Waiver Wire Sleepers for NL Only Leagues
Week five of the fantasy baseball season is here, and there are still plenty of hidden gems on waiver wires in most leagues, even in league-specific formats. If you're battling injuries or looking for replacements for struggling players, picking up the right players could be crucial to your team's success going forward.
Each week here at RotoBaller.com we'll highlight some possible solid NL Only league additions that may still be available in your league. Here are some hidden gem sleepers from the waiver wire for you to consider as we head into week five.
Jordan Lyles, Colorado Rockies, SP
26% owned CBS, 8% owned Yahoo!
It's always a scary proposition when adding any Colorado pitcher to your fantasy roster. Even when there have been bona fide aces like Ubaldo Jimenez and Mike Hampton pitching for the Rockies, there have been plenty of ups and downs for anyone throwing in that thin Coors Field air.
The name Jordan Lyles won't jump out at you, and the fact that he's pitching in Colorado may have kept most owners away, but after a first month that has seen Lyles secure his spot in the Rockies rotation, it's time to consider adding him if you need pitching help.
The former Astro is off to a hot start so far in 2014, posting a 3-0 record, 2.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 18/7 K/BB ratio in 30 innings pitched. Now it may be likely that Lyles, who has never had an ERA under 5.09 in his three Major League seasons, comes crashing back to earth, there's also the possibility that the guy has put it together in his new digs. Despite this being his fifth big league season, Lyles is still only 23 years old, so it's very possible that he simply wasn't ready for the Majors during his days in Houston.
Whether or not Lyles' improvement this year is a sign of things to come or a flash in the pan, he is worth a flier if you need pitching help in NL-only leagues where the pitching wire can be baron. If you're worried about the fact that he pitches in Coors Field, don't be, as Lyles has been vastly superior at home (2-0 W/L, 0.66 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) than on the road (1-0 W/L, 4.76 ERA, 1.24 WHIP).
Daisuke Matsuzaka, New York Mets, RP
10% owned CBS, 8% owned Yahoo!
Current Mets "closer" Kyle Farnsworth throws really, really hard. He also throws straight with very little movement, and has been known to get hit hard in the past. That is a combination that usually doesn't work for a closer.
Velocity can be overrated, especially at the Major League level, without a change of speeds. Most pro hitters, especially the really good ones, will be able to catch up to a pitch eventually, no matter how fast it is. The trick at that level is to keep hitters off balance with movement and secondary pitches. Proof of that can be found in Kyle Farnsworth's career numbers. Despite being able to hit triple digits, especially early in his career, Farnsworth has a career ERA over four, and only one season where he was trusted to be a full time closer.
To be fair, his one stint as closer with Tampa Bay in 2011 was really good, and his second stint with the Mets so far this year has been going well. There is still a chance that Kyle Farnsworth remembers he's, well, Kyle Farnsworth, meaning that the Mets could be looking for another answer for the ninth inning. If you missed grabbing Farnsworth in your league, a pre-emptive add of Matsuzaka makes a lot of sense.
The former gyro-ball thrower has found a resurgence in the New York bullpen. He's been great in a set up role so far to the tune of 1.69 ERA and eight strikeouts in five innings of relief. After notching his first save last week on a scheduled rest day for Farsworth, it's also obvious that Dice-K is the next in line for save chances should Farnsworth falter. If you're desperate for saves in an NL Only league, he's worth a flier.
Just remember, like Farnsworth, there's also a chance that Matsuzaka remembers he's Matsuzaka too.
Corey Dickerson, Colorado Rockies, OF
14% owned CBS, 4% owned Yahoo!
Savvy fantasy owners paid attention to the name Corey Dickerson all Spring, as many experts pegged the Colorado outfielder as a sleeper pick for 2014. Unfortunately, the Rockies' outfield was already a crowded scene, and the white hot start of Charlie Blackmon didn't exactly lead to more playing time for guys like Dickerson.
Drew Stubbs' continued struggles ,combined with a DL stint by Michael Cuddyer, have opened up some playing time for Dickerson, and he's been making the most of it. Since April 17, Dickerson has raised his batting average from .200 to .304. Over that span of six games, he's also added four runs scored, three RBI, two long balls, and a stolen base.
Dickerson showed this same all around game in the minors, averaging 19 home runs and 10 steals a season from 2010-2013. Eventually, the 24 year-old could flourish in Colorado, but his days as a regular may be numbered as Cuddyer could come off the DL as soon as next weekend. The power/speed combo is enough to make a speculative add in the event that Cuddyer has a setback or Charlie Blackmon cools off. Even if those two things don't happen, it's very likely that Dickerson will find at-bats in an effort to keep guys fresh, or when Cargo eventually ends up on the DL, which would make him a good guy to own in daily lineup leagues with a deep bench.