Welcome to the month of May fantasy baseball players! It is now more than a month into the season and it is getting closer to the time where we no longer can just say “it’s early” in the year. Some of the guys that we drafted in March, just aren’t what we thought they would be. What is the solution to this problem? Why, it is the fantasy baseball waiver wire of course!
Now I know that it is tempting to cut bait with some struggling veterans like Jason Heyward, Dallas Keuchel, and Anthony Rendon. However, I would definitely give the guys with multiple seasons of fantasy success under their belt more time. The guys who haven’t been around as long, or don’t have more of a track record of success certainly should be on the chopping block at this point.
This week on the fantasy baseball waiver wire we have a speedy young outfielder who is about ready to return from injury, a sleeper second baseman who hit a two week slump but is starting to come out of it, and a young outfielder with some pop who is on an incredible tear and is forcing himself into everyday at-bats.
If you are looking for a pitcher we have three attractive options for your consideration. The first is a portly hero in Gotham that just continues to pitch well, the second is a former prospect who has made a remarkable recovery from major arm injuries. The third is a second year man with a world of potential who has gotten off to such a poor start that a number of fantasy players have already given up on him.
Remember, if you aren’t working your team, you are bound to be passed by someone behind you who is. Whether you are in first place or last place, you should be checking the fantasy baseball waiver wire fairly regularly. As always, follow me on Twitter @fightingchance.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Week 5
Bartolo Colon, SP, New York Mets
The legend of Big Bart continues to grow in New York, and for some reason he gets no love from fantasy owners. Colon baffled the Braves with eight shutout innings, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out seven. Granted it was against Atlanta, but this is the first time that Colon has been good this year. In his five starts so far, he still is yet to give up more than three runs. Colon might not have the eye popping strikeout numbers of his fellow Mets’ pitchers, but he still has 28 whiffs in 31.2 innings with just three walks.
I’m not quite sure why he’s owned in less than 30 percent of leagues across the board. Colon plays for a great team, he is fairly consistent, and his strikeout numbers are still solid. Some might be concerned about the impending return of Zack Wheeler to the rotation, but that is still likely two months off, and chances are the Mets could employ a six man rotation, or someone else could be injured to give Colon the opportunity to continue to take the hill. Give him a look the next time you are in need of a starter.
Chris Tillman, SP, Baltimore Orioles
Chris TIllman: 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts. Last 3 starts: 3 runs in 19 2/3 innings. #orioles.
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) May 4, 2016
The first three years of Tillman’s career were nothing short of a disaster. He was 7-15 combined, and his ERA was over 5.00 in every season. 2012-2014 were much different for him as he had three winning seasons and never had an ERA over 3.70. He took a significant step back in 2015 and fantasy owners ran from Tillman like the building was on fire. He never has been an overwhelming strikeout pitcher, but he pitches for a great team, and he will often get help from his offense on many nights
Tillman’s latest start against the Yankees on Tuesday was very impressive. He allowed one run over seven innings while striking out nine. In his six starts this year he has only allowed two earned runs once, and that was a six run outburst by the high powered Texas Rangers. Tillman isn’t an elite strikeout pitcher, but he has struck out nine batters in each of his last two outings. Baltimore is a high powered offense and he has won 40 games in the last three seasons. Tillman is owned in less than a quarter of fantasy leagues but I think he has a solid season in front of him that can help you in a big way.
A.J. Griffin, SP, Texas Rangers
Once a hot shot prospect of the Oakland Athletics, Griffin missed two full season with a variety of arm injuries. The last two years he pitched, 2012-2013, Griffin was 21-11 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He also struck out 235 batters in 282.1 innings. He isn’t a dominating strikeout pitcher, but even at a young age he was a savvy pitcher who knew how to get batters out. Griffin far exceeded expectations for a 13th round pick, but after two years of elbow injuries, you had to wonder if Griffin could ever return.
Griffin caught on with the Texas Rangers, and boy is he turning heads in the fantasy world in a big way. On Monday, Griffin kept the powerful Blue Jays in check as he allowed just one run over six innings and struck out nine. In five starts this year he has allowed just eight total runs over 31 innings. His walk total of 11 is a bit of a concern, but right now Griffin is rolling. He plays for a good offensive team, and if he can keep even a semblance of this going, Griffin will continue to have solid fantasy value.
Ender Inciarte, OF, Atlanta Braves
One of the main pieces of the Shelby Miller to Arizona trade, Inciarte was supposed to be a catalyst for the Atlanta “offense”. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury early in the season derailed him before he even got started. Fantasy owners liked Inciarte last season for his ability to hit for a solid batting average, rack up some doubles, and steal a pretty decent number of bases.
It has been about a month since he has played, but Inciarte has been able to do some running and is on a Minor League rehab assignment this week. If all goes to plan and he suffers no setbacks, you can expect to see him back in games for the Braves by the end of the weekend. On a team with absolutely nothing to lose, Inciarte should have the green light to run when he wants. He is owned in less than 50% of leagues on the big sites, and if you are in need of some speed, Inciarte should be your guy.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Baltimore Orioles
He was a popular late draft pick in March for those who waited to take their second baseman in the hopes that Schoop could continue to have home run totals in the mid-teens. He improved his batting average greatly in 2015, and nearly hit as many homers as he did in 2014 with 150 fewer at-bats. Despite hitting towards the bottom of the lineup, Schoop still looked to carry some fantasy value at a power hungry position.
He started the season strong with three home runs in the first two weeks before cooling off dramatically. From April 16th to April 26th, Schoop had just two hits, and they both came in the same game. His batting average fell under .225, and his fantasy ownership has dropped to around 30 percent. In the past week he has started to pick up his game and has picked up another home run and three RBIs. Following every cold streak comes a hot one, and Schoop is set to hit again. Unless you have a very reliable second baseman, Schoop is worth having as insurance at worst case scenario.
Brandon Drury, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
The best way for young players to continue to get at-bats and be able to play multiple positions. Drury has done both as he has gotten off to a scorching start for the Diamondbacks. He has started games at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions in recent days. When he was called up from the Minors it was noted that he wouldn’t be getting every day at-bats, but he would be given an opportunity to succeed.
He doesn’t show a lot of speed, but Drury had good power in the Minors, topping out with a 23 dinger season in 2014. At 23 years old, Drury is just starting to come into his own and is starting to get fantasy attention. It has been an amazing week for him as he has had three multi-hit games and four home runs and six RBIs. He has forced himself into every day playing time, and while he can’t quite keep this up, if you are looking for an outfielder, I would ride this hot streak while it lasts. Drury has the talent to be a lower end starting outfielder.