In every fantasy sport, playing the waiver wire is as important to long-term success as a solid draft. Fantasy baseball, in particular, contains an unprecedented amount of league scoring settings, ranging from rotisserie to head-to-head with subsets for each. Still, the large pool of players generally allows for midseason acquisitions that can help bolster any roster. It’s just a matter of finding the right piece.
Below are this week’s suggested waiver wire adds, currently owned in less than fifty percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Yunel Escobar – SS/3B – Washington Nationals
In the midst of his most productive season, Yunel Escobar would easily get lost in the rankings among third basemen. Thankfully for fantasy owners, Escobar remains eligible at shortstop, arguably the weakest hitting position, despite regularly manning the hot corner in Washington. The true value of scarcity at a given position is often debatable, but Escobar sees a large jump in value when compared to other shortstops.
Even after suffering from a minor injury, Escobar was able to continue his career year, and now ranks third among shortstop-eligible options in hits, and seventhin runs scored. He won’t provide a noticeable boost in power or speed categories, but the Washington offense appears to have hit its stride, and Escobar is a key ingredient in the mix.
Brock Holt – 1B/2B/SS/3B/OF – Boston Red Sox
If Escobar’s value is enhanced by his position eligibility options, Brock Holt is driven by it. Eligible at every offensive position except catcher, Holt has become the ultimate utility player for both the Red Sox and a fantasy baseball team. His maneuverability allows him to stay in the lineup on any given day, and he is the perfect fit for a fantasy owner that makes daily roster moves.
The ability to use a player anywhere would obviously be wasted if he doesn’t perform, but Holt has earned his way into both the Boston lineup and his first career All-Star Game. Like the aforementioned Escobar, Holt trades power for hits, but in contrast to Escobar, Holt is limited by his surrounding cast. With Dustin Pedroia back on the disabled list, Holt should see plenty of time at second base, but monitor his status closely, as he was removed from Sunday’s game with slight injury.
Corey Seager – SS – Los Angeles Dodgers
It has been well-documented that 2015 has become ‘The Year of the Prospect.’ With it, the common question to be asked following every call-up was, “Who’s next?” After Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Carlos Correa, and others were plucked from the free agency pool, the options began to lessen. If, for no other reason than to stash the next ‘hot prospect’ for potential trade bait, Corey Seager should be added immediately.
In such a crowded roster that Seager’s call-up does not particularly seem imminent, he may not even be the next Minor League ballplayer to jump to the Major League roster – Hector Olivera, at age 30, is arguably more Major League-ready. The key, however, is that Seager’s upside is obvious, and the market on prospects is rising. It’s better to waste a bench spot on a player that takes longer to start but has high value in both trade talks and possible production than using a bench player to start on a random day off.
The other noteworthy twist on Seager’s eventual journey to Los Angeles is that the franchise decided to not send him to the MLB Futures Game. Rumors swirled that this move was in anticipation of a call-up, although that obviously never materialized. Still, Seager appears to be blocked only by incumbent shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and suggestions that the team would ultimately transition him into a third baseman have temporarily fizzled out. For now, the game is one of wait-and-see, but don’t miss the opportunity to add what should be the next – and maybe last – talent capable of boosting a roster.
Andrew Heaney – SP – Los Angeles Angels
Unlike top hitting prospects, the fantasy value of highly touted pitchers are difficult to project, especially in non-keeper formats. Innings limits, promotions and demotions, and a constant shuffling between the bullpen and rotation based on team need as well as pitcher preparedness typically forces owners to wait longer than normal before adding an arm. Considering that acclaim is not given out freely, it is important to remember why a talented, young pitcher has such a high ceiling, anyway.
Left-handed starter Andrew Heaney fits the bill as a former prospect now trying to emerge as a key piece in an organization – and a different organization than the one to which he was originally drafted, at that. His brief stint with the Marlins was less than stellar, but his Minor League numbers are excellent, and he is now backed by a more potent offense. The biggest risk to adding Heaney was that he may not remain in the rotation long-term, but a 5-0 record and 1.79 ERA will be hard to ignore when the Angels evaluate the young pitcher.
Brett Anderson – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
While prospects often steal the attention, the opposite end of the spectrum includes those players previously forgotten amidst renaissance seasons, especially with a history of injuries lack of staying power with any one team. Playing for his third franchise in three years, it’s easy to understand why the oft-injured starter Brett Anderson continues to fly under-the-radar, despite a 3.33 ERA.
The reality behind Anderson is that he actually is a solid pitcher, when healthy. The caveat of his injury status drives his value down, but that should make him more attractive on the open market, when commitments are not necessary. If Anderson makes one more start, he will have eclipsed the 20-start watermark for only the second time in his career, but has finished three seasons with an ERA under 3.00. Simply put, it’s difficult to trust Anderson for long stretches of time – he actually left his most recent start with an achilles injury that seems to be a non-issue – but it’s equally as hard to dismiss his output.
Cody Anderson – SP – Cleveland Indians
There is always interpretation at play when considering the value of a hot streak versus the potential for regression. Cleveland starting pitcher Cody Anderson was in the middle of a truly unsustainable stretch – 0.89 ERA in four starts. Will that continue? Of course not. But the better question to be asked is, “What happens after Anderson returns to normal?”
It is possible that Anderson’s hot start to this Major League career is nothing more than fortunate circumstance. Maybe he isn’t anything extraordinary and vanishes into mediocrity. If so, he can be dropped as quickly as he was added. But what if he has lasting power? His 1.89 ERA between AA and AAA this year suggest that it is possible, and the Indians, as an organization, scout pitchers well.
Anderson was obviously going to hit a bump in the road, and struggled mightily in his most recent start – 10 hits and four earned runs in less than three innings. It is to be expected, but that is not a reason to avoid him, altogether. In fact, welcome his poor outing and proceed with the expectation that he can now continue along a positive trend.