Week 14 Waiver Wire Watch List

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Welcome to Week 14 of The Watch List. We have had a few iterations already, but here’s a friendly reminder for those who forgot: 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.

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Players to Watch in 10-team Leagues

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

Last week was a great sign for Lowrie believers, as he returned from injury to put up some of the same numbers he was posting earlier this year. He hit .333 with an OPS over 1.000.

Jarrod Dyson (Sea, OF): 19% owned

Two more steals for Dyson brings him up to 19 on the season. His average is up to .253 and his .331 OBP makes him one of the most undervalued steals options, especially in on-base leagues.

Keone Kela (Tex, RP): 14% owned

Kela is in a strange spot right now. He missed action recently with a biceps injury which obviously sounds less than great. But his teammate, Matt Bush, has recently been demoted from the closer role and Kela’s injury wasn’t really that bad. Rumor has it Kela may be the closer when he returns, which should be soon.

Sean Newcomb/Mike Foltynewicz (Atl, SPs): 34%/24% owned

We’ll slot these two Atlanta pitcher together for now. They both have been very good of late, but can struggle with their command, leading to blowups at certain times. Newcomb is yet to have any blowup starts at the MLB level, as he has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his four starts this season. That’s part of the reason he has the higher ownership than Folty, but he’s also the shiny new toy, the Braves prospect who could be the next big thing. As for Folty, his flirtation with a no-hitter in his most recent outing will be drawing plenty of potential owners back into his death ray, but both of these guys are wait-and-see guys for the time being. I just don’t trust Newcomb’s opponents (NYM, Mia, SF, SD), or Folty’s poor strikeout rate despite high velocity. I’d love to be wrong on both.

 

Players to Watch in 12-team Leagues

Tommy Pham (StL, OF): 10% owned

Pham moves way up the ranking thanks to a three-steal week in which he scored nine runs as well. Pham is sporting a wRC+ of 123 (before Sunday Night Baseball), and he is nearly at the 10/10 mark in HR and SB, with ten homers and nine steals. He’s a lowkey great option these days.

Bradley Zimmer (Cle, OF): 14% owned

Zimmer got more at bats than almost any previous week, but he was less productive than he was in many of his part-time weeks. With zero homers and steals and only a .192 average, Zimmer may slide back into his part-time role. Hopefully not, though, as the young Cleveland outfielder clearly has the talent for a full-time role.

Sam Dyson (SF, RP): 38% owned

Dyson was just picked up by the Giants after being DFA’d by the Rangers, and he has already moved into the closer’s role, supplanting Hunter Strickland while Mark Melancon (learns to stretch with the team) recovers from an elbow injury. Dyson has been poor by all accounts this season, sporting an ERA of 8.64, a FIP of 6.62, and an xFIP of 5.00. He has walked nearly as many batters (15) as he has struck out (18), and his previously-impeccable ground ball rate has dropped to just kind-of-high. He’s allowing harder contact than any previous season, and his HR/FB rate is through the roof. So why is he here? Because saves are gold, baby. Any closer will get fantasy attention, and it appears as though Dyson is the man in San Fran these days.

Archie Bradley (Ari, SP): 33% owned

Bradley continues to linger just behind Fernando Rodney in the Arizona bullpen, pitching far better than Rodney (1.23 ERA; 2.67 xFIP). He’s striking out over 10 batters per nine, and is pitching better than Rodney by all accounts. He’s still not closing, though, so his value is limited.

Max Kepler (Min, OF): 20% owned

Kepler went deep for the first time since June 13 last week, and he has only two long balls since back-to-back games with homers on June 2 and 3. Kepler did have a three-double double-header on Saturday, and hopefully he can get his power stroke going in July. The 34.4 percent hard hit ball rate and 41.0 percent fly ball rate suggest it could definitely happen.

Tommy Joseph (Phi, 1B): 19% owned

Joseph had only three hits last week but two were homers, leaving owners smiling and satisfied. This was a return to more typical production from Joseph who had been getting hits but without pop in recent weeks. This is more what to expect. The OBP (and plate discipline as a whole) is still the biggest hang up here.

Alex Meyer (LAA, SP): 12% owned

Meyer posted another strong outing, tossing six shutout innings against the Dodgers. He allowed only one hit, but he also walked five and struck out just four. It’s easy to keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but you might miss all the fun if you do insist on doing so.

Matt Davidson (CHW, 3B): 17% owned

Davidson had a heinous week, going 1-for-20 without a single run or RBI. This is the downside of having a hitter of Davidson’s ilk. When he doesn’t hit homers, he’s an absolute drain on your offense. He is a good power source, but he’s nothing more.

 

Players to Watch in 14+ team Leagues

Dinelson Lamet (SP, SD): 15% owned

Lamet has an ERA of 5.35 on the season, but almost of all that is due to back-to-back seven-run outings in early June. While it would be foolish to ignore those starts entirely, he has been excellent outside of those two duds, and the 24-year-old rookie is showing some real potential. His strikeout rate alone (12.16) is enough to demand a spot on rosters in league with K/9 rates as a stat, and his xFIP (3.76) suggests that soon he may be rosterable in even shallow leagues. Lamet ran a train on Atlanta his last time out, striking out eight for the fourth time this season (just seven starts), and allowing zero runs for the first time in his young career. His next outing (in Cleveland) will be telling as to just how trustworthy he is right now.

Lucas Duda (NYM, 1B): 11% owned

Duda was out for a few games in the middle of the week, limiting him to just 14 at bats, but he was productive with those at bats, leaving the yard once and scoring four runs on five hits. I still like Duda more than the average pundit thanks to his solid OBP and steady HR production.

Sean Doolittle (Oak, RP): 22% owned

Doolittle didn’t shine with the momentum he had, as he gave up run in back-to-back high-leverage outings last week. He’ll need a bounceback to stay on this list.

Mallex Smith (TB, OF): 23% owned

If we had a “Last Chance” section in this article, Smith would be there. He’s just 4-for-his-last-24 with two runs and no RBI over that stretch. He was certainly playing a bit over his head for a few weeks there, so it will be key to see how he adjusts to this relative swoon.

Danny Valencia (Sea, 1B/3B/OF): 20% owned

Valencia had four hits, one of them a homer, in just 14 at bats last week. Valencia showed he could still homer after his recent wrist injury, which is a good sign for owners who stuck with him despite the potentially-troubling injury.

 

Players to Watch in AL or NL-Only Leagues

Delino DeShields (Tex, OF): 7% owned

DeShields had only three hits last week, but he scored three runs, and I like him in a loaded Rangers lineup. Add in his strong stolen base potential, and he’s likely under-owned, especially considering the dearth of SB around baseball.

Denard Span (SF, OF): 6% owned

Span killed it last week, collecting 12 hits, one of which was a homer. He scored eight runs, drove in four more, and had a stolen base to boot. Span is quietly doing his thing once again in 2017, with a .297 batting average and a 116 wRC+. He has five homers and four steals, and his 23.4 percent line drive rate suggests he should be able to keep his BA up. He’s even hitting more fly balls than any other of his MLB seasons, suggesting the homers might stick around as well. Although Span seems older, he’s still “just” 33 years old, and he could have plenty of value moving forward in deep leagues.

Joakim Soria (KC, RP): 6% owned

Soria will remain on this list while he continues to pitch well and the Royals continue to be contenders to sell at the deadline. His FIP is down to 1.65, but the Royals are now over .500 meaning they could choose to hold onto Kelvin Herrera at the deadline which would mean far less value for Soria.

 

Graduated - Ownership Too High

Michael Taylor (Was, OF): 49% owned

Mike Montgomery (ChC, SP/RP): 40% owned

 

Demoted

Zack Wheeler (NYM, SP): 17% owned

Joe Biagini (Tor, SP): 10% owned

Robert Gsellman (NYM, SP): 6% owned

Nick Pivetta (Phi, SP): 5% owned

 

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