Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 24
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. We realize that ownership levels have a difficult time of accurately reflecting those of you who are still active, but hopefully, some of these folks can help all of you at various depths. I opened things up a bit at the end to include more lesser-owned players than usual.
Ownership levels are taken from Yahoo leagues and, along with the stats, are accurate through September 12th.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
Tyler Glasnow (PIT – SP): 28% owned
We’re finally ready to see what Glasnow’s got after beating the pants off of Triple-A hitters yet again, as he’s been called up to the bigs for a start on Wednesday against Milwaukee. You’ve read a ton about his strikeout upside already, so really this is just about getting on board with what may be the first of three or four starts before the regular season wraps up. Pittsburgh and fantasy owners alike need to know if they can lean on him going into 2018, and if he carries many of us to the championship in ’17 then all the better.
Michael A. Taylor (WSH – OF): 30% owned
Taylor was a difference-maker with his bat and his wheels before landing on the DL two months ago, and he simply didn’t look all there when he returned in mid-August. Well, this last week he has been here and there and everywhere! The dynamic 26-year-old has clobbered three homers, scored five runs, knocked in nine and stolen two bases in his last four games entering play on Tuesday. While I don’t advocate reading into such small sample sizes, we’ve known him to be a streaky commodity in the past and we’ve seen him sustain his ceiling for longer bursts in 2017. If he’s available, make the add.
Willie Calhoun (TEX – 2B): 7% owned
While Calhoun is listed only at the keystone position on Yahoo, he should soon get his outfield eligibility after making his Major League debut while starting in left field on Tuesday night. What did he do in his first at-bat? Why, he smacked a neat little RBI single! The exciting lefty-swinger had bashed 31 homers with 93 RBIs and a .300/.355/.572 slash line across 128 Triple-A contests prior to the call-up, which was prompted by a slew of injuries to Texas’ roster. His multi-position eligibility should only help him be a strong fit on many fantasy rosters.
Chad Green (NYY – SP/RP): 21% owned
Many of you have likely been riding Green out of the bullpen for a while now, but this is an official PSA for folks who may be glossing over him despite swooning over the likes of Chris Devenski earlier in the season. The Yankees decided to use Green not as a starter, as they did in 2016 when he struck out 52 in 45 2/3 innings with a 3.58 SIERA behind his 4.73 ERA, but out of the ‘pen this season, where he’s shined with a 2.00 ERA/0.75 WHIP and 1.94 SIERA with a whopping 96 strikeouts in 63 frames.
He may be popping up on more radars now due to two of his last three appearances coming with a victory, but everyone should be aware of his last 11 innings anyway. He’s thrown 11 innings and allowed just one run on seven hits and zero walks alongside 21 Ks. That amounts to a -0.67 FIP! Many can use that.
Delino DeShields (TEX – OF): 25% owned
Even though DeShields hasn’t stolen a base since Sept. 2, he’s still gotten enough hits and scored enough runs from atop Texas’ order to be a factor. Heck, he’s even swatted two homers over his last eight games! No one is buying him for his power, but the speedster should be owned in more than one out of every four fantasy leagues in the final month. He can make a difference with his legs in an instant and is proving to be serviceable across the board, making him a truly valid add in 12-team formats.
Kyle Gibson (MIN – SP): 26% owned
In his last five starts (@CWS, @TOR, KC, @KC, SD) Gibson has toyed with opponents en route to a 4-0 record with a rather stunning 1.38 ERA and 26 whiffs against just three walks in a 32 2/3 inning span. I don’t particularly care how bad someone has been in the past, if they’re turning in lines like that then you’re paying attention. He lines up to face the Blue Jays next at home on Sept. 17 and should avoid a three-game series in the Bronx, much to the delight of fantasy owners.
Juan Nicasio (STL – SP/RP): 30% owned
Nicasio has made two appearances for the Cardinals, and both of them have seen him finish off his former team in Pittsburgh for the save. Tyler Lyons is still throwing the ball well but Nicasio’s usage is unquestionable thus far, with two games speaking as much as two games can. Role aside, the guy owns a 2.69 ERA/1.07 WHIP with a strikeout per inning this season, so it isn’t as though he relies on saves to contribute at all.
Nick Williams (PHI – OF): 20% owned
Williams has been primarily batting third for the Phillies, which has yielded 16 RBIs over the first 11 contests of September. Now, calling on him to keep the pace up and plate 40-plus runs in a month is absurd, but the point is that his totals thus far highlight the importance of where a player bats. Of course, hitting the ball well is a big part of things too. The rookie is 16-of-46 (.348) with a robust 27.3 percent line-drive rate to open the month and doesn’t even need to be platooned. He’s batting above .280 against both righties and lefties alike with nearly identical OPS marks, making him a solid target.
Matt Moore (SF – SP): 25% owned
Ask me a month ago whether starting Moore against the Dodgers would be a good idea and I’d probably call the authorities, but here we are. While one doesn’t necessarily need to start him against the Dodgers on Wednesday, it is at home and these are not the historically-hot Dodgers anymore. And Moore is not the 5.31 ERA/1.49 WHIP guy that his seasonal line says he is, as the southpaw has posted a 3.18 ERA with 26 strikeouts and just nine walks over his last 34 innings.
He’s posted four quality starts in five tries and made a scoreless two-inning appearance out of the ‘pen, though it’s worth noting that he’s faced offenses like Philadelphia, San Diego and the Chicago White Sox — not exactly the cream of the crop. Keep two feet on the ground, especially given his .242 BABIP, but we’ve seen stretches out of Moore before and he does get to call pitcher-friendly AT&T Park home.
Matt Belisle (MIN – RP): 30% owned
I realize that Minnesota’s save opportunities haven’t really been there and that Trevor Hildenberger‘s solid showing might not instill the most confidence in rostering Belisle, but he’s still the man for Minny. He closed out back-to-back games with saves against Kansas City on Sept. 7-8 and could offer save-needy owners that extra oomph in the playoff weeks.
Scott Alexander (KC – RP): 13% owned
Alexander hadn’t gotten a save since Sept. 4 thanks to Kansas City, as the save opportunity on Sept. 9 that Brandon Maurer converted came only after Alexander had pitched on the 7th and the 8th. He was right back at it on Tuesday night, locking down a 4-3 victory over the White Sox. It may not be pretty, but I refuse to believe that only 13% of leagues need someone who is actively fighting for saves.
Yolmer Sanchez (CWS – 2B/3B): 13% owned
Sanchez is 27-for-71 (.380) with four doubles, two triples, five homers, 16 runs scored, 14 RBIs and three stolen bases over his last 18 games. It’s impossible to ignore the .465 BABIP over that span so don’t get attached to the batting average, but his hard-hit and fly-ball rates are up by 10 percentage points compared to his seasonal averages here. His swing is yielding significantly different outcomes and the metrics — while lucky — are backing up a healthier cut. It might be easy to roll your eyes and write him off as a fluke, but there’s some substance here.
Ben Lively (PHI – SP): 6% owned
Lively has looked solid in four of his five outings since returning to the rotation on Aug. 20, notching quality starts against the Giants, Marlins, Mets and Nationals over the last month. While he was hit hard by the Cubs at home in the other start (5 IP, 6 ER), he’s also gotten better with each successive start over his last three tries. The most recent saw him take the tough-luck loss despite striking out seven over eight innings of three-run ball where he allowed only seven baserunners against the Nats. The interesting note is that all four of his good starts came on the road while the blowup was at home, making his upcoming home draw against the A’s on Sept. 16 a bit shaky, but still promising enough for deep-leaguers.
Others owned in <10% of leagues to consider: Yan Gomes (CLE – C), Dominic Smith (NYM – 1B), Matt Chapman (OAK – 3B), Ketel Marte (ARI – SS), Richard Urena (TOR – SS), Brandon Nimmo (NYM – OF), Boog Powell (OAK – OF), Sal Romano (CIN – SP), Rafael Montero (NYM – SP/RP), Carson Fulmer (CWS – RP).