Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

AL-Only Waiver Wire Team of the Week: MLB Week 15


By Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Every week in baseball, a significant player will hit the disabled list, slip into a slump, or get traded out of a good spot. How fantasy owners adapt to these situations can make or break the season as a whole. One lousy add might not hurt the long-term standing of a team, but failing to take advantage of breakouts or impact bats before others sure can.

The primary challenge of playing in an NL or AL-only league is often the lack of options regarding adding and subtracting players when needed. In mixed leagues, the players on the waiver wire are usually starting for an NL-only staff. So then how does one wade through the names of players that even regular fantasy players have never heard of, and that often will not even start for their teams to begin with? That is where this series comes in.

Instead of owners spending time digging the waiver wire of 0% owned players, this article will give owners a player at each position to fill the gap, or at the least, keep an eye on to add or stash. Not all of these players will replace that injury, but offer the best option off the scrap heap. Often the players advocated for here are long shots due to the nature of shallow leagues. No quick fixes, but some upside that could turn into much more.  With that onto the island of misfit fantasy toys.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

AL-Only Team of the Week

C - Kyle Higashioka (C, NYY) - 1% owned

Three homers in his last five games, along with injuries in the Bronx, has shot Higashioka to the top of the catcher lists and might be a sign of things to come from the Yankee prospect. This is not the first time that a Yankee has shown remarkable power in the majors, even this season. Word out from the team is that Gary Sanchez will be out until after the All-Star break, which should give owners another week with this player, and perhaps a bit more based on roster construction decisions. The rub is that Higashioka did now show any of this power in the minors, and was hitting only .191 at Triple-A. While there might be some offensive bump with the move to the Majors, this should be a short-term play for fantasy owners, but with playing time, should be a good catcher streaming option.  If he does follow the trend out out-hitting his minor league numbers, with this team and park, there might be good value still to come.

1B - Lucas Duda (1B, KC) - 8% owned

The fact that Duda is this widely available is quite the shock, as through 49 games he is hitting slightly above league average with a WRC+ of 101. Not great, but with the power upside, this is worth a fantasy play is all AL-only leagues. The other good news is the injuries seem to be in the past, or at least he is recovered and should allow Duda to play as the starter at that position moving forward. A bit more into the numbers, as though those 49 games so far, Duda is slashing .247/.310/.429 with seven homers and 26 RBI. That batting average plays at the position, and should at least offer a floor for owners with the power numbers to support. The seven bombs so far place Duda on a 22 HR pace, and with playing time, owners should not be surprised if that jumps to closer to the 28 projected to start the season. The other good news is that the K rate is down close to two points, which not a huge mark, shows some movement in the right direction.

2B - Devon Travis (2B, TOR) - 2% owned

Well, it seems like Toronto is going to try this one again, and how long he can stay healthy will determine how valuable Travis is to a fantasy team moving forward. Through 52 games Travis is slashing .232/.287/.375 with five homers and one steal. The play with Travis was always trading some batting average and steals for the runs upside, as in the past few years, he has not run or hit for much at all. In fact, since swiping 16 bases at Double-A in 2014, he has never eclipsed five steals in a season since. With that, Travis becomes a Jason Kipnis-type player, with a lower batting average but some gap power. The issue this season is only five doubles, and the limited power has sunk that as well. With all this negative news, why is he the pick this week? The one improvement in the line is the OBP which has moved to .287 from .234 last season, and some of this is fueled by a close to doubling of his walk rate. With that, over the past month, he is hitting .286 with a WRC+ of 117, showing that he is seeing the ball better. This looks like a good sleeper play that should pay off with the continued small changes.

3B - Luis Valbuena (1B/3B, LAA) - 2% owned

For the season, Valbuena has been one of the better power options freely available on the waiver wire and has nine homers in 79 games. The other plus has been the batting average, which while sitting at .211 is up from last season’s .199 line. Owners are not looking for 30+ power here, but rather another 12+ might be a good floor the rest of the season with playing time. The other good news is that he is playing close to every day and not much out of the DH, meaning that he should not lose time to the returning Shohei Othani. Owners looking to that power line will notice it is well below the pace from last season, but he is hitting the ball harder by about three points, and hitting for a similar fly ball rate from last season. If teams can stomach the batting average, this could be another Duda-like power return, and with a better team around him might even pass that line.

SS - Chad Pinder (2B/SS/OF, OAK) - 1% owned

Pinder has been a favorite on this list a few times this season, and for a good reason. The position flexibility matters not just for fantasy, but also concerning getting him into the lineup with some regularity this season. 60 games so far show the team’s willingness to move him around, or at the very least, use him as one of the first bats off the bench. Over that time Pinder is slashing .246/.311/.436 with eight homers and 28 Rs. The second number is what fantasy owners should be looking at, as with the way that Oakland is built, being on base with those power bats pays off with runs and other counting stats. The team is currently sitting fifth in total power, and the recent series of wins shows that that strategy can pay off. When Pinder gets on base enough, the runs should continue.

OF - Greg Allen (OF, CLE) - 0% owned

With the recent injury to Lonnie Chisenhall, Allen is back with Cleveland and playing in center field. This is a profile that owners should look at with a grain of salt as the .219 batting average is not representative of the season with the call-ups, and has buried some excellent offensive stretches for the player. The most significant upside in the profile are the steals with six steals, and no caught stealings for Allen so far. Cleveland is also showing that they will run and are currently sitting in third overall in the league. If he had played a full slate this season, Allen would be on pace for 26 steals and this would be worth the addition alone. Expect the batting average to jump around, but a .250 floor should be a good target.  While he might not be up long, and the team could add an outfield bat at the deadline, in the short term this is the speed option of the week.

OF - Mark Canha (OF, OAK) - 2% owned

For a player holding down the starting role in left, and hitting second in a great offense, the fact that Canha is only owned in 2% of leagues reflects how undervalued he is for fantasy teams. Through 67 games he has a 124 WRC+ supported by a .264/.339/.481 slash. Add to that 11 homers and 30+ R and RBI, and this should be a solid play the rest of the season. As with Pinder, the ability to get on base around Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Khris Davis is worth the start on its own. Canha is also striking out 23.1% of the time, down from 29.9% last campaign. Not a running threat at all, and there is a cap on the power, but the other numbers work out in the player’s favor. The other piece for owners is that Canha is making hard contact 40.4% of the time, and there are reasons for the fly ball rate being down. So far in 2018 Canha has a 15.6% IFH%, which should go up as the season plays out. With that hard contact and such a high rate of hits on the diamond, expect the batting line and power to at the very least improve.

OF - Adam Engel (OF, CWS) - 1% owned

While it does not look like Engel will hit his prospect ceiling, he is getting the playing time on a bad Chicago club to show what he has moving forward. In 80 games, Engel is slashing .223/.279/.307, but even that is a marked improvement from last season. The average alone is up close to 60 points, and while not in a reasonable range, the development is there to be seen. The K rate was down to 25.1% from 34.8% last season, and much of this is driven by the player swinging more often. In 2017 Engel only swung at 47.4% of pitches, whereas this season he is swinging at 50.2%. More swings have seemed to result in fewer Ks, and this is even with an increased O-swing% from last season. The other difference is the contact rate, as in 2017 Engel only made contact with 68% of his swings, and this season that is up to 70.8%. Engel looks a lot like Greg Allen in that the batting line might not sound appealing, but the speed does. This season Engel already has 10 steals, which is more than 2017’s pace. The upside is there if the batting line improves.

P - Andrew Cashner (SP, BAL) - 3% owned

Baltimore pitchers should be avoided like the plague, but Cashner has looked like a good pitcher in the past few weeks. In his previous five starts Cashner is posting a 2.89 ERA and while not winning any games, looks like a good overall profile that makes him fantasy worthy in non-mixed leagues. The issue is that the Ks are low, with only a 5.14 K/9 in that time. Without wins and Ks this is nothing more than an SP5 profile, but if that ERA stays the same, at least worth a look for streaming options. Away from home, his ERA sits at 4.01 as opposed to the 4.70 line at home. This makes sense with the park and should give owners some ability to start him on the road and keep a good floor. When starting pitching is weak across the board on the wire, and the chance to add some production and innings counts for more than it should, Cashner is the play this week.

P - Ryan Yarbrough (SP/RP, TB) - 6% owned

Is he a starter or not will be the question for most fantasy owners, but either way the stats seem to a support a pitcher worthy of a roster spot. In 84 total innings, Yarbrough has a 3.75 ERA with 8.25 K/9 and a total of seven wins. While not the dominant stuff so far for a reliever, if he is getting more starts the overall line looks promising. To keep improving, Yarbrough needs to induce more ground balls as the current rate sits at 39.2% but this is about eight points lower than his minor league average so the promise is there. The other rub, or place for owners to watch, is that he does give up more than normal contact with an 82.2% contact rate. If that keeps up and he does not get more grounders, there is a power issue with the profile. As in, is the contact stays the same expect more balls to leave the yard.  In the short term, and with some improvement, this is a good starting play with a decent team context.  For this week at least add the player, and then make a decision moving forward based on an increase sample size.

P - James Hoyt (RP, CLE) - 0% owned

While not active right now, there is a good chance that Hoyt is added to the Cleveland bullpen before long. While the team, in general, has rebounded, Josh Tomlin has not, and there is a spot for another righty even with Tyler Olson and Andrew Miller returning to add lefty depth to the pen. The most significant loss for Cleveland has been Bryan Shaw, and while he is not having the same season in Colorado, there is still a need for someone to emerge for the 7th inning role. Hoyt looks to fit the mold with a 12.04 K/9 last season in Houston, and the 2.55 BB/9 rate plays as well. This season at Triple-A Hoyt is posting a 2.25 ERA with 10.61 K/9, so the skills seem to be there. If he gets the call, this should be a good ratio play, and with that team, there is a chance to walk into a few wins as well.

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers




More Recent Articles

 

FAAB Bidding - Week 6 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More


We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 6 Outliers

In Week 6, several players exploded in fantasy lineups. There were a few receivers that were above the rest of the pack in Week 6, such as Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin and Tyreek Hill, but there shouldn't be any surprises there as those guys should have been in fantasy lineups. At the quarterback... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 7

The bye week difficulties continue this week with Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay all getting their rest in Week 7. It should be noted, however, that just because a player is currently in their bye week, doesn't mean you should avoid them on the waiver wire. In fact, this is often the easiest way... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

All of a sudden, the Chargers look like one of the worst teams in football and the Jets look like a playoff contender. Maybe things won't shake out that way in the end but it goes to show how quickly things change in the "Not For Long" NFL. For that reason, we advise looking at... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 7)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More


Week 7 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 6 is done, and we've seen some outstanding games thus far. We've also seen a lot of surprising teams through six weeks. The San Francisco 49ers, after picking in the top 10 for four straight years, are 5-0 with one of the most complete teams in football. As far as kickers go, we're seeing... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Some of you have been rewarded for your meticulous roster planning by receiving excellent production from your running backs. Unfortunately, many of you have been equally prepared when making roster decisions, but have been undermined by injuries, inconsistent usage, or underwhelming performances. If that applies to you, then those unwanted outcomes have forced you to... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

We weren't really surprised by the top-scoring fantasy wide receivers from Week 6. Out of the top-20 receivers, only Jamison Crowder, Auden Tate and Jaron Brown were less than 50% owned. Jaron Brown (0% owned) was only targeted five times but he scored two touchdowns off of those five targets. Auden Tate (23% owned) hauled... Read More


Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers – Week 7

Another week, another four teams on bye in the NFL. Fantasy football players are going to have to make due this week without Carolina’s Greg Olsen, Tampa Bay’s O.J. Howard and Pittsburgh’s Vance McDonald, not to mention Seattle’s Will Dissly, who was injured this past Sunday. It could be a worse week for fantasy players... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 7

It was another big week at the quarterback position, as five quarterbacks topped 30 points and 12 scored more than 20 heading into Sunday Night Football. Most of the big performers were players we expect, such as Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson, but we also got some surprising starts from quarterbacks who are widely available.... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

The Jets are back! OK, maybe not back because they were never here but at least there's some actual hope and fantasy value to be had from a previously winless team. The tight end landscape has changed drastically again, as Hunter Henry returns right at 60% ownership, while breakout second-year Seahawk Will Dissly's season appears... Read More


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups List

Back by popular demand in 2019... RotoBaller has brought back for the NFL season our Ultimate 2019 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Waiver Wire Pickups List.  Be sure to also try our other lineup tools below. Using your phone? Be sure to also download our free app which includes news, notifications, injury alerts & articles.   Rankings WizardWeekly... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 6 Amari Cooper (quad) has been ruled out for the game. Will Dissly went down with a non-contact achilles... Read More


Week 6 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More