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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Wednesday – Add an Ace

Danny Duffy has pitched like a true ace this year and is Josh Collacchi’s top fantasy baseball waiver wire target for Week 18.

Danny Duffy
Danny Duffy

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s August 6, which means the fantasy baseball playoffs are just around the corner. With September call-ups looming, some post-deadline trades on the horizon, and injuries, the waiver wire has become vital to a fantasy baseball manager’s success.

Whether it is a free agent pool, a budget-based system, or weekly waivers, playing the wire is a key element to winning your fantasy baseball leagues.

Each week, XN Sports will present an option at each position (if there is anyone worth picking up), and why you should add them.

Without further ado, let’s play the waiver wire:

Catcher

Dioner Navarro, Toronto Blue Jays

In fantasy baseball, finding a catcher who can contribute in multiple ways is hard to find. Especially in August after a few months worth of play and a pattern of numbers is evident. Luckily for you, Navarro is one of those players. So far this season, he is hitting .272 with 28 runs scored and 47 runs batted in. In the last month, only Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes have more hits than the Blue Jays’ backstop. Hitting in the Blue Jays lineup has value in itself, but Navarro has found himself near the middle of the lineup in recent weeks, so expect his production to increase even more. Add him if you need help behind the plate.

Third Base

Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

Bryant is still in the minor leagues, and could potentially stay there until September. But he is more than worth a stash if you have room on your roster. As we all know, third base is scarce. After Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson and Todd Frazier, there is not much left. When called up, Bryant will instantly be one of the top targets on the waiver wire, considering his ridiculous line of 45 home runs, 126 runs batted in, 16 stolen bases, and a .340 batting average in his short minor league career (538 at-bats). When Bryant comes up, he will be one of the most coveted players in baseball, so be sure to add him now before the rush.

Outfield

Will Venable, San Diego Padres

Venable has struggled this season, but remember, it’s about what a player will do for you from this point forward. Considering he is one of the hottest hitters on the planet right now, he is worth a pickup. Venable has 11 hits in his last six games, and is hitting .500 with seven runs batted in and three runs scored in the last week. If there is any Padre on the waiver wire worth adding, it is Venable. He has the tools to contribute in all five standard categories, so you may have a sleeper for the playoffs just waiting on the waiver wire.

Starting Pitcher

Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals

The fact that Duffy is even on this list, this late in the season, is preposterous in itself. But, if he is on the waiver wire, add him now then come back and read the rest of this post. If you’re not satisfied, then you can drop him but that means another team in your league could add an ace. You read that correctly, Duffy is an ace in fantasy baseball this year.

Here are the ERA leaders of pitchers who have thrown 100 innings or more this season:

Clayton Kershaw 1.82

Felix Hernandez 1.97

Johnny Cueto 2.04

Chris Sale 2.09

Adam Wainwright 2.26

Danny Duffy 2.39

Duffy is fifth in the Major Leagues (amongst pitchers with 100 or more innings pitched) in ERA. He is also 15th in WHIP, and has struck out 7.2 hitters per nine innings, which ranks 27th among all pitchers. He does have 10 losses, but wins and losses should not be a pitching statistic in fantasy baseball, as many of us know.

How has Duffy done recently?

He has allowed more than three earned runs in a game one time since May ended. Duffy has allowed more than one earned run in a game just six times.

Duffy has 17 starts this season, and has allowed one or zero earned runs in 12 of those starts. Those other five starts? He allowed 19 earned runs, which is not great by any means, but those are his five worst starts, and he gave up less than four runs per start, on average. If that does not signify an ace, nothing does.

Statistics from Baseball Reference and ESPN.com

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