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Digger Deeper: AL-Only Waiver Wire Report for Week 13


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 - Zack Collins (C, CWS)

1% owned, FAAB $6

To be honest, Collins does not break the top five in terms of catching prospects in the minors right now. He is a good glove, with some upside in the bat, but lacks the overall profile to be an elite catcher in the Majors. Still, he is on the door step and looks to be ready for an extended look. A good rest of the way could see him win the starting gig for 2020 as the Sox look to put some pieces in place on this rebuild. James McCann will keep the starting role, and also should be owned, but Collins has appeared at the DH since his call to give him increased chances at the plate.

A 2016 first round pick, there is evident pedigree with Collins as a prospect stock. And yet, over his time in the minors, Collins posted a career .234/.378/.434 slash with 49 homers in 324 games. The key to success will be the glove and power combo. If he can be a .240 hitter with 25 homers and a decent glove, that will be enough for him to stick with the team. For the fact that he is close, and has had a power run to start his time in the Bigs, owners should be making cheap bids on Collins this week. In dynasty formats, I am still down on Collins, but for teams in need of a catcher, Collins will be on the best options on the wire.

 

1B - Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX)

1% owned, FAAB $18

Guzman is another player that always seems to slide down the ownership rates, even at the expense of what his bat is producing in Arlington. Batting eight and starting at first five times a week, Guzman has made up for the lack of batting average with the pop at the plate. So far, through 51 games, Guzman has eight homers and 18 doubles. While the batting average is stuck at .222, the .449 SLG shows that the value is there. The swing has a ton of loft, which can lead to fly ball outs, but also can add a power floor at one of the best hitting parks in the league this year,

The other reason to buy-in on Guzman is a .256 xBA. While last year looked better on paper, his xBA was 10 points lower than his actual rate. This year, this xBA is 30 points higher than his actual production, leading to some interest in positive regression in the second-half. Guzman has the glove to play a plus first, and the power to push 30 over a full year. For now, buy low with the batting average, and expect the stock to continue to rise.

 

2B - Luis Arraez (2B, MIN)

1% owned, FAAB $17

After bouncing between Triple-A and Minnesota so far this year, Arraez seems to finally be sticking with the team. So far, over 15 games, Arraez is slashing .436/.521/.590 with one homer and a steal. Add in the eight runs scored, and Arraez is showing up as a hitter with a knack for scoring when he gets on base. A good glove and the athleticism to hang around, Arraez will be a name to know in 2020.

Mixing between short and second over the past week, expect Arraez to primarily be a utility option for the Twins. Still, this would mean four games a week, with both Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza set to miss time on the Injured List. For now, add Arraez for the hit tool, and hope that he gets the chance to steal a bit more. While the ceiling is low, the floor is there, and with a team still top of the league in homers, Arraez will score runs via big hits.

 

3B - Michael Brosseau (3B, TB)

0% owned, FAAB $5

A name that many in fantasy leagues will never have seen or heard before this list, Brosseau entered the year not even ranked as a top-30 prospect in the Tampa system. Still, with the call Brosseau seems to be the immediate cover for Yandy Diaz’s injury. With only two games so far, he appears to be set in a platoon with Joey Wendle at third. Over those two games, Brosseau has two hits, two RBI, and one run scored, so a solid start the very least.

Off to a hot start at Durham, Brosseau is another player who has improved with each step up the minor league ladder. For example, his season-high for homers before 2018 was seven, and after a promotion to Double-A, Brosseau hit 13 homers. This year, after a promotion to Triple-A, he slugged 14 homers in 66 games before the call. For owners willing to take a real shot, Brosseau is slotted into a good team, with an excellent park to unlock what power might be developing.

 

SS - Humberto Arteaga (SS, KC)

0% owned, FAAB $8

An amateur free agent signing out of Venezuela by the Royals in 2010, Arteaga has been a slow burner on his way to the Majors. Still only 25, Arteaga never had much prospect shine but has put together a stable career in the minor leagues. With a career .253/.288/.323 slash, he has been a solid fielder with some speed upside that car hit in the seven spot on most teams.

The main selling point for fantasy owners will be the 25-plus steal upside. With the Royals already planning to run often this year, Arteaga is the type of player who can benefit the most from the tactics. The hit tool does lead to some questions regarding his staying power, but with Adalberto Mondesi Jr. still out with a knock, Arteaga will at least have a week to show his value. A dart for teams in need of steal, a cheap bid on the wire this week is appropriate.

 

OF - JaCoby Jones (OF, DET)

4% owned, FAAB $8

Jones is a player that keeps underperforming, being sent down to the minors, and somehow ending back on the fantasy radar. Since his recall, Jones has been hitting lead-off and spending most of this time in centerfield. The ideal spot for fantasy owners in terms of what he can bring to the plate, Jone will score from the top of this team. While he might also hit .240, the context is there for a bump with Miguel Cabrera batting two spots back.

Over 63 total games this year, Jones is slashing .257/.325/.466 with nine homers and six steals. Add in 22 RBI, and Jones has recovered from what was a dreadful beginning to the campaign. With a .250 xBA, the metrics at least like this to be his best campaign with the Tigers. The tools have always been there, and when Jones has been hitting, the power and speed upside are hard to ignore. For now, owners should be willing to take a shot, as the recent form is worth the price. Worst case, Jones is a natural cut next week.

 

OF - Myles Straw (OF, HOU)

1% owned, FAAB $21

The next two outfielders offer much the same profile, and also might be fighting for playing time in Houston. With Straw perhaps offering the better speed upside over the latter, the fantasy value is clearer with this asset, even when giving back some bat. Straw does have the best sprint speed on the waiver wire and might be a top five in the game by the end of the year. Even when Straw is not getting much playing time, he does have three steals over 35 ABs this year.

The key to Straw as a fantasy asset is the hit tool, with a .301 career minor league average. If he can even keep his line in the .280 range, with the 40 steal upside Straw will be a crucial play for most teams. To date, in those 35 ABs, Straw does have 10 hits to compliment his 10 runs scored. At the current pace, even without playing time. Straw will get enough situational chances to make him worth the add.

 

OF - Tony Kemp (2B/OF, HOU)

1% owned, FAAB $17

If Straw offers the speed upside, then Kemp offers the hitting tool. While he also has speed, with a 20-25 ceiling as compared to the 40+ for Straw, shows the gap in value at that category. Still, with the ability to play both second and the outfield, expect Kemp to have a higher floor for playing time. Add in the eight homer value over a full year, and Kemp will be the better play in most roto-leagues. At least for owners who are looking for multi-category value, but are willing to sacrifice elite value at one spot, Kemp seems to be the clear fit.

In 43 games this year, Kemp is slashing .230/.310/.416 with homer homers and three steals. The 18 runs show the team context and will help Kemp score off the OBP as opposed to his lower batting line. His expected numbers are not great, with a .217 xBA the rest of the way. Still, the value comes from more than the hit tool, and Kemp is too valuable to be free on the wire. At the worse, play him at MI for the run value.

 

SP - Tanner Anderson (SP, OAK)

2% owned, FAAB $6

Slotted as the fifth starter at the time this piece was being written, Anderson looks to have a real shot to stick in the rotation past his next outing. Appearing in three games so far, Anderson has an ERA of 4.20 with 12 Ks in 15 innings. The upside comes from the 1.13 WHIP and the four BBs over his first few innings of the year. In the minors, the control was always there, and if he can limit the runners, then Anderson can continue to limit the damage. In his first two starts, he only allowed two runs in 5.2 innings per start, adding some context to the three runs over four innings outing recently that is bloating the gross ERA.

The concern will be the stuff, but Anderson also can touch 93 on both the fastball and sinker. With the latter being his best offering, Anderson also has to watch the command on that pitch. It posted his highest BB% lines for any of his pitches and is not an effective pitch for putting hitters away. If he can generate outs using the sinker in the field, Anderson could be a solid SP4 for the rest of the way. Owners can also trade some of the stuff for the wins that Oakland can offer over a full season.

 

RP - Aaron Bummer (RP, CWS)

2% owned, FAAB $7

As the White Sox have played better to date than many expected, much of that credit has to go to a bullpen that has been right in the middle of the league. In ERA, the bullpen is 14th in baseball and 14th in H/9. While this will not help the team score runs, the bullpen can keep the offense in games, adding to the saves and wins upside in fantasy leagues. Even more interesting for the Sox, without many big names in the pen, this group could be around all year. While not an elite staff yet, the Sox have the makings of a foundation to anchor their pitching staff.

Bummer stands out as one of the better arms who is not currently in the closer role. With seven SV+Hs Bummer has been pitching in high-leverage innings, and is adding additional value with 26 Ks in 25 innings so far. While a lefty hurler, Bummer is often kept in games for a full inning with good stuff to both handed-hitters. For an arm with the stuff to add Ks versus match-up hitters, Bummer is a good target this week. Moving forward, he has a chance at some saves, but the team will tend to keep him in a match-up role for now.

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