D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

print article archives RSS

Waiver Wired: Smoak Rising

Thursday, May 18, 2017


I guess we’ve officially entered prospect season. Cody Bellinger has been making fantasy owners very happy since his debut, but we saw the return of Jose Berrios and surprising call-up of Ian Happ last weekend before injuries in the Indians’ outfield brought Bradley Zimmer to the majors this week. Most fantasy owners have been waiting on Yoan Moncada, but he’s expected to be placed on the 7-day disabled list with Triple-A Charlotte due to a sore left thumb. Don’t worry, his time should still come soon enough. Hopefully we can say the same for Mets prospect Amed Rosario, who owns a ridiculous .365/.407/.519 batting line through 39 games with Triple-A Las Vegas and appears to have little else to prove down there. Come on, Mets.

Berrios struggled with his control while posting an ugly 8.02 ERA through 14 starts with the Twins last season, but he allowed just one run on two hits and one walk over 7 2/3 innings against the Indians last Saturday. It was obviously a very encouraging outing, though four strikeouts and nine swinging strikes (including none on his curveball) left me wanting more. Berrios is already owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, so he’s not in this week’s recommendations and he might not have been even if he was below that number. I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick him up just yet in standard formats.

 



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

 

Editor’s Note: Introducing FanDuel Mixup, the newest way to play FanDuel Baseball. Smaller lineups, so you can draft your team on the go, plus fun themes every week! Play now.

 

MIXED LEAGUES

Tommy Joseph 1B, Phillies (Yahoo: 20 percent owned)

I mentioned Joseph in the first Waiver Wired of the season, as I was excited to see what was in store for a follow-up after he hit 21 homers with an .813 OPS in just 107 games last season, but he really scuffled out of the gate in April and soon appeared at risk of losing playing time. However, he has solidified his place in the Phillies’ lineup this month by batting .395 (17-for-43) with four home runs and six doubles through 14 games. He has improved his season OPS from .476 to .806 along the way. With the recent hot streak, Joseph has found himself in the cleanup spot in each of his last four starts. It took a little while longer than I expected, but he’s a viable corner infielder option.

Bradley Zimmer OF, Indians (Yahoo: 21 percent owned)

You can see some of my extended thoughts on Zimmer in this week’s Rotoworld Roundtable. I generally see him as someone worth picking up outside of shallow formats. The strikeouts are a concern, but there’s opportunity in Cleveland’s outfield with Abraham Almonte and Brandon Guyer facing extended absences. Zimmer should have some leash to start out with here. The 24-year-old had a rough first stint in Triple-A last year, but he was batting .294/.371/.532 with five home runs and nine steals over through his first 33 games at the level this season. I like the potential for pop and speed, even if he’s hitting in the bottom-third of the order.

Nate Karns SP/RP, Royals (Yahoo: 31 percent owned)

While the overall numbers are underwhelming on the surface, I can’t ignore a pitcher with back-to-back double-digit strikeout games. Karns actually has a 2.08 ERA and 29/4 K/BB ratio in 17 1/3 innings across three starts this month. Perhaps this is just a blip, but something has changed here, as Karns is relying more heavily on his curveball in his most recent starts and getting more swings and misses in the process. It’s fair to wonder how viable this approach will be for the long-term, but I’ll happily chase the strikeouts here. Karns has quietly struck out 318 batters in 305 2/3 innings in the majors.

Zack Godley SP/RP, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 26 percent owned)

It was looking like the Diamondbacks would be forced to turn to Archie Bradley to fill a rotation spot after Shelby Miller required Tommy John surgery, but Godley is staking his claim on that gig. After coming into the year with a 5.34 ERA over 36 appearances (including 15 starts) in the majors, the 27-year-old has a 1.93 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings in three starts this season. He held the scuffling Mets to just one hit on Monday. I wouldn’t mention Godley in this space unless I saw something interesting behind his performance. He has ramped up the use of his curveball so far while missing a ton of bats in the process. He’s also inducing ground balls at an insane (73.2 percent) clip. Yes, it’s a small sample and yes, walks have been a trouble spot for him, but he’s suddenly very interesting. Give him a try against the Padres this weekend.

Ian Happ 2B, Cubs (Yahoo: 31 percent owned)

This was perhaps the toughest call of the week for me. Happ’s call-up was a surprise and I’m not sure what his role will be after Jason Heyward returns from the disabled list, but he has at least forced the possibility of sticking around by going 4-for-13 with two homers, one double, and four walks through his first four games in the majors. Selected ninth overall back in 2015, the 22-year-old enjoyed a monster spring and was batting .298/.362/.615 with nine homers and 25 RBI through his first 26 games in Triple-A this year. I’m not sure about the batting average, but he looks like he belongs. It’s just a matter of opportunity, which is a tricky call with Joe Maddon’s moving parts. I wouldn’t go dropping someone really important for him, but if you have the proper roster flexibility, I could see being aggressive here while we wait to see how things are going to play out.

Devon Travis 2B, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 29 percent owned)

Travis was a target of mine this spring, but he was flat-out awful in April and lost his leadoff hitter job in the process. Fortunately, he has gotten back into the game this month, batting .327 with six RBI, two stolen bases, and nine runs scored over 15 games. Amazingly, 12 of his 17 hits this month have been doubles. This is a guy who hit .303 with 19 homers and 85 RBI in 163 games between 2015-2016, so I think we’ll see more power soon. The Blue Jays are obviously encouraged with what they are seeing, as Travis has moved into the fifth spot in each of his last two starts. He’s a fine play in most formats, ideally as a middle infielder option.

Neil Walker 2B, Mets (Yahoo: 37 percent owned)

There aren’t many positives with the reeling Mets right now, but Walker has at least awoken from his early-season slumber. After putting up two homers with a .583 OPS in April, the 31-year-old is batting .351 with nine extra-base hits (including two homers) and 12 RBI through 15 games this month while settling into the cleanup spot. If anything, he’s answering concerns about his back following season-ending surgery last year. Given his past production, it’s not a stretch to think that he could hit 15-plus homers the rest of the way. I just wonder if he’ll actually finish the year with the Mets or end up being trade bait by July.

Justin Smoak 1B, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 22 percent owned)

Smoak has been featured in Waiver Wired a couple of times over the years, but his career hasn’t exactly worked out as originally hoped. But maybe, just maybe we’re seeing him turn a new leaf. Now 30 years old, Smoak is already up to nine homers and 27 RBI to go along with a strong .280/.342/.545 batting line. It’s easy to dismiss this as a possible fluke, but he’s currently sporting the highest contact rate of his career. The switch-hitter has struck out just once in 36 plate appearances against lefties all season while putting up four homers and 10 RBI. I’m not saying to drop Edwin Encarnacion for him or something, but why not take a chance on him as a corner infielder or bench option?

Tony Zych RP, Mariners (Yahoo: 13 percent owned)
Steve Cishek RP, Mariners (Yahoo: 7 percent owned)
James Pazos RP, Mariners (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)

I’ve had about enough with the closer changes, thank you very much. Edwin Diaz was a top-five closer for me after his dominant rookie season and appeared to be righting the ship after getting off to a shaky start this year, but four walks on Monday was enough for the Mariners to give him a break from the role. Diaz is still missing plenty of bats, but he’s already allowed more walks and home runs than he did for all of last season. The Mariners want him to work on his mechanics before putting him back in save situations. I don’t think it will be long before Diaz figures it out, so definitely don’t drop him, but feel free to grab the alternatives while we wait. Cishek has the most experience of this group, but he just made his return from hip surgery and he blew his first save chance on Tuesday. This opens the door for Zych and Pazos (3 percent owned), among others. Go crazy, you save-hungry monsters.

Shopping at the five-and-dime:

(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Brad Hand RP, Padres (Yahoo: 7 percent owned)

Carter Capps appeared to be the most logical stash in the Padres’ bullpen coming into the spring, but his return from Tommy John surgery hasn’t gone as smoothly as originally hoped. The hard-throwing right-hander pitched in some minor league rehab games last month, but the Padres recently sent him back to Arizona to work on his mechanics. There’s no clear timetable for him to join the major league bullpen, so Hand should be stashed away in case the Padres decide to make a change with closer Brandon Maurer. Maurer deserved better luck on Wednesday, but he’s now allowed nine runs over his last four appearances. Meanwhile, Hand owns a 1.88 ERA and 31/9 K/BB ratio over 24 innings this season. This isn’t complicated. Stash and see how it goes.

Cameron Maybin OF, Angels (Yahoo: 4 percent owned)

After falling into a brutal slump at the plate, Maybin has picked up eight hits in 10 at-bats over the last two games to pull his batting average up from .180 to .231 on the year. Perhaps most importantly, he’s hitting leadoff for the Angels these days with third baseman Yunel Escobar expected to miss 2-4 weeks due to a strained left hamstring. Maybin carries his own injury concerns, but he’s 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts this season, so he’s one of the better widely-available speed options out there right now.

Luis Perdomo SP/RP, Padres (Yahoo: 4 percent owned)

Prior to his trip to the disabled list on Wednesday, Trevor Cahill was the most interesting pitcher in the Padres’ rotation, but don’t overlook what Perdomo is doing. After a couple of subpar outings to begin the year, the 24-year-old has reeled off four straight quality starts while posting a 3.00 ERA and 26/6 K/BB ratio in 24 innings. He fanned a career-high nine batters in his most recent start Monday against the Brewers. Perdomo is getting a ton of whiffs on his curveball and owns the highest ground ball rate (70.5 percent) among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. We can’t ignore that the Padres aren’t helping when it comes to offense or defense, but Perdomo should certainly be owned in more leagues at this point.


continue story »
12
D.J. Short is a Rotoworld senior baseball writer and hosts the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.
Email :D.J. Short



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings
  •  
    Boyer: Hot Hitters

    Boyer: Hot Hitters
  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings
  •  
    Boyer: Hot Hitters

    Boyer: Hot Hitters
  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings
  •  
    Boyer: Hot Hitters

    Boyer: Hot Hitters
  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings
  •  
    Boyer: Hot Hitters

    Boyer: Hot Hitters