Fantasy Baseball Waiver Advice: May 15
Dan Malin is here to look around the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire to point out some intriguing players to grab off waivers!
10 Team Leagues
Luke Jackson (Relief Pitcher – Atlanta Braves) FAAB Bid: 15-20% - If you’re in desperate need for saves then Jackson is a must add for you. I know, I know, I know… I touted A.J. Minter heavily earlier in the year when he was going under owned and in line for the closer’s job. What can I say, it just hasn’t worked out for him. But the Braves found lightning in a bottle with Jackson. If you take away Jackson’s first appearance of the season where he gave up four earned runs in an inning of work, he’s looked great. In his last 19 innings of work he has 24 strikeouts, five walks, and the lone earned run he’s given up came on a solo home run last Thursday. He has four saves since April 28th and currently has no real competition for saves… Unless Atlanta signs Craig Kimbrel .
Corbin Martin (Starting Pitcher – Houston Astros) FAAB Bid: 10-15% - Everywhere you look it seems like the Astros have hot prospect after hot prospect. A lot of talk in Spring Training was about Forrest Whitley and Josh James . And everyone’s excited for Yordan Alvarez to eventually get the call up at some point this season because he’s raking in Triple-A. Corbin Martin is another alluring prospect for Houston and he made his debut this past Sunday. In 5.1 innings of work against the Rangers he struck out nine, walked one, gave up three hits and allowed just one earned run off a home run to Isiah Kiner-Falefa . Martin gets a tough test in his second start of his young career. He’ll take the mound against the Red Sox in Boston this weekend and the Boston offense has finally come around. If Martin can shut them down this weekend expect a massive spike in his ownership.
Franmil Reyes (Outfielder – San Diego Padres) FAAB Bid: 12-15% - Reyes is no stranger to the waiver column and while his ownership has trended upwards (at a snail’s pace) he’s still under 60% owned on Yahoo! and under 35% owned in ESPN leagues. Since April 23rd he has a .324 batting average with a .995 OPS. He’s smashed seven home runs in that span with a 50% hard contact rate. Now that number is unsustainable, but he’s a must own player despite the high strikeouts and the non-existant walks.
Jake Odorizzi (Starting Pitcher – Minnesota Twins) FAAB Bid: 10% - You really have to squint and rub your eyes when observing Odorizzi’s numbers because you just don’t expect it from him. He’s never been an awful pitcher, but he’s never really looked this good. All five of his wins on the season have come over his last five starts. He’s averaging nearly a strikeout per inning, with a 2.32 ERA (2.83 FIP), and he hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last three starts (20 innings). Truth be told he’s only had one truly horrific start and that came way back in April. He’s eight starts in and he’s not slowing up. He is doing nothing, but give solid production so you should give him a shot with the possibility that he could stick around the whole year.
Shohei Ohtani (Utility – Los Angeles Angels) FAAB Bid: 18-20% - This just seems like a no brainer, yet he’s still available in 35% of leagues on Yahoo! The reigning American League Rookie of the Year can be claimed for almost nothing in a lot of leagues. I don’t know if fantasy owners are hesitant because of the Tommy John surgery he had or what, but all that means is he won’t pitch this year. He can still swing a bat and it looks like he’s heating up. He has four multi-hit games in his last five contests and he hit his first home run of the season on Monday. In terms of roster flexibility, he doesn’t give you much because he’s a designated hitter. But he’s starting to heat up and he should be on your team if he’s sitting on waivers.
12 Team Leagues
Brandon Woodruff (Starting Pitcher – Milwaukee Brewers) FAAB Bid: 6-8% - Woodruff had a disastrous start to the 2019 season. In his first five start (26.1 innings) he had a 5.81 ERA and while the strikeouts were there (10.94 K/9) so were the opposition’s offenses. He failed to log a single quality start in his first five starts, but he did have a 3.90 FIP so he was due for some positive regression. In his last three starts he’s been more in line with the pitcher you should expect. Facing the Mets (twice) and the Nationals he’s surrendered just three earned runs, three walks, and 16 hits in 16 innings of work. He still hasn’t gone terribly deep in his last three trips to the mound, but the numbers are looking better. He’s collected 22 strikeouts and his fastball has looked very impressive.
Steve Cishek (Relief Pitcher – Chicago Cubs) FAAB Bid: 5-8% - This is a speculative add, but it could pay off big time. With Pedro Strop hitting the Injured List, naturally there’s an open spot in the ninth inning. Cishek got the save for the Cubs on Sunday and Tuesday, and while the Cubs haven’t officially named a temporary closer, one can assume the job goes to Cishek based on recency bias. Cishek is no stranger to the role. He recorded 88 saves with the Marlins from 2012-2014 and 25 saves in 2016 with the Mariners so he’s certainly familiar with the role. Remember Strop wasn’t having a stellar season to begin with. He’s been up and down for the first two months of the season and when he does return he may be on a short leash. Cishek could be a special find this season if everything falls into place for him.
Tommy La Stella (Second, Third Baseman – Los Angeles Angels) FAAB Bid: 10% - La Stella made the waiver column a couple weeks back and he’s be La STELLAR (see what I did there?) since the shoutout. He’s already set a career high in home runs (ten) and it won’t take much else to set career highs in runs and RBI. Despite the fact he is walking in just 9.4% of his plate appearance, he’s striking out just 6.3% of the time so there is some points league appeal as well. It would be great in the Angels would commit to have as their leadoff hitter because he’s been very productive from that spot as of late. So far in May as a leadoff hitter, La Stella is 9-for-29 with six runs scored in six games. They’ll move him around and occasionally hit him ninth in the lineup, but if he’s still getting on base then he can still generate runs from that spot. The only downside to hitting ninth is he’ll miss out on some plate appearances in the long run.
Mitch Moreland (First Basemen – Boston Red Sox) FAAB Bid: 6-7% - The on-base percentage for Moreland won’t wow you, but he’s a serviceable player especially if he’s in the lineup against a right-handed pitcher. The Red Sox will almost always sit Mitchy Two-Bags against left-handed pitchers. He struggles heavily against southpaws and all 12 of his home runs have come off righties. He has five home runs since April 30th and averages a home run once every 11-12 plate appearances. He can help out in counting statistics in leagues that don’t utilize on-base percentage.
15+ Team Leagues
Chris Martin (Relief Pitcher – Texas Rangers) FAAB Bid: 10-12% - Since making the shift from Coldplay to the Rangers bullpen (that joke’s going over so many heads right now), Martin’s been a very productive arm for Texas. Timing is everything and after writing up Shawn Kelley not too long ago, Kelley would fall on the Injured List. And this came after the Rangers announced they’d be removing José Leclerc from the closer’s role. Enter Chris Martin . LeClerc is trying to get back in the good graces of the coaching staff, but for now it looks like the ninth inning is Martin’s. Texas is in the midst of a five-game losing streak and over their last three games the Astros and Royals have combined for 37 runs against the Rangers. So the save opportunities just haven’t been there for Martin. But he did record one a week ago. He’s averaging almost ten strikeouts per nine innings (9.98 K/9) and he’s not walking many hitters. If you want to temper your FAAB bid I wouldn’t blame you because he could easily lose this job to LeClerc or Kelley. But in deep leagues Martin needs to be rostered.
Danny Duffy (Starting Pitcher – Kansas City Royals) FAAB Bid: 4-7% - It hasn’t been pretty for Duffy. In fact, it’s just been pretty bland. In four starts to begin his 2019 season he has a 3.97 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and he’s averaging just 7.15 K/9. There could be some positive regression coming his way though. He draws the Angels in his next start on Sunday and the Halos are one of the worst teams against southpaws with a team slash line of just .211/.293/.358. Stream with caution, but this could pay off. You can be a little patient if claiming Duffy since he got a late start to the season and he didn’t throw at all in Spring Training.
Oscar Mercado (Outfielder – Cleveland Indians) FAAB Bid: 0-3% - Mercado made his big league debut Tuesday night and struck out in his first three plate appearances before recording his first run scored after being hit by a pitch late in the game. In 30 games at the Triple-A level he has 14 stolen bases so far this year so if you’re in need of steals in a deeper league, Mercado’s got plenty of upside. Keep in mind he is a rookie and there may be some struggles to start off. If it doesn’t pan out then you can cut times with him, but if he can get the bat going and get on base then he may move up in the lineup.
Ronny Rodríguez (Shortstop – Detroit Tigers) FAAB Bid: 0-2% - As you can see the deep league options aren’t amazing today. There isn’t much faith in Rodriguez unless he’s just a bit of a late bloomer. Rodriguez turned 27 last month and appears to be in the midst of a breakout. He’s slashing .312/.357/.701 with six home runs and a pair of stolen bases. In fact, 16 of his 24 hits have gone for extra bases, hence the inflated slugging percentage. The good news is that when he does generate offense it comes in bunches. He has more games this season with multiple hits (eight) than he does with games where he gets just one hit (six). There are obvious red flags that get thrown up with this guy so you can grab him now for cheap and let him loose if/when he cools off.