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The Waiver Wire Watch List: Week 13

So we're two and a half months into the season, and a lot of pictures are becoming more clear. Some players have been lost to injury time, plenty are underperforming, and there are of course new faces rising. No matter the situation, it could be time for a roster refresh--but not just the hum-drum obvious waiver wire adds.

Throughout the season, you want to get the jump on your competition and sniff out the breakout players before they break out. That's what this list is all about--using some in-depth research and advanced analytics to find the players who aren't quite there yet but are on their way. Some of these may suit your needs for an immediate pick-up depending on your team's situation.

This is not necessarily a list of players you should add right away at the start of week 13 - it is a list of players to keep a very close eye on in most leagues as we further into June, and to consider picking up in deeper formats. In some cases, we will even caution you not to pick up a widely-added player, and steer you away from the fool's gold. Use it to build your own watch list.

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Pitchers to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

Homer Bailey (SP, KC)

Homer Bailey is probably still the Homer Bailey you know and loathe, but there are some signs that he's not going to be completely useless for the rest of the summer. If that's not a ringing endorsement, I'm not sure what is. Bailey IS currently riding a streak of three quality starts in a row, and he actually has a 1.37 ERA in that time frame.

A hot streak is all well and good, but in 2019 the 33-year-old has actually shown some fairly consistent improvement when compared to recent years. His 20.7 strikeout percentage is the highest mark since 2013 (technically it was better across the six starts he made in 2016), although he hasn't been healthy for a majority of the last five years. He's worth rostering in deep leagues, but you need to be very careful about when you roll him out.

Elieser Hernandez (SP, MIA)

The Marlins have nothing to lose at this point, and they're using the rest of the season to see what kind of assets they've got in the organization. Elieser Hernandez was underwhelming in 65.2 innings last year (starting and in relief) but he's flashed some fantasy potential in his first few outings in 2019.

Through 13.2 innings he's got a solid 13:2 strikeout to walk ratio, and he's allowed just one home run. A decidedly small sample size, but Hernandez showed off his strikeout stuff at each stop in the minors. So far this year he's only faced the Giants and the shockingly subpar Cardinals lineup, so wait and see a couple more starts before you consider actually adding him.

Michael Pineda (SP, MIN)

Pineda has missed large chunks of the last decade with various injuries, including the entire 2018 season. He's managed to hold down a rotation spot with the upstart Twins, and besides a few blemishes he's been mostly usable for fantasy purposes. His season-long numbers are underwhelming, because while four of his last six outings have been quality starts, he's given up three earned runs or more in all but four starts this year.

Understand what you're getting with Pineda. He won't help your ratios, he's currently posting the second-lowest strikeout percentage of his career, and he's still falling victim to the long ball as often as he has for most of his career--which is often. But he truly does give his team (and your fantasy team) a chance to win just about every time out.


Batters to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B, COL)

McMahon has thrived as a cog in the suddenly red-hot Rockies lineup, and with Garrett Hampson back down in the minors it looks like McMahon might have some staying power. As of right now McMahon is riding a seven-game hitting streak, and he's driven in 10 runs in his five games.

As long as McMahon has a regular spot in the Rockies lineup, he'll have fantasy value. The numbers are clear about the value of Coors Field, and McMahon has always had a plus hit tool to begin with. You're perfectly justified to try and get in on his current hot streak, but I'm not quite at the point where I find him a must-own in anything but the deepest leagues.

Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE)

Remember when Jason Kipnis was a fantasy stud? Yeah, me either, it's been a while. In the back half of his career, Kipnis has sacrificed contact for power, but the power isn't anywhere near enough to make up for his horrendous batting average. Through three months of baseball, those trends have been holding steady, and Kipnis was heading towards another underwhelming season.

Kipnis missed a couple games last week with hip tightness, and since then he's actually picked it up significantly at the plate. He's hitting .421 over his last five games with three homers and 10 RBI, and he's pretty much locked-in as an everyday player for the Tribe. See if this is more than just a momentary surge for the veteran.

Francisco Mejia (C, SD)

Francisco Mejia has been one of the most touted prospects in baseball for a couple of years, but he's simply never panned out in the big leagues. He's just 23, and has flashed his superb hitting abilities throughout the minor leagues, so it's very much about patience at this point.

There isn't anything I can point to in his major league stat sheet that indicates he's about to explode onto the scene, but this is the watch list, not the waiver wire list. He hit a homer in his first game back in the bigs this week, and with his kind of talent he's worth keeping a close eye on in the immediate.


Recapping The Waiver Wire Watch List

In the section, I will review the progress and current outlook of players that I wrote about in previous articles in this series.


Shaun Anderson (SP, SF) - Still Watching: Hit around a bit by the powerful Dodgers, but still fell just one out short of a quality start.

Steven Brault (SP, PIT) - Still Watching: Shut out (impressive) the Miami Marlins (less impressive) for six innings last time out. Pitching well enough to stay in the rotation, but his future is still cloudy.

Tommy Milone (SP/RP, SEA) - Still Watching: Working incredibly well behind an opener, and looks like he will continue to do so.

Cal Quantrill (SP, SD) - Still Watching: No start this past week. Keep an eye on him.

Framber Valdez (SP/RP, HOU) - Still Watching: Frambermania is NOT running wild, brother. Got touched up in Yankee Stadium this week, but hey, isn't everyone?

Brett Anderson (SP, OAK) - Add Now: Four quality starts in his last five outings. He's nothing special and never will be, but he's got fantasy appeal as a back-of-the-rotation guy.

Andrew Cashner (SP, BAL) - Add Now: Back-to-back great outings against the Astros and A's, and he's pretty much settled in as that guy who has a decent shot at a QS, but is prone to the occasional blow-up.


Todd Frazier (3B, NYM) - Still Watching: Has been raking for a couple weeks, but I'm not sure I buy this offensive turnaround just yet.

Kevin Newman (SS, PIT) - Add Now: Riding a nine-game hitting streak and has his average up to .316 as of this writing. You aren't going to do much better with your MI spot or as a backup.

Kevin Pillar (OF, SF) - Still Watching: His overall numbers are still weighed down by an unsightly BABIP, and he may be normalizing at long last.

David Bote (2B, 3B) - Still Watching: When he's in the lineup, he hits. Problem is, he's not always in the lineup.

Jarrod Dyson (OF, ARI) - Still Watching: With David Peralta back Dyson is merely a part-time player and doesn't merit much consideration unless you're looking for steals in a roto league.

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