What says ‘Merica more than beers, baseball, and the Fourth of July? The answer? Nuthin’!!!! I will be enjoying all three this upcoming weekend, but do you know what else I will be doing? Ugh, yes I will have to spend some time with the inlaws, but I will also be combing over the fantasy baseball waiver wire!
While all of your league mates are getting blackout drunk at barbecues this weekend, you should be anti-social, stay inside, and make your fantasy baseball team better as you chase that elusive championship this September! OK, I take that back, don’t be anti social, but do find some time to check out the wire to see if there are any hidden gems.
On the pitching side this week we have an Asian import who is ruining National League hitters and looks like he will get a chance to close games. We also offer a top prospect we have all been clamoring about since March waiting for him Major League debut. Finally, take a look at this second year hurler who got off to a dreadful start but is turning it around quickly.
Hitters this week feature another elite prospect we were drooling about in drafts all March long who is getting his first crack at the Majors. Another rookie comes from the Cub Army of hitting prospects who is forcing his way into the lineup on a daily basis because he is so hot. The last rookie this week got his shot because of an injury and is playing really well despite the fact it appears that the fantasy baseball community hasn’t quite found him yet.
A Happy Fourth of July to all of my readers, enjoy the weekend in a big way, but please enjoy responsibly. We are just about to the halfway pole of the fantasy baseball season, so don’t stop trying to improve your team until you are the champion! As always, you can follow me on Twitter, and if you want to read more of my writing you can visit www.fightingchancefantasy.com.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Week 13
Seung Hwan Oh, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
If you have owned Trevor Rosenthal in fantasy baseball or are a St. Louis Cardinals fan you know how Rosenthal rolls. He gets you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, and often praying to a higher power that he convert the save chance in front of him. For the last two seasons he was successful far more often than not. In 2016 that was not the case and after eight earned runs in two weeks, Rosey was finally removed from the closer’s role.
Manager Mike Matheny (say that three times fast) declared that he would use a committee of Oh, Kevin Siegrist, and (GASP) Jonathan Broxton as the closer. Oh has had a fantastic rookie season, and stands to be the most successful at it, even though I really like Kevin Siegrist. Oh has been blowing batters away with 51 strikeouts in just 38 innings. A save chance hasn’t presented itself since the committee was discussed, but Oh was warming up in a save situation on June 27th before the Cardinals scored a couple of runs making a save out of the equation.
Lucas Giolito, SP, Washington Nationals
— MLB (@MLB) June 29, 2016
No pitcher was more hyped this fantasy offseason than Lucas Giolito as he was a pretty much consensus pick for best fantasy pitching prospect coming into 2016. I thought we might be in for a long wait when in the beginning of the season they were only letting him pitch around four innings trying to keep his total down. Couple that with the fact that all of the Nationals’ pitchers, including Tanner Roark in a surprise, I was figuring it might be until August until Giolito graced the Major Leagues.
An injury to Stephen Strasburg has opened the door for Giolito to get his shot in the Majors on June 28th. Unfortunately for him, Mother Nature intervened and he wasn’t able to finish his first start, but Giolito performed admirably. He pitched four shutout innings, allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out just one. It appeared that Giolito was holding back some, and that could have been nerves. He pitched to a lot of three ball counts, and in that way he has to improve. All in all, it was a great success in his first start, and he should be grabbed in all formats right away.
Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox
Last season Rodon was viewed as one of the better pitching prospects in the game, even if he wasn’t elite. Like most young pitchers, Rodon had some good and some bad, but all in all I would consider his 2015 campaign a success. He won nine games on a pretty bad team, had an ERA at 3.75 and struck out exactly a batter an inning. The hype train on Rodon had some more passengers on it than usual coming into 2016, where it hit some bumpy travel.
After getting bombed for six runs on May 10th against the Rangers, Rodon was 1-4 with an ERA just below 5.00 and people were jumping off his bandwagon in droves! Inexplicably, his ownership percentage is down to 27% in Yahoo leagues. However, he has started to get it together in his last few starts. Since June 12th, Rodon has given up just two earned runs in each of his last three starts, and has collected 23 strikeouts in those 18 innings. He might only have a 2-6 record, but he also has 82 strikeouts in 81.1 innings. Grab him fast if he is out there in your league as I could see him having an impressive second half.
Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs
Does the Cubs farm system just have a never ending stream of quality players coming? Just when you thought that they had exhausted most of their stud prospects, along comes Willson Contreras. A catcher by trade, he came up without a lot of opportunity to get regular at-bats it seemed. However, as time has always showed, if you hit, they will find a way to keep you in the lineup.
An injury to Miguel Montero has helped, but Contreras has also played multiple games in the outfield and a few innings at first base. He has been crushing the ball with a .370 average with three home runs in his first ten games. Contreras wasn’t a huge power hitter in the Minors, so don’t fall prey to thinking that he is a 30 home run a year guy. However, he still should continue to hit for a great average and have great fantasy value.
A.J. Reed, 1B, Houston Astros
Finally after waiting for three months fantasy owners are being rewarded with waiting for one of Houston’s top prospects in A.J. Reed. The power hitting first baseman was bashing his way through Triple-A with 11 home runs in just 59 games even though his batting average was a little lower than you would like. With nothing left to prove down on the farm, the Astros believe his time is now.
It has been a rough start to the Major League career for Reed. Through three games he has yet to collect his first hit, and he has six strikeouts in three games. He did walk twice and score twice in his first game, but he has not visited first base since then. Things will get better for Reed and he belongs on fantasy rosters in every single league. He might not hit for a high average, but the power will come and he will improve over time.
Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Kansas City Royals
I believe that I have said this phrase in almost every article this season but I will say it again…….with injury comes opportunity. The Royals lost third baseman Mike Moustakas for the season and brought Cuthbert up from the Minors to attempt to fill the void left by the injury. While he wasn’t a top end prospect, Cuthbert was doing very well in the Minors with seven home runs in his first 24 games.
Cuthbert hasn’t stopped hitting since he’s come to Kansas City and he has launched another seven home runs in his 43 games with the Royals. He has been on an incredible run in the last week or so with three home runs and eight RBIs since June 22nd. Moustakas is done for the year, so this is Cuthbert’s job for the foreseeable future. I’m not sure what he has to do to get some fantasy love, but the guy is only owned in about 5% of leagues.