D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired: Willingham It Up

Thursday, June 05, 2014


When I mentioned Jonathan Singleton in this space just one week ago, he was owned in only seven percent of Yahoo leagues. However, after getting the call-up from Triple-A Oklahoma City this week and homering in his major league debut on Tuesday night, the 22-year-old is now owned in 51 percent of leagues. We sure love having a new and exciting prospect in our lives, now don't we?

As I said in this week's Buy, Sell, or Hold video, don't fret too much if you missed out on Singleton in a redraft league, as there's a good chance that Kendrys Morales is still available. As of this column, he's out there in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues. For some reason, his ownership has increased just four percent in the past three weeks. Sure, Morales is not with a team at the moment, but look for that to change after the First-Year Player Draft on Thursday, as he'll no longer be attached to draft pick compensation. It shouldn't surprise anyone if he outproduces Singleton the rest of the way. Try to get ahead on this one if you have the roster flexibility.

Have a specific question about your roster? Ask @djshort on Twitter.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day, $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night's MLB games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Thursday. Here's the FanDuel link.

MIXED LEAGUES

Cody Allen RP, Indians (Yahoo: 41 percent owned)

I was skeptical that the Indians would give Allen a chance to close this year, as I figured they wanted to keep him cheap for the long-term, but it's increasingly clear that he's Terry Francona's preferred late-inning option. The 25-year-old has notched saves in each of his last four appearances (all over the past week) and now owns a 2.81 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 25 2/3 innings this season. He missed plenty of bats as a rookie last year, but the hard-throwing right-hander has taken things to another level this year by posting a swinging-strike rate of 15 percent. That's elite level stuff. Francona hasn't officially named a closer, so Bryan Shaw and/or John Axford could find their way back into the mix at some point, but Allen's arrow is on the rise in a big way. Don't wait on this situation any longer.

Corey Dickerson OF, Rockies (Yahoo: 14 percent owned)

Carlos Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list Wednesday after he aggravated his left finger injury, which clears the way for Dickerson to get regular at-bats in the Rockies' outfield. That's a good thing for (most) fantasy owners. Sorry, CarGo owners. Dickerson had two hits and a run scored Wednesday night against the Diamondbacks and is now batting .348/.398/.663 with seven home runs, 16 RBI, and two stolen bases through 39 games this season. His minor league numbers back him up, so he's well worth picking up in most formats. There's no better chance than now to add him to your lineup, as the Rockies will play their next eight games at home. Giddy up.

Marcus Stroman SP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 10 percent owned)

Stroman struggled out of Toronto's bullpen in his first taste of the majors last month, but he was excellent in his first major league start last Saturday against the Royals, allowing just one run over six innings while striking out six and walking none. Granted, it was the Royals, but he sat in the mid-90s with his fastball and got a number of swings and misses on his curveball. Check out Eric Hosmer's reaction here. Life in the American League East isn't easy, so don't expect everything to go as smoothly as last Saturday, but the rookie right-hander is worth a flier in deeper leagues on pure upside.

Nathan Eovaldi SP, Marlins (Yahoo: 47 percent owned)

Eovaldi was knocked around for six runs over 4 1/3 innings back on May 15, but he has responded by allowing just seven runs (six earned) in 20 1/3 innings over his last three starts. The 24-year-old now owns a fine 3.24 ERA and 61/14 K/BB ratio in 75 innings through 12 starts this season. Sure, his strikeouts have gone down since his early season spike, but his control remains excellent and he's inducing grounders 50 percent of the time. Don't forget that he also pitches in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the game. He needs to be owned in most leagues.

Gregory Polanco OF, Pirates (Yahoo: 45 percent owned)

Polanco is likely gone in most competitive leagues already, but it's worth mentioning him here since he's still owned in under 50 percent of leagues. I suspect that won't be the case for much longer. While there are conflicting reports about exactly when the call-up will happen -- some have said Friday, others have said there's no particular date -- Polanco appears on the brink of making his major league debut. He's plenty deserving, putting up a .355/.412/.550 batting line over 58 games to go along with 28 extra-base hits (six homers), 48 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. The Pirates are reportedly grooming him to be their leadoff hitter, so there's a chance for him to make a big fantasy impact right away. Of course, there are no guarantees with prospects, but he has nothing left to prove in the minors. Pick him up now.

Joba Chamberlain RP, Tigers (Yahoo: 12 percent owned)

The Tigers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year, $20 million contract over the winter in hopes that he would be a lockdown closer, but unfortunately it looks like he's declining before our eyes. The 39-year-old has allowed eight runs in his last three appearances and now owns an ugly 6.86 ERA on the year. While he has struck out 20 batters in 21 innings, he has issued 11 walks and his fastball velocity is down to 91.4 MPH compared to 94 MPH in 2012 and 92.2 MPH last year. Nathan is confident he'll turn things around and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus isn't planning on making any imminent changes with the closer role, but Chamberlain could be worth stashing if you are in the mood to speculate. Similar to Phil Hughes, he has thrived with the change of scenery this year, putting up a 2.59 ERA and 29/7 K/BB ratio over 24 1/3 innings.

Josh Willingham OF, Twins (Yahoo: 24 percent owned)

Willingham has been excellent since returning from the disabled list in late May, hitting .344 (11-for-32) with four home runs, 11 RBI, seven runs scored, and eight walks over 10 games. He has hit safely in each of his last eight games. It's safe to say that his wrist is feeling just fine these days. The 35-year-old saw his production drop off last season, but he's just two seasons removed from 35 home runs and 110 RBI. The high batting average won't last, but he's a fine option in deeper mixed leagues if you need some power in your lineup.

Derek Holland SP, Rangers (Yahoo: 12 percent owned)

Here's a possible DL stash for you. Holland continues to make slow, but steady progress from January microfracture surgery on his left knee. His agility, most notability on fielding bunts and making throws to bases, is said to be his biggest hurdle before going out on a minor league rehab assignment. The hope right now is that he'll be ready in about a week or so, setting up his return to the Rangers' rotation by the end of the month. You don't need me to tell you that Holland is capable of big things when healthy, so it could pay off to get ahead on this one.

Rubby De La Rosa SP, Red Sox (Yahoo: 14 percent owned)

De La Rosa showed some intriguing potential as a rookie with the Dodgers back in 2011, but he required Tommy John surgery before the end of the season and has remained off the mixed league radar ever since. It's probably time that we started paying attention to him again. The 25-year-old right-hander was excellent in his first start with the Red Sox last Saturday, tossing seven scoreless innings against the Rays while striking out eight batters. According to the excellent Brooks Baseball, he averaged 96.6 mph on his fastball and topped out at 100.5 mph. While the heat was nice, he got 13 whiffs on his changeup. De La Rosa could be headed back to the minors once Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront are both back from the disabled list, but he's worth a try in deeper formats if you want to take a chance on a potential impact arm.

Wilson Ramos C, Nationals (Yahoo: 46 percent owned)

What can I say, my preseason crushes die hard. Ramos has been a little slow to get going since returning from April hamate bone surgery batting .247 (18-for-73) with one home run, three doubles, and nine RBI over 19 games, but he has shown some signs of life over the past two weeks. Players often need some time to get their power back after that particular procedure, so I expect he'll only get better as the season moves along. Call me stubborn if you want, but I still think top-12 catcher value is possible the rest of the way.

Shopping at the five-and-dime:

(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Rougned Odor 2B, Rangers (Yahoo: 4 percent owned)

I recommended Odor after his promotion to the majors about a month ago and it's time to revisit him now that the Rangers have acknowledged that Jurickson Profar won't play this season. The 22-year-old hasn't shown much in the way of plate discipline, as he has yet to draw a walk in 67 plate appearances, but he has held his own by hitting .274 (17-for-62) with six extra-base hits (one home run) and 11 RBI over his first 21 games. While he's 0-for-15 against southpaws, he's hitting right-handers at a .354 clip with a .909 OPS. It would be nice to see more line drives, but his contact rate is five percent higher than the league average, which is pretty impressive considering his age and lack of experience against advanced competition. While he's 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts so far, the tools are obvious for the long-term. Ups and downs are to be expected, but Odor should be relevant as a MI (middle infielder) option in deeper mixed leagues the rest of the way. Just have another option in mind when the Rangers face southpaws.

Craig Gentry OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)

Josh Reddick landed on the disabled list this week with a hyperextended right knee and isn't expected to return when he's first eligible on June 16, so Gentry should see regular playing time in right field for most of the month. The main reason to add him? Speed. The 30-year-old is a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts this season and has swiped 64 bases dating back to 2011. Gentry won't provide much in the way of pop -- he has just four home runs over 883 plate appearances in the majors -- but he won't hurt you in batting average and also gets on base at a decent clip. He should be owned in more leagues right now.


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D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
Email :D.J. Short



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