Today’s Waiver Wire features one player trying to reestablish his fantasy worth and one hoping to take hold of some of his own.
Luke Scott: 7% Yahoo!, 3.2% ESPN
Before injuring his shoulder last season, Scott was one of the more consistent players in fantasy. After being traded to Baltimore in the Miguel Tejada deal he averaged 25 home runs and 71 runs batted in from 2008-2010. In fact, his home runs, average, and on base percentage increased in each of those years. Unfortunately he couldn’t do it for a fourth year as a torn labrum in his shoulder ended his season in late July. Always willing to bounce on a buy low candidate, the Rays signed Scott over this offseason. A minor hamstring issue has kept him out of a few games but that seems to be behind him now. In the seven games (out of 10) he’s played he’s hit quite well, with two home runs, two doubles and eight runs knocked in to go with a .368 average. Will he be able to maintain a .421 ISO? No. A .333 BABIP? Likely not. However, if his shoulder is healthy, and it’s certainly looked like it is, there’s no reason he shouldn’t come close to replicating his ’08-’10 numbers.
If there is a worry with Scott it’s the fact that his new home park, Tropicana Field, is not forgiving to left handed power. In fact, it actually suppresses left handed home runs by 11% and is has rated as one of the top pitcher’s parks over the past few seasons. With Baltimore Scott averaged a .958 OPS at Camden Yards as opposed to just .728 on the road. He never hit more than 10 homers away from Camden in his three years in Bawl’mer, though he already has two away from the Trop. If you’re searching for someone with cheap power potential then there’s currently no better option than Scott and his Wolverine-style beard.
Jose Altuve: 22% Yahoo!, 36.1% ESPN
Altuve wasn’t so impressive in his rookie campaign, playing in 56 games and picking up 234 plate appearances but only putting up a .654 OPS. Though he’s just 5’6, his minor league track record was impressive. He skipped Triple-A and only spent 34 games at Double-A where he hit .361/.388/.569. Currently he’s the 13th ranked second basemen, but that likely won’t last seeing as he’s above Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist and Rickie Weeks. He still has his virtues, though. He’s always hit for average. Being that short he has to if he wants to maintain value as he’ll never have any real power and doesn’t walk often enough to justify a low average.
His base running is a plus, stealing more than 20 bases in each of the past three seasons. Our ZiPS projects love him, projecting a .297/.332/.410 line with nine (!) homers, 80 runs and 31 steals. A second basemen that hits close to .300 with 30+ steals would certainly be ownable in more than ~30 percent of leagues. The return of Jed Lowrie to the lineup has pushed Altuve down a bit so the run scoring projection may be a little optimistic in that amenic offense, but the steals and average are a legitimate threat.
Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.