Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups - NL Only Leagues
We are already into the third week of the baseball season, and the surprising starts continue from many players who weren't drafted and, in many cases, are probably still unowned.
If you're in an NL-only league and not sure what moves to make on your waiver wire, RotoBaller.com is here each week to help. Here are some players to consider adding to your roster as week three gets under way.
Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B, MIL
22% owned CBS, 8% owned Yahoo! Anyone who has ever watched Mark Reynolds knows that his game is flawed and one-dimensional. He's not good defensively, will be lucky to hit .230, and is a strikeout waiting to happen. That one dimension is power, and in terms of fantasy baseball, that's an extremely valuable commodity, especially at third base.
Owning Reynolds can be maddening. Take last year for example, while Reynolds was able to belt a respectable 21 homers in only 445 at-bats, he hit 15 of those long balls in the first two months of the season, before getting ice cold and getting released. He's a notoriously streaky player, and the trick in the past has been to ride Reynolds during his hot streak, and hop off the bandwagon when things start to unravel.
Reynolds is in Milwaukee this year, and off to a fast start once again. He already has three home runs and two steals, and now is the time to grab Reynolds. Maybe he will crash and burn once again, but with the Brewers needing his offense, and no other options at first base, Reynolds has a chance to for his first extended amount of playing time since 2011, when he belted 37 homers for Baltimore.
If you need power in an NL-only league, grab Reynolds ASAP. He's going to whiff a ton, and probably hurt your average, but he's got a real chance to play in Milwaukee. If the playing time is there, you could end up with a third base eligible player who ends up with 30-40 home runs.
Hector Rondon, RP, Chicago Cubs
2% owned CBS, 1% owned Yahoo! Guys who get saves are valuable in fantasy baseball, and they are even more valuable in league specific formats since the amount of closers are cut in half. In AL and NL-only leagues, speculative adds for bullpen guys who may be in line for save chances becomes extremely important.
Chances are that the Cubs' current closer, Jose Veras, is owned in almost all NL-only leagues. He's been terrible in the early going so far this year, blowing both of his save chances while allowing more than twice as many walks as strikeouts (3/7 K/BB ratio). Blowing saves is one thing, allowing free baserunners and not missing bats is another, and it's a problem that will undoubtedly get Veras removed from ninth inning duties should it continue.
Veras did receive a vote of confidence from his manager, but any savvy fantasy player knows that Veras' days are probably numbered as Chicago's closer. While Pedro Strop has probably been added in most NL-only leagues as the presumed "next in line", don't worry if you missed the boat, as Strop has not been great either. The guy to own here is Hector Rondon.
Making his way back from Tommy John surgery, Rondon was terrific this Spring, and has carried that over to the start of the regular season. He's been the Cubs' best reliever by far this year. In seven innings pitched, Rondon has a struck out nine batters while only walking three, has a 0.86 WHIP, a save, and has yet to give up an earned run. While there still is a chance that the Cubs see Rondon making his way back to the rotation, it's hard to ignore what he's done out of the pen, and if the rest of the relief unit struggles, the team may have no choice but to hand the closer job to Rondon.
Update: While writing this the Cubs announced that Jose Veras will be removed from closing duties "for now". It's still unclear if Pedro Strop or Rondon will get the first crack at the ninth inning, but the Veras demotion makes both guys must-adds going forward.
Eric Young, OF, New York Mets
28% owned CBS, 21% owned Yahoo! Not many people realize that the guy who ended up leading the National League in stolen bases last year was Eric Young of the Mets. After being picked up by the Mets, Young swiped 38 bags, giving him a league leading total of 46 for 2013.
The Mets showed last year that they plan to have Young run as much as possible, and it's a trend that has continued so far in 2014. Despite only reaching base 11 time so far, Young has still managed to swipe five bags already. In other words, Young is stealing almost half of the time he reaches base.
Reaching base, is where the problem lies for Young, however. Last year Young struck out more than twice as much as he walked (100 whiffs compared to 46 walks). He batted only .249, and had a paltry OBP of .310. This is a trend that has also continued into this season, but lucky for fantasy owners, the Mets seem committed to Eric Young in the leadoff spot. If Young can some how bat .260 and stay healthy, he's a lock to steal 50-plus bases, and still may get there even if he continues to struggle at the plate.
Young is going to play, and has added value in leagues where he already also qualifies at second base. He should be owned in all NL-only leagues especially if you need speed.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins
31% owned CBS, 10% owned Yahoo!
Marcell Ozuna was off to a hot start in his rookie campaign before being injured and missing time. There is a lot to like here, and there is no reason Ozuna's ownership shouldn't be higher. Ozuna is a free swinger, and that's putting it mildly, but so far in 2014 it's been working for him. He's currently hitting .317, and has two long balls. While his average will more than likely dip as the season wears on, Ozuna has big league power and plus speed. A 20 homer, 10 steal season is entirely likely. If Ozuna can stay healthy this year he'll play, as there is little competition for his playing time on the Marlins roster. In an NL-only format the power/speed combo that Ozuna can offer is rare on the waiver wire. Grab him while you still can if you need outfield help.
Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego Padres
18% owned CBS, 2% owned Yahoo! In a league specific format the catching position becomes a bit harder to wait for in drafts, as the talent level takes a huge dip after the top tier guys are selected. In NL-only leagues, after Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, and Willin Rosario are off the board, the rest of the catching pool is pretty mediocre. After the top guys are gone, the trick is selecting a guy who isn't going to hurt you, and if you need a catcher, Yasmani Grandal fits that bill.
The once hyped prospect has been largely forgotten in fantasy leagues this year, probably due to his disastrous 2013 campaign that saw him receive a 50 game suspension for PED use and have ACL surgery. He's quietly gotten off to a good start here in 2014 by hitting .391 and stealing a base.
Grandal hasn't hit a home run yet, and he probably won't show that much power, especially playing his home games in Petco Park. He also has seen more rest than he normally would due to the fact that he's coming back from his ACL surgery. That will change as the season goes on, and what Grandal will offer is a quality batting average at a position where that is usually left for the elite names. In my opinion, I think a catcher who can hit close to .300 with 10 long balls is more valuable, than say a guy who can hit 20 home runs but be lucky to bat .215. I think Grandal should be owned in all NL-only leagues, and I would certainly take him over more owned guys like Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Well that's it for this week. Good luck in week three, and make sure to check RotoBaller.com next week for more NL-only waiver additions.