Fantasy Baseball Waiver Advice: May 4
Dan Malin is here to look around the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire to point out some intriguing players to grab off waivers!
If you didn’t check out Wednesday's Waiver Advice Article I still highly recommend a lot of the names listed over there. There were a lot of young names including Nick Senzel , Michael Chavis, Mike Soroka , and Griffin Canning that I mentioned as well as other players like Danny Santana , Nate Lowe , and some of the Angels relievers. Those names are all still very much on the table for waiver additions. But for this weekend’s piece I’ll bring up a few new names, but do not forget about the names from Wednesday.
10 Team Leagues
Matt Barnes (Relief Pitcher – Boston Red Sox) FAAB Bid: 10-12% - The Red Sox closer role was one of the most closely watched during spring training. Ryan Brasier leads the team with six saves while Barnes has just two. However, Brasier’s last save came on April 21st while Barnes got the save this past Monday. Add in the fact Brasier blew a save and took the loss against the White Sox Thursday night and there may be an opportunity for Barnes. Barnes has greater strikeout potential as well (26 K’s in 13 innings pitched) and his ERA and FIP (2.08 and 2.05) are more promising than Brasier’s (2.57 and 4.91). Alex Cora likely won’t differ from Brasier right away and a split approach between the two is still possible. However, Barnes could find himself in the good graces of the coaching staff and get some saves and he can aid your ratio stats.
Max Kepler (Outfielder – Minnesota Twins) FAAB Bid: 15-18% - I’m actually fairly surprised to see that Kepler is under 70% owned on both Yahoo and ESPN. Since April 26th he has four home runs, three doubles, six runs scored, and seven RBI. He’s also hitting leadoff which is great for fantasy. Since 2016 he’s improved upon his home run total each season and in 2018 he hit a career high of 20. Already in 2019 he has seven so he’s on pace to surpass 20 with ease if he can stay healthy. The batting average may regress to maybe .240 since that’s in line with his career average, but this is a guy who has proven he can contribute power and he’s fairly available in shallow leagues.
Lucas Giolito (Starting Pitcher – Chicago White Sox) FAAB Bid: 4-6% - Giolito is available pretty much everywhere, but I mention him in the shallow league section because the former top pitching prospect returned on Thursday from his hamstring injury and looked decent. Yes, he gave up three earned runs in five innings of work, but he struck out seven bringing his total on the season to 30 in 23.2 innings of work. He still has a 5.32 ERA, but the 3.88 FIP suggests some positive regression is in store. He does have an issue with walks and he hasn’t pitched terribly deep into games. But there’s upside with Giolito if you can afford to stash him.
12 Team Leagues
Matt Strahm (Starting Pitcher – San Diego Padres) FAAB Bid: 8% - Strahm might not be available in your 12-team league on Yahoo, but I’m trying to be optimistic. On ESPN he is likely still available. If you take away his first start of the year he’s been very solid and he’s recorded three straight quality starts. He’s not a great source of strikeouts, but he can go out and get anywhere from five-to-seven strikeouts in a given outing. In addition to that he doesn’t walk a ton of batters. Over his last 30 innings of work he’s allowed a grand total of two free passes so he can really help out in category leagues that employ BB/9 or K:BB. His next start comes next Wednesday at home against the Mets. The Mets got off to a decent start, but they’ve scored just 23 runs in their last nine games. But they do hit lefties pretty well and they’ve performed well offensively on the road so you can tread with a little caution, but I still highly recommend Strahm.
Shawn Kelley (Relief Pitcher – Texas Rangers) FAAB Bid: 5% - This is more of a speculative add with news breaking that the Rangers were going to remove José Leclerc from the closer’s role. So this opens the door for Shawn Kelley who has arguably been the Rangers best reliever this season. He touts a 1.50 ERA, but a 3.46 FIP suggests some regression could be in the works. He only has 11 strikeouts in a dozen innings of work with a 0.75 WHIP, and mind you he hasn’t allowed a single walk to start the year and that’s exactly what you want from your relievers. You can’t be giving up free passes in high leverage situations and unfortunately for Leclerc he carries an 11.37 BB/9 (eight walks in 6.1 innings) since April 9th. In deeper leagues Chris Martin might be worth an add as well since he’s more widely available. But Shawn Kelley is the preferred option out of the Texas bullpen.
Yordan Alvarez (Outfielder – Houston Astros) FAAB Bid: 2-5% - Alvarez has done nothing but rake, rake, and rake in the minors this year. He should get called up this season. He’s 21 and needs a challenge. He’s hitting .402 at Triple-A so far this year 22 of his 35 hits have been for extra base hits (12 home runs and ten doubles). In 24 games he’s already scored 24 runs and 36 RBI. He’s having far too easy of a time in the minors and should get brought up this year. The annoying factor is there’s no timetable yet. But if he keeps this start up he’ll force the Astros hand sooner than we might think.
Tommy La Stella (Second Baseman, Third Baseman – Los Angeles Angels) FAAB Bid: 0-2% - I wouldn’t spend too much on La Stella as he’s never sustained this kind of rate of offensive success. He has seven home runs on the year, which is already a career high for him. In points leagues he’s certainly worth adding because his strikeout rate (6.0%) is way down. The .247 batting average isn’t great, but he’s still producing runs and getting on base via walks. He’s worth middle infield position depth and if he cools off in the near future you can cut ties with him.
15+ Team Leagues
Eric Sogard (Second Baseman, Shortstop – Toronto Blue Jays) FAAB Bid: 0-2% - You shouldn’t have any trouble picking up Sogard in your deeper league and you can probably get him for cheap. It’s been a pretty small sample size to start the year since he didn’t make his first appearance until April 16th, but in 53 plate appearances he’s slashing .370/.442/.652 with three home runs, four doubles, nine runs scored, nine RBI, and a pair of stolen bases. Sogard’s also pretty useful in points leagues too since he doesn’t strikeout very much. He’s already matched his career high for home runs in a season so anything else from here is just gravy. He’ll likely regress, but he’s swinging a hot bat right now and you can get him for nothing. If/when he cools off you can cut ties with him at no cost at all.
Eric Thames (First Baseman, Outfielder – Milwaukee Brewers) FAAB Bid: 3-5% - Remember this guy? Thames was a fantasy darling back in 2017 when he hit 31 home runs in 138 games and “Thames Watch” officially became a thing. He had a somewhat disappointing season in 2018 where he only hit 16 home runs, but that’s because he was limited to 96 games. Thames wasn’t receiving a ton of playing time to start the season, but with Jesús Aguilar experiencing some serious struggles there has been an opportunity for Thames. He has five home runs, 13 runs scores, and 16 RBI in 74 plate appearances. He takes a massive hit in points leagues with his propensity for striking out, but if he keeps getting playing time in this loaded lineup, his ownership will spike.
Diego Castillo (Relief Pitcher – Tampa Bay Rays) FAAB Bid: 2-4% - It seems almost counterproductive to mention Castillo after mentioning Emilio Pagán on Wednesday, but Castillo has also found himself in position for saves lately. He logged one this past Sunday and on Thursday. He could be in line for regression considering his 3.98 FIP is much higher than his 2.20 ERA. He does have 20 strikeouts in 16.1 innings of work. Because of the lack of clarity regarding the true closer in Tampa you shouldn’t spend up too much and if the saves run dry you can cut him loose.