The great D.J. Short (@djshort) has entrusted me to take care of his baby for a week while he is away. Not his actual baby. That would be weird. Just Waiver Wired, guys. I promise to do my best to offer you all some wise advice before D.J. returns next week.
After you’ve read the offering below, give me a follow on Twitter (@RyanPBoyer) and hit me up with any fantasy-related questions you might have.
Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies (Yahoo: 33 percent owned)
Utley has looked done for the majority of the 2015 campaign, hitting an ugly .189/.263/.294 in 68 games before a nagging ankle injury finally sent him to the disabled list back in late June. However, while rehabbing he reportedly discovered a flaw in his swing that was brought on by the ankle injury. It appears through five games since his return that he’s corrected it, as he’s picked up seven hits – three doubles – over 17 at-bats while driving in three runs. The 36-year-old certainly is no safe bet, but if he’s truly healthy it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him put up a nice showing down the stretch. Enhancing Utley’s outlook is a possible trade to a contender this month, which would likely result in him landing in a better situation.
Junichi Tazawa, RP, Red Sox (Yahoo: 13 percent owned)
Jean Machi, RP, Red Sox (Yahoo: 23 percent owned)
Koji Uehara was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of his right wrist after being hit with a comebacker last Friday, which means the Red Sox need a new closer. Manager John Farrell initially indicated that Machi would get the first look in the ninth inning, but it was Tazawa who got the save chance on Tuesday. Of course, after Machi managed to escape a shaky eighth inning, Tazawa then promptly blew the save in the ninth, throwing another wrench into this situation. Worth noting is that Farrell wasn’t managing Tuesday following hernia surgery, but he surely gave interim skipper Torey Lovullo input before the game. The guess here is that Tazawa will get another shot, but that’s far from a lock. Both Tazawa and Machi need to be owned if you’re mining for saves, and even Ryan Cook is worth a shot in deep leagues.
Welington Castillo, C, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 37 percent owned)
The Mariners thought they were trading for a nice offensive boost when they dealt for Mark Trumbo back in early June. Unfortunately for them, Trumbo has flopped and one of the guys they sent to the Diamondbacks has mashed. Castillo has always had nice pop for a catcher, but he’s taken it to another level during his short time in Arizona, pounding out 13 homers and driving in 30 runs over his first 46 contests in the desert. Regression is obviously coming, but Castillo is a more than capable second catcher in mixed leagues while he’s batting fifth in a good D’Backs lineup.
Chris Bassitt, SP, Athletics (Yahoo: 23 percent owned)
Bassitt had arguably the lowest profile of any of the players the A’s acquired from the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija trade last winter, but he’s certainly made a name for himself in Oakland of late. The 26-year-old made a few relief appearances with the big club earlier this season but has been a regular member of the rotation since late June and has put up a 2.27 ERA and 36/7 K/BB ratio across 43 2/3 innings over his seven starts. He’s been particularly impressive in his two August outings so far, allowing only one run while boasting a 17/4 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 frames. Bassitt is likely more of a back-end starter over the long haul, but he’s pitching really well right now and gets to call O.co Coliseum home.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles (Yahoo: 12 percent owned)
A knee injury back in April knocked Schoop out for a big chunk of the season, but he’s made up for lost time by batting .307/.333/.515 with five longballs and 15 RBI over 31 games since his return. Orioles manager Buck Showalter has taken notice, moving Schoop up to the No. 6 spot in the batting order. The 23-year-old still has warts in his game, with his career 152/19 K/BB ratio being chief among them. However, Schoop also has slugged 25 homers over his first 633 career plate appearances and is a former top-100 prospect.
Odubel Herrera, 2B/SS/OF, Phillies (Yahoo: 36 percent owned)
A Rule 5 pick, Herrera led the Texas League in hitting last season and stole 21 bases across two levels, which helped give him some sleeper appeal this spring after former Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg named him the club’s Opening Day center fielder. It’s been a bumpy ride, as Herrera looked good in April before struggling in May and June. He’s heated back up since the beginning of July, though, sporting a nifty .350/.377/.538 batting line with four homers and three steals over 32 games. Herrera isn’t a refined product. He’s allergic to walks, needs work on his stolen base success rate and his six dingers look rather fluky. However, he’s eligible at multiple positions and can chip in here and there, and those guys are handy to have around.
Derek Holland, SP, Rangers (Yahoo: 13 percent owned)
It’s been a frustrating two years for Holland, as he missed most of last season with a knee injury and has been limited to just one start at the big league level in 2015 because of a shoulder issue. His wait is finally nearing an end, though, as the left-hander will make what could be his final rehab start on Friday for Double-A Frisco. The results in Holland’s first three rehab starts haven’t been great, as he’s allowed seven runs -- six earned -- over seven innings. However, he’s also reportedly hit 94 mph on the radar gun and appears to be healthy, which is the most important thing. Holland might be limited initially from a pitch count perspective, but he’s a worthy stash in deeper formats if he’s still dangling on the waiver wire.
Shopping at the five-and-dime:
(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Marcus Stroman, SP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 9 percent owned)
We didn’t expect to be able to include Stroman in Waiver Wired this season after he tore the ACL in his left knee during spring training. However, the young right-hander’s progress has been rapid and it appears he might have a legitimate chance at contributing in 2015. Stroman tossed a successful bullpen session on Tuesday and will throw another one on Friday, with designs of beginning a rehab assignment possibly by the end of next week. The timetable is all still up in the air at the moment, but the early signs are positive. The Blue Jays plan to use Stroman as a starter on his rehab assignment and it will obviously take him time to be built back up. It’s probably still a long shot that the righty is a significant contributor in September, but he’s certainly worth a DL stash if you have the space.
Chris Coghlan, OF, Cubs (Yahoo: 3 percent owned)
Coghlan really flamed out with the Marlins after capturing the National League Rookie of the Year award back in 2009, but he’s found a new lease on life with the Cubs. After sporting a nice .283/.352/.452 batting line with nine homers and seven steals for the Cubbies over 432 plate appearances last season, he entered this year pegged as the regular left fielder versus righties. Coghlan’s role has changed recently with Kyle Schwarber’s emergence as the left fielder, as he’s been shifted to second base, a position that he’d seen just one start at in the majors coming into 2015. The good news is that he should add a position of eligibility soon and even better news is that Coghlan has been manager Joe Maddon’s regular No. 3 hitter of late. With 11 homers and 11 steals on the season, the 30-year-old is an underrated fantasy option.
Danny Valencia, 1B/3B/OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 7 percent owned)
Even with their embarrassment of riches on offense, it was still a surprise to see the Blue Jays designate Valencia for assignment earlier this month after he batted .296/.331/.506 with seven homers for them over 58 games. The Athletics swooped in and claimed him on waivers, and he’s hit .391/.462/.913 with three homers in his first six contests for Oakland. Valencia has even been settling into the cleanup spot in the A’s lineup. Known as a lefty masher, the 30-year-old has more than held his own versus righties this season with a .301/.324/.612 batting line and seven of his 10 longballs. Valencia has multi-position eligibility and is swinging a hot bat.
Bruce Rondon, RP, Tigers (Yahoo: 6 percent owned)
Rondon was tagged as the Tigers’ “closer of the future” years ago and it appears he may finally be getting a shot in the role. Manager Brad Ausmus never officially named a ninth-inning man following the trade of Joakim Soria, but Alex Wilson garnered the first two save chances. When some shoulder fatigue cropped up for Wilson over the weekend, Ausmus turned to Rondon. He then gave Rondon the save chance again on Wednesday with Wilson seemingly only available on an emergency basis. The skipper indicated after the game that Rondon might see more save opportunities, although he wasn’t clear-cut about any roles. Still, it looks like the tide is turning Rondon’s way. The husky reliever certainly looks the part of a closer with his triple-digits heater and nasty slider, but the control and command lag behind. Those mining for saves can’t afford to be too picky at this point, and there’s definite upside with Rondon and his career 10.9 K/9 rate.
Jesus Montero, 1B, Mariners (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)
From the weight issues to the off-the-field concerns to the on-field disappointment, it’s been a frustrating ride with Montero. However, the former top prospect showed up to spring training a new man – quite literally – having dropped almost 50 pounds over the winter. The better conditioning has translated to better results, as Montero killed the ball at Triple-A Tacoma with a .346/.388/.551 batting line and 16 homers to earn another shot with the big club. The Mariners aren’t playing him every day yet, as he was benched on Tuesday and Wednesday after starting four straight. However, the opportunity is there and Montero has showed well so far, hitting .289/.333/.511 with a couple homers and nine RBI over 16 games.
Abraham Almonte, OF, Indians (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)
Almonte began last season as the Mariners’ starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, but he didn’t stick long in that role and was eventually dealt to the Padres at last year’s trade deadline. The 26-year-old was on the move at the deadline again this year, landing in Cleveland in the Marc Rzepczynski deal. With Michael Bourn now in Atlanta, the Tribe has handed center field over to Almonte and he’s responded with two homers and a stolen base in his first four games. This is a career .241/.289/.361 hitter who’s best off in a reserve role, but he’s playing regularly right now and can offer those in single-league formats a bit of speed.
Jose Berrios, SP, Twins (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)
A top-50 prospect, Berrios has done nothing but enhance his standing in the Twins’ organization this season, putting up a 3.06 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 135/36 K/BB ratio over 135 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. The numbers are all the more impressive considering that Berrios turned just 21 in late May, meaning he’s about six years younger than the average Triple-A player. The Twins passed on the chance to promote Berrios to make his major league debut on Saturday, instead deciding to give Tyler Duffey another shot. Berrios’ time is coming soon, though.
Adonis Garcia, 3B/OF, Braves (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)
Signed by the Yankees out of Cuba in May of 2012, Garcia didn’t make his major league debut until May of this season, one month after his 30th birthday. The Braves have been using him as their regular third baseman since they traded Juan Uribe last month, and while Garcia is hitting just .250/.271/.485 overall, he’s slugged four longballs over 70 plate appearances. Garcia’s minor league numbers are tough to evaluate since he was 27 when he started in the Yankees’ system, but he sports a solid .291/.329/.407 batting line during his time at Triple-A. Hector Olivera is expected to take over at third base for the Braves before long, but the position is Garcia’s for now and there could be some short-term value here.
Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
A former quarterback at Clemson, Parker was a first-round pick of the Rockies in 2010 and has risen steadily through the system, getting cups of coffee in 2014 and this season. The 25-year-old was brought back up earlier this month with Corey Dickerson (ribs) going down and has been playing regularly in left field. Parker’s home run totals have dropped as he’s moved up the organizational ladder, which is disappointing, but he still has solid raw pop and that’s obviously appealing when you call Coors Field your home. The right-handed swinger is worth a shot if you’re digging deep.