2018 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Advice: April 14
James Grande is here to look around the fantasy baseball waiver wire to point out some interesting names to grab heading into the third week of the fantasy baseball season.
Vince Velásquez , PHI SP (13% ownership), FAAB Bid - $14 - It’s easy to see the jury was out way too early on Velasquez after making just one start. He’s had back-to-back outings allowing just one run while striking out 13 opponents in 12.1 innings pitched. Velasquez is a high strikeout upside pitcher who are the guys we want to attack, especially in smaller leagues with limited space for waiver wire pickups that don’t pan out. Velasquez posted a 27.6% K-rate in 2016 and 21.6% last season before his injury. Now that’s he’s dropped down to the Phillies third starter behind Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola , the pressure to be the team’s ace no longer follows him around and he can just pitch. He has elite stuff as evidenced by his career 10.4% swinging-strike rate.
Nate Jones , CWS RP (37% ownership), FAAB Bid - $13-15 - Jones was called upon in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game and he converted it with no issue. He now has a win, a save and five strikeouts in 4.1 innings this season. Joakim Soria blew a save back on April 5th and has only pitched in one game since then. There hasn’t been any official announcement from the White Sox brass on who the closer will be going forward, but Jones seems like the leader in the clubhouse as of today.
Nick Senzel, CIN 3B (32% ownership), FAAB Bid - $12 - With Eugenio Suárez now on the disabled list and the Reds offense lacking any sort of spark it’s only a matter of time before Senzel gets the call to the big league level. After his impressive .912 OPS in 2016, Senzel followed that up .905 mark in ‘17 between Single and Double-A. When he’s called up, he’s here to stay and we shouldn’t expect him to lose his job even when Suarez returns. It’s only a matter of time before he’s up in the bigs, contributing to all fantasy teams he’s added on. He needs to be owned across the board.
Marcus Semien , OAK SS (39% ownership), FAAB Bid - $10-11 - There are a lot of unhappy fantasy owners out there that just lost Elvis Andrus for an extended period of time and Semien is the perfect pick up to fill in. Seimen is only hitting .250 thus far in 2018, but he’s driven in nine runs and scored eight of his own. Since 2016, Semien ranks eighth in home runs and tenth in stolen bases amongst all big league shortstops and he’s only played in 244 games thanks to injuries. Seimen has a chance to be a top ten fantasy shortstop if he simply stays healthy for a full season.
Sean Newcomb , ATL SP (27% ownership), FAAB Bid - $10-11 - The high walk rate is slightly alarming, but if the southpaw figures that out, he can be a game changing addition going forward. Newcomb notched an elite swinging strike rate of 11.1% last season and would have been top ten amongst all pitchers if he qualified. He has 15 punch outs in 10.1 innings thus far in ‘18 including a six-inning, nine strikeout shut out IN Colorado where we know it’s rare for pitchers to have that much success. The walks are his one buggaboo and if he can harness it, he has a chance at not only a great year, but a great career.
Trevor Williams , PIT SP (25% ownership), FAAB Bid - $7 - Williams isn’t a sexy pickup by any means, but he’s flashing tons of value here. He already has three wins on a Pirates team that is seemingly going to be much better than originally expected. His 14.5% K-rate that he’s began the season with is actually four percentage points lower than his career major league mark. His swinging strike rate is only 4.8% this year compared to an 8.1& career mark, too, so there are plenty of signs pointing to an even higher ceiling going forward.
Ronald Guzman , TEX 1B (2% ownership), FAAB Bid - $6 - In leagues other than dynasties, Guzman is available in nearly all formats. He belted his first bomb on Saturday and is likely going to see plenty of time going forward as the Rangers are in desperate need of offense. Guzman was the eighth-ranked prospect in the Rangers system by MLB.com prior to the season and he’s already showing us why early on at the big league level.
Jefry Marte , LAA 1B, 3B (2% ownership), FAAB Bid - $1 - In AL-only or large 15-team league formats, Marte can bring some really solid value to your team. He’s hitting a robust .440 thus far and is getting a solid amount of at-bats. Albert Pujols can’t play everyday and when Luis Valbuena goes cold, which happens often, Marte can steal even more AB’s. If you’re looking for an average add in deeper formatted leagues, Marte is providing just that. He hit 15 homers in just 88 games back in 2016 so he also has power when given the opportunity, so there is some upside in that department as well.
Craig Stammen , SDP RP (7% ownership), FAAB Bid - $2 - In holds leagues, Stammen is a hot commodity. He’s up to four holds on the year which is more than the amount of base runners (three) he’s allowed in 10.1 innings. He’s been awesome lately, contributing in the strikeout category as well punching out at least two opponents in three straight games. If Stammen continues being this dominant and closer Brad Hand is eventually dealt to a contender by the trade deadline, Stammen is the obvious choice to slide into the vacant ninth inning spot.
*ownership percentages courtesy of Yahoo
** FAAB bids based on $100 budget