This is the second installment of my weekly deeper AL-Only waiver wire pickups and sleepers. To clarify, these players are not just AL-Only pickups, but they are more for the deep crowd: 14 teams and over, or the deep roster leagues. Sometimes there will be a player in here who can make in impact in your 12-team leagues as well, just read carefully and make decisions based on your team's needs.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups - AL Only Leagues
Robbie Ross – 28% CBS, 6% Yahoo
The young lefty proved why he was on this list last week, picking up his first victory of the season by pitching 7.2 innings of shutout baseball against the Seattle Mariners. He was not a source of strikeouts, only picking up two, but managing 18 outs via strikeouts and groundballs showed his dominance-- and, he did not issue a single walk.
Ross is still the same major league battle-tested solid pitcher that he has always been, and he is looking an awful lot like a piece of the Rangers future in the starting pitching department. Help is undoubtedly coming, but Ross is sticking his foot in the ground and proving he deserves one of the five spots going forward. With two years of solid big-league relief work and a strong track record as a minor league starter, Ross is going to continue to get outs. If he picks up his strikeout total, he could be fantasy gold, but he is surely worth adding this week for anyone short on pitching.
Highlights of Ross' performance against the Mariners this week below:
[iframe width="580" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oCSFA444V28?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0"]
Conor Gillaspie – 29% CBS, 7% Yahoo
Making another return appearance on this list, Gillaspie is still being ignored in fantasy, even though he is hitting in the heart of an underrated lineup, and doing to the tune of a .314 BA with 9 RBI in 12 games. He has no steals and no home runs, and I think it's only realistic to expect 8 to 15 HR from him-- this is not a superstar x-factor on the waiver wire we are talking here, but rather a very solid player who is not going to kill your team.
He is a great fill-in for guys on off days, and a nice one- or two-week injury replacement. He is a solid investment that will come cheap, and he can be very useful on his hot weeks, like his .400 BA performance over Week 1. Gillaspie's ownership went up significantly this week, but is still not as high as it should be. Make the move before people start to recognize his solid batting average and important role in Chicago’s lineup.
Below is classic Gillaspie, taking what the pitcher gives him. A true hitter's hitter.
[iframe width="580" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YzrvG_lwUR8?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0"]
Dayan Viciedo – 22% CBS, 3% Yahoo
I do not love Viciedo's approach at the plate, but players with his kind of power sometimes run hot and bunch together some home runs throughout the course of the season, especially against inexperienced and/or struggling pitchers who cannot get out of their own head enough to realize that you do not need to attack Viciedo to get him out. It is for this reason that I have to recommend him as a speculative pick up in the wake of Avisail Garcia's season-ending injury. Viciedo received the endorsement as the right fielder who will get the majority of the playing time going forward by manager Robin Ventura.
There will be plenty of 0-for-4 nights in Viciedo's future, and he currently carries a fairly unappealing 4/8 BB/SO ratio in 2014, but when compared to 2012 and 2013 where he was 28/120 and 24/98, you can gather the idea that perhaps Viciedo may have figured something out. If he indeed has figured out a way to control the strike zone better, the potential is there for him to break out like we all thought he would after hitting .308 with 5 HR in 38 games to end 2010.
This is probably Viciedo's last chance to prove he's an everyday major leaguer, and I am willing to risk a small amount (a bench spot) on the upside that he could potentially deliver. He is currently hitting .324 in 12 games so far in 2014, and only has to hold off Leury Garcia and Jordan Danks for the everyday job the rest of the way. Take a chance, and make sure you get him in your lineup if you see the doubles and homers start to come. Right now, it looks like he is just trying to put a good swing on the right pitches and is willing to take pitches-- something he wouldn't do in the past. Once he settles in and gets really comfortable with a ore selective approach, he will more than likely start letting it fly again. Of course, he could revert back to his old ways, but I'd prefer to watch that happen with him on my bench rather than someone else's, because the upside is something I do not want to miss out on.
Cheap Hawk call below...oh yea, this is what Viciedo can do.
[iframe width="580" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/aIHCv806rCs?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0"]
Kyle Gibson – 13% CBS, 4% Yahoo
It is probably too late to go grab Gibson after his dominant 8-inning performance against the Blue Jays on Thursday, but if he is available, don't even blink, do whatever you gotta do to secure him. In each of his three starts, he has limited the opposition to no more than hits, on his way to a a 0.93 ERA. The one reason for concern is that he has issued nine free passes, but he only issued a single one early in the game against Toronto, and he is showing improved command with each turn he takes. Gibson could be gold, and without a doubt will be roster material all year long. He has a great frame (6'6", 210 lbs.), a great track record (futures game, minor league organizational pitcher of the year, first-round pick), and after three years of experience in Triple-A and 10 starts at the big league level under his belt from last season, he is ready to break out. I wish I could have told you sooner, but like I said, if he is there, snatch him and don't look back.
Here is an interview after his last start, in which Gibson talks about working with the catcher and using his changeup, as well as the difference in philosophy that he has this year as opposed to last year. (courtesy of the Pioneer Press)
[iframe width="100%" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7Ci9R8rm-vY"]
Roenis Elias - 25% CBS, 2% Yahoo
The Mariners have treated Elias with caution in 2014, but he has turned in three pretty good outings as a member of the rotation with Taijuan Walker has been out. The news that Walker has been shut down for another two weeks with a shoulder impingement only makes Elias's outlook better, as he probably has three more weeks to show what he can do. He has improved in each start, pitching into the seventh inning in his last outing after only pitching through the fifth in his first two trips to the hill. He is currently 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA and has pitched well enough against three of the Mariners divisional opponents. With Blake Beavan being who he is and James Paxton also on the DL, there is a real chance for Elias to grab a rotation spot and run with it. He is off to a great start and is worth an add, at least until the league figures him out. Curb the expectations on strikeouts, but he is going to help in ERA, WHIP and perhaps wins if the Mariners lineup gets back on track.
A little video on Elias from his second start of the season below:
[iframe width="100%" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZMR0Gp-fXBM"]