Digging Deeper: Week 6 NL Waiver Wire Targets

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Welcome back to our Week 6 edition of Digging Deeper, our weekly column where we will focus on deep league waiver wire options. My counterpart Tom Bellucco will be handling the American League while I focus on the National League.

For those that have played in limited size leagues, you are well aware that at-bats and innings are the precious commodities. You are not going to find a top-100 player on the wire at any point this season. In fact, top-150 is a stretch. And as the year goes on, the options are going to get uglier and uglier.

Players in shallow standard formats who are here because they love fantasy baseball (thanks for reading!) will find some of these players apprehensive. But at the end of the day at-bats and innings are key, and that's where our attention will be.

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Digging Deeper: Week 6 Pickups - NL

As I mentioned last week, the pitching options are getting slim. We had a few new pitchers hit the DL (Brandon McCarthy, Jameson Taillon) but no noteworthy replacements for either starter.

 

Zack Godley (RP, ARI) - 3% owned in Y! Leagues

The Diamondbacks are still trying to replace Shelby Miller in their rotation, and it looks like Godley is getting a second look. He was solid in his first outing versus San Diego (5 IP, 2 ER, 6 K) and had a 2.25 ERA through 24 innings in Triple-A. Godley was, to be frank, awful in 2016. He posted a 6.39 ERA over 74 innings, although the 63 LOB% and 19.4% HR/FB didn't help his case. He can make batters miss (11.5% SwStr) but his erratic control prevents him from going deep into games. The good news is he should get a long look in the rotation, at least until the Archie Bradley show begins.

 

A.J. Cole (SP, WAS) - 14% owned in Y! Leagues

With the surprise demotion of Joe Ross by the Nationals, a starting rotation spot just opened for a team leading baseball in offense. That means regardless of quality, wins are around the corner. While Jacob Turner has been excellent early on, Dusty Baker prefers him in the long-relief role. That leaves A.J. Cole. Cole has been between Triple-A and the big league club since 2015, posting above a 5.17 ERA in each season. He wasn't anything special in his first start, going six innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out two. His command has historically been one of his strong suits, and if he can avoid the big inning he should be in line for a handful of wins behind this offense. Grab Cole in any league above 18 teams or NL-Only.

 

Corey Knebel (SP, MIL) - 1% owned in Y! Leagues

Time to play the closer carousal. This weeks candidate is Neftali Feliz. Feliz has now gone three consecutive outings without allowing a run, a major feat if you ask his owners. He still owns a 4.91 ERA to go along with eight saves. The Brewers remain in a rebuild so it may very well be their plan to utilize Feliz in the role to boost his trade value, regardless of results. I would be shocked if Feliz is not moved at the deadline, meaning saves will be available come July.

Enter Corey Knebel. Knebel is the owner of a 1.10 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with a 25/7 K/BB through 16 and 1/3 innings. His 10 holds make him a hot commodity in formats that account for the category, but other players should take note. Knebel has had closer material since his minor league days and will be a universally owned commodity come July. Do yourself a favor and get ahead of the curve while enjoying the ratios.

 

Tommy Pham (OF, STL) - 10% owned in Y! Leagues

The Cardinals are going to open an infirmary in their clubhouse if things keep going this way. In the past week they have lost Stephen Piscotty, Dexter Fowler, and Jose Martinez to various injuries, opening up serious playing time. Pham has taken the most of the opportunity, crushing the ball to the tune of .444/.545/1.056 in 22 plate appearances. While one would lean to label Pham a "AAAA player", he's only seen 183 plate appearances in a given season while performing well in the minors. Fowler is expected back this week, but the Cardinals are in win-now mode and will give Pham the at-bats as long as he hits.

 

Rene Rivera (C, NYM) - 3% owned in Y! Leagues

The second catcher to make this column, Rivera has performed well in place of Travis D'Arnaud who is currently on the DL. The Mets have enough controversies off the field so the emergence of the "Rivera Brothers" has been overshadowed, but they've stepped up admirably. Rivera has been on a tear lately, hitting .471 in his current five-game hitting streak. He isn't going to produce big numbers near the bottom of the Mets lineup, but at-bats rule everything around me in deep leagues. Ride the hot streak if you need catcher help.

 

Adam Frazier (2B/3B/OF, PIT) - 0% owned in Y! Leagues

Here's a sneaky add. Frazier was off to a fantastic start in the super-utility role for the Pirates, slashing .306/.370/.449 through his first 49 at-bats. Frazier (hamstring) went 1-for-3 with a double on Monday for Triple-A and is expected to return to the Pirates this weekend. His multi-position eligibility gives him serious value and should see regular playing time between right field, second base, and third base. Get ahead of the curve and snag Frazier before he returns.

 

Previously Discussed Players

Tim Adleman (SP, CIN)

Aaron Altherr (OF, PHI)

Christian Arroyo (SS/3B, SFG)

Jacob Barnes (RP, MIL)

Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD)

Joaquin Benoit (RP, PHI)

Ty Blach (SP, SFG)

Archie Bradley (SP/RP, ARI)

Jorge De La Rosa (SP/RP, ARI)

Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, NYM)

Amir Garrett (SP, CIN)

Austin Hedges (C, SD)

Gorkys Hernandez (OF, SFG)

Kike Hernandez (SS/OF, LAD)

John Jaso (1B/OF, PIT)

Michael Lorenzen (SP/RP, CIN)

Jose Martinez (1B/OF , STL)

Felipe Rivero (RP, PIT)

Miguel Rojas (2B/SS, MIA)

Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

Cory Spangenberg (2B/3B/OF, SD)

Ross Stripling (SP, LAD)

Michael Taylor (OF, WAS)

Alex Wood (SP, LA)

 

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