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The Waiver Wire Watch List: Week 14

So we're just about halfway through the season, and we can draw a lot of conclusions about how a player's year is going to go. 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

Jesse Chavez (SP/RP, TEX)

The journeyman righty seems to have positioned himself as the fifth man in the Rangers' rotation for the time being, and in deeper leagues he may carry some value moving forward. Chavez has pitched almost entirely out of the bullpen this year, but he's thrown really well over his 51.2 innings--his 2.79 ERA is the second-lowest he's ever posted. He's coming off his longest outing of the last two years, a 6.1-inning gem against the admittedly anemic Detroit Tigers. It's a bit early to count on him, but with his season-long success and newfound role, I'm optimistic about Chavez's chances to remain relevant.

Jason Vargas (SP, NYM)

Clubhouse antics aside, Jason Vargas has pitched pretty well this season. The 36-year-old hasn't been blowing anybody away, but his 3.66 ERA is his lowest in nearly half a decade. His SIERA is over 5.00, so the house of cards could come crashing down any day now. However, with quality starts in four of his last seven outings, Vargas has been producing on a consistent enough basis to consider trusting in deeper formats. He racked up 10 Ks in his most recent start against the Phillies, and if he brings that strikeout percentage up a bit more I'll be ready to add.

Ryan Yarbrough (SP/RP, TB)

Yarbrough is one of those funky hybrid pitchers that the Rays' organization is full of these days. He's had outings as a true starter, an opener, a bulk reliever, a set-up man--you name it, Yabrough (along with contemporaries Jalen Beeks and Ryne Stanek) has done it. The key takeaway is that Yarbough is going long enough to put himself in a position to accrue wins. His 4.62 ERA is nothing to write home about, but his 7-3 record and sub-1.00 WHIP will help in just about any format. As long as you're not looking for quality starts, Yarbrough is quickly becoming a trustworthy and valuable asset for your RP slot.


Batters to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

J.P. Crawford (SS, SEA)

We're not far removed from J.P. Crawford being one of the Phillies' top prospects, but it certainly seems like we are. Crawford may be a real example of the mythical post-hype sleeper, a player who withers under their initial expectations only to blossom down the road. He's only made 128 plate appearances as the shortstop for the Seattle Mariners this year, but he's done a terrific job with the time. As of this writing he's slashing .316/.383/.500, and he is quickly ascending up the in-season rankings lists. You wouldn't be blamed for adding him now if you have an injury to deal with, but I'm not quite ready to drop a standing starter for him yet.

Alex Dickerson (OF, SF)

Dickerson has been red-hot since rejoining the Giants last week--like next-level hot. In the eight games since then he's hitting .416 with two homers, 11 RBI and even a steal chipped in. Understand that the Giants are in complete rebuild mode (I think? I can't even tell these days) so Dickerson should be afforded plenty of opportunity to rack up at bats with nobody really pushing him for a roster spot. His minor league time indicates that his hit tool is legitimate, and while he obviously won't stay this hot he can be a 15/10 guy with a .280+ batting average. He's a depth outfielder and nothing more at the moment, but the ceiling is higher.

Leury Garcia (MI/OF, CHW)

With Tim Anderson headed to the IL, Leury Garcia will likely be called upon to fill in for the White Sox for the time being. Garcia has spent some time setting the table for the Sox this year, and he's done a pretty good job in the role. His .328 OBP isn't spectacular, but Garcia does already have eight steals and 53 runs scored. I don't expect that role to change, particularly if he continues hitting above .280, so if you're looking for some cheap steals or runs, Garcia can probably help you out now.


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.


Homer Bailey (SP, KC) - Add Now: One earned run in his last three starts, the most recent coming against the fearsome Twins. This is the absolute ceiling, but he's pitching to it right now.

Elieser Hernandez (SP, MIA) - Still Watching: Five innings with three earned or fewer in each start this year, but his spot in the rotation is uncertain with Caleb Smith returning.

Michael Pineda (SP, MIN) - Still Watching: Was on a roll before getting slapped around by *checks notes* the Royals last time out...?

Shaun Anderson (SP, SF) - Still Watching: Really nice bounce-back quality start against the Dbacks, he's back-end usable right now.

Steven Brault (SP, PIT) - Still Watching: A meh start against the Padres last time out--you can likely do better, but if your league's deep enough...*shrug*

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) - Dropped: Remanded to the bullpen in a low-leverage role for now.

Framber Valdez (SP/RP, HOU) - Dropped: Optioned to AAA after getting slapped in the mouth by the lowly Pirates.


Ryan McMahon (1B/2B, COL) - Still Watching: Cooling off just a bit, but still should have a role in that lineup which means fantasy opportunity.

Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) - Still Watching: Has continued to hit, and has his average up to .246. Would love to see a bit more power before we declare him an "Add Now".

Francisco Mejia (C, SD) - Still Watching: Two homers since his return, and getting on base at a decent enough clip. Not quite there but some promising signs.

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 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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