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.
Maikel Franco – 3B – Philadelphia Phillies
Prospects have dominated 2015. That is, highly-touted rookies finally getting the chance to shine have generally made the most of their opportunities. As soon as one stumbles, however, the allure of a ‘new toy’ wears off, and they get lumped in with the rest of the league.
Maikel Franco entered 2014 with the typical hype surrounding rookies. A .179 batting average later, Franco saw his name fall from most 2015 draft boards. As is the case with many young ballplayers, the third baseman simply needed more time and more consistency to become a fantasy baseball presence. In 69 games, to date, Franco posts a .283 average with 11 home runs. He obviously won’t reach the 162-game mark, but his numbers extrapolate out to 25 home runs over the course of the season.
Franco’s biggest competition is the dearth of third base options in fantasy baseball. The position may not have the most high-end talent, but nearly every ‘average’ third base-eligible player is worthy of a roster spot. Franco is no exception, and his early-season success is indicative of his potential.
Chris Colabello – 1B/OF – Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays’ offense was already great. With the addition of Troy Tulowitzki, it becomes dominant. The middle of the Toronto lineup will create nightmares for opposing pitchers, but every one of the high-end producers is already owned in most fantasy leagues.
Except Chris Colabello. Wherever Colabello bats in the Toronto lineup, he is likely to serve as protection for one of the bigger bats – opportunities to drive in runs – or be protected by said sluggers – opportunities to see better pitches.
Unfortunately, Toronto did a disservice to Colabello by adding outfielder Ben Revere, effectively limiting Colabello’s plate appearances. He is now more likely to act as a bench player for the rest of the season, but his surrounding cast makes him a tempting play every time he is in the lineup. Monitor the situation in Toronto closely, as his production is tied directly to his playing time.
Khris Davis – OF – Milwaukee Brewers
A mainstay on ‘sleeper lists’ nearly every year, Khris Davis has yet to deliver. Through injuries, inconsistency, and the expected high strikeout rate, Davis’ fantasy ownership has dwindled. His potential has not.
Khris Davis has, and will, strikeout all the time – if league scoring factors this in, Davis can be ignored. His .237 batting average is the lowest of his career, but this should have hurt his previous fantasy owner more than his next one.
The tradeoff for the poor average is power, and the preseason expectations for Davis put him in the 20 home-run club, at minimum. With only seven, to date, he would need a massive surge in the remaining two months to meet his goal. That’s what makes him a buy-low candidate, right now. Davis may not find his stroke and deliver the home runs that seemed intrinsically tied to his powerful swing, but he has become one of the most intriguing options on the free agent market.
Aaron Nola – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
The 2015 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline will be remembered as one of the busiest weeks in recent history. As expected, the Philadelphia Phillies were among the most active teams, trading away Jonathan Papelbon – Ken Giles now gets regular save opportunities – and longtime pitching stud Cole Hamels. Stepping in as the future rotation mainstay is Aaron Nola.
Nola had already made his Major League Baseball debut almost two weeks prior to the Hamels deal, and looked every bit as promising as his scouting reports stated. With six innings of one-run baseball, Nola lost his first career start 1-0.
Hamstrung by a terrible offense, Nola’s likelihood to secure a win every five days remains low, as evident by his debut. He posted a 2.57 Minor League ERA in just two seasons – Nola was drafted in 2014 and already considered one of the most Major League-ready pitchers – and should be an instant fantasy option for the remainder of the year.
R.A. Dickey – SP – Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto dominated the headlines for the past week, acquiring both Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. Tulowitzki helps make a great offense even more deadly, but Price was the piece the Blue Jays needed most. In adding a legitimate ace to the staff, the pressure is removed from Drew Hutchison and R.A. Dickey, as they each slide back in the rotation.
R.A. Dickey will likely never post per-game numbers anywhere near his 2012 Cy Young campaign, but the 40-year old knuckleballer has yet to lose his effectiveness altogether. In a stark contrast from Aaron Nola’s terrible offensive holding him back, Dickey should receive the opposite, as Toronto should pile on runs with which Dickey can work. He doesn’t have to be perfect – far from it, now – and only needs to see his strikeout rate return back to normal for him to be worth the low investment.
Luis Severino – SP – New York Yankees
It might already be too late. In a fantasy world where prospects are added weeks before their actual debut date, Luis Severino might already be too widely owned.. If not, and the league has overlooked the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, don’t get caught napping, as well.
Severino is the latest in a long line of top prospects to make his respective Major League club, this year. While the Yankees are often criticized for failing to develop talent, the right-hander is so highly coveted that the team refused to include him in any Trade Deadline deals. Instead, he will get his first Major League start against the rival Red Sox on Wednesday.
Severino’s Minor League numbers are excellent — 2.30 ERA in 67 games — and his call-up became imminent with each successful AAA start — 1.91 ERA in 11 starts. The reasons for adding Severino to a fantasy roster are obvious – factor in the Yankees’ hot streak and it becomes a no-brainer – it’s just a matter of whether or not another fantasy owner got to him first.
Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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