D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired: Filthy Rich

Thursday, April 28, 2016


We’re overflowing with pitching options in this week’s Waiver Wired and that’s not even including Twins rookie right-hander Jose Berrios. I was planning to recommend Berrios as a stash option this week, but he’s already owned in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues after his call-up, which is higher than my standard cutoff for this column. Thanks a lot, Twins. While his major league debut didn’t go quite as hoped on Wednesday night against the Indians (4 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K), I certainly won’t hold that against him. I still have really high hopes for Berrios, even with some difficult matchups coming up.



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MIXED LEAGUES

Rich Hill SP, Athletics (Yahoo: 47 percent owned)

Hill’s ownership level has picked up a bit since I recorded the video above on Wednesday afternoon, which is nice to see. Still, the 36-year-old southpaw should be owned in more leagues. Over nine starts dating back to last September, Hill has struck out 34 percent of the batters he has faced. The only starters who have been higher? Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg. Thanks to Jason Collette for that juicy tidbit. I understand that many are waiting for him to turn into a pumpkin and perhaps he will at some point, but his curveball is legit and the pitch continues to throw hitters off balance. Making half of his starts in a pitcher-friendly ballpark is just icing on the cake here. He should be owned until he shows a reason to bail.

Yasmani Grandal C, Dodgers (Yahoo: 37 percent owned)

Lose Travis d’Arnaud to the disabled list this week or suffering through a slow start from your catcher? I’m looking at you, Russell Martin. Well, Grandal could be a solution for you. Sure, he had an awful second half last season before undergoing shoulder surgery and was forced to begin this year on the DL due to a forearm strain, but there’s huge upside here. The 27-year-old batted .282 with 14 home runs and a .927 OPS during the first half last year before things went south. It seems like a lot of folks are forgetting that. A.J. Ellis is still going to get some starts behind the plate for the Dodgers, but Grandal is capable of big things if he can stay healthy all year.

Kevin Gausman SP, Orioles (Yahoo: 35 percent owned)

I included Gausman under my “Under the Radar Hurlers” in the Rotoworld Draft Guide, but unfortunately he was forced to begin the year on the disabled list after coming down with right shoulder tendinitis in the spring. The good news is that he’s back to full health now and struck out seven batters over five innings of one-run ball in his season debut Monday versus the Rays. He was sitting in the high 90s with his fastball during the start. Some might be losing patience on a long-awaited breakout, but I’m not ready to give up yet, even in the dangerous waters of the American League East. His third pitch is a work in progress, but his fastball and split-change are two nice building blocks. I’ll say this, the Orioles probably aren’t going to be contenders this year unless we finally see him emerge. He’s the most interesting starter on this staff in fantasy leagues.

Devon Travis 2B, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)

One of the best ways to maximize your roster is to utilize your DL spots. Travis is one of the better stashes available right now. The 25-year-old got off to a great start last year before a shoulder injury wrecked his season and ultimately needed a pair of surgeries, but he’s poised to take an important step forward Friday when he takes some at-bats in an extended spring training game. He’ll likely need the maximum 20 days for a minor league rehab assignment, so you probably shouldn’t count on seeing him with the Blue Jays until the end of May, but there’s some nice upside here when you factor in the lineup and the ballpark. He could be an option to hit leadoff if he proves his health and effectiveness.

Sean Manaea SP, Athletics (Yahoo: 31 percent owned)

This has been quite an exciting week for call-ups. In addition to Jose Berrios and Michael Fulmer getting the call, Manaea will make his major league debut Friday against the struggling Astros. Acquired from the Royals in the Ben Zobrist deal last July, the big left-hander has averaged 10.8 K/9 in the minors, which is quick to get the attention of fantasy owners. He was off to a great start with Triple-A Nashville this year, posting a 1.50 ERA and 21/4 K/BB ratio in 18 innings through his first three starts. Known for his deception, Manaea is generally in the low-to-mid 90s range with his fastball and also throws a slider and a changeup. He’s had some injuries in the past and might not be up for good, but the strikeout potential makes him worth owning in most formats.

Khris Davis OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 37 percent owned)

I was bummed when Davis was traded from the Brewers to the Athletics over the winter, as the deal took him from one of the best hitters’ parks in the majors to one of the worst. Many avoided him in drafts for this reason. That appeared to be a smart strategy early on, as Davis was hitting just .143 with zero homers and 18 strikeouts through his first 45 plate appearances, but he has shown some signs of life lately by batting .355 (11-for-31) with three home runs over his last eight games. He has only struck out six times during his recent surge, which is nice to see. I’m not expecting Davis to provide much in batting average, but he has the sort of raw power which should play everywhere. I mean, look at this 449-foot blast from Wednesday night against Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander.

Eduardo Rodriguez SP, Red Sox (Yahoo: 32 percent owned)

Similar to Gausman, who I mentioned above, Rodriguez was on my list of “Under the Radar Hurlers” in the Rotoworld Draft Guide. Unfortunately, he was also forced to begin the season on the disabled list due to a right patellar subluxation suffered early on in spring training. The Red Sox were very careful with the young left-hander, but he’s finally scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Pawtucket. He’ll likely need around two or three starts, but look for a return around mid-May. Rodriguez posted a 3.85 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 as a rookie last year and allowed three earned runs or fewer in 16 out of his 21 starts. Pitching in the AL East isn’t easy, but Boston’s high-powered offense should help his win potential. I still like him for all of the reasons I did over the winter.

Joe Smith RP, Angels (Yahoo: 24 percent owned)

Huston Street is likely headed to the disabled list with an oblique strain, which makes Smith a must-pickup as he fills in as the Angels’ closer. The 32-year-old sidearmer has done well in the role when called upon in the past, picking up 23 saves over the past three seasons. He might not be an elite source of strikeouts, but he owns a 2.89 ERA for his career and generally goes a good job keeping the ball on the ground. His ground ball rate is under 50 percent right now, but it’s at 56.5 percent for his career. He should be pretty safe for however long Street will be out.

Asdrubal Cabrera SS, Mets (Yahoo: 19 percent owned)

We haven’t seen much power from Cabrera yet, but he has been swinging the bat well in the early going, hitting .301/.363/.397 through 20 games. The 30-year-old only has one home run so far, so he hasn’t joined the Mets’ recent explosion, but he has averaged 15 home runs per season dating back to 2012. While Cabrera is a switch-hitter, he’ll naturally see most of his at-bats from the left side. If you take a look at his home run spray chart from last season, you’ll realize that this makes him a good fit for Citi Field. He should be on the radar in more leagues as part of this powerful lineup.

Bartolo Colon SP, Mets (Yahoo: 21 percent owned)

The 42-year-old wonder just keeps on keeping on, posting a 3.42 ERA and 21/3 K/BB ratio in 23 2/3 innings so far this season. Colon isn’t someone that I would trust on a start-to-start basis in standard mixed leagues and he’s going to have his blow-up outings here and there, but he’s an excellent two-start option next week against the Braves and Padres. The Braves rank dead-last in the majors in OPS while the Padres are third-to-last. Basically, start anyone and everyone against the Braves right now.

Shopping at the five-and-dime:

(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Hector Neris RP, Phillies (Yahoo: 6 percent owned)

Jeanmar Gomez has found a home in the closer role with the Phillies, but it’s probably not a permanent one. As we look ahead to who might be a long-term option for the club, Neris has to be at the top of the list at this point. Mostly relying on a fastball/splitter combo, the 26-year-old has allowed just one run with a 20/4 K/BB ratio over his first 12 innings of work so far this season. By the way, that one run was a home run. It’s worth remembering that he gave up eight home runs in just 40 1/3 innings last season. If he can keep the ball in the ballpark, he’ll find his way to a larger responsibility in this bullpen before long.

Chris Coghlan 2B/3B/OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 4 percent owned)

Coghlan is admittedly off to a slow start. After homering in three out of his last four games, he has gone hitless in three straight and owns an ugly .161/.212/.387 batting line through 19 games overall. On the plus side, he’s eligible at three positions and is getting regular playing time while Danny Valencia is sidelined with an oblique strain. Coghlan amassed 16 home runs and 11 steals last season with the Cubs, so there’s some interesting power/speed potential here on the cheap. In deeper leagues, this is the kind of plug-and-play option you want on your bench.


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D.J. Short is a Rotoworld senior baseball writer and hosts the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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