I hope that you all had a very enjoyable Fourth of July weekend, and as promised mine was filled with beers, baseball, and burgers and probably more of all than any doctor would recommend. However, in between the beers and the burgers, I still had time to obsess over the fantasy baseball waiver wire to find a few new guys that could give my team a boost!
Each and every week we have given you three hitters and three pitchers that are owned in less than half of fantasy leagues across the major sites that can propel your team to victory. With very few exceptions I have tried to give you six new names every week so as to not be boring and give the same names three times in a year. As we head into the All-Star Break there are still new players that are attractive.
On the hitting side we have a slick fielding shortstop that has suddenly turned himself into a solid hitter no matter how much I don’t want to believe it. Secondly there is a superstar second baseman who is getting close to a return from a lengthy suspension. Our final hitter is a catcher who might be too old to be considered a prospect, but is raking at the moment nonetheless
Did I mention that the closer carousel is always spinning? This week in the featured pitchers we have a closer injury that has opened the door of opportunity to a fireballer ready to step in. A second relief pitcher wasn’t named the closer after a trade, but he certainly has more of the “closer’s stuff” than the guy who has been given the first crack at the gig. Finally, we have a starting pitcher whose 2015 was so bad that fantasy players remain down on him despite a fairly solid showing in the first half of 2016.
We are just days away from the All-Star Break, but you can’t take a break from the fantasy baseball waiver wire if you hope to take home the championship this season! As always you can follow me on Twitter @fightingchance and if you want to read more of me head to www.fightingchancefantasy.com.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Week 14
Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees
As a resident of New York State (upstate, not the city), I am obliged to listen to sports talk radio on a daily basis. In fact, every time my wife asks me if I have heard a new song I always ask her “do they play it on sports radio?” Since August of last season the radio has been trying to convince me that Gregorius is turning it around and is going to be a viable player, and I have been laughing at my radio every time. It may explain why other drivers look at me funny, but I digress.
No matter what my opinion is of the guy, you can’t argue with production and right now Didi is giving you plenty of that. Since June 29th he has hit three home runs, driven in five runs, and collected seven hits. He is now hitting almost .290 and he already has tied his career high in home runs. Considering that shortstop could be the worst position in fantasy baseball, I would say that Gregorius is now a guy who should be used in just about every format of every league. And somehow he is rostered in only about one quarter of leagues. I know he doesn’t have a long history of success at the plate, but the kid is mashing right now and you need to be taking advantage of that.
Dee Gordon, 2B, Miami Marlins
The fantasy world was shocked! Dee Gordon had positioned himself to be a first round fantasy pick in many standard drafts this season. And then on April 29th we got the news. Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PED use! Pubs across America made big bucks that night as fantasy players lost their top steals guy, a potential batting champion, and a second baseman? How could you have replaced all of that?
A few guys have emerged that hopefully dulled your pain, but the good news is that the suspension is nearly over. There’s only about three more weeks until Gordon returns on July 29th, and he is still unowned in more than half of leagues around fantasy baseball. Unless you are in an absolute dogfight for a playoff spot and really can’t afford the roster spot, you gotta go out and grab Gordon. In three weeks you will have a dynamite middle infielder who can steal 30 bags in the remainder of the season and definitely hit .300.
Cameron Rupp, C, Philadelphia Phillies
Taking over for a long time catcher like Carlos Ruiz that was held in high respect isn’t easy, but Rupp certainly is making the most out of his opportunity. He just brings more of an opportunity for offense at this point, and is the more valuable commodity than Ruiz. Rupp hit nine home runs in half a season in 2015, although his terrible batting average didn’t make him a viable fantasy player.
Rupp has cut down on his strikeouts and has raised his batting average nearly 50 points from where it was last season. He never really hit for a great average in the Minors, but he isn’t old enough for me to say that there’s no way that this could just be an improvement. Considering the horrible state the catching position is in, Rupp might be worth a look if you have a guy who is struggling if you can nab a guy who has three multi-hit games in the last week.
Kelvin Herrera, RP, Kansas City Royals
This one is a little tricky because there hasn’t been a timetable set for Wade Davis’ return. There are two schools of thought here. The first is that forearm injuries tend not to be the 15 day variety, but tend to linger a little longer. The second is that Davis pitched through a similar injury last season late in the year and the playoffs and he will be back in those two weeks. I am of the belief that while I don’t think it is an injury that will cost him months, I do not believe that Davis will be ready to return in 15 days.
Although Ned Yost hasn’t named a closer and Joakim Soria has former closing experience, I believe that Herrera is the guy who will carry the ninth inning while Davis is injured. He has an overpowering fastball, has eye popping stats, and 49 strikeouts in 38 innings. Like I said, this one is a bit tricky with the uncertainty of the injury, but even if Herrera isn’t closing he still brings some fantasy value.
Kelvin Herrera now will most likely assume closer duties for #Royals.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 5, 2016
Ryan Buchter, RP, San Diego Padres
I don’t think anyone expected the success that Fernando Rodney enjoyed as closer of the Padres this season. He notched 17 saves and had an ERA and WHIP under 1.00. His awesome season had him as the target of many contending teams around the league and the Marlins pulled the trigger in a deal for Rodney on June 30th. Speculation would begin right away to see who would be his replacement.
Brandon Maurer was given the job first, and even notched a save on July 2nd. However, if you look at his track record and see that he is not a good pitcher. Even more than that, he isn’t anything that resembles a typical closer. The guy on the roster that fits this mold is Ryan Buchter. He throws hard, gets a lot of strikeouts, and has been pitching well this season. Maurer is the guy people jumped on when Rodney was traded, but it will be Buchter who will get the job before too long and run with it.
Andrew Cashner, SP, San Diego Padres
Cashner just made his first start back after a neck injury cost him nearly the entire month of June. Fantasy owners are still hoping that somewhere along the way he is going to be able to recapture the magic from his 2013-2014 campaigns where he pitched to a combined ERA of about 2.75. After his disastrous 2015 and the injury this year, he has been cast aside in most leagues.
If you look at him this season, he really hasn’t been bad. Sure, he isn’t an overpowering strikeout pitcher, and the Padres are far from a good team. However, he hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in any start since his first of the year, and while his strikeout totals are nothing to get excited about, you aren’t going to pull Clayton Kershaw off the waiver wire in July! If you are in a deeper league and need some pitching help, give Cashner a try and see if he can keep this solid streak alive.