A long season has finally come to an end. Hopefully good fortune found you and your teams in 2016. Of course, us RotoBallers know that winning isn't just a matter of luck! I would like to think this column gave you NL-only and deep-league owners some helpful advice along the way. I
n lieu of a list of suggestions for waiver adds with just four days remaining, here are some of the most valuable players that were regularly nominated on this list. These players may turn out to be even more valuable in 2017 and some could still be draft-day sleepers.
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Speed Demon - Jonathan Villar (2B/3B/SS, MIL)
You may not have drafted Villar (let's face it, almost nobody did), but if you scooped him up early on, he rewarded you handsomely. Villar has been running wild all season and isn't stopping. Despite being caught a league-high 18 times, he is still leading the NL with 59 steals. Even with an awful September slump to close things out, he is hitting .283 and delivered more than just speed with 88 R as well. With middle and corner infield eligibility, Villar has become a more valuable version of Billy Hamilton.
Honorable mention: Travis Jankowski (OF, SD)
Cheap Seats Investor - Ryan Schimpf (2B/3B, SD)
Don't pretend you knew who Schimpf was before this season. This 28 year old rookie was languishing in the minors until the desperate Padres threw him in the lineup mid-season. He delivered far more power than anyone could have predicted, launching nine homers in 23 games in July. He now has 19 HR and 48 RBI in 266 AB, giving him a ridiculous .312 ISO. His .218 average may have been a drag, but if you needed help in homers alone, he was your man. He may not even stick in the lineup next year as the new wave of Padres enters the fray, but he could become a streaming waiver option at some point again.
Honorable mention: Jedd Gyorko (1B/2B/3B/SS, STL)
Late Season Savior - Trea Turner (2B/OF, WAS)
Fantasy owners were eagerly awaiting Turner's call-up throughout the first half, but it wasn't until July that Turner began to see regular playing time. He was serviceable, but didn't really turn it on until after the trade deadline. Turner hit a blazing .357/5/15 with 11 SB in the month of August and has been just as good in September, hitting .333/7/15 with nine SB. He was truly a savior to many fantasy owners down the stretch and will surely be a high draft selection in 2017.
Honorable Mention: Ender Inciarte
Mr. Consistency - Angel Pagan (OF, SF)
Pagan got off to a hot start, hitting .315 and scoring 17 runs in the first 24 games of the season. Injuries derailed his season slightly with two separate DL stints, but he never showed ill effects from the missed time. Pagan managed to go the entire season without letting his average slip below .270 until September 23rd. Pagan didn't dominate any one category, but contributed in all of them, including 66 R, 11 HR, 51 RBI and 14 SB. He makes an ideal third or fourth outfielder in deep leagues where consistency matters.
Honorable mention: Yasmani Grandal (C, LA)
Maybe Next Year - Hunter Renfroe/Manuel Margot (OF, SD)
This pair of Futures stars in San Diego were shoo-ins to be recalled once the Padres traded away Melvin Upton and Matt Kemp. Then they weren't. Once the rosters expanded to 40, they were sure to see time in the month of September. Then they didn't. The PCL playoffs took priority, so it was with one week left in the season that we got ever so slight a glimpse of Renfroe's power (two HR, seven RBI in one game) and Margot's speed (a double, triple and steal in one game). Sure to be hot commodities next year, we can only imagine what they might have done for us as regulars a month ago.
Honorable mention: J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI)
Fool's Gold - Jhonny Peralta (3B/SS, STL)
Peralta experienced a revival season in 2014 when he moved to St. Louis and then found himself an NL All-Star in 2015. It was known he would miss the first chunk of the 2016 season with a torn thumb ligament, but he was expected to pickup where he left off once he returned. Instead, Peralta has a .252 average and seven HR, 25 RBI in 266 at-bats. Hardly worth rostering, Peralta proved that not all injuries are quite so easy to recover from.
Honorable mention: Brandon Drury (2B/3B/OF, ARI)
NL Waiver Wire MVP - Adam Duvall (OF, CIN)
Duvall was featured in the very first week of this column due to his starting nod in left field. Nine weeks into the season and Duvall still registered a 12% ownership rate, warranting a third mention. By July he was participating in the Home Run Derby and representing the Reds at the mid-summer classic. With less than a week remaining, he has a whopping 33 HR and 100 RBI. If you snagged him early on (when I suggested), then you gladly reaped the benefits of a power outburst. And yes, it's true that I picked him up on Opening Day in an NL-only league and proceeded to drop him a week later. Lesson learned...
Honorable mention: Trea Turner (2B/OF, WAS)
Strikeout King - Robbie Ray (SP, ARI)
Robbie Ray boasts a strong 11.4 K/9 and his 215 K rank him ninth in the majors. How could such a flamethrower be nothing more than a streaming option for most of the season? A 4.77 ERA and 1.46 WHIP might have something to do with it. Ray continues to frustrate with erratic control and an 8.9% BB%. He will also need to limit hard hits by lowering his 28% LD% in the hitter-friendly confines of Arizona. He can get you strikeouts in bunches though.
Honorable mention: Jon Gray
Fireman - Fernando Rodney (RP, MIA)
Although it was known Rodney would be the closer in San Diego to begin the year, his ownership rate was below 25% for several weeks. Even as he threw 25 consecutive scoreless innings to start the season and boasted a 0.00 ERA as late as June 20th, he was widely available in fantasy leagues. He eventually moved to a setup role in Miami after being traded, but his 17 first half saves came at quite the cheap price for many of you.
Honorable mention: Jim Johnson (RP, ATL)
Late Season Savior - Seth Lugo (SP, NYM)
If the Metropolitans somehow find a way to hang onto a wild card spot without the majority of their vaunted, young rotation, it will be a miracle. Although Terry Collins is unlikely to get any credit, some of it should definitely go to Seth Lugo. A less than impressive minor league career and injury-filled past conspired to make Lugo a desperation call-up in July. He was forced into the rotation in late August and promptly delivered four straight wins and four QS out of eight. He is still yet to allow more than three ER in an appearance. It's hard to imagine him sticking in the rotation next year if everyone manages to return healthy, but he could find himself bailing out the rotation once again if the need arises. If nothing else, look him up on Youtube to watch one of the filthiest curveballs you'll ever see.
Honorable mention: Mike Montgomery (RP/SP, CHC)
Mr. Consistency - Tyler Anderson (SP, COL)
Fellow rookie Jon Gray gave fantasy owners some outstanding games and certainly helped in the strikeout category, but he also experienced wild fluctuations in performance. Anderson proved to be the most reliable Rockies pitcher and even, dare I say, Coors Field proof. Anderson's 3.00 ERA and 1.25 ERA in 12 home starts are remarkably good for a rookie, much less one in Colorado. A decent 7.8 K/9 and promising 3.54 K/BB rate should have warranted much higher ownership than Anderson ever experienced. He could fly under the radar in fantasy drafts next season and make for a savvy late round pick.
Honorable mention: David Phelps (RP/SP, MIA)
Maybe Next Year - Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS)
Like Trea Turner, teammate Lucas Giolito was the pitching equivalent - a top prospect that only needed a chance to strut his stuff. The difference is that Turner delivered, whereas Giolito disappointed. He ends the year with an ugly 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in four starts and two relief appearances. Giolito remains a top prospect, but his star has lost a little bit of shine.
Honorable mention: Jose De Leon (SP, LAD)
Fool's Gold - Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP, LAD)
A sneaky mid-season waiver add turned into a wasted roster spot within a matter of days. Ryu's recovery from Tommy John surgery didn't go over as expected, leading to one ugly start (6 ER in 4.2 IP) and an immediate placement back on the DL. Ryu never recovered and will be a risky proposition again next season.
Honorable mention: Zach Eflin (SP, PHI)
MVP - Bartolo Colon (SP, NYM)
This had to go to Big Sexy. Nobody could have predicted, unfortunately, that the 43 year old would lead the team in games started or wind up as the #2 man in the rotation. With a 3.42 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and NL-leading 1.5 BB/9, Colon earned an All-Star birth and continues to defy conventional wisdom. At this rate, he may be pitching until he's 50. At least we can hope so.
Honorable mention: Junior Guerra
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