Week 7 Waiver Wire Watch List

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Welcome to Week 7 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

Derek Law (SF, RP): 34% owned

With Mark Melancon on the DL, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy has leaned towards Law to close out games for the Giants, and Law is 2-for-2 in the role. Law gave up three hits and two runs in his first save opportunity, but the second chance was more what owners want to see, as he walked just one and locked up the win for San Fran. Melancon played catch on Saturday, and he will almost certainly take the role back when he returns, but for owners thirsty for saves in the meantime, Law should be a solid option while Melancon works his way back. Law’s numbers are too flashy (3.00 ERA, 4.21 xFIP), but he’s not going to kill you in the limited time you have him on your team.

Jose Berrios (MIN, SP): 37% owned

Berrios, the Twins top pitching prospect the last two seasons, is back in the big leagues, and he was impressive in his 2017 MLB debut. Berrios went seven and two-thirds, allowing just one run on two hits and a walk, while striking out four. It was the best start of Berrios’ career at the MLB level, as he came into the game sporting a career 8.02 ERA in the majors. The talent is there for Berrios, though, so don’t be scared off by the small sample size (58.1 innings). Berrios had a 1.13 ERA over 39.2 innings at Triple-A this season, and he has a career 2.51 ERA at Triple-A in 229.2 innings. Berrios will be a popular add this week, he gets Colorado at home, a solid matchup but one that should be a good test.

Domingo Santana (MIL, OF): 24% owned

Santana hit .348 the past week, but didn’t go deep, so his OPS (.748) wasn’t winning you any head-to-head matchups. He did have four runs and a steal, and it’s all good with Santana moving forward.

Nate Karns (KC, SP): 20% owned

A slightly-inflated ERA is holding down Karns’ ownership right now, but given his xFIP (3.17) it may not be long before he’s jumping up the ownership ranks. Karns has 22 strikeouts in his past two outings alone, and he gave up just four runs combined in those starts - it’s somewhat amazing his ownership is still so low. Karns had his success against a pair of solid AL East offenses in Baltimore and Tampa Bay, so it’s not as if he was running up stats against the dregs of the league. Karns has an excellent batted ball profile this season, as he is allowing just a 11.4 percent line drive rate, inducing grounders 55.2 percent of the time, and his soft hit ball rate is over 25 percent (25.5%). Karns draws the Twins next time out.

Jordan Montgomery (NYY, SP): 12% owned

Montgomery got seven strikeouts in six innings against Houston and had just one walk, but he did give up eight hits and four runs in a loss. Still a lot to like as a high-floor young arm.

 

Players to Watch in 12-team Leagues

Austin Hedges (SD, C): 26% owned

We add another catchers to the ranks this week, as the position is beginning to show it has some depth - at least if you’re in deeper leagues where you can afford to dig a bit deeper. Hedgers hit a pair of homers and went 6-for-19 last week, as the Padres’ backstop is up to eight homers on the season. Of course, he is also hitting just .209 with an OBP of .258. There are a lot of power hitters who you can afford to keep despite poor BA/OBP, but Hedges is really low in both. On the one hand, one would have to assume his .205 BABIP is going to have some positive regression moving forward, but it is actually somehow higher than his career BABIP of .194 in 99 career games. His line drive rate (17.1%) is miles better than 2016 (5.6%), so I do believe it’s safe to assume a bit of BA increase from here on out. If/when that increase does come, Hedges will be a nice catcher option in mixed leagues.

Trevor Rosenthal (STL, RP): 37% owned

Rosenthal continues to pitch great (four shutout innings, five strikeouts), but Seung-Hwan Oh is settling in more and more after a rough start meaning Rosenthal is further from the closer’s role. He has value regardless, but obviously way more value as the actual closer.

Tommy Pham (STL, OF): 11% owned

Pham has never been a game-breaker, but he is hot right now. With two homers and two steals in the past week, his stock is going through the roof. That 11 percent ownership isn’t going to last for long.

J.C. Ramirez (LAA, SP/RP): 18% owned

Ramirez got hit around a bit at the beginning of his last start, but he settled in for a seven-inning outing, albeit one in which he gave up five runs against the Tigers.

Zack Wheeler (NYM, SP): 23% owned

Wheeler had a nice one-start week, getting the win (his second) thanks to six innings of one-run ball against the admittedly-muted Giants offense. Wheeler seems close to a potential breakthrough once again.

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

Joseph was one of the biggest disappointments among the trendy, sleeper types for the first month-plus of the season, but he may just be heating up with the weather. In his last four games, Joseph has gone 7-for-14 with six runs, three home runs, and four RBI. Going back just before then, he had back-to-back multi-hit games last Friday and Saturday and has improved his slash line as much as anybody in the past 10 days. Suddenly Joseph’s slash line doesn’t look that much different than his under-the-radar 2016 season, although he is still hitting more ground balls than we would like to see. His ground ball rate is up ten percent overall in 2017, but in May that rate has been closer to his 2016 rate. If he can continue to elevate his swing from here on out, Joseph will once again be popping up on mixed-league radar.

Mike Foltynewicz (Atl, SP): 13% owned

Folty’s write up is a carbon copy of Wheeler’s. Got a win against a pedestrian offense in which he went six innings, allowed six base runners, and struck out four. Sometimes things don’t change much in a week for pitchers.

Jarrod Dyson (Sea, OF): 19% owned

An OPS of .821 with a steal and four runs: pretty average week for Dyson. Sometimes things don’t change that much for hitters in a week either.

 

Players to Watch in 14+ team Leagues

Justin Bour (Mia, 1B): 9% owned

Here’s a guy who keeps moving closer to our preseason hopes, as Bour went deep three times again last week, bringing him to seven for the season. He has seven homers in 25 games (45-homer pace) after failing to go deep his first ten games.

Logan Morrison (TB, 1B): 11% owned

Morrison had just four hits last week, but three were home runs. He’s been secretly great over the past 12 months and has a pretty high floor at this point.

Joe Biagini (TOR, SP): 12% owned

Biagini has made the transition from the bullpen to the rotation looks as easy as any pitcher in recent memory, going a combined nine shutout innings in his two starts for the Blue Jays so far. Both outings have come with limited pitch counts, but he was still able to have plenty of value, as he nabbed one win, allowed just six base runners (no walks) and struck out seven in the two starts combined (nine innings). If Biagini is able to keep his success up in the rotation, the Jays will find a way to keep him there. Biagini has an excellent ground ball rate (58.7 percent) and has always been able to keep his opponents in the ballpark (HR/FB rate of 5.6 percent in his career) thanks in part to a low hard hit ball rate (23.9 percent). There’s a lot to like here for the converted reliever who will draw the Braves on the road this Wednesday. The week after he’ll be a two-start pitcher who will be a must-add if he does well against Atlanta, so think about pulling the trigger right after the Braves start if he is successful and you want him for the following week.

Taylor Motter (SEA, SS/OF): 10% owned

After a couple of weeks with lower plate appearances, Motter was back in the Mariner lineup for 17 at bats last week, and he collected four hits and stole a base.

Colby Rasmus (TB, OF): 3% owned

Rasmus and his glorious beard have hardly missed a beat since returning from his DL stint to start 2017. Rasmus has a .276/.382/.690 slash line in the (admittedly-tiny) ten-game sample of 2017, and the three home runs really jump off the page. Rasmus has been an excellent power source in seasons past, as he has averaged right around 20 homers a season over his eight seasons in baseball. Kevin Cash and the Rays will make sure to put Rasmus in the best situations to succeed, which means he might not be in the lineup each and every night, but in deeper leagues where that isn’t a deal breaker, he should be on your radar. We don’t want to read too much into nine games, but he’s lacing the ball so far with a 44 percent hard hit ball rate, and a 61.1 percent fly ball rate that shows he’s having no problem elevating the ball.

Cameron Rupp (Phi, C): 14% owned

Rupp got only seven at bats in the past week, but he nabbed four hits and had a run and two RBI. I’m not too worried about Andrew Knapp taking at bats from Rupp on a regular basis.

 

Players to Watch in AL or NL-Only Leagues

Jed Lowrie (OAK, 2B): 6% owned

Past week: six hits two of which were home runs. Seriously, where is the love, people?

T.J. Rivera (NYM, 1B/2B/3B): 6% owned

After a loud breakout last week, Rivera settled in nicely with a .304 average and six RuBIns last week. That seems like a typical week for him going forward.

Derek Norris (TB, C): 3% owned

That positive regression from his beastly hard hit and line drive rate isn’t coming in avalanches, but he had another solid week with a .286 average and three runs.

Ezequiel Carrera (Tor, OF): 2% owned

Don’t look now (actually do look now, it’s fantasy baseball, always be looking around), but Carrera is hitting .327 and has three home runs in 2017. The 29-year-old has never been much of a prospect or made much of an impact, so this may just be a fluky hot streak, but that’s why this is the AL-only watch list section - we’re taking chances here. Carrera is indeed sporting the best line drive rate of his career (22.4%), and while his HR/FB rate is also a career-high, that might be a good thing in this case, as that number has trended upward each of the past four seasons, meaning Carrera may just be filling out a bit. If he puts together another week or so like this, he’ll start making his way onto some deeper rosters.

 

Graduated - Ownership Too High

Justin Wilson (Det, RP): 68% owned

Aaron Hicks (NYY, OF): 66% owned

Yonder Alonso (Oak, 1B): 64% owned

Trevor Cahill (SD, SP/RP): 54% owned

Charlie Morton (Hou, SP): 43% owned

Demoted

Mitch Moreland (Bos, 1B): 16% owned

Joaquin Benoit (Phi, RP): 15% owned

Andrew Toles (LAD, OF): 2% owned

 

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