Week 6 Waiver Wire Watch List

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Welcome to Week 6 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 eight 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.)

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

Aaron Hicks (NYY, OF): 38%

Hicks was the biggest mover and shaker of the past week, as he hit two home runs and stole two bases in his six starts. Hicks is now slashing .355/.481/.710 on the season, and while that is all unsustainable to a point of course, he appears to be making his breakout in New York this season.

Justin Wilson (DET, RP): 26%

This ranking is as much a statement about Francisco Rodriguez as it is about Justin Wilson. K-Rod blew his fourth save of the season on Sunday, giving up three runs in a third of an inning. The 35-year-old now owns a 8.49 ERA on the season and appears to be on the verge of handing off the closing duties in Detroit. The man who would make most sense to jump in and take those duties is Wilson, the hard-throwing lefty who is sporting a 1.32 ERA and 2.03 xFIP in 15 games this season. Wilson is striking out more than 14 batters per nine, and if he does take over the closer’s role, he would immediately jump into the middle tier of closers. Wilson is yet to blow a lead this season, and the only thing that might stop him from taking over is that the Tigers like him as a lefty arm who isn’t tethered to the ninth. Patience is running thin with K-Rod, however, so the time to buy on Wilson is now before he gets too expensive.

J.C. Ramirez (LAA, SP/RP): 20%

Ramirez impressed again this past week, making a pair of starts, and going 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA in the starts. He basically struck out a batter an inning, and he has brought his ERA for the season down to 3.74 after a tough beginning of the season in the bullpen.

Domingo Santana (MIL, OF): 24%

Santana went deep twice in the past week, and he now has five homers and three steals. He’s hitting only .222 but is getting on base at a .336 clip for those in OBP leagues. His line drive rate continues to impress at 29.0 percent.

Yonder Alonso (OAK, 1B): 20%

Alonso is a new addition to the list, as his four home runs in the past week simply could not be ignored. Alonso had been left for (fantasy) dead this season, and it seems as though all his seasons of flashing potential but never living up to it is making owners slow to pick him up despite an excellent start. Alonso is slashing .311/.386/.667 for the season, and his nine homers rank among the league leaders. Alonso has indeed made changes to his game, as his 49.2 percent fly ball rate is miles better than any other season in his career and way above his career rate (33.2 percent). He’s also hitting the ball harder than in season’s past (40.0 percent hard hit ball rate this season), so it’s not too surprising that he has already matched his career-high for home runs. Alonso won’t keep up quite this pace (his 25.0 percent HR/FB rate before Sunday is more than three times his career rate), but a 20-HR, .300-BA is not out of the question. It’s time to buy into the changes he is making and make him fantasy relevant again.

Jordan Montgomery (NYY, SP): 11%

Monty had a nice two-start week, striking out seven in a no decision (5.0 IP, 3 ER) against Baltimore and getting a win over the Cubs (6.2 IP, 3 ER) in his two starts. The one disturbing thing is that he walked four in each start, but there’s still a lot to like with this kid.

Trevor Cahill (SD, SP/RP): 34%

Trevor Cahill (yes, that Trevor Cahill) is starting to make himself fantasy relevant again. Cahill went six innings of three-hit, one run (unearned), seven-strikeout baseball against the Rockies this week, lowering his season ERA/FIP/xFIP slash to: 3.60/2.64/2.82 - that is a sexy FIP and xFIP. Cahill is striking out 11.10 batters per nine, easily a career high. He has added a cutter this season, but it has been his curveball that has been truly elite, netting a 21.9 percent whiff rate and holding batters to a .211 slugging percentage on the pitch. Cahill is in San Diego now, so he gets the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park 50 percent of the time which only adds to his appeal. It’s amazing to say this, but you may need to move soon on Cahill before you miss out on him.

 

Players to Watch in 12-team Leagues

Trevor Rosenthal (STL, RP): 33%

Solid week for Rosenthal (three innings, one run, five punchouts), but Seung-Hwan Oh still has a decent hold on the closer’s job for now.

Charlie Morton (HOU, SP): 22%

Morton proved his mettle last week with an eight-strikeout, one-run gem against the Rangers. Morton improved his record to 3-2 with the win, but more importantly brought his ERA down to 3.97 and xFIP down to 3.19. Morton will now be a popular option for a two-start week in which he faces the Braves and the Yankees, and it will be interesting to see how he handles those two teams in tough ballparks (home against Atlanta, road against New York). The Astros’ righty is striking out 10.32 batters per nine this season, just another one of the many pitchers setting career highs in strikeouts. One thing to keep an eye on with Morton is the batted ball profile he is allowing. His elite groundball rate from season’s past has left, leaving a strong, but not otherworldly, 48.9 percent ground ball rate. Allowing with the uptick in fly balls, he is allowing 24.5 percent line drives and a scary 40.0 percent hard hit ball rate. There are some big bats on the Braves and Yankees (Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, et al.) so keep an eye on his home runs allowed this week.

Zack Wheeler (NYM, SP): 20%

Wheeler had his lone start of last week canceled after three innings due to rain, so he was unable to accumulate any statistics. He’ll be back on the bump this Tuesday against the Giants in a favorable matchup.

Mitch Moreland (BOS, 1B): 19%

Moreland continues to hit the ball hard (47.0 percent hard hit ball rate), but his production is coming back down to earth a bit. I still like him long-term.

Mike Foltynewicz (ATL, SP): 16%

Folty had one of his classic blow-up games last week, giving up seven runs in four innings to the Cardinals. This is just further proof that he’s not quite there yet. Expect a bounce-back against the Marlins in Miami this week.

Joaquin Benoit (PHI, RP): 25%

The Phillies’ closer situation continues to be a total cluster eff, but Hector Neris still has the inside track. Benoit is nice to have for the time being, however, as he holds the “vet” edge on Neris should things turn south again.

Jarrod Dyson (SEA, OF): 22%

Dyson had a bit of a disappointing week after we hyped him here last week (2-for-14, two runs, three RBI, one steal), but I still like his abilities as an only-slightly-poor man’s Billy Hamilton.

 

Players to Watch in 16-team Leagues

Justin Bour (MIA, 1B): 7%

I hope you listened last week, Bour with another homer and eight RBI during last week. He’s heating up with the weather.

Logan Morrison (TB, 1B): 11%

Morrison is flashing some nice pop, with two homers in the last week bringing him up to seven on the season (.516 slugging percentage). Morrison was quietly quite strong after an abysmal April last season, and as such, is actually the best Rays’ hitter in the past calendar year, per wRC+. Over the last 12 months, Morrison has a wRC+ of 135, better than names like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Francisco Lindor. Morrison is walking more and striking out less this season than he did last year, and he is hitting the ball harder. He’s square in the middle of a really nice Rays’ lineup (sixth in MLB, per wRC+), and as of now he is playing pretty much every day. That may change once Wilson Ramos is healthy enough to make his Rays’ debut, but that won’t be for a while, and even once that day comes, it will only mean Morrison is out of the lineup against lefties, pitchers he struggles against anyway. Morrison is a nice under-the-radar name right now.

Andrew Toles (LAD, OF): 5%

Toles continued his strange season with yet another home run last week. He’s up to five homers, while he still is yet to steal his first base. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this, but he is definitely playing well enough to deserve your attention.

Cameron Rupp (PHI, C): 10%

The prodigious power of Rupp was on display last week, as the Phillies’ backstop went yard twice, his second and third of the season. Rupp has just 86 plate appearances on the season, so his RuBIn total is a bit low, but his .466 slugging percentage is solid, and he is once again hitting the ball hard when he makes contact (35.6 percent hard hit ball rate). The problem with Rupp (along with his lower playing time than most starting catchers) is that contact, however. He is currently rocking a 33.7 percent strikeout rate, and his contact rate (71.9 percent) is as low as ever. The good news is that he is going out of the strike zone for pitches less often, and his swinging strike rate is actually a career best right now. If Rupp can continue to make at least a decent amount of contact, with the power he has he’ll have value in deeper leagues.

Derek Norris (TB, C): 3%

Another catcher who might be starting to heat up, Norris left the yard for the second time in as many weeks, and he remains one of the top positive regression candidates on the market right now.

Taylor Motter (SEA, SS/OF): 14%

Motter didn’t have the best week, as the Mariners began to cut down on his playing time, giving him only six at bats in all of last week. His 46.3 percent hard hit ball rate is still glorious, but if you’re not in the lineup there’s only so much you can contribute in fantasy baseball.

 

Players to Watch in AL or NL-Only Leagues

Jed Lowrie (OAK, 2B): 4%

I’m going to literally just start copying and pasting Lowrie’s week-to-week performances, they’re so consistent. Five-for-19 with four runs this time.

T.J. Rivera (NYM, 1B/2B/3B): 2%

Mets’ prospect T.J. Rivera had a nice last week, knocking in five runs in a three-game stretch in which the 28-year-old went 6-for-14 with four extra-base hits. Rivera hit .333 with a three homers in his 33-game rookie season for the Mets last season, and he has always been a high batting average player. He lived in the .320-.350 range throughout his minor league career, and is hitting .322 in his brief MLB career so far. He has a really nice eye at the plate (five walks, seven strikeouts in 2017 so far), and he has plenty of positional eligibility in Yahoo right now. Twenty-eight-year-old semi-rookies usually aren’t the best, but the results (39.5 percent hard hit ball rate; 43.2 percent fly ball rate) are hard to argue with right now.

Tommy Pham (StL, OF): 2%

Pham is a nice go-big or go-home option on the cheap in deeper leagues at the moment. Pham is a 29-year-old who has never really stuck around at the big-league level, but in the leagues where you’ll be thinking about Pham, you’re aware of that. He has three homers in his last two games, with a two-homer day on Sunday. Pham was slugging .500 in the minors before his call up this season, and he has literally only hit fly balls since coming up to the big leagues in 2017. We’ll need more of a sample to really dig into the numbers here, but he has such a nice, fast start that he gets our attention on this list.

 

Graduated - Ownership Too High

Eduardo Rodriguez (SP, BOS): 51%

Scott Schebler (OF, CIN): 40%

 

Demoted

C.C. Sabathia (SP, NYY): 17%

Travis d’Arnaud (C, NYM): 16%

Jorge Polanco (2B/3B/SS, MIN): 10%

Scooter Gennett (2B, CIN)L 3%

 

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