Week 11 Waiver Wire Watch List

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Welcome to Week 11 of The Watch List. Each week we’ll be updating this list full of players who you maybe aren’t quite ready to pick up (depending on league size, of course), but who need to be on your radar regardless. We’ll look at several players in-depth each week and keep tabs on players “graduating” into the waiver wire pickups category, as well as players demoted off the list entirely. (Reminder, these are Yahoo ownership and positions.)

With the season beginning to stabilize a bit, there are simply fewer players graduating and being demoted each week. With that in mind, we’ll no longer have a set number of eight players highlighted each week, but rather somewhere in the five to eight range. However many players graduate/are demoted will be replaced and the new players will be highlighted.

Once again, if there are any names who you’d like to see highlighted next week, or even just added to the list as a whole, feel free to at me on Twitter (@FantasyBaseTurv). Let’s get this show on the road.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantrax have even more fantasy baseball advice columns and videos to help improve your teams. Be sure to also check them out!

 

Players to Watch in 10-team Leagues

Max Kepler (Min, OF): 28% owned

Kepler had a slow week (3-for-24 with just one run and one RBI), but those weeks are bound to come around even for top fantasy options. He still has a strong batted-ball profile that should improve his surface statistics as the season goes along.

Jarrod Dyson (Sea, OF): 17% owned

I wavered for a week or two on Dyson, but for the most part, I have been all-in on Dyson all season. Dyson stole two more bases last week (along with a .294 average and eight RuBIns), and his 16 steals for the season are tied for fourth in all of baseball. Of that top four, he has the best on-base percentage, making him even more valuable in OBP leagues.

Joe Ross (Was, SP): 36% owned

Ross joins the list for what may only be one week, but only because he could easily see his ownership rate jump too high by this time next week to be within its rank for more than seven days. Ross was absolutely electric against the Orioles his last time out, striking out 12 and walking none in 7 ⅓ innings of one-run, four-hit ball. Ross still has a 6.16 ERA, but he has the pedigree (3.43 ERA in 105.0 innings in 2016) as well as the peripherals (3.50 xFIP) to win over a lot of people really fast. Ross is sporting a career-best 9.71 strikeouts per nine, paired with a career-low 1.66 walks per nine. That’s a killer combo, and he may have to be an add not a watch if you want him on your roster.

Lucas Duda (NYM, 1B): 22% owned

Duda went homerless in the past week, but he is still rocking a .547 slugging percentage and .284 isolated power for the season. A few more homerless weeks and it may be time to worry, but not for now. The HR/FB rate (23.8 percent) is backed by some nice pop (46.9 percent hard hit ball percentage).

Pat Neshek (Phi, RP): 21% owned

Neshek will officially be the Phillies closer moving forward, so for owners in needs of saves, Neshek is your best chance to get a true closer with the gig on the waiver wire. Neshek has quietly been pretty strong over the past month, with an absurd 35.3 percent strikeout rate and 2.9 percent walk rate. Neshek got his first save of the season on Tuesday, needing just two outs for the save but doing so without giving up any baserunners. The closer’s role has been in fluctuation in Philly all season, and it’s not as though the team is going to be winning enough games to make Neshek too valuable. Plus, Neris is almost certainly the closer in the long term for the team, but still, finding reliable, in-the-moment saves is a borderline impossible task in any league worth its salt.

Zack Wheeler (NYM, SP): 34% owned

Wheeler continues to live on the cusp of ownership in most leagues, but his production has been undoubtedly strong over the past six weeks, with seven, one-run innings last week. He hasn’t given up more than three runs in a start since April 23.

 

Players to Watch in 12-team Leagues

Trevor Rosenthal (StL, RP): 30% owned

Rosenthal continues to have the edge in nearly all pitching stats (and velocity stats) over Seung-Hwan Oh, but until Oh blows a few saves, this won’t be a conversation. Once he does blow a save or two, pounce on Rosenthal, though.

Tommy Joseph (Phi, 1B): 20% owned

Joseph had ten hits including a home run in the past week, bringing his average to a far more respectable .254 figure with the week. His OBP is still lacking at .304, giving him more value in classic leagues than OBP leagues. The power will play, regardless, though.

Mallex Smith (TB, OF): 28% owned

Smith is arguably the hottest player in baseball right now, and he may well be owned in over 35 percent owned in Yahoo leagues by the time you actually read this. Smith was called up after an injury to Kevin Kiermaier opened up a spot in the Tampa Bay outfield, and he’s doing his absolute best to steal the job outright. Kiermaier will be out almost two months, so there’s a lot of time left, but Smith has managed eight hits in his first three days (four games) since being called back up. He went 2-for-3 with three runs, a bomb, two RBI and three (!) steals on Friday before collecting three more hits (and a run + steal) on Saturday. He finished off his single-handed demolition of the A’s with a 3-for-3 day Sunday in which he scored twice more and drove in another run. He was stealing bases (16 in 30 games) and hitting well (.311 BA) in Triple-A before the call-up and offers a pretty high ceiling as well as a reliable floor given his speed.

Jordan Montgomery (NYY, SP): 22% owned

Montgomery continued a strong rookie season in his last outing, striking out eight Orioles over seven, two-run innings. Montgomery is playing with fire with his 7.8 percent HR/FB rate as a pitcher who pitches half his games in Yankee Stadium, but the strikeout numbers are nice, as is his 3.55 ERA as a 24-year-old rookie.

Jed Lowrie (Oak, 2B): 21% owned

Lowrie just keeps doing his thing, as he had the most at bats of any hitter on the watch list, and collected nine hits and six runs with all those opportunities. He remains a great option while healthy.

Bradley Zimmer (Cle, OF): 17% owned

Zimmer is the type of player for whom this list was made. He’s a talented young rookie who simply isn’t getting enough playing time for his big league roster to be on your fantasy roster right now. He had only two hits in just 16 at bats last week, but one of those was a homer.

 

Players to Watch in 14+ team Leagues

Mike Foltynewicz (Atl, SP): 24% owned

Folty had another seven shutout innings, but he struck out only four batters this time and had a matchup (Philadelphia) that lent itself to some prime stats. He’s a great streaming option right now, and a borderline rosterable pitcher.

Danny Valencia (Sea, 1B/3B/OF): 30% owned

Valencia saw his ownership rise exponentially in the past week despite a rather pedestrian week in which he had just four hits but tallied seven RuBIns (runs+RBI). Having a reputation as a hot hitter will do that, but he might be getting a bit too much buzz for what he is at this point.

Joe Biagini (Tor, SP): 20% owned

Biagini continues to be exceptionally solid for the Blue Jays, tossing his third straight quality start for the club in his last time out. Biagini isn’t going to win you any leagues, but he’s going to give you plenty of really solid (48:12 K:BB ratio) and safe (only one start with more than three runs allowed) innings.

Delino DeShields (Tex, OF): 5% owned

Thanks to a recent spat of success, DeShields is creeping onto fantasy radars once again. The speedster has been in and out of the Rangers lineup this season, but when he has been healthy and getting plate appearances, his numbers are actually excellent, with a .301 BA and 12 steals. He has five steals and eight hits (as well as five run) in the past five days for Texas, and he should continue to get a better portion of at bats with Mike Napoli on the DL and the nice results.

Robert Gsellman (NYM, SP): 11% owned

After a rough start to the season saw him moved to the bullpen, Gsellman has been much better in his second go-around in the rotation. Gsellman has three quality starts in his four second-wave outings, and his only non-quality start saw him go 5 ⅓ innings with just two runs allowed and six strikeouts. Gsellman is the type who isn’t going to win you a league (6.79 K/9), but he’s a reliable innings eater right now, and those arms are hard to find. He draws a tough opponent in Washington this week, but he is far better at home (thanks in part to a very homer-averse home stadium), and he has shown the potential to have a better strikeout rate in the past. I’d take a pass this time to watch how he does in this tough Washington test, but he may be a nice streaming option afterwards.

 

Players to Watch in AL or NL-Only Leagues

Jorge Bonifacio (KC, OF): 5% owned

Bonifacio dropped back down into the AL-only tier with a 3-for-27 week, but one of those hits was a home run, and his line drive rate (31.0 percent) and hard hit ball rate (36.0 percent) are strong enough to demand an eye be kept on the rookie outfielder.

Tommy Pham (StL, OF): 7% owned

Pham got enough at bats last week to maintain his solid spot on this list. He is stealing a lot more bases in 2017 as well. His six steals in 31 games are three times as many as he had in 78 games in 2016. Part of that is an 80 point jump in OBP, but he’s also just being more aggressive.

Joe Mauer (Min, 1B): 6% owned

I probably was a bit too over-excited last week with the effusive praise for Mauer, but he is still getting on base at a .357 clip (with a .283 average), and his plate discipline is just so excellent that it’s hard to imagine him having any truly terrible weeks. Low ceiling but high floor.

Keone Kela (Tex, RP): 4% owned

Kela began the season sitting out due to disciplinary reasons, but he has bounced back nicely for the Rangers, and he is now second in line to Matt Bush for saves in Texas. Kela owns a 11.79 K/9 rate and a 3.42 ERA on the season, and with Bush having given up four runs in his past four outings, there’s at least a little buzz around a potential change. Bush still has a 2.42 ERA and a pretty solid hold on the closer’s gig, but for those desperate to make a move in the saves category, there’s at least a chance that a Kela pickup could pay off down the road.

Colby Rasmus (TB, OF): 2% owned

On the one hand, Kevin Kiermaier is out for two months, so there should be more room in a crowded Rays’ outfield. On the other hand, Mallex Smith (who we covered above) is playing out of his mind and is a better fit for Kiermaier’s role, so Rasmus may end up maintaining his 16-22 at bats a week. He hit another two homers with his 16 at bats last week, so he’s definitely producing for owners despite the low at bats total.

 

Graduated - Ownership Too High

Jimmy Nelson (Mil, SP): 55% owned

Ariel Miranda (Sea, SP): 50% owned

Logan Morrison (TB, 1B): 40% owned

 

Demoted

JC Ramirez (LAA, SP/RP): 24% owned

Jeff Locke (Mia, SP/RP): 4% owned

Gerardo Parra (Col, 1B/OF): 10% owned

 

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