If it is Thursday, it is time to take a trip to the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire. It is still very early in the season, but if I know Fantasy owners, looking at a 1-2 or 0-3 record is enough to make them analyze every roster spot on their team. I can also see you rotisserie players who are on the bottom half of the standings looking for a jolt to get your team on an upward trend.
Are you losing sleep at night because your fifth Fantasy starter has had back-to-back terrible starts? Or was it your utility player who went 2-28 this week that has you combing the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire for the next player that is about to heat up? No matter what the reason, we at So-Called Fantasy Experts are here for you with some options to keep you pushing towards first place.
The featured pitchers this week are all starters in the American League. The top story will be one of the top pitching prospects in baseball that will be arriving momentarily. As always, injury brings out opportunities for others and one of our options is a guy who will be filling in for an injured starter. On the flip side, another option is a pitcher who is just returning from the disabled list and the majority of Fantasy Baseball players aren’t ready to trust yet but they should. Finally, we will give you a pitcher who disappointed so badly last season, that half of Fantasy leagues aren’t ready to trust him just yet.
On the hitting side we have a speedy outfielder who started the season on the disabled list, but now is healthy and is hitting. Another option is an exciting young outfielder who doesn’t overly excel in any one category, but is giving you help across the board. A third choice is a power hitting first baseman who has always had an atrocious batting average, but seems to have put it together this season. We will even throw in a special suggestion for those thinking long term.
The next time I speak to you we will officially be in the month of May, and that is when Fantasy Baseball really starts getting interesting. Good luck in your leagues this week, and make good choices on the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire with these suggestions. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @fightingchance.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Week 4
Jose Berrios, SP, Minnesota Twins
After starting the season much worse than they expected, the Twins finally realized that their pitching rotation is either injured or total garbage and finally called-up their top prospect. Berrios was nearly called-up last season during the pennant race, but Minnesota didn’t want to extend him past his 166 innings that he threw in 2015. Berrios has great strikeout stuff, and has dominated the Minor Leagues. As the saying goes, he has nothing left to prove down on the farm.
Berrios showed flashes of what all of the excitement is about in his first start on Wednesday, but he also showed some flaws. He fell behind hitters at an alarming rate. He didn’t seem to fight out of trouble well, and in the end he allowed five runs over four innings, walking two, and striking out five. Despite those negatives, there was also a lot to like.
Berrios showed late movement on his pitches, and his fastball played a lot faster than what the radar gun showed. It was a cold night in Minnesota as well, and most guys are really amped up for their first start. This one is a no-brainer, you need to add him in your league, no matter the format.
Kevin Gausman, SP, Baltimore Orioles
Gausman was a very sought after Fantasy commodity in the later rounds of drafts in March as a younger pitcher with high upside. A shoulder injury in Spring Training sidelined him and crushed Fantasy players’ dreams and he was cast aside in mid-March. The Orioles don’t have a long history of developing young pitchers (until after they are gone … ahem, Jake Arrieta), but everyone was hoping that Gausman might be different.
He returned to the mound on Monday against the Rays and was very successful. He was outdueled by Chris Archer, but Gausman still only allowed one run over five innings and struck out seven and looked very impressive. It wasn’t exactly against a powerful lineup, but it was still a very promising outing. Gausman is only owned in about 25-percent of Fantasy leagues on the major sites, but that is going to change quickly and if you want him you better act quickly.
Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers
As if there hasn’t been enough pitching prospects coming to the Majors lately, the Tigers are set to call-up their top prospect. The Tigers acquired him in the trade for Yoenis Cespedes from the Mets last season. He has a 4.05 ERA in the Minors this season, but has 20 strikeouts in just over 15 innings. He was more impressive last season in the Minors where he posted a 2.24 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
Fulmer has a great sinking fastball and an equally impressive slider which misses a ton of bats. He has improved his command in each step along the way in the Minors, and at age 23 he is ready to take to the Major Leagues. Fulmer will start Friday and get a favorable matchup right away as he will face the Twins. He may not be up for the season depending on how quickly Shane Greene heals, so be careful who you drop for him.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians
From the second Carlos Carrasco hit the bag he was attempting to cover on Sunday, everyone knew that his injury wasn’t going to heal quickly. Carrasco owners received bad news when they were told he would miss four-to-six weeks with the hamstring problem. While he hasn’t been great out of the bullpen thus far, and hasn’t been successful in previous seasons as a starter, Trevor Bauer will be taking his spot in the rotation.
Bauer was once a top prospect of the Indians, and while he has struggled greatly at times, his strikeout potential has always kept him on the Fantasy radar. The Indians are now a much better team than they were when Bauer came to the Majors, and that could help his win potential. I wouldn’t drop someone that is reliable, but if you have a spot that you are streaming or are unsure of, Bauer could be a nice pickup. If he gets his stuff together, he has a chance to be a good Fantasy pitcher.
Chris Carter, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
Chris Carter has 18 hits, 77.8% of which have come for extra bases (9 doubles, 5hr). His 14 XBH are tied for 2nd in the majors. #Brewers
— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) April 25, 2016
Over the past few years, Fantasy owners were rostering Carter because of his immense power. Despite his terrible batting eye and the fact that he strikes out at a record breaking rate, Carter had 66 home runs in 2014 and 2015 combined. Last season he dealt with injuries, his power was down a little and his batting average was at an all-time low as he hit .199 over 391 at-bats. He moved to Milwaukee in the offseason and he was largely ignored during Fantasy drafts.
By the numbers right now, I think someone else is inhabiting Chris Carter’s jersey. Carter is still striking out, but not nearly at the rate of the past few seasons, and his batting average is threatening .300. A guy with Carter’s power, coupled with a batting average even at .250 is a very worthy Fantasy option.
Carter is a natural power hitter at 6’4” and 245 pounds, so I think he is even ready to hit more long balls. He is certainly due for somewhat of a correction in batting average, but I believe he will hit enough home runs to be a viable guy to have on your roster, even if you don’t start him.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Kansas City Royals
Over the last four seasons, few hitters have stolen bases at the rate that Jarrod Dyson has. He has never had 300 at-bats in a season, but he has stolen 126 bases in the last four seasons. If you were to extrapolate that over full seasons of games, he would either be the league leader or among the best. His batting average tends to be in the .255-.265 range, and he doesn’t strikeout a great deal.
Dyson began the year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, which generally scares me when it comes to a speed guy since they are flopping on the ground a lot. However, Dyson has been back for over a week now, so I feel pretty good that the injury has healed. He has two steals so far, but he has only been active for eight games, so he is already off to a good start. Dyson has two multi-hit games so far and has yet to strike out.
If you are struggling for stolen bases, get to the waiver wire as soon as you can.
Odubel Herrera, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Between injuries and just letting young people play, Herrera was given the opportunity to get a good number of at-bats last season. He made the most of that opportunity with eight home runs, 16 steals, and nearly hit .300. His batting eye was one of his bigger issues last season as he struck out 129 times and walked just 28 times. However, when you are on a terrible team, you are more likely to play loose and take a few more chances because you really have nothing to lose.
Fantasy owners were lukewarm on Herrera this draft season, as I was in a number of drafts where he either went in the last round or two or went undrafted. He has gotten off to a solid start, even better than the pace he was on last season. Herrera is hitting a solid .288 with two home runs and four steals. The most impressive thing about his starts is his improvement in plate discipline. Through 20 games, he has walked more times (19) than he has struck out (17), which is a great change from last season.
He is sitting on an eight game hitting streak and his ownership numbers are going up quickly. If he is a free agent in your league, as he is in 70-percent of leagues, I suggest moving quickly.