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Digging Deeper: NL-Only Waiver 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 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. Note: all FAAB bids assume a $1000 budget.

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C - Thomas Nido (C, NYM)

0% owned, FAAB $4

Currently the reserve catching option in New York, Nido has managed to get into the team 22 times this year. Offering some pop at the plate, highlighted by the three homers so far, over limited chances, Nido is one of the upside options to target this week. While currently hitting .227, his xBA is .248, so there is some gain on the horizon. Add in the 88.2 exit velocity, and Nido is making solid contact to start his campaign.

While playing time will be a concern, Wilson Ramos will deal with his share of knocks over the year, and Nido will play at least 40% of the games. Still a young catcher, Nido is clearly in the future as a backup, so there will be interest in seeing him play. As the Mets play, so will Nido’s chances fluctuate. If they can get back in the race, Nido will sit more, but if the team continues to struggle, expect to see a bit more Nido. For now, Nido offers the most upside at the backstop, but owners still need to limit the expectations.

 

1B - Matt Beaty (1B/3B, LAD)

2% owned, FAAB $7

A former 12th round pick, Beaty made his debut versus the Giants after moving quickly through the minor leagues. In his debut, Beaty had  one plate appearance and had one hit. In fact, 13 of his 30 ABs have come in pinch-hitting chances. Still, even with limited opportunities, Beaty has put together a .329/.47/.471 slash with two homers and a steal. The Dodgers are starting to take notice, as only two of his last seven games has seen him enter off the bench.

Beaty can play at both corner infield positions but seems to be playing in left field since his recent recall. This would add outfield to his fantasy eligibility, and make him to ultimate corner-utility option. The fantasy output will come from appearances, as he lacks the power to be a real threat. Still, the hit tool has grades from 55-60, so there is some value there. Fantasy owners will expect Beaty to get on base, and score runs with the team context. At the very least, he will offer a bat with some movement in terms of defensive eligibility with upside. A cheap dart with a good floor, and might emerge as an anchor with the batting line.

 

2B - Yairo Munoz (2B/3B/SS/OF, STL)

0% owned, FAAB $13

After joining the Cardinals from the Athletics before the 2018 campaign, Munoz has been a mainstay on the roster. Able to play around the field, and add some extra pop, Munoz is ideal for the Cardinal style of play. With most of their moves coming in match-up scenarios, Munoz can hit and play anywhere to help add a run late in the game. Even with some struggles last year, he was around the team, so there is real stability to the Munoz stock. Even with efforts, he moves to the fantasy bench, waiting for the next hot stretch.

So far in 2019, Munoz is slashing .286/.297/.333 with two steals. Last year he did hit eight homers in 108 games, so the zero homer line to date is a bit odd. The exit velocity is down to 82.5 from 87.2, but the launch angle is the same from last year. This means that the power line might be down, but the batting line as a whole is still there. Steals are the added benefit with Munoz. Last year he stole five bags but was thrown out six times. This year he has two steals in three total tries. If he can add five homers and eight steals to a .280 batting line, Munoz is worth the FAAB bid. Expect three games a week, with injury insurance being his quickest route to more playing time.

 

3B - Pablo Sandoval (1B/3B, SFG)

2% owned, FAAB $11

Sandoval continues to hit in 2019 and is starting to be linked in trade rumors to some contenders. Playing on a cheap contract, Sandoval seems to be the ideal, deadline rental in terms of the flexibility and batting floor. If he is moved, the value will go up, but even if he stays, Sandoval looks to be the best corner on the wire right now. Sandoval might unlock some extra pop with a move, but he seems to be at home in San Francisco. Even on a bad team, owners can expect Sandoval to play hard every day, with a role that he seems to thrive in.

Through 71 games Sandoval is slashing .282/.321/.551 with nine homers and one steal. His exit velocity is up this year to 90,  and his launch angle has moved from 9.3 to 10.8. This shows some signs that the power might be sustainable, and he can improve on his regular 15 homer seasons. For now, Sandoval is a solid hitter who looks to be matching his .750 OPS season, and this can hang in fantasy at the corner.

 

SS - Tommy Edman (SS, STL)

1% owned, FAAB $7

A mid-teens organizational prospect, Edman has not been expected to be much value in fantasy leagues. And yet, over the past few seasons he has added to the batting line, pushing that over .300. Added to the Cardinal roster after a hot start at Triple-A, Edman looks to be a player who will add positions with time on the bench. In his first few games, Edman played at second, but owners can also expect third at some point with the rotation.

In the minors this year, Edman was slashing .305/.356/.513 with even homers and nine steals. While the power is new this year owners should expect that to grade out as a 35 tool for in-game power. Still, the batting average has been the carrying skill for the last year, and even in only 13 ABs in the Majors, Edman has four hits. With a sub-15 career K% in the minors, Edman will make contact, and make use of that eye to add to the batting floor. Love the team fit, and Edman is one of the second-half players to target for a break-out.

 

OF - Alex Dickerson (OF, SFG)

2% owned, FAAB $8

Dickerson is a former San Diego prospect getting a second chance with the Giants after his original club lost patience. A former third-round pick, Dickerson was never able to flash the bat to stay on the team and lacks the real speed or glove to offer much value without the stick. After starting the year off with a .158 batting line, San Diego traded Dickerson to the Giants. The move was a surprise, with the 40-man spot seemingly worth more that Dickerson for a team in the rebuild. Still, after some time in the minors, where he slashed .372/.469/.606 with five homers, Dickerson is back in the Bigs.

While he has only played in four games, Dickerson is batting .400 with one homer and one steal for the Giants. The other good news is that he looks to be in a platoon with Tyler Austin, giving him only right-handed hitters. For his career, he has hit .264 versus righties, and .235 versus lefties, so this could squeeze some extra value. Owners will trade playing time for the floor and can expect Dickerson to be playing in left a few games a week. No real ceiling, but a good plug-and-play option for owners in need of a quick bat.

 

OF - Josh Naylor (1B/OF, SD)

1% owned, FAAB $4

A middling prospect with some upside, Naylor has impressed so far during his time with the Padres. The key has always been the hit tool, with 60 plus grade. The limiting factor has been the glove, and lack of regular power over his time in the minors. Best suited as a designated hitter long term, Naylor has found his way into right fielder for the most part. If the glove can play, there is a .300 batting line upside in the bat.

Through 25 games Naylor is slashing .222/.282/.347, so he has not hit even the prospect floor that many expected. The struggles are perhaps tied to the lack of regular playing time, but also 72 ABs is still a relatively small sample size. With a prospect, the switch could flip, and while speculative, in this case, bet on the tools. When Naylor does not have a substantial role on this team, the Padres are either managing this poorly or, see something in the skills that can help them. Bet on the latter at the current price.

 

OF - Cesar Puello (OF, MIA)

1% owned, FAAB $17

Puello was one that I got wrong last week, not on the value, but rather, where he would be playing. Joining the Marlins via waivers from the Angels, Puello might be the best outfielder on the roster from the start. So far, he has played in right field, and will at least be a platoon option off the bench for this team. A career journeyman, Puello is a name to learn as he sees what he can do with playing time.

The production has been there in a small sample so far. Through 17 games, Puello is slashing .339/.464/.554 with three homers. While the nine-run pace so far will come down due to team context, the other lines seem to have an excellent chance to keep it up. The expected batting line expects some regression but still gives the batting line a .300 floor. While the hit tool is not enough to keep him on the fantasy radar, when he has shown more power this year, the upside is there for an OF3/4 slot. Expect him to get enough playing time to use as a compiling bat, but also look for Puello to emerge even with the factors that will hurt his value in Miami.

 

SP - Shaun Anderson  (SP, SFG)

2% owned, FAAB $14

Anderson has been a regular on the list since his debut, and while not an elite arm, still has been one of the better streaming options this year. With the park playing into his run suppression, Anderson is a start at home and a pitcher that will need to have good match-ups to earn a start on the road. Still, through his first eight starts, Anderson has an ERA of 3.94 with a 1.34 WHIP. Both numbers fash the upside, but owners will need to take their lumps as well.

Anderson has posted a below-average exit velocity on his offerings, and overall ahs been most effective at reducing hard contact. While the xBA is .301, the launch angle sits at 86.3. Anderson has the four-pitch mix to generate groundouts, and the stuff, to keep him in the game versus most hitters. While not generating many outs off Ks with a 13.3 K%, he still generates out at a good clip. A solid play for innings and ratios, Anderson has won two games so far to add to the base value. When the Giants are always in need of pitching, Anderson is a hot stock right now..

 

RP - Adrian Houser (RP, MIL)

2% owned, FAAB $9

Houser is slated to start the game Tuesday night versus the Mariners so owners might be adding a starter in this spot as well. While the expectation is that he hangs in the pen for most of this year, Houser could be an exciting arm for an opener-type role. If that is the move, he looks to be a three inning arm, with the upside to go deeper in games.  For example, in the minors he has been a starter, but the control was not there to trust him over five-plus innings. Houser offers a boom-or-bust arm, with both a top 15% fastball and opponent’s exit velocity so far this year.

The good news is that he is also topping the league with a .197 xBA and a .257 xWOBA. The 28.6 K% will play up in fantasy, and with the regular usage, will be a reliable source of counting stats out of the pen. If he can turn the bullpen game into a spot in the rotation, then there might be some extra value in the package. For now, best care for fantasy owners, he heads back to the pen and offers a high-leverage arm with elite stuff. If not, this a stock with a price that is only going up.

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