Waiver Wire Targets: Week 5

It is getting ugly out on the wire trying to find any servicable roster help. Injuries, moving to and from the alternate site, and platoons make it hard to locate regular contributors, let alone ones that are good baseball players. For those managers in deeper leagues, their rosters may be set for a while until some minor leaguers begin to be promoted.

In the following article, I’m going to at least cover the players in demand using CBS’s (40% or less initial roster rate) 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 for redraft leagues by my rest-of-season preference grouped by starters, relievers, and hitters.

Batters

Tyler O’Neill: Since coming off the IL (groin), he’s hitting .346/.370/.808 with 4 HR and 2 SB. Grab now.

Adolis Garcia: Very little plate discipline (34% K%, 4% BB%), but nice power (5 HR in 71 PA). If a fantasy team can handle the low AVG, he can even provide a few steals.

Jordan Luplow: He’s started nine of the last 10 games with six homers. He’s a drag in batting average leagues (.196 AVG) but a positive in OBP leagues (.348 OBP).

Nico Hoerner: While he’s not yet homered, he’s been good (.877 OPS, 1 SB) in 35 plate appearances. It’s nice to see his power slowly climb (Avg EV: 86 mph to 88 mph to 91 mph).

Guillermo Heredia: While he hasn’t hit a ton of home runs yet, his .300/.429/.575 works especially with him starting 11 of the 12 games for Atlanta.

Mike Tauchman: He’s started every game since being traded to the Giants. While the slash line of .318/.348/.409 is nice, it’s supported by a .500 BABIP so some regression is expected. The two stolen bases are a plus.

Austin Hays: I like Hays’s power-speed combination, but his plate discipline has dropped to a career-worst (4% BB%, 28% K%). It would be nice to see him near his career marks (6% BB%, 21%).

Maikel Franco: He’s playing every day and hitting OK (.242/.308/.400, 3 HR) and in some leagues, that’s valuable.

Josh Rojas: The Rojas hype train is starting back up with him hitting a 1.148 OPS over the last two weeks. He hit .065/.216/.065 over his first 37 PA so the hot streak isn’t obvious … yet.

Pavin Smith: Playing every day with a .735 OPS while being qualified at two positions (OF, 1B) has value.

Willie Calhoun: While he’s been hitting for average (.295 AVG), it hasn’t been for much power (.073 ISO). Also, he’s only started against one lefty (four opportunities), so his counting stats might not keep up.

Brandon Belt: The four homers and two steals are enticing, but the .212 AVG (31% K%) is a drag on his value. The Giants do have three games at Colorado next week.

Albert Pujols: Over the last 15 games, he’s started 13 of them. During that time, he’s hit .236/.288/.455 with four homers.

Rougned Odor: The lead-footed pull-hitter will never post a decent batting average, but he does have four homers so far this season. Even by cutting his strikeout rate in half (32% to 15%), he still has a sub-.200 AVG.

Myles Straw: The five steals are enticing, but the .547 OPS puts him in the crosshairs to be demoted. He has heated over the last week with a .675 OPS. Steals only play.

Yonathan Daza: Has started nine of the last 10 games and has a .714 OPS on the season with three Colorado home games next week.

José Iglesias: He’s playing all the time and not much more. A sub-.300 OBP makes him a drag in OBP or points leagues.

Kyle Higashioka: He’s still hitting (1.088 OPS) and has started five of the last 10 games. It’ll be interesting to see if he ever gets the majority of catching starts.

Willians Astudillo: Where he’s catcher qualified, he’s a decent source of AVG (.278) with some power (2 HR). He’s started eight of the last 10 games.

Sam Haggerty: A power-speed threat (2 HR, 3 SB) who has started six of the last seven games mainly in the outfield. He’ll need to hit better than a .601 OPS if he wants to say in the starting lineup.

Tyrone Taylor: The 27-year-old outfielder is up and playing right now (started last five of six) while contributing across the board (.346 AVG, 2 HR, 1 SB). He’s added over 5 mph to Max Exit Velo this season. A lack of power was a factor holding him back minor league progression, but strength now seems to be an asset. His playing time could disappear once the other Brewers outfielders get healthy.

Nick Maton: He’s been starting at second and short with Gregorius and Segura hurt. He could be a power-speed threat but right now he’s contributing with a .464 BABIP driven .333 AVG.

Tyler Stephenson: While his .359/.405/.487 would play in any format, he’s currently only started 9 of 25 games so the counting stats will be limited.

Francisco Mejía: A catcher hitting .306/.327/.490 will always be in demand. As a note, he’s only starting about half the time so the counting stats might suffer.

Mike Zunino: Mike Zunino is doing Mike Zunino things by striking out a ton (32% K%) and hitting for power (5 HR).

Dom Nuñez: It’s tough to pass up four homers from the catcher position even though he has a 41% K%.

Andrew Knizner: He’s been playing with Yadier Molina on the IL with a decent batting average (.303 AVG) and no power (.061 ISO).

Jarren Duran: A nice power-speed threat who will start the season in AAA and work on all outfield positions.

Daulton Varsho: He has pinch-hit in three games since being called up. Even with the lure of stolen bases from a catcher, he needs more at-bats.

CBS Ownership Rates for Hitters
Name Prev Own% Current Own% Change%
Maikel Franco 3B  BAL 35% 37% 2%
Willie Calhoun DH  TEX 32% 39% 7%
Jose Iglesias SS  LAA 28% 30% 2%
Austin Hays LF  BAL 26% 30% 4%
Adolis Garcia CF  TEX 23% 57% 34%
Nico Hoerner SS  CHC 23% 39% 16%
Myles Straw CF  HOU 23% 25% 2%
Tyler O’Neill LF  STL 22% 28% 6%
Francisco Mejia C  TB 20% 22% 2%
Rougned Odor 2B  NYY 19% 21% 2%
Dom Nunez C  COL 16% 23% 7%
Brandon Belt 1B  SF 15% 18% 3%
Daulton Varsho CF  ARI 15% 17% 2%
Jordan Luplow CF  CLE 14% 18% 4%
Willians Astudillo 1B  MIN 12% 16% 4%
Jarren Duran RF  BOS 11% 14% 3%
Josh Rojas SS  ARI 11% 13% 2%
Tyler Stephenson C  CIN 11% 13% 2%
Pavin Smith RF  ARI 9% 22% 13%
Kyle Higashioka C  NYY 8% 20% 12%
Mike Zunino C  TB 8% 13% 5%
Albert Pujols 1B  LAA 8% 11% 3%
Yonathan Daza CF  COL 3% 7% 4%
Guillermo Heredia CF  ATL 3% 5% 2%
Mike Tauchman CF  SF 2% 7% 5%
Andrew Knizner C  STL 2% 5% 3%
Sam Haggerty LF  SEA 1% 7% 6%
Tyrone Taylor RF  MIL 1% 5% 4%
Nick Maton 2B  PHI 0% 2% 2%

Starters

Jakob Junis: With the addition of a cutter, he’s really broken out (3.47 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 10.4 K/9).

Alex Wood: He’s back to his old form by getting a ton of groundballs (58% GB%), limiting walks (1.5 BB/9), and not throwing his fastball (91.5 mph) as much. A 28% SwStr% on his slider has helped improve his game.

Adbert Alzolay: He’s been performing better than his 4.71 ERA indicates (ERA estimators near 3.50). He has leaned on just his fastball and slider throwing them both 45% of the time. The lack of a third pitch has limited his production as hitters get used to him (1st TTO: 2.89 ERA, 2nd: 4.00, 3rd: 13.50).

Spencer Turnbull: He has been fine in two starts so far with a 3.27 ERA. He’s dropped his four-seam (10% SwStr%) usage compared to previous seasons and is throwing his slider (24% SwStr%) and curve (14% SwStr%) more.

Cole Irvin: He’s been good (3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) with no standout trait. As the pitching pool gets picked over, this might be the last week to add him.

Tyler Anderson: See Cole Irvin.

Ryan Weathers: Currently dealing with arm issues, but the results have been fantastic (0.55 ERA, 0.61 WHIP) but from a .091 BABIP that will regress at some point.

Shane McClanahan: In his first major league start, the 24-year-old lefty used a 98-mph fastball and a wipeout slider leading to five strikeouts over four innings. From watching the start, I think he might have two issues. First, having just two reliable pitches, he might struggle after facing a lineup the first time (1st TTO: 0.42 xFIP, 2nd: 4.00). Also, he has a long pause in his windup that he can’t use when runners are on base. All five of his strikeouts came with no runners on base. Finally, he’s a little hard to rank based on unknown playing time and role.

J.A. Happ: He’s a flyball pitcher who’s surviving (1.96 ERA) by limiting home runs (5.27 xFIP). It hasn’t helped that his strikeout rate has dropped from 7.7 K/9 to 5.1 K/9.

Carlos Martinez: His last two starts were good (1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP), but he continued to not strike batters out (5.4 K/9). During this hot stretch, he did start throwing his four-seamer more.

Aaron Sanchez: I missed the boat on Sanchez because I was and still am scared off by the 3+ mph drop in his fastball velocity (93.6 mph to 89.9 mph). His 60 GB% along with an OK strikeout rate (7.4 K/9) will support an ERA under his estimators.

Chris Flexen 플렉센: He’s been a fine pitcher (3.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) this season who should be used in over half his starts. He’s been able to keep hitters off-balance with a four-pitch mix with none generating an above-average swings-and-miss rate.

José Ureña: Ignoring his first start (3 IP, 5 ER, 4 BB), he’s thrown like a poor man’s version of Aaron Sanchez (5.6 K/9, 1.29 WHIP, 61% GB%, 2.45 ERA). In that first start (just 49 degrees), he couldn’t find the strike zone (35% K%) and since then it has been 48%.

Erick Fedde: While the results have been acceptable (1.30 WHIP, 4.43 ERA) the 10.1 K/9 is likely increasing his rostership rate. The strikeout jump is surprising with his career rate at 6.5 K/9. The improvement has come from throwing his more effective sinker (3% SwStr% to 7% SwStr%) less and cutter (11% SwStr%) more. He has a horrible splitter/change (4% SwStr%) he needs to ditch. With the lack of a serviceable third pitch, he’s really struggled the second time through the order (1st TTO: 0.82 ERA, 2nd: 8.31 ERA).

Matt Harvey: He’s been surprisingly blah. I’m sure the uptick in being rostered came from limiting the Yankees to one run over six innings. He did throw his subpar change (3% SwStr%) and curve (10% SwStr%) less in that start.

Garrett Richards: Even including his last start when he went seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts, he has been nearly unrosterable (4.94 ERA, 1.61 WHIP) in all formats. I did go through the game logs to see if there was any change and the only noticeable difference was a 55% Zone% compared to 48% being his previous high. Possibly add him to a bench and see if this trend continues.

Nick Pivetta: Don’t be fooled by this two-step trap no matter his opponents. There is no way he can maintain a near-3.00 ERA with a 6.0 BB/9 and just a .233 BABIP.

Johan Oviedo: He’s just started once this season, but there are signs of improvement. He’s throwing his fastball fewer times even with the velocity up 1.1 mph. He’s leaning on his change (17% SwStr%) and curve (21% SwStr%) more even though his slider is his bread-and-butter (31% SwStr%). He was optioned back to the minors, but roster immediately once the Cardinals figure out John Gant and Ponce de Leon are not good and move on to Oviedo.

Deivi García: He has never had any major league success and is back at the alternate camp trying to get good.

John Gant: I guess the 2.16 ERA is nice and shiny but a 6.5 BB/9 leading to a 1.56 WHIP will completely offset the ERA gains. With his ERA estimators are near 5.00, I’d expect his production to be closer to them going forward.

Ljay Newsome: After being servicable out of the bullpen (1.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP), he got lit up in his first start allowing eight earned runs in two innings. I’m not adding until I see some good results.

CBS Ownership Rates for Starters
Name Prev Own% Current Own% Change%
Ryan Weathers RP  SD 38% 52% 14%
Carlos Martinez SP  STL 35% 40% 5%
J.A. Happ SP  MIN 32% 46% 14%
Deivi Garcia SP  NYY 29% 41% 12%
Jake Junis SP  KC 29% 37% 8%
Alex Wood SP  SF 25% 63% 38%
Nick Pivetta SP  BOS 24% 44% 20%
Adbert Alzolay SP  CHC 20% 24% 4%
Spencer Turnbull SP  DET 16% 22% 6%
Aaron Sanchez SP  SF 15% 21% 6%
Chris Flexen RP  SEA 13% 26% 13%
John Gant SP  STL 13% 17% 4%
Garrett Richards SP  BOS 11% 15% 4%
Cole Irvin SP  OAK 10% 27% 17%
Tyler Anderson SP  PIT 8% 14% 6%
Shane McClanahan RP  TB 7% 30% 23%
Matt Harvey SP  BAL 4% 7% 3%
Jose Urena SP  DET 4% 6% 2%
Erick Fedde SP  WAS 3% 6% 3%
Johan Oviedo SP  STL 2% 4% 2%
Ljay Newsome RP  SEA 1% 3% 2%

Closers – Saves based rankings

Rafael Dolis: OK pitcher who is currently the closer.

Josh Staumont: Good pitcher who will likely get most of the Save opportunities.

Tejay Antone: Great pitcher who might be the closer.

Taylor Rogers: Good pitcher who might be the closer.

Sean Doolittle: OK pitcher who might end up as the closer.

Jake Diekman: Good pitcher who is next in line for Saves.

Ryne Stanek: Good pitcher who is next in line for Saves.

Tyler Rogers: OK pitcher who is next in line for Saves.

Garrett Whitlock: Good pitcher who needs a few things to fall into place to closer.

Jonathan Loaisiga: Good pitcher who needs a few things to fall into place to closer.

Chris Rodriguez: Good long reliever

Luis Patiño: Good two-inning reliever.

J.P. Feyereisen: The 0.00 ERA has to be sustainable with just an 8.4 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 right?

Yusmeiro Petit: I guess some managers need are infatuated so much by his 1.10 ERA, they don’t see the 6.1 K/9.

Kent Emanuel: Went 8.2 innings in relief by keeping the ball on the ground (58% GB%).

CBS Ownership Rates for Relievers
Name Prev Own% Current Own% Change%
Tejay Antone RP  CIN 30% 35% 5%
Jake Diekman RP  OAK 23% 28% 5%
Rafael Dolis RP  TOR 22% 26% 4%
Luis Patino SP  TB 21% 24% 3%
Tyler Rogers RP  SF 18% 22% 4%
Josh Staumont RP  KC 11% 42% 31%
Jonathan Loaisiga RP  NYY 10% 16% 6%
Garrett Whitlock RP  BOS 8% 12% 4%
Sean Doolittle RP  CIN 7% 10% 3%
Chris Rodriguez RP  LAA 5% 7% 2%
Yusmeiro Petit RP  OAK 5% 9% 4%
Ryne Stanek RP  HOU 2% 4% 2%
J.P. Feyereisen RP  MIL 1% 4% 3%
Kent Emanuel RP  HOU 0% 4% 4%





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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Lanidrac
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Lanidrac

Even if Gant does implode like you expect, The Cardinals will still get Mikolas back by the end of the month, thereby still leaving Oviedo without much of a chance for MLB starts unless someone gets seriously hurt. Granted, such a thing could certainly happen, but then again Gant might manage to hold his spot ahead of Oviedo on the depth chart, as well.