Fantasy Baseball Waiver Advice: April 20
Dan Malin is here to look around the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire to point out some intriguing pitching options on waivers!
After a LOADED Wednesday column with new names and familiar names I’ll try to follow that one up with some new players to consider. We’re over 10% of the way into the season and while I typically believe that the 40-game mark for each team is a solid indicator of what each team has and what they really are, for fantasy purposes I feel that 18-22 games is still a small sample size, but we can be taking players more seriously at this point. Here are the waiver targets for this weekend!
10 Team Leagues
Carlos Rodón (Starting Pitcher – Chicago White Sox) FAAB Bid: 20% - Rodon was the third overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft and he’s finally looking like the pitcher the White Sox have known he could become. Coming into Friday night he had 29 strikeouts in 22 innings of work and his 1.83 FIP suggested that his 3.27 ERA could be in line for positive regression. Friday night against the Tigers he tossed six innings of one-run ball and recorded six strikeouts. The ownership is on the rise and with a matchup next Wednesday in Baltimore you can expect a spike.
Rich Hill (Starting Pitcher – Los Angeles Dodgers) FAAB Bid: 12-15% - If he’s available in your shallower leagues you should look into Rich Hill . I was able to add him off waivers in a 12-team league on Yahoo where he’s currently about 76% owned. He may be able to contribute to the Dodgers rotation in a week or two and as I noted in Friday’s Injury Report. The Dodgers may take a conservative approach at first because it’s entirely feasible for them to shut him down at the smallest sign of trouble. Hill has a long history of injuries and sure enough he started 2019 on the Injured List. But when he’s healthy and can contribute he’s a Top 20 starting pitcher. If you can spare the roster spot to stash him then go pick him up.
Josh Phegley (Catcher – Oakland Athletics) FAAB Bid: 7-16% - So there’s a fairly common debate across fantasy baseball whether catchers hold more value in one-catcher leagues or two-catcher leagues. I’m of the mindset they hold more value in two-catcher formats hence why I’m mentioning Phegley in the ten-team section because, in my experiences, a lot of my ten-team leagues have been two-catcher leagues. Phegley is under 35% owned on Yahoo and around 45-50% owned on ESPN depending on his ownership come Saturday morning (Spoiler alert: This is being written Friday night). Here’s what I don’t like about Phegley: he’s regularly hitting ninth in this lineup despite a .310/.341/.571 slash line. However, because of the fact he’s still hitting and getting on base he’s in position to score. Through 14 games he has scored ten runs and he’s clubbed three ding dongs since April 7th.
Brandon Lowe (Second Baseman – Tampa Bay Rays) FAAB Bid: 18-20% - I’ve mentioned Lowe in the past and you need to pick him up now. He’s currently ranked as a Top 100 fantasy baseball player and he’s one of the hottest hitters in the league. He hit another home run Friday night bringing his total to six on the season and five since April 9th. He’s regularly hitting towards the top of the order (except for Friday night in Boston where he hit seventh, which is odd to say the least) and he’s second base and outfield eligible on Yahoo where his ownership is barely above 50%. On ESPN he’s less than 30% owned which is outrageous. His OPS on the season is right around .900 so pick this lefty up.
12 Team Leagues
Christian Walker (First Baseman – Arizona Diamondbacks) FAAB Bid: 15-18% - Yes, I’ve seen enough. He’s the everyday first baseman in this post-Paul Goldschmidt era for Arizona. He regularly hits fifth in the order and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they moved him to cleanup at some point. He’s currently slashing .300/.373/.683 and obviously the slugging percentage will regress, but he is producing at the big league level. He’s a good source of power (six home runs) and he could help you find a dozen steals the rest of the season. Arizona’s let him run a little more as of late (two steals in his last three games) and he has four multi-hit games in his last five starts. First base depth is relatively weak and thin across the board. Walker is a damn good find on waivers.
Caleb Smith (Starting Pitcher – Miami Marlins) FAAB Bid: 12-15% - I’m a big mark for Caleb Smith . He entered Friday night’s game with a 2.65 ERA and 0.88 WHIP and looked very good against the Washington Nationals at home. In a winning effort, he struck out eight hitters in a one-run winning effort with 15 swinging strikes. He only needed 87 pitches to get through six innings of work and lowered his ERA to 2.35 while his FIP stands at 2.50 so it’s clear he’s pitching very well. Offensive support may be minimal at times for Smith, but he’s a pitcher that can go out there and register a quality start and get you six-to-eight strikeouts.
Hunter Dozier (First Baseman, Third Baseman – Kansas City Royals) FAAB Bid: 10-12% - He’s another guy that’s first base eligible and he made the piece within the last week, but again he’s still hot and under 40% owned on Yahoo and under 20% owned on ESPN. Since April 10th he has six multi-hit games and four home runs and the Royals frequently hit him third of fourth in their lineup. Not to sound like a broken record, but with first base relatively thin, Dozier’s swinging a hot bat and can be called upon for fantasy purposes.
Garrett Hampson (Second Baseman, Shortstop – Colorado Rockies) FAAB Bid: 1% - I’m hesitant to fully commit to Hampson because I do think he could experience home/road struggles that Ryan McMahon saw last year, but since April 7th Hampson’s been looking better at the plate. He’s still striking out more than he’s walking, but on Tuesday night he did record his first home run and stolen base of the season. I’d like to see him hit more frequently in the second spot and if you aren’t ready to fully add him you should at least flag him. When Daniel Murphy returns that could spell doom for Hampson’s playing time unless someone else gets hurt.
15+ Team Leagues
Mike Soroka (Starting Pitcher – Atlanta Braves) FAAB Bid: 5-8% - If you can grab Soroka for nothing, go for it. In his season debut Thursday afternoon Soroka only lasted five innings on 85 pitches, but he struck out six hitters while giving up one run on four hits and a pair of walks. He generated 13 swinging strikes, which is a good enough amount in five innings of work. Soroka’s still very young at 21 years old and he showed decent velocity with a 93-94mph fastball. His next start comes on the road in Cincinnati on Wednesday and he could be a two-start pitcher the following week.
Scott Kingery (Multiple Positions – Philadelphia Phillies) FAAB Bid: 3-5% - I don’t mean to sound lazy by saying he plays “multiple positions,” but he does. On ESPN it looks like he’s only available at shortstop. But on Yahoo he carries shortstop, third base, and outfield eligibility and he may get second base eligibility at some point. He wasn’t a full-time starter to begin the season, but it appears the Phillies was to get him more plate appearances, hence why he’s started more games and why he’s moved up to second in the batting over. Since April 8th he’s slashed .480/.519/.880 and that’s obviously unsustainable, but he does have a pair of home runs and a stolen base heading into Friday night’s game in Coors. If he gets more starts in the two-hole ahead of Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper then Kingery has to be added in every league even if it’s just for bench depth. Update: Kingery had to be pulled from Friday night’s game with a hamstring injury so for the time being it’s okay to take a wait and see approach regarding his health.
Dwight Smith Jr. (Outfielder – Baltimore Orioles) FAAB Bid: 3-7% - It’s time to start paying attention to Dwight Smith Jr. in deeper leagues. He does play for Baltimore, but when a guy is producing and logging more plate appearances at the top of the batting order then he needs to be talked about. He’s under 20% owned on Yahoo and ESPN with three home runs, six doubles, 14 runs scored, 11 RBI, and three steals and we’re still in April. His sub-.800 OPS is a bit unsightly, but if we’re talking about outfield depth in deeper leagues you could do worse for a guy that’s providing power and steals.
Nick Anderson (Relief Pitcher – Miami Marlins) FAAB Bid: 1%: You can get this guy for free easily. He’s not being used in save situations (although he could be later in the season if he keeps striking hitters out at an alarming rate). Anderson’s surrendered a home run in each of his last two appearances. That’s a pretty big knock against someone being recommended as a waiver wire addition. However, if you play in a league that incorporates K/9 or K:BB then Anderson is worth targeting because his ratio numbers are off the chart. He has 20 strikeouts in 9.2 innings of work with just two walks in that span as well. This is a bit drastic, but this was similar to the tear that Josh Hader got off to last season. Again, the home runs he’s given up lately are worrisome but he throws hard at 95-97mph and he features a very good slider. He’s definitely worth a gamble in deep leagues that incorporate a ton of categories.