Welcome to another edition of the deep league waiver wire! Step right up and scoop up your favorite hidden gem.
Tyler Wade | 2B NYY | CBS 4% Owned
Man, have the Yankees suffered an embarrassing number of injuries or what?! Yet somehow, the team remains just two games behind the Rays for second place in the division. Thanks to all the injuries, Wade has recorded 49 plate appearances, after being buried on the depth chart heading into the season. The team has been so crushed that he has become their left fielder against right-handers, while still playing in the infield every now and then.
There’s good and there’s bad here. The good is Wade has shown excellent speed in the past, having stolen as many as 33 bases in the minors. The bad is that his speed appeared to dry up last season when he swiped just 12 bases and was caught nine times. The good is that the speed has apparently resurfaced, as he’s already five for five on stolen base attempts. He’s only single or walked 17 times and has already stolen five bases!
The good continues with the fact that he hasn’t sold out for power. His fly ball rate, over a tiny sample, sits at a meager 13.6%. When everyone seems to be raising their fly ball rate dramatically, whether for good or bad, it’s nice to see a player who knows what kind of hitter he is. He’s not hitting line drives, which is a problem, but at least he’s not hit a ton of weak fly balls when we know he doesn’t have enough power to benefit from joining the fly ball revolution.
The good concludes with a skyrocketing walk rate, though again, it’s a tiny sample. He’s swinging far less, but that’s primarily on pitches inside the zone. That ain’t good. It’s driving that strikeout rate above 30%, which is absolutely not what you want from your speedy ground ball hitter. Strangely, he’s posted strikeout rates barely over 20% in the minors, yet now in his third MLB stint, has posted a mark over 30% each time. Buy the speed and hope the strikeout rate improves.
Nicky Delmonico | OF CHW | 1% Owned
If a Nicky Delmonico took over a starting outfield job and nobody cares, did he really become a full-timer? With Daniel Palka‘s demotion and Eloy Jimenez’s injury, Delmonico is suddenly on the strong side of a left field platoon, though you may not have realized it because the White Sox have faced four straight lefties, pushing him to the bench. Even when Jimenez returns, there’s still a path to significant playing time, so it’ll be up to Delmonico to hit and hold onto it.
Delmonico burst onto the scene back in 2017, surprising us over a quarter of a season with a .369 wOBA and 22.5% HR/FB rate. He came crashing back to Earth last year in about half a season and lost his chance at a starting job. His minor league performance has bounced all over the place, especially his power metrics, so it’s hard to gauge exactly what he’s capable of.
For now, though, he has some power, hits fly balls, doesn’t strike out too often, and is willing to take a walk. That’s more than enough to offer some hope for deep leaguers while he has a starting job.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.