How can you find value on the waiver wire in June? At this point, early breakout players are long gone, and hyped prospects get picked up far before their major-legue debuts. You’re basically stuck picking up injured players, but even the best of them are stashed on a team’s disabled list far before they are ready to return. John Danks and Logan Morrison were injured to begin the year, but have lacked the fantasy upside to have been picked up in most leagues. Both players are now back, and showing some encouraging signs.
OF Logan Morrison 27% owned in CBSSports.com leagues
Injuries have held Morrison back over his career. Combine that with the fact that he hit just .247 in his best season, and it’s easy to see why he has low ownership rates. Morrison has only received 11 plate appearances this season, so trying to draw conclusions from them would be foolish. If anything, at least his .444/.545/.667 slash line seems to indicate he’s finally healthy. Morrison has been prone to lower BABIPs, though he’s not a huge strikeout hitter. Either he’ll naturally hit for sub-.300 BABIPs, or that will regress to the mean and he’ll start hitting for higher averages. He’s capable of hitting for solid power, and should be used as a middle-of-the-order hitter, for what that’s worth considering the team. He’s also shown solid plate discipline over his career, and may have slightly more value in OBP leagues.
Morrison shouldn’t be used as a first baseman, as there are likely more talented players out there. But if he has outfielder eligibility, he could be used as an injury fill-in in mixed leagues. He’s best utilized as a bench outfielder in an ideal situation. He could be used as a potential third outfielder in NL-only leagues.
SP John Danks 26% owned in CBSSports.com leagues
There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about picking up Danks. He’s coming off shoulder surgery, his velocity is down and he didn’t have a high upside even during his prime. He’s probably more of a “watch list” or “scout team” player at this point, and not actually a guy owners should rush out and pick up.
He deserves to be watched, however, based on what he’s shown thus far. Danks’ strikeout rate has rebounded after a terrible 2012, and his walk rate is down significantly. It has only been 24 innings, so sample size caveats do apply. On top of that, the White Sox boast one of the best pitching coaches in baseball in Don Cooper, and have one of the strongest medical staffs, led by Herm Schneider. Dave Cameron wrote about the team’s ability to keep their players healthy over the last decade. Those two factors have to provide some encouragement.
Danks is coming off his best start of the year, an eight inning, three hit performance against the Athletics. Danks has been just average in his first three starts, so it’s worth it to see if he needed time to return to form. The upside might not be worth it in mixed leagues, but he should be watched closely in AL-only.
Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.