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Digging Deeper: NL-Only Waiver Report for Week 15

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 - Chris Iannetta (C, COL)

1% owned, FAAB $13

Starting in Colorado on this week’s list, Iannetta has always been an exciting fantasy catcher to own. While owners will need to trade the upside from the other elite options behind the dish, Iannetta offers a bit more power than most of the alternatives. The other piece is that he lacks a plus glove, which will limit the playing time. Still, even with some other injuries early in the year, Iannetta has played well in 38 games with a .252/.347/.408 slash. Add in six homers, and Iannetta looks to be producing just as expected.

The downside with Iannetta comes with the K rate, as he has a 26.1% career line, and a 31.9% mark this year. Still, with the nine homer floor and the 92.6 exit velocity can make up in the aggregate. Expect him to keep playing three or so times a week, and with an offense that is top-10 since May 1st, context and park will add to his run floor. An older catcher, but still finding regular playing time, this is an add for owners in need of help at the dish.


1B - Austin Slater (1B/OF, SFG)

1% owned, FAAB $7

A former eighth-round selection by the Giants, Slater has been a Quad-A player for his brief Big League career. Still, since his debut in 2017, Slater has managed to appear in 117 games for the San Francisco. Over that time he is slashing .270/.342/.376 with six homers and seven steals. The measurements love his sprint speed, with a time in the top 20% of the league, adding to some interest. Add in a .541 xSLG, and even with some regression, Slater offers a blossoming power and speed combo on the cheap this week.

While the fantasy value might not be there with a carrying category, Slater does seem to have the all-around game that will make him a key piece during the rebuild. While not a piece for the next contending team, Slater can play first and the outfield with a league average .270 line with 10/10 value. If he can keep playing, Slater is an OF4 with a floor and might have a chance at 15/15 when all is said and done. With the upside to play into next, expect Slater to have a longer leash than some of his fellow prospects.


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

1% owned, FAAB $9

A mainstay in NL-only leagues for the power upside and positional flexibility, Munoz has had a harder time finding a role with the Cardinals this season. While listed on the bench, Munoz has gotten most of his playing time at third, with four games in the last week at the hot corner. Still, playing in only 46 games, the counting value has not been there for fantasy owners. In terms of a long-term move, the bat fits best up the middle, so owners can expect to keep that eligibility.

The changes for Munoz have been a stark decrease in production at the plate. For example, his exit velocity is down to 83.5 from 87.5, a move from league-average to the bottom 30%. In terms of raw Hard Hit%, he is down to 20% from 29.5% in his rookie campaign. With everything moving in the opposite direction, fantasy owners can still look to a declining K% with some optimism for the rest of the year. Munoz is also stealing at a higher clip, after being thrown out in six of his 11 tries last year. All in all, Munoz offers value with the flexibility, and while the batting value is declining, he looks to be a good compiler if owners can deal with the batting line concerns.


3B - Johan Camargo (3B/SS/OF, ATL)

2% owned, FAAB $7

Entering 2019 the fantasy community as a whole was high on Camargo. Coming off a career 3.3 WAR season, with 19 homers and 63 runs, Camargo was a top-15 round talent in some leagues. While he was expected to lose playing time to Josh Donaldson, the concerns for Camargo have been less about the glove and more at the plate. In 66 games so far, his slash line has dropped to .235/.269/.366. With only three homers and a single steal, Camargo has been a utility bat with an empty batting average at best.

The good news for owners is that this type of slump is anecdotaly typical. Moving to a different role, with new teammates, can always impact a player. When Camargo is still with the team, expect him to at least keep getting chances to hit. Even more, he is striking out less and also seeing fewer pitches per plate appearance. This hints to a hitter getting more aggressive early in the count, but with mediocre returns. A part-time player pushing to earn more time, Camargo will settle down and at least be improved the rest of the way.


SS - Mauricio Dubon (SS, MIL)

1% owned, FAAB $13

This pick hurts a bit, as I proudly own Orlando Arcia in most of my leagues. Still, Dubon looks to be the future for the Brewers with Arcia struggling to keep up at the plate so far this year. A former 23-round pick by the Red Sox, Dubon was dealt to the Brewers in the Tyler Thornburg trade. A slow burner with seven years in the minors to date, Dubon is still only 24 at the time of his debut. While it remains to see how long he will be up for the team, the 2020 start at short will come down to Arcia in the second-half versus the early success of Dubon as he debuts.

Dubon was projected by many to move to second with an average glove at short, but so far, he has stuck at his original position. No carrying tool at the plate, Dubon does flash a plus hit tool with a plus speed grade. Little to no power, with most scouting reports having him as either a 30 or 40 in-game pop. Still, a career .301 hitter in the minors, with 126 steals in 569 games will play in fantasy. While Dubon lacks the ceiling that Arcia flashed when he was first called-up, the floor is also much higher for the former. A solid bet for this year, and a key sleeper in 2020 drafts.


OF - Albert Almora Jr. (OF, CHC)

2% owned, FAAB $24

Once thought of as a future All-Star in center for the Cubs, Almora has seen his stock decline steadily over the past few seasons. Still firmly in the rotation for Joe Maddon’s Cubs, Almora has seen his season-long slash drop to .250/.286/.399. Compare this to his career mark of .280/.317/.409, and at best, Almora is stagnating, and at worst, he is taking a step backwards in his development.

While Almora was always going to be carried by the glove and speed, the bat is where the real value still comes for fantasy owners. This year, Almora has eight homers, and this matches his previous season-high in 2017 over 132 total games. Such a pace puts him well on his way to posting career-highs in homers, runs, and RBIs, even with the drop in batting average. Almora offers an excellent example of a player who is slumping compared to expectations but still is on his way to a breakout fantasy season. While he might never be an elite option, the talks of his demise has spread far too quickly.


OF - Gerardo Parra (1B/OF, WAS)

2% owned, FAAB $4

Parra has made a few appearances on the list, especially after a slow start in San Francisco but a quick rebound in Washington. While he has cooled off and is now batting only .228, Parra does have five homers in 38 games. Add in the five steals, his best start to a year on the bases since 2015, and Parra is another sneaky value on the wire this week. Expect him to continue to hold his side of the platoon, with more chances at the plate risking more damage than the platoon splits will do for his rate stats.

Playing time is always a concern, but with the team playing him in right and at first, expect him to keep getting two games a week at least. Even more, his xBA sits at .241 so owners can expect some increased value at the dish. While lacking the hard contact that defined his time in Arizona and Colorado, Parra is still a useful platoon bat with a decent team context to boost underlying value.


OF - Scott Schebler (OF, CIN)

1% owned, FAAB $3

At this point on the list, there are few, if any active outfielders worth the add. Lewis Brinson might get a shout, but has so far not been able to hit at all with the Marlins. Others are riskier when it comes to the risk of a promotion, so owners this week are stuck with the sunk-value of Schebler. Until this year, a mainstay in the Cincinnati outfield, Schebler was able to hold off the holistic issues with a strong power output at Great American. And yet, the .123 batting line was too much after 95 plate appearances and Schebler has been playing at Triple-A since.

The value comes from the track record, with a .240/.318/.443 career slash line. Add in 61 homers over 379 games, and the value is there to be seen. While those numbers are inflated by a 30 homer 2017 campaign, Schebler has the skills to be effective 15-homer per year type floor option moving forward. Since his demotion, Schebler has been hitting better at .241, but still not enough to make it back to the Show. For now, owners are buying a cheap asset with a history, but also a player that might be an affordable move to a tanking team to cover for other trades. No matter the case, for this week, owners would rather sit on Schebler than add the other options other than those listed above.


SP - Bryse Wilson (SP, ATL)

3% owned, FAAB $17

2019 looks to be a yo-yo season for Wilson, with plenty of call-ups and demotions on the horizon. The most recent demotion had more to do with the All-Star break than his performance, but he also is one of the players with options on the team. This means that he can be shifted as the team finds a need for a new arm. One of the quicker rising prospects in the game entering the year, Wilson has clearly shown that he can pitch in the Majors, with the length and stuff to stay in the rotation as well.

A small sample of only 14.2 innings to draw on from his time with the Braves, but Wilson did strike out 15 over those appearances. An ERA of 6.14 is inflated by two shorter outings with four runs allowed in both, so owners should not read too much into that number. The value comes from a plus fastball and slider combo, with a developing 50-grade changeup. With the increased reliance on sliders in the Majors, Wilson has the offerings to hang. While owners might expect some bumpy rides this year, the overall package is one that owners cannot afford to miss out on this year or next.


RP - Jacob Webb (RP, ATL)

2% owned, FAAB $9

Another Atlanta pitcher to close off the NL-only version of the list this week, Webb offers another situation arm with fantasy upside.  Currently slotted in as the seventh or eighth inning arm for Atlanta, Webb has been used in critical roles on the back of a 1.41 ERA over 32 innings. Add in the 28 Ks, and Webb has posted a 21.5 K% to date. While he lacks the stuff to be a fantasy option on his Ks alone, Webb has posted a 1.13 WHIP as well, showing the whole profile in play.

Relying on a 65-grade fastball, Webb will need to keep hitters on his pitch to stay effective, and has done so to date. With 10 SV+Hs to his line so far, Webb has been valuable in fantasy leagues and might be in line for saves as the season develops. With a revolving door due to injury and A.J. Minter’s struggles this year, Webb has been pitching well enough to get the nod. Even without, he will add holds and a sound ERA and WHIP anchor to most teams.


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