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A season ago, former-first round pick and top 100 prospect Tyler Colvin was blossoming into a serious hitter, batting .290 with 18 home runs, 72 RBI, 55 XBH and seven steals. Just two seasons before that, he crushed 20 home runs in his rookie year for the Cubs. This season, he didn’t even make the opening day roster. He’s finally back in the bigs so let’s take a look at Colvin and a few other players that have gone under-appreciated thus far and make for pretty darn good mid-season buys.
Rick Porcello: Solid Buy. Overall, his 3-3 record, 4.86 ERA, and 9.1 H/9 don’t scream “buy”. At the same time, Porcello has been burned by only two bad starts, giving up five runs to the Twins on May 23 and surrendering a tough-to-swallow nine runs over 0.2 IP against the Angels on April 20. Take away those 14 runs over 5.2 IP and he actually has a nice 3.15 ERA on the season. More importantly, the rest of the Tigers’ staff seems to have rubbed off on him and he’s striking out a ton of batters, recording 25 K over his last 20 IP.
Anthony Rendon: Strong Buy. Rendon has hit safely in all six games since being recalled, going 9-for-24 with four doubles, four RBI, and three runs. He has a bit of pop that we haven’t seen yet but with second base eligibility you can live without when he’s producing in three other categories.
Dillon Gee: Deep-League Buy. I’m a Mets fan so I inherently dislike every Mets player’s fantasy prospects. Still, I know that Dillon Gee is considerably better than the 6.34 ERA he was sporting three starts ago. He’s come a long way in those last three starts, looking far sharper and going 3-0 with just three runs allowed, a .232 BAA, and 26 K/3 BB in 21 IP. That’s obviously not the norm for him but neither is being terrible. Enjoy his hot streak now but simply remember that by the end of the year his ERA will likely be somewhere around 4.00-4.30 with a passable WHIP and a pretty good K/9 rate.
Matt Joyce: Strong Buy. I’ve been harping about Joyce as one of the most underrated hitters in fantasy all season and with 12 home runs in 57 games, I don’t understand how he’s unowned in 57% of Yahoo leagues. Over his last two seasons, he has averaged a .260/.344/.455 line with 18 HR, 67 RBI, 62 R, and eight steals per season. This season, the 28-year-old is looking even better with 12 homers, six steals, 29 RBI, and 36 R in just 189 at-bats.
Tyler Colvin: Deep-League Buy. After posting a .290/.327/.531 line with 18 homers and 72 RBI in 2012, Colvin inexplicably started the season in the minors. All the former top 100 prospect has done in Triple-A is bat .293 with nine homers, 29 RBI, 42 R, five steals, and four triples. While his time will likely be limited with Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, and Michael Cuddyer in the outfield, he will get enough time there and at first base to be relevant in deeper leagues. He already has two home runs and six RBI in four games since being recalled.
Mike Zunino: Speculative Buy. Zunino is the 17th top prospect in the country and a catcher who has pop and ability to hit for average. Some fantasy writers have written him off because he has struggled to hit for average this season in Triple-A (.238) after playing just 44 games at Single-A and Double-A. That’s of concern but you can’t completely discount his 11 homers, 43 RBI, and 34 R over just 47 games. His average and strikeout rate may be questionable but he does have a combined .295/.372/.590 line over his 91-game minor league career to go along with 24 homers and 86 RBI. Regardless of whether he’ll hit for average, he’s a producer and is already batting sixth in the Mariners order.
Nick Franklin: Deep-League Buy. Fellow Mariners top prospect Nick Franklin has had a solid start to his young career, putting up a .300/.397/.520 line with two homers, four runs batted in, two steals, five runs, and five doubles in just 50 at-bats. He’s a middle infielder who showed potential to be a 20-20 guy in the minors, I’d grab him in every deep league and consider him in shallower formats.
Mike Carp: Solid Buy. Like Jose Iglesias, Carp’s fantasy value is limited by part-time play. Still, he is playing well now and has shown an ability to produce in limited duty before when he blasted 21 homers and drove in 64 runs in just 66 Triple-A games in 2011 (adding another 12 home runs and 46 RBI in 79 MLB games that year). This season, Carp owns an impressive .330/.373/.660 line with six homers, 22 RBI, 18 R, and 17 XBH. Even in part-time duty he should be owned in all deeper leagues.
Brandon League: With a 5.76 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and four blown saves in 17 chances, Brandon League is done closing for the Dodgers. If Kenley Jansen is still magically available in your league, I’d grab him immediately.
Phil Hughes: I’ve never been a Hughes fan and with a 4.89 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and 13 homers allowed in just 70 IP, it’s impossible to justify keeping him on your roster. Over his last seven starts, he owns a 6.17 ERA and has given up eight home runs in just 35 IP. He gave up 35 homers last year and that was a “good” Phil Hughes so this one may get even worse.
Jose Valverde: Papa Grande has now blown three save chances in 12 opportunities and has given up five home runs in just 17 IP after giving up just three over 69 IP last season. It’s getting closer to the end of the Valverde experiment and I’d start eyeing some replacement candidates.
Dan Haren: With a 4-8 record, 5.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and a league-leading 17 home runs allowed, I don’t have to tell anyone that Dan Haren is a bad pitcher. In his last five starts, he is 0-4 with a 7.24 ERA and nine homers allowed. So the question is, how is he still owned in 62% of Yahoo leagues? Are you that in love with his 59 K/10 BB that you’ll let him ruin you in three other categories? Do yourself a favor and pick up Porcello or Gee.
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