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Digger Deeper: AL-Only Waiver Wire Report for Week 10


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 for 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. Now, onto the AL version of the Island of Misfit Fantasy Toys. Note, all FAAB recommendations are based on a $1000 budget.

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C - Roberto Perez (C, CLE)

1% owned, FAAB $19

After a slump took out most of his value in 2018, Perez has rebounded as one of the better hitters in Cleveland this campaign. The good news for owners is that the team loves Perez. In fact, Cleveland had him slotted as the starter entering this year even after the horrendous 2018 season due to the glove alone. Without a clear option to replace him, Perez is expected to start the rest of the year, adding that playing time floor that owners want on the wire at the position.

In 42 games this year he is slashing .220/.320/.425, but the selling point has been the eight homers. Add in 14 runs scored, and 19 driven in, and Perez has been one of the better counting-stat catchers in the league. Perez has a .239 xBA, so the contact numbers are supporting a better offensive approach this year. Add in the 14.9 Barrel % and Perez is emerging as the power hitter that his scouting report always hinted at as he developed. For now, Perez is a playing time add, but has been showing the power to make a true impact in all formats.

 

1B - Kendrys Morales (1B, NYY)

1% owned, FAAB $8

Perhaps nearing the end of his career, New York might not even be the final stop for Morales this year. Still, on a team that has pieced it together with veteran bats, Morales still offers one of the best hit tools in the league. He has lost some of the bat speed, so the high chase rate that drove most of his career value is not there. Still, when he gets fastballs, the numbers show he can still square them up. Imagine Hanley Ramirez, with a bit more contact, and fantasy owners know where they can play that bat.

So far in 2019, Morales has slashed .197/.317/.257 with two homers and 14 runs scored. The second number shows the value of the team and allows Morales to be of use even without the production at the plate. The other good news is that the xBA sits at .278, with owners expecting Morales to turn the season around soon. The batting average will be the key, with runs as the primary fantasy option. There is a limit on power, but Yankee Stadium can only add value there for the veteran bat. For now, Morales is a buy-low, with the setting to earn more that the bid it takes to own him.

 

2B - Yolmer Sanchez (2B/3B, CWS)

1% owned, FAAB $18

After a solid 2018 campaign, Sanchez is back with even more value for fantasy owners in 2019. While not an All-Star by any means, Sanchez does offer a solid bat up the middle, with the surging team around him for added value. This campaign he is slashing .258/.345/.316 with one homer and two steals. Adding in value across the categories, Sanchez will be mainly valuable for points and rate stats. And yet, in roto leagues, the batting line is an improvement, up from career .243 mark.

Past of the success comes from Sanchez seeing more pitches this year. His per plate appearance number is up to 4.2 from 3.9 last year. The other good sign is that his walk rate is also up a few points, so this patience is turning into walks. Not a sexy player by any means, Sanchez offers a good batting average floor up the middle. Expect him to grow into a bit more power, with a career-high of 12 in 2017. For now, add as a stopgap, but expect him to challenge for more playing time.

 

3B - Ronny Rodriguez (1B/2B/3B/SS, DET)

4% owned, FAAB $13

Third is shaping up to be an interesting position in the American League, especially as more bench bats move to utility profiles. This means that there is a lack of true reserve options at the spot, limiting the CI slot as well. For that reason, owners are looking for steady production from third, as opposed to the offensive anchor that the hot corner can offer in fantasy. While owners know that they will need to drop expectations on overall, this also applies to the power and hit upside.

With, Rodriguez offers an attractive profile, with a stock that is quickly dropping after some early hype. This means that owners can buy a player who was owned in 42% of leagues a few weeks back for pennies on the dollar this week. The drop in value is for a good reason, namely a .217 xBa so far. Like Sanchez above, this is a case where the better production at the plate is worth gambling on the projections. At this point, buy the 10 Barrel%, and hope that the rest comes. Even more, Rodriquez will keep getting chances to play, so an adjustment back to the league can offer value for fantasy rosters.

 

SS - Luis Rengifo (2B/SS, LAA)

1% owned, FAAB $11

A prospect that has split some opinions since his debut, Rengifo has looked better since being recalled for his second trip to Los Angeles. Long term I still do not expect the bat to play up to fantasy value, but for now, over a small sample, he looks to be making the most of it. In 24 games, Rengifo is slashing .228/.323/.342 with one homer. Hitting in the eight spot does hurt his floor, but for now, the spot looks to be his.

The value will come from the speed, with 130 career steals in 436 games in the minors. The 28 homers over that time show that he will have to play at short to be of value in fantasy. The glove can stick, and with Jahmai Jones at second, the Angels seem to have a solid infield. Do not overbid on Rengifo, but he offers a safe bet at the spot for short term. At the very least, he seems to be the primary hitting prospect the team will be shuttling up and down this year.

 

OF - Keon Broxton (OF, BAL)

1% owned, FAAB $23

As a fantasy player, Broxton has the perfect profile. With a glove to play in all three outfield spots, and the power and speed combo to match, he looks to fit in most teams and formats. And yet, the tools have not translated to value, with a career .219 batting average. Add in only 36 homers, and 56 steals over 319 games and the issues are clear. Still, with a move to Baltimore last week, he is stepping into a team with the opening for him to play four times a week. Young enough to be involved in a rebuild, Broxton is a stable fit for the team with a chance to earn a role for next year.

The park plays big into Broxton’s fantasy value, with Camden playing as the 11th most offensive park this year. With a 1.29 HR factor alone, expect the Broxton power to play up enough to be playable in all formats. The xSLG likes him to keep this up with a .347 mark to date. Even without the park, the prospect hype was real, and owners know that grown is not literal. When Broxton is batting sixth, and has a firm hold on playing time, he is a must add this week.

 

OF - Charlie Tilson (OF, CWS)

1% owned, FAAB $16

After seemingly losing his job this spring, Tilson has emerged as a regular for the Sox after a recall. In 28 games he is slashing .263/.327/.326 with one homer and three steals. Getting most of his playing time in right field he has lacked the arm, so expect him to play in left if there is room. Limited at the plate in terms of raw power, Tilson is still an OF4 on most teams. The main reason he is moving up boards this year, is the clear batting line improvement. A .26o batting line keeps him on the team, and with that comes the other counting numbers.

The other reason to target Tilson is the Sox team as a whole. While only sitting 22nd in the overall team run scored charts, the team is outperforming its total bases and homers. This means that they are batting well with runners in scoring position, so owning a player who gets on base will add to that mark. For now, there is still a definite ceiling, but Tilson has moved to a fantasy relevant player with some room for growth. Chicago is a team playing good ball entering the summer, and players like Tilson are smart pieces to own with 100 games to play.

 

OF - Delino DeShields (OF, TEX)

1% owned, FAAB $17

Seeing how far Deshields has fallen is a bit of a shock, as he has moved from a top-15 pick in drafts last year, to free in most leagues. Owners known that the impact potential is still there, making this a hard one to pass up. Even with a demotion, he has swiped nine bags for the Rangers, placing him in a tie for 14th place in the Bigs to date. With half the games as others that high on the list, expect him to keep the pace going. In fact, he looks like a lock to lead the league if he is up the rest of the year.

The downside is real with a .194 batting line. His xBa does sit at .213, so there are some gains on the way. Still, with this player, the only real play is speed. With rabbits dying off, fantasy owners can bank the category with this type of player. For an owner in need of steals, this is a gift on the wire.

 

SP - Dylan Covey (SP, CWS)

1% owned, FAAB $6

Covey was a scary pitcher to own in fantasy last year. While he would look great during some outings, during others, the ball would fly out of the park. While the homer issues are still there this year, the WHIP is down, and the stuff is creeping up. A good target for owners in need of innings, Covey is holding down a role for one of the top prospects. For now, he will get the ball every fifth day.

The upside comes from an increased fastball usage coupled with a sharp drop in his sinker. The sinker was one of his worst offerings last year, with a .298 batting average against by opposing hitters. This means that if he is moving away from an ineffective pitch, the return should be better by default. The fastball does not register on last year’s pitch lists, but the comparable changeup held opponents to a sub-.100 batting line. With the team playing better, there are wins to be had, but avoid the clear match-ups with power hitters to get the most value.

 

RP- Cam Bedrosian (SP/RP, LAA)

1% owned, FAAB $8

Owners will need to check their league eligibility with this pitcher, as Bedrosian has been opening a bit for the Angels. The former, future closer for the Angels, Bedrosian has battled arm and performance issues in his return to the mound. Still, in 27 innings this year he has 30 Ks, with a 1.17 WHIP. Five starts show the trend with his usage, but he also has a clear one inning limit in that role it appears. Still, the stuff is playing, and even with a limit, will be worth the add.

The significant change this year has been the pitch mix. Bedrosian's fastballs are way down, but sliders are up. Not only is the latter pitch up in terms of velocity, but is posting a .140 batting average this year. With a 33.9 Whiff% on the slider Bedrosian now has a plus pitch to add to the plus fastball. This will be effective, and when used versus the top of the lineup, will be able to add those Ks for fantasy owners. A play for ratio over counting numbers, this could be a path to closing down the road. For now, owners can expect the start of the season to continue.

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