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AL-Only Waiver Wire Team of the Week: MLB Week 24

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.

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AL-Only Team of the Week

C - Caleb Joseph (C, BAL) - 1% owned

A traditional backup catcher, Joseph is not often in the conversation for fantasy baseball. He carries little value with the bat but makes up with real-life skills that will keep him his job. For example, this year, he is slashing .202/.244/.309, but has still played in 70 games. Why is now the time to add Joseph? First, he is the clear starter with Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns sitting on the bench so far. Second, he has hit more homers in the second half than the first, even if that is only two to one. Joseph does tend to do better later in the season, so the best offensive numbers might be yet to come. All in all, there is a bit more production as of late, and with regular playing time, should be worth an add.

1B - Daniel Palka (1B/LF, CHW) - 4% owned

A decent start to his career with Chicago, Palka is next in line of power first, corner bats. What owners like about the profile are the 22 homers and the 55 RBI in 105 games. What they do not like is the .238 batting average so far. At the same time, with a SLG of .471, when he does make contact, the production is there. This means that even with the high K rate, 33.1 K%, there is still value with increased power numbers. Also, he has added a few points to that batting average in his second half line. This means that he is getting better with more time versus top-flight pitchers, and perhaps adding to his floor. Whatever the case, the power alone is worth a stash.

2B - Brock Holt (2B/3B/SS/OF) - 2% owned

So far Holt has hit well enough that Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been finding him spots around the field. This is where the position flexibility helps the most; when a player will be good enough to warrant time and does not have to fight off another player to keep getting time. In 94 games, Holt is slashing .257/.344/.357 with three homers and six steals. The K rate is down a few points, and overall, the rate stats are up across the board. Holt is ideal for injury cover, or late in the season when starters are getting spelled, a replacement that might play five times a week. He will not win a category for owners, but keeps productive enough that it helps in roto leagues. At the very least, when he can fit anywhere, all owners have holes to deal with for the last few weeks.

3B - Rosell Herrera (2B/3B/SS/OF, KC) - 0% owned

Another player in the Brock Holt mode, but with a bit more upside concerning age and speed. Herrera has only stolen two bases in 69 games this year. In the past he's seen thirty plus steal seasons in the minors. While he is on a struggling team, look for Herrera to not only get regular time as a starter but an increased role regarding pinch running. When the team is adding a variety of players, there are times when prospects added in September are up just to hit, and not to run. Or, the team would instead fill in a faster player for the slower corner hitters. The batting line is a bit down at .224/.278/.298, but the speed upside alone is worth the gamble this late. Also, with 17 runs in 68 games, he does score enough when he gets on base to make him worth it in a few categories.

SS - David Fletcher (2B/3B/SS, LAA) - 3% owned

The final of the flexible infielders to appear this week, Fletcher has impressed since his call earlier in the year. In 72 games he is slashing .287/.330/.378 with one homer and three steals. The rest of the way owners should look to Fletcher as an average floor player with some speed upside. The OBP numbers mean he is on base and therefore will add more steal opportunities as opposed to others at the position. The other piece is that the Angels do have some offensive potential in the right match-ups, so there is a bit of line-up context also adding to Fletcher’s value. Fletcher also adds in some position flexibility making this an easy deep-league add.

OF - Alex Gordon (OF, KC) - 3% owned

How much time remains in the Alex Gordon/Kansas City bond? The rest of the contract it seems. Never the same player since the deal, Gordon does still offer an option for owners looking for regular production, but not hoping for the hot runs as well. Gordon has been consistent this year with a .239/.317/.359 line. The good news? 11 homers, 49 runs, and nine steals. This means that if teams can cover for some of the drop in batting average, there is a 15/15 player to be had. Not only that, but he scores a vast majority of the team’s run due to placement in the line-up, so Gordon can still put up fantasy numbers. At least in four outfielder leagues, this is an easy add, and in others, Gordon fits nicely on the bench.

OF - Cameron Maybin (OF, SEA) - 2% owned

Added as a back-up as the Mariners tried for a Wild Card spot, Maybin has been playing well enough to see extra time. In the second half, he is still hitting .242 but is on pace to smash his first-half numbers in RBI and homers. This means that either he is hitting better so far, or that the move to Safeco is adding to the power floor. Either way, he played 18 games in August and seemed to be playing at least four times a week. As a whole this season, Maybin has dropped two points from his K rate and has added to every rate stat. While not the top fantasy asset that he was thought of some seasons ago, Maybin offers enough of a blend in production to factor into most fantasy teams. Best of all? He is free in 98% of leagues.

OF - Nick Delmonico (OF, CWS) - 1% owned

The White Sox seem to have a type this year, and that type is power hitters with low batting averages. So far in 2018, Delmonico has eight homers but is slashing .215/.302/.390 in 76 games. Compared to his past stint in the Majors, this is the baseline for Delmonico, as he has shown a bit more power per game in the past. In fact, in the second half, he has hit seven of his total bombs. If this continues, the rest of the way could see him add three or so more homers. Also, Delmonico is walking a bit more this time, but also striking out more as well. Not a great profile, but another power option with a good park and a track record.

P - Brandon Workman (RP, BOS) - 0% owned

Workman appeared on this list earlier in the year and still seems to have a spot in a crowded Boston bullpen. While no longer the top starting prospect from a few years back Workman does bring an excellent mix to his role and can add some length as needed. In 26.1 innings he has an ERA of 2.48 with 7.68 K/9. The blemish in the profile is the 1.48 HR/9, which is a bit concerning with the smaller sample size. And yet, it has not hurt him so far with the ERA, so he also has been able to work around the homers. The good news is a 1.13 WHIP, which is the best of his career in the Majors to date. Workman does not allow runners on base, and also looks to be an excellent option for coming on with runners already on. This flexibility has kept him in service, and he has enough stuff for the fantasy radar.

P - Adam Cimber (RP, CLE) - 1% owned

Cimber has not been great since moving to Cleveland but still looks to be a solid fantasy option for owners looking for ratios. Cimber does have some access to the closer role as Francona has been willing to pitch Cody Allen in the seventh as needed, but owners should not be adding him for saves. What he can offer is a 3.37 FIP and 2.08 BB/9. Add that to a 7.86 K/9 rate, and Cimber looks like a decent reliever. What stands out is the 56.4% ground ball rate. Not only does he offer a goofy delivery to induce swings, but also double play balls that allow him to get out of innings with runners on, limiting the damage. Even with less speed in the fastball, he has been getting 9.8 SwStr% this season. Not a flamethrower, but a solid relief option that should be fantasy relevant.

P - Tony Sipp (RP, HOU) - 0% owned

Sipp emerged in the Majors as a top lefty matchup arm for Cleveland in 2009 and has never moved off that spot wherever he has gone. Fantasy owners want Sipp if he is facing a lefty, but not if a righty steps into the box. This means, and when adding Sipp, teams are also adding A.J. Hinch. The good news is that the stuff is there, with a 9.55 K/9 rate. These numbers are up a bit from the career average and has looked his best in Houston. No saves here, but for a K or two an appearance this should be the option for owners. The other good news is that with the shorter outings he will never give up a massive run total. Sipp pitches on a good enough team that the lefty has fantasy value.


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