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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 of 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. The other side is that if a player is added and does not begin to produce, have a quick trigger and be willing to cut and run. Matt Koch might help a team through four starts, but when the wheels come off remember that there is a reason these players were not drafted in the first place. If a player appears on this roster and fits a need, but is already owned, throw out a low bid. Now, let's look at the National League deep waiver wire team of the week.

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NL-Only Team of the Week

C - John Ryan Murphy (ARI) - Yahoo 0% owned, CBS 1%

In deep fantasy leagues, the best options for catchers are often to find the player with a good relationship with a starter. That is the case here as it seems that Murphey will be Zach Godley’s personal catcher, giving him regular ABs and a workable pitching match-up. On the offensive side of the equation, Murphy has held his own in limited opportunities with a .263 AVG and 2 HR in 39 plate appearances. Do not expect much power, as Murphy has only seven totals home runs in his career, but the AVG should keep him afloat. Career numbers for Murphy sit at .239, which for a catcher is actually not that bad.

1B - Jose Osuna (PIT) - Yahoo 0% owned, CBS 0%, CBS 0%

Osuna is a bit of a stretch here, to be honest, as he is currently not on the roster with the Pirates. Still, of the swath of inactive players, this is the one to add. His only appearance of the year came on April 25th where he went 2/4 with one homer, three RBI, and two runs. So far this year at AAA Indianapolis he is slashing .342/.390/.603 with 17 RBI meaning that if there is a need to add to the roster, Osuna should get the call. The tricky piece is that Josh Bell is going nowhere, but with his struggles here might be some shuffling in order. On the other hand, could Bell be the next Pirate leaving town to head to a DH slot? Worth the stash if there is a slot free.

2B - Daniel Castro (COL) - Yahoo 0% owned, CBS 0%

Owning any other Colorado second baseman has been a fool’s errand with D.J LeMahieu manning the keystone for the better part of the past few years. Usually, the icon of durability LeMahieu finds himself sidelined for a bit, and the starting job handed to Pat Valaika, with Castro getting the call from AAA Albuquerque. Castro has started the season off strong with a .407/.429/.516 slash through 98 plate appearances. So far, through three games, Castro is 2/12 with three RBI which, while not impressive, does show he will get some ABs. Top prospect Brandon Rodgers is also sometimes away, so there is not much competition from higher ceiling players right now. Other reason he might stay around? 10% K rate at AAA in 2017 along with a 6.1% rate this year show a batter who will put the ball in play. At Coors that plays, and who knows, even Christian Adames had his moments in Colorado.

3B - Austin Riley (ATL) - Yahoo 1% owned, CBS 1%

For those who watch the Arizona Fall League Riley’s name will stand out on this list. One of the breakout performances of the Fall has continued that into AA this year. Through 26 games Riley is hitting .323 with five HR and 18 RBI. While still a ways away from the majors, expect Riley to get promoted to Gwinnett and then make it to Atlanta in mid to late summer.

Why stash him now? Not only is there instant power impact with the bat, but if Riley makes it to the bigs, he will play. Assuming the Braves regress a bit the front office would rather see what they have in Riley as opposed to Jose Bautista. While a risk, this risk, if it pays off, could be the difference at the end of your season.

SS - Johan Camargo (ATL) - Yahoo 3% owned, CBS 9%

With Dansby Swanson heading to the DL for a few weeks expect Camargo to take most of the appearances at SS soon. So far in 11 games, Camargo is batting a respectable .280 with two homers and eight RBI. The ability to play a 2B and 3B helps owners justify this add, and give some credence to keeping the player after Swanson returns. More interesting for long-term plays, is that Camargo is hitting the ball harder this year than his career average. A 2018 Hard% of 35.3 is almost seven points higher than usual, so the floor might be a bit higher than expected. While a 20 HR/FB% will not keep up, a bit of power from the position is rather helpful.

OF - Andrew Stevenson (WAS) - Yahoo 0% owned, CBS 1%

Another beneficiary of injury this year has been former, perhaps still, top prospect Andrew Stevenson. While projected as a right fielder, do not expect the power that usually come from the position. So far through 11 games an .318 AVG with six RBI is keeping him in the line-up. This stint in the majors Stevenson has also seen a decrease in GB% from 62.2 to 35.7 which has not resulted in more power, but the other numbers seem to be there due to higher Pull% and Hard%.  At the end of the day, Stevenson is an AVG only player, much like Jesse Winker, but Winker perhaps has more power upside. He has a decent glove and will be a good fourth outfielder in the majors. Fantasy asset? Too early to tell, but playing time is hard to come by on the waiver wire this low.

OF - Alex Verdugo (LAD) - Yahoo 6% owned, CBS 24%

By the time this piece gets published, Verdugo’s ownership changed might have gone up, and in leagues with any minors roster or NA spot available, the assumption would be that he is already owned. If you are in one of the leagues where his ownership is this low, this needs to be the top priority on the waiver wire this week. Through only six games Verdugo is slashing .381/.435/.571 with two runs. The best thing about this performance so far is how equal the hitting has been concerning distribution. Verdugo’s pull-cent-oppo% in order are 31.6, 36.8, and 31.6%. Do not expect a ton of in-game power, but Fangraphs does grade his raw power currently as 55, so the power might come sooner. Good bat skills, good defense, and Yasiel Puig’s injury make Verdugo a must-add.

OF - Christopher Bostick (PIT) - Yahoo 0% owned, CBS 0%

Bostick is another player that is currently sitting at AAA, but his numbers so far mean it is only a matter of time to when owners can see him playing at PNC Park. In 21 games Bostick is hitting .338 with eight doubles and three triples. Both numbers put him close to the top of the leaderboards and show a subtle contact approach which makes up for lack of power with drive and overall feel at the plate. A few weeks ago this pick would have gone to Jordan Luplow, but he has struggled out of the gate. With Austin Meadows still a late-season call-up Bostick could be the next Pirate to see the majors if anyone goes down due to injury. Also interesting about the profile? Bostick was not ranked on any of the top ten prospects which should hint to his long-term fantasy play, but in the short term, if a team needs AVG, this would be a good stash.  Without being on the prospect lists no one knows who he is meaning that this should be an easy grab for owners.

P - Matt Koch (ARI) - Yahoo 6% owned, CBS 24%

Another player that might be too owned in your league, but if not worth the look. Taking over for Taijuan Walker after the injury, Koch has turned in some excellent performances. More specifically, in three starts Koch has one win, and no loses with an ERA of 2.65. The concerns with the profile are a 3.71 BB/9 clip with a BABIP close to .200. Still, with two of these starts coming at home, the humidor is very much in play. With a good offense behind him, Koch, if he stays in the starting rotation, should easily add eight to ten wins with a good ERA and WHIP that does not kill the staff as a whole. Koch is a starter that will get opportunities due to injury and has shown he can hang so far.

P - Drew Hutchison (PHI) - Yahoo 0% owned, CBS 0%

Hutchison seems to mainly a relief option for the Phillies, but if the last appearance is any hint, there might be some starting opportunities as well. On May 4th, Hutchison went five innings out of the pen in support of Zach Curtis, and struck out five while only allowing three hits. Before this appearance, Hutchison was averaging close to a K per nine again adding some value to the profile. If innings are a category in your league, this might be a decent risk to take regarding the extended relief appearances with some K potential.

P - Adam Cimber (SD) - Yahoo 0% owned, CBS 4%

The former ninth round pick of the Padres is having a bit of a breakout in the bullpen after making the big league club right out of Spring Training. So far 20.1 innings have resulted in 10.62 K/9 and 2.66 ERA. The best part? Low walk rate at 1.77 BB/9 and zero HR so far this season. While not a player to expect saves from, holds and other the other ratios seem to be in good supply. Also, with Kirby Yates having some injury time so far, Cimber appears to be climbing up the leverage ladder.

 

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