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Waiver Wired

Waiver Wired: Nasty Nate

by D.J. Short
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

How you value a player at this point in the season is often very different than how you see them in May or June. Right now, categories take on the most importance. So you might be more inclined to take a flier on an unproven stolen base threat rather than a veteran who plays every day and can provide a decent average and some power. By the same token, while you could afford to be patient with a struggling player in May or June, there's more of a sense of urgency with the clock ticking on the season. With that in mind, I discussed the tricky situation with Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson in this week's "Buy, Sell, Hold" video. Check it out below.

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

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MIXED LEAGUES

Tom Wilhelmsen RP, Mariners (Yahoo: 17 percent owned)

What's old is new again, as Wilhelmsen is back in the closer role for the Mariners. However, he's basically the closer by default with Fernando Rodney designated for assignment and Carson Smith going through a rough patch. Wilhelmsen, who saved 53 games between 2012-2013, has a 3.86 ERA and 45/23 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings this season. It's nothing special, but he's the top guy in this bullpen right now and needs to be owned as long as he's getting the opportunity.

Denard Span OF, Nationals (Yahoo: 42 percent owned)

I was a little surprised to see Span still available in so many leagues. Of course, the sample could be skewed a little bit by folks who have checked out on the season. In competitive leagues, Span is likely already gone. Still, it makes sense to scan the waiver wire just in case. Injuries have limited the 31-year-old to just 61 games this season, but he's been really good when healthy, batting .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 11 steals, and 38 runs scored. If he can stay healthy, he should be a valuable contributor the rest of the way.

Kris Medlen SP, Royals (Yahoo: 23 percent owned)

Medlen has spent most of the season rehabbing from the second Tommy John surgery of his career, but after joining the Royals' bullpen earlier this month, he won his first start since 2013 on Monday after holding the Orioles to three runs over six innings. He threw 49 out of 69 pitches for strikes while walking none and striking out six. His velocity is higher now than it was before the surgery, so there's reason to be intrigued. Remember, he owns a 2.95 career ERA, including a 2.98 ERA in 62 starts. He needs to be owned in more leagues right now.

Nick Castellanos 3B, Tigers (Yahoo: 20 percent owned)

I drafted Castellanos in a couple of leagues this spring in hopes of a progression from what he showed during his rookie season. It didn't work out during the first half, but the 23-year-old is batting .260/.343/.553 with nine home runs, five doubles, two triples, and 25 RBI in 36 games since the All-Star break. With increases in his walk rate and fly ball rate, we're seeing some encouraging signs of growth here. Castellanos is a fine target as a corner infielder down the stretch and he'll be on my radar once again in drafts next spring.

Wilmer Flores 2B/SS, Mets (Yahoo: 22 percent owned)

The "Summer of Wilmer" continues. Since the surreal moment where Flores cried on the field after thinking he was traded to the Brewers, he has delivered big hit after big hit while batting .329 with four home runs, seven doubles, 14 RBI, and 16 runs scored over 23 games. This includes two of the Mets' eight home runs on Monday against the Phillies. There are still flaws in Flores' approach, but he offers real pop from a middle infielder spot. Terry Collins has a lot of options to work with these days, so watch the lineup card closely, but Flores should be owned with the Mets' lineup clicking.

Nathan Eovaldi SP, Yankees (Yahoo: 45 percent owned)

Could we finally be witnessing Eovaldi's breakout? There's reason to be encouraged. Aided by his new splitter grip, the hard-throwing right-hander tossed eight scoreless innings Monday against the Astros and now has a 2.93 ERA over his last 12 starts. The strikeout rate still isn't great, but it's beginning to creep up. He's also keeping the ball on the ground while showing acceptable control. Eovaldi is a really interesting option down the stretch and figures to have lots of momentum as a potential breakout candidate in 2016.

Nori Aoki OF, Giants (Yahoo: 26 percent owned)

Aoki hasn't had much luck on the health front of late, as he missed most of July with a fractured right fibula before suffering a concussion earlier this month, but he's back to full health now and hitting leadoff in the Giants' lineup once again. The 33-year-old outfielder has been useful when healthy this season, batting .296 with a .360 on-base percentage to go along with five home runs, 26 RBI, 13 stolen bases, and 39 runs scored over 86 games. He should be in most fantasy lineups down the stretch.

Marcell Ozuna OF, Marlins (Yahoo: 41 percent owned)

Rusney Castillo (Yahoo: 45 percent owned) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Yahoo: 32 percent owned) are trendy pickups right now and should be owned if they aren't already, but make sure that Ozuna isn't still sitting out on the wire either. The 24-year-old struggled to the tune of a .249/.301/.337 batting line prior to being sent down to Triple-A New Orleans in June. Calling his demotion like being in "jail," Ozuna earned his way back to the majors after hitting .317 with five home runs and a .937 OPS over 33 games. He hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire since his return (.233/.250/.481 with two HR, four doubles), but I like the pop and he's capable of a strong finish.

Michael Cuddyer 1B/OF, Mets (Yahoo: 28 percent owned)

I didn't think we'd mention Cuddyer again in this space, but here were are. This has been a disappointing season on the whole for the 36-year-old, but he's batting .359 (14-for-39) with two home runs, four doubles, and seven RBI in 13 games since returning from the disabled list earlier this month. Apparently some time off for his knee did wonders. Getting regular rest has also likely helped. The Mets have a lot of moving pieces at this point, but Cuddyer should get a few more starts at first base until Lucas Duda returns from the disabled list. With his multi-position eligibility, he's a worthwhile short-term grab.

Shopping at the five-and-dime:

(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Domingo Santana OF, Brewers (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)

Acquired from the Astros last month in the Carlos Gomez deal (or maybe we should call it the Mike Fiers deal after his no-hitter last week?), Santana was called up by the Brewers last week and has already received playing time at all three outfield spots. With Ryan Braun in right field and Khris Davis tearing the cover off the ball this month, it makes the most sense to just put him in center field and leave him alone as they play out the string, but it's unclear whether Brewers manager Craig Counsell will do that. Santana is going to strike out a lot, but I like the power potential and he's in a favorable home park. Keep an eye on him in deeper formats.

Ketel Marte 2B/SS, Mariners (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)

Marte is surprisingly underowned for someone who is serving as the Mariners' regular shortstop and leadoff man these days. Through his first 23 major league games, the 21-year-old is batting .333/.406/.452 with eight doubles, one triple, four RBI, three stolen bases, and 10 runs scored. Sure, it's a very small sample and he has a BABIP approaching .400 right now, but he has speed and a history of making contact in the minors. If you need stolen bases, he's an appealing option in deeper formats.

Jose Berrios SP, Twins (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)

Are the Twins going to call Berrios up in September? I'm not really sure, but I wish they would. With general manager Terry Ryan in attendance, the 21-year-old struck out 12 batters over seven scoreless innings Wednesday in his latest start with Triple-A Rochester. After getting off to a bit of a shaky start after his promotion from Double-A in late June, Berrios now owns a 2.78 ERA and 73/13 K/BB ratio in 64 2/3 innings over 10 starts. I'm curious how many more innings he'll throw this season, so perhaps the Twins will bring him up to pitch out of the bullpen, but he's intriguing enough to stash away in deeper formats if you have the roster flexibility.

AL ONLY

Grant Green 2B/OF, Angels (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)

Johnny Giavotella landed on the disabled list this week with a personal medical condition, which means that Green will function as the Angels' regular second baseman for the time being. The 27-year-old missed Wednesday's game after tweaking his right knee on Tuesday, but he's expected to be fine. I'm not looking for much here, as Green owns an underwhelming .257/.290/.336 batting line through 286 plate appearances in the majors, but playing time is crucial at this point in the year.

Ryan Flaherty 1B/2B/3B/SS, Orioles (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)

Another player benefiting from an injury, Flaherty is picking up the majority of the starts at shortstop for the Orioles while J.J. Hardy is sidelined with a groin injury. The 29-year-old is a .220 career hitter with an ugly .285 on-base percentage, but there is some power here. It helps that he's eligible at every infield position.

NL ONLY

Tommy La Stella 2B, Cubs (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)

The Cubs are going to play Chris Coghlan in right field more with Jorge Soler sidelined due to an oblique injury, which opens up playing time at second base. Starlin Castro got the start there Wednesday night, but La Stella should also get opportunities. The 26-year-old doesn't offer any pop, but he offers good plate discipline and has hit for average in the minors.

Jason Bourgeois OF, Reds (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)

With Marlon Byrd now with the Giants and Billy Hamilton on the disabled list with a strained capsule in his right shoulder, Bourgeois has started seven out of the last eight games for the Reds. Six of those starts have come out of the leadoff spot. Bourgeois, now 33, has never been much of a hitter, but remember that he stole 31 bases in 93 games with the Astros back in 2011. The timetable on Hamilton is unclear, so he could be a sneaky speed option down the stretch.