Waiver Wire Targets: Week 2

Right now, the fantasy game has …. changed …. shifted … has gone just bizarre. It has only been a week and a half of games, but I’ve never dealt with so much uncertainty and the way I set these rankings reflects that change. I’m valuing MLB playing time and experience over potential whenever possible. I’m trying to limit the variation for now and will gamble more if a team starts falling behind in a couple of weeks.

As usual, I’m going to at least cover the players in demand using CBS’s (40% or less initial ownership) and Yahoo’s ADD/DROP rates. Both hosting sites have the option for daily and weekly waiver wire adds. CBS uses a weekly change while Yahoo looks at the last 24 hours. Yahoo is a great snapshot of right now while CBS ensures hot targets from early in the week aren’t missed. The players are ordered by my preference grouped by starters, relievers and hitters.

Hitters

Depending on the league’s depth, an owner might want to give my last two lineup articles a once over for more hitters.

  • C.J. Cron (37%): He seems 100% healthy and just launching the ball.
  • Teoscar Hernández (40%): He’s doing what he’s always done, jacking homers and stealing bases with limited plate discipline.
  • Trent Grisham (47%): While Grisham barely has barely over 200 major league plate appearances, he’s a nice power-speed threat with a respectable batting average.
  • David Fletcher (40%) and Kyle Lewis (57%): Who to add comes down to a team’s needs. Fletcher provides Runs, AVG, and position flexibility. Lewis hits for a ton of power.
  • JaCoby Jones (21%): Jones is finally living up to expectations as he’s lowered his strikeout rate (43% to 42% to 30% to 28% to 25%) and hitting the ball hard in the air (.462 ISO).
  • Jonathan Schoop (21%): He’s hitting like he always has, decent power with no plate discipline
  • J.P. Crawford (19%): It’s a unique breakout with a 20% BB% and 9% K%. No homerun power with his pull rate down and groundball rate up. What he provides is batting average stability, Runs, and some Stolen Bases.
  • Leury Garcia (14%): He’s pulling the Ketel Marte breakout: more walks and power with few strikeouts and groundballs. While the .167 BABIP is driving down his batting average, his career-high .261 ISO helps boost his value.
  • Colin Moran (27%): The breakout (.542 ISO) is coming from airing out (44% GB% to 39% GB%) and pulling (43% to 67%) the ball more. Teams may adjust to the high pull rate and shift the lefty more.
  • Nick Madrigal (34%): While he gets a ton of hype, he the infield version of Mallex Smith, above-average batting average and speed with no power.
  • Donovan Solano (6%): Who’s not going to love a .448/.433/.690 triple slash over 30 PAs. Besides, the fact he’s a 32-year-old whose only signs of life happened last season (.330/.360/.456).
  • Enrique Hernández (35%): His talent hasn’t changed, he’s just playing almost every day.
  • Maikel Franco (27%): The two home runs look to be a mirage. He hasn’t walked yet and his strikeout rate is up 10% points.
  • Freddy Galvis (28%): He has improved his plate discipline (0.2 BB/K to 0.8 BB/K) but he’s the same hitter he’s always been. He’s just taking advantage of the juiced ball.
  • Hanser Alberto (26%): Another weak hitter who has gone pull happy (44% to 57%).
  • Martín Maldonado (34%): He’s a catcher playing every day is a good lineup.
  • James McCann (32%): He’s hitting good in 12 plate appearances. Pass.

Starters

  • Michael Wacha (11%): He’s dropped his curve and turned into a new pitcher.
  • Spencer Turnbull (22%): He’s added about 1 mph of fastball velocity and is featuring his slider (32% SwStr%). He had similar strikeout rates last September (11.1 K/9) but a .418 BABIP masked the gains.
  • Cristian Javier (37%): I’m torn on Javier’s value. He couldn’t maintain his fastball velocity during his start and was effectively done at 60 pitches. By then, he tore through the Dodgers lineup with his faster fastball and kitchen sink of OK non-fastballs. I expect his bidding to be off the charts.
  • Alec Mills (14%): I really like Mills coming into the season, but he’s just not missing bats (4.5 K/9). His 59% GB% seems like it might support a lower BABIP, but it could be even more extreme. His four-seamer’s 33% GB% is dragging down the 86% GB% from his sinker. His 90-mph fastballs generate weak contact but don’t miss enough bats to be elite
  • Tyler Chatwood (44%): He’s straight up dominating (0.71 ERA, .79 WHIP, 13.50 ERA) and will garner some high bids this weekend with Kansas City being his next opponent. His gains are from cutting the usage of an ineffective four-seamer (31% to 9%) and has started throwing strikes (4.3 BB/9 to 2.8 BB/9).
  • Adam Wainwright (49%): His 1.50 ERA is nice and pretty but nothing has changed to keep him from being a streamable starter.
  • Alex Cobb (17%): He’s pitched well this year (2.89 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 59% GB%) against Boston and Tampa. He’s starting to fall into the Matt Shoemaker class of pitcher, I don’t feel great about starting them, but the results are just too good to ignore.
  • Chris Bassitt (34%): More will be known on him after his start today against the Mariners. All the surface numbers look great but his fastball velocity is down 1.5 mph from last season.
  • Kris Bubic (7%) and Brady Singer (38%): The pair of Royals rookies have been OK. They’ve kept their ERA under 4.00. I like Singer a bit more (higher strikeout potential) but both are inexperienced pitchers on a bad Royals team.
  • Drew Pomeranz (18%): Pomeranz is the replacement level reliever who owners add when they have bad matchups.
  • Austin Voth (43%): Voth was one of my boys, but I’m down on his value. His fastball velocity has dropped 1.4 mph this year. In his first start, he had as many strikeouts as home runs allowed. The 3.60 ERA is an illusion.
  • Zack Godley (5%): He ditched his fastball and went with a cutter, change, and curve in his last appearance. While the strikeouts and walks were fine, he was home run prone. Also, in his second start, the Yankees, noticed the pitch mix change and didn’t swing as much.
  • Daniel Ponce de Leon (9%): He just goes to the mound and throws his fastball somewhere near the strike zone. Sometimes hitters chase it. Other times they walk.
  • Kyle Freeland (19%): I don’t buy any of the results. Sorry, I don’t.
  • Casey Mize (31%): No call-up … for now.

Closers

Note: These are the closers who have shown some demand. All the situations are in flux. Go and read the latest Bullpen Report for a detailed description of all the bullpens.

  • Daniel Hudson (29%): A good pitcher with the closer’s role.
  • Nick Burdi (17%): A good pitcher with the closer’s role.
  • Anthony Bass (30%): A respectable pitcher with the closer’s role.
  • Jeremy Jeffress (9%): A respectable pitcher who might have the closer’s role.
  • Rowan Wick (6%): A respectable pitcher who might have the closer’s role.
  • Ryan Pressly (22%): A good pitcher temporarily in the closer’s role.
  • Wade Davis (34%): A bad pitcher with the closer’s role.
  • Taylor Williams (3%): A respectable pitcher who might have the closer’s role.
  • Oliver Drake (19%): A good pitcher with part of the closer’s role.
  • James Karinchak (24%): A good pitcher backing up a suspect closer.
  • Trevor Rosenthal (7%): A respectable pitcher who might have the closer’s role.
  • Drew Pomeranz line: I’d rather have a good middle reliever than the possible closers listed below.
  • Greg Holland (27%): A bad pitcher who might have the closer’s role.
  • Trevor Gott (25%): A respectable pitcher who might have the closer’s role.
  • Nick Goody (7%): A bad pitcher who might have the closer’s role.
Players Being Added in CBS Leagues
Name Last Week Current Change
Trent Grisham CF | SD 40% 47% 7%
Adam Wainwright SP | STL 36% 49% 13%
Kyle Lewis RF | SEA 35% 57% 22%
Austin Voth SP | WAS 34% 43% 9%
C.J. Cron 1B | DET 31% 37% 6%
Wade Davis RP | COL 27% 34% 7%
Chris Bassitt SP | OAK 25% 34% 9%
James McCann C | CHW 25% 32% 7%
David Fletcher 3B | LAA 23% 40% 17%
Martin Maldonado C | HOU 23% 34% 11%
Freddy Galvis SS | CIN 22% 28% 6%
Enrique Hernandez 2B | LAD 21% 35% 14%
Maikel Franco 3B | KC 19% 27% 8%
Hanser Alberto 2B | BAL 19% 26% 7%
Teoscar Hernandez CF | TOR 17% 40% 23%
Brady Singer SP | KC 16% 38% 22%
James Karinchak RP | CLE 14% 24% 10%
Jonathan Schoop 2B | DET 14% 21% 7%
Daniel Hudson RP | WAS 13% 29% 16%
Michael Wacha SP | NYM 12% 23% 11%
Spencer Turnbull SP | DET 12% 22% 10%
Kyle Freeland SP | COL 10% 19% 9%
Drew Pomeranz RP | SD 10% 18% 8%
Tyler Chatwood RP | CHC 9% 44% 35%
J.P. Crawford SS | SEA 6% 19% 13%
Leury Garcia CF | CHW 6% 14% 8%
Colin Moran 3B | PIT 5% 27% 22%
Alex Cobb SP | BAL 5% 17% 12%
Nick Burdi RP | PIT 5% 17% 12%
Alec Mills RP | CHC 5% 14% 9%
Cristian Javier SP | HOU 3% 37% 34%
Greg Holland RP | KC 2% 27% 25%
Trevor Gott RP | SF 2% 25% 23%
JaCoby Jones CF | DET 2% 21% 19%
Oliver Drake RP | TB 2% 19% 17%
Jeremy Jeffress RP | CHC 2% 9% 7%
Anthony Bass RP | TOR 1% 30% 29%
Nick Goody RP | TEX 0% 7% 7%





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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LightenUpFG
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I love the closers section. It really cuts to the chase, which is appreciated amidst the turmoil.