is ready to rejoin Houston’s rotation after a solid final rehab start in which he didn’t allow an earned run. He went six strong, scattering four hits and a walk alongside a lone unearned run and looks ready to re-enter the Astros’ starting ranks for their series in Baltimore. While it would be wonderful if we could get 2015 McHugh (3.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP), 2014 McHugh (2.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) wasn’t all that long ago. Don’t forget, ’15 McHugh went 19-7 and now the Astros boast a league-leading offense. Wins still count for something in most leagues, last I checked.
Matt Moore (SF – SP): 24% owned
Some people just prefer familiar names, so here’s Moore! The lefty turned in one of his best starts of 2017 on Monday, going seven innings and allowing only two earned runs (four total and one error was his) with five strikeouts on the day. That’s some good news for him, but the real matter at hand is that he faces the Padres next in a July 22 start. I won’t be partaking, but that may be enough for some of you.
Danny Valencia (SEA – 1B/3B/OF): 18% owned
The versatile Valencia is still out here hitting, and with a homer in each of his last two games he now has three over the last two weeks alongside a healthy .308 batting average. While still hitting much better against lefties (.310 vs. LHP, .260 vs. RHP), fantasy owners who have the bench space to platoon the 32-year-old effectively could find themselves with quite a steal throughout the season. It isn’t as though his multi-position eligibility makes him tough to squeeze in.
Sean Newcomb (ATL – SP): 17% owned
Newcomb faces the Cubs in a tough test next after having to crawl through matchups against Houston and Washington, but still houses mixed-league upside (11.55 K/9 in 11 Triple-A starts prior to his promotion). The rookie is by no means matchup-proof, but don’t forget about him either when his schedule inevitably softens up.
Deep League Targets – <10% owned
Adalberto Mejia (MIN – SP/RP): 5% owned
He just tossed 5 1/3 crisp innings against the Yankees, scattering just five hits with no walks in a solid showing to lower his seasonal ERA to 4.22. Of course, looking at just the last 30 days gives him a much cleaner 2.62 ERA and 1.28 WHIP alongside three victories in 34 1/3 innings. His 25 Ks in that span won’t win any leagues on its own, but this is more than enough to be considered actionable in the five-and-dime section.
Reynaldo Lopez (CWS – SP/RP): 3% owned
He struck out 12 in his most recent start at Triple-A and should be called up soon by the big-league club with the rebuild clearly taking hold. He has 101 Ks in 100 innings on the farm. Despite his control woes still lurking, he has walked just five over his last four starts — all of which have seen him surrender two or fewer earned runs.
Parker Bridwell (LAA – SP/RP): 3% owned
Bridwell has gone six-plus innings and allowed only two runs across his last 12 1/3 frames (striking out eight in his last start). Outside of a five-run hiccup against the Mariners on June 30, he has yielded three or fewer earned runs in all of his appearances this season. While a tough date at home with the Red Sox is on tap for July 22, his stock is worth watching in deeper formats — especially now that he’s shown he can rack up some whiffs.
Jabari Blash (SD – OF): 1% owned
Jabari Blash’d off against the Rockies on Monday night, socking his second homer in four games after being called up during the All-Star break. The 28-year-old is no stranger to power, as it’s the big swing that produces such wondrous homers that are also responsible for a strikeout rate that sits above 30 percent and leads to big pockets of inconsistency amid the hot streaks. Still, for the price of nothing, it’s likely worth it to many NL-only owners to see if this heat wave is for real. For what it’s worth, Blash’s manager notices a difference.
Bruce Rondon (DET – RP): 1% owned
Rondon would likely be the next man up for the ninth inning should Justin Wilson get traded (which appears likely), despite Shane Greene (3% owned) displaying more consistent skills right now. After being hit around so badly in three April appearances that he was demoted, Rondon has allowed runs in just one of his seven appearances since June 25. The 26-year-old has scattered two hits and three walks over those other six showings, with nine Ks to boot.