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Week 13 Waiver Wire: Lucky 13

Photo Credit:  Lisa Risager

While writing the Week 13 Waiver Wire, I started to think about the phenomenon of how the number 13 is synonymous with bad luck. The fear of the number 13 even has a specifically recognized phobia, Triskaidekaphobia, a word originating in 1911.

There are extreme examples or ideologies of avoiding or keeping away from the number 13 that are prevalent in our society, and most of us are not even aware of them.

Companies and manufacturers using another way of numbering to avoid the number entirely, with hotels and tall buildings being perfect examples. It is also considered unlucky to have 13 guests at the table. Friday the 13th has been considered an unlucky day, just ask the so-called actors in the Friday the 13th movie franchise. Most people avoid getting married or buying a house on a day marked by this dreaded number.

I have never been a superstitious individual, so this seems like nonsense to me. In fact, I am so contrarian that I go out of my way to use the number 13 just to prove my point. When I was younger, I used to request the jersey number 13 just because there is nothing to fear about a number and to prove the mystical dimension that surrounds the number 13 is false.

Here is hoping that the number 13 is lucky for Fantasy owners and they can get the players they want in the Week 13 Waiver Wire.

Week 13 Waiver Wire

Catcher

Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners

 

Mike Zunino seems to be finally tapping the potential that he displayed in the minors. If he can continue this current display of power, he definitely possesses the power to challenge the 25-30 homer mark this season.

Zunino is sizzling at the plate since the calendar flipped to June. In fact, he is the MLB RBI leader in June with 30 RBI. In addition, he is second in the majors in Slugging Percentage in June (min 50 AB) with an .823.

He is slashing .348/.397/.823 with nine homers and 29 RBI so far in June. He has, however, struck out 28 times this month, which seems to indicate that his elite batting average will not last.

Mike Zunino should be rostered in most formats despite the high strikeout rate. The power potential at a weak catcher position makes Zunino a starter in all formats, especially when hot.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Welington Castillo, Baltimore Orioles

 

First Base

Matt Adams, Atlanta Braves

 

Matt Adams is arguably the hottest hitter in the majors right now and has been putting up, well, Freddie Freeman-like numbers since joining the Braves.

He was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals to serve as Freddie Freeman’s replacement while he recovers from a broken wrist. Adams has smacked nine homers in just 20 June games and 11 through his first 30 games for Atlanta. He has also hit .306 and produced a 1.018 OPS in his full-time role and a spot in the heart of the lineup with the Braves.

Matt Adams has hit so well that the Braves are even considering moving Freeman to third base when he comes back from his injury so they can keep Adams’ productive bat in the lineup.

Freeman had the cast removed from his wrist last week and is inching forward in his recovery, but Adams should remain the starter at first base for Atlanta at least until the All-Star break. In fact, Freddie Freeman spent approximately 30 minutes this past Wednesday taking grounders and acquainting himself to the third-base position with the assistance of third-base coach Ron Washington.

The bottom line is that Matt Adams’ bat must be in the lineup. Whether they move Freeman to third base or move Adams to one of the corner outfield spots and let Freeman return to first base, in either scenario, Adams and Fantasy owners win. While his ownership percentage has increased to 42 percent in ESPN leagues, that number is still low. Which Fantasy owner can not use a power corner infielder who is on fire? I know I could!!

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
  • Sam Travis, Boston Red Sox

Second Base

Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs

It looks like the young slugger has started to finally figure it out. Ian Happ is hitting .440/.481/.880 over his last seven games. He has five extra-base hits, including three homers with a 1.361 OPS during that span.

Happ is now hitting .254/.336/.590 with 10 homers, 21 RBI, 20 runs, and 14 walks this season. While he does strike out a ton (44 times in 122 at-bats), he makes his contact count by producing 20 extra-base hits. He has also got a strong .935 OPS.

Ian Happ has plenty of upside and possesses a multi-dimensional skill set. His slugging, ability to take a walk, and the versatility to play multiple positions provide enough upside to be started in NL-Only and rostered in deeper mixed leagues. Happ is must own in all keeper formats.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants
  • Jose Pirela, San Diego Padres

 

Third Base

Matt Davidson, Chicago White Sox

 

Fantasy owners should be giving Matt Davidson more of a closer look. The young slugger’s power output has been impressive. He has produced seven homers, 11 RBI and 11 runs across his past 10 games. This has him up to a respectable .270/.313/.575 for the season with 17 homers, 38 RBI, and 30 runs.

Matt Davidson has forced himself into consistent playing time. He has played some first and third and at DH. He will definitely hold down third base after Todd Frazier is dealt.

While his power is alluring, he has a strikeout rate that approaches 40 percent. He will remain a liability in batting average. In addition, he normally hits eighth in the order which will hurt him in the counting stats.

While Davidson should quickly become an appealing option to those in shallow leagues, he is a high-risk option in which owners will want to ride him while he is hot. Owners should not expect him to sustain the current batting average level of production all season. The swings and misses will be his downfall.

Matt Davidson should be rostered in most formats and started only when his bat is hot. In addition, please pay close attention to when he plays at home. His batting average is 50 points higher at home than on the road.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Yangervis Solarte, San Diego Padres
  • Eduardo Escobar, Minnesota Twins

Shortstop

Eduardo Escobar, Minnesota Twins

While Escobar does not have a set spot in the lineup, Manager Paul Molitor keeps his bat in the lineup in some capacity for most games because he has been crushing the ball.

Eduardo Escobar and his owners have been loving June so far. He has been slashing  .403/.448/.613 with three homers, nine RBI, and a 1.061 OPS. He is eligible at multiple positions (2B, 3B and SS).

The shortstop eligibility makes him worth an immediate pickup in AL-Only leagues and worth a pickup in deep formats.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Jody Mercer, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves

Outfield

Carlos Gomez, Texas Rangers

 

Carlos Gomez has been en fuego since coming off the disabled list (hamstring). He is .hitting .318/.375/.1000 with five homers and 14 RBI including an outstanding 1.375 OPS in those six games.

Of course, Gomez will certainly cool off to some degree, but he has always possessed Fantasy-relevant power and speed. On the other hand, he was never really a huge asset in batting average due to high strikeout numbers.

Carlos Gomez should be owned and started in all formats due to his five-category potential.

Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles

 

The rookie began this season in a platoon role and has seen his playing time steadily increase as the season has rolled along.

He began the season playing mostly outfield and then filling in at first for Chris Davis. Then Chris Davis (oblique) was placed on the disabled list and Mancini has now taken over everyday duties at first base.

He has hit safely in 14-of-15 games and is hitting .370 with six homers in June. Overall, he is hitting .322/.368/.580 with 13 homers, 42 RBI and 27 runs along with a .948 OPS.

Trey Mancini deserves to be owned and started in most Fantasy leagues.

Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners

Ben Gamel just had his 15-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday, as he produced a scintillating .418 (28-or-63) with 17 runs scored, two homers and eight RBI over the past 16 outings.

While the rookie doesn’t yet have enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title, his .346 average is second among all hitters with at least 200 PAs.

Gamel was recalled from Triple-A to fill in as injuries hit outfielders Nelson Cruz and fellow rookie Mitch Haniger. He has forced the Mariners to keep his bat in the lineup. He is currently slashing .346/.403/.490 with four homers, 25 RBI and 39 runs along with a .894 OPS while sitting mostly on top of the Mariners’ lineup.

A quick glance at his minor league numbers displays minimal power and speed. He is a solid hitter, though, with a .303 average, a 20 percent strikeout rate and a 10 percent walk rate.

Gamel certainly looks capable of hitting for an excellent average, although is latest move to lower in the lineup will result in diminished results in run production. Owners looking for a quick boost in average and OPS should target Gamel in AL-Only and deeper mixed leagues.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Mallex Smith, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians
  • Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers

 

 

Starting Pitcher

Mike Fiers, Houston Astros

 

The fear of losing his spot in the starting rotation seemed to bring the best out of Mike Fiers.

The veteran right-hander’s production at the onset of the season was a huge concern for the American League West-leading Houston Astros. In his first nine starts, he went 1-2 with a 5.21 ERA and gave up 54 hits including a whopping 18 homers in 46.2 innings. He had been set to be removed from the rotation but was granted another chance when fellow starters Charlie Morton (lat) and Joe Musgrove (shoulder) landed on the disabled list.

After his reprieve, he has been dominating. He has gone 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA across his past five starts while giving up 22 hits, ZERO homers and owns a 29:11 K:BB over 31.1 innings in that span.

It will be difficult to remove him from the rotation even after the Astros’ starters get healthy. Given his strikeout ability and the Astros’ offense, Mike Fiers should be ownable in deeper formats and started in AL-Only and shallow formats.

Zach Godley, Arizona Diamondbacks

Zach Godley has been impressive so far in his sophomore season. He is 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 8.2 K/9 through his nine starts.

The right-hander has tossed at least five innings and held his opponents to three runs or fewer in all nine starts.

In addition, it is definitely worth noting that he is eligible as a reliever in many league settings, which can be a tremendous bonus.

Zach Godley’s Fantasy value is skyrocketing and he should be owned in all leagues.

Brad Peacock, Houston Astros

Brad Peacock has been a versatile piece for the Astros pitching staff this season, making 18 appearances (six starts) and going 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 44.2 innings.

With the injuries and the ineffectiveness of Mike Fiers earlier this season, Peacock was given a spot start and has now made six starts this season. He is still in the process of getting stretched out, given that he has not pitched past the sixth inning in any of his starts. Unfortunately, a lack of efficiency and lofty 4.55 BB/9 rate was the most important factor that has led to early exits.

He has been virtually unhittable all season. In addition, he has the highest strikeout rate in all of baseball (13.30 K/9).

Brad Peacock is one of the most versatile and talented relievers in the majors, whether he stays in the rotation or not, Fantasy owners should add him in AL-Only leagues and deeper mixed formats as his SP/RP eligibility is extremely valuable.

Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees

 

The southpaw has not given up more than four runs in any of his last four starts and his ERA has dropped from 4.81 to 3.74, with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings.

Montgomery is now posting a 5-4 record with a 3.74 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 74.2 innings.

Considering the Yankees’ success and his continued improvement, Montgomery has nice Fantasy upside. The rookie now owns a 2.31 ERA with a sparkling 34/8 K/BB ratio over his past six starts in 35.1 innings.

Fantasy owners in AL-Only leagues should feel confident in starting him. In deeper leagues, Montgomery should be a nice streaming option.

J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays

 

Coming off a career season, Happ had a lot to prove to Fantasy owners. Happ went 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 32 starts in 2016.

He started the season 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in his first three starts this season and then landed on the DL with left elbow inflammation.

Happ has looked like the 2016 version in his last three starts since coming off the DL. He has posted three consecutive quality starts while recording 22 strikeouts in 19.1 innings during that span and walking only one batter.

The veteran southpaw has a 3.83 ERA and is looking like he is recovered from the elbow injury that impacted him earlier this season. J.A. Happ is someone that should be started in AL-Only leagues and streamed in deeper mixed leagues.

Warming Up (Pitchers to consider)

  • Jason Hammel, Kansas City Royals
  • Mike Montgomery, Chicago Cubs
  • Jose Urena, Miami Marlins
  • Seth Lugo, New York Mets
  • Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies

 

 

Relief Pitcher

Felipe Rivero, Pittsburgh Pirates

Tony Watson was removed from the Pirates’ closer role because of his 4.44 ERA and blowing five saves in 14 chances. Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle announced that Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio will share the closer duties for the Pirates. Rivero has outshined Nicasio and has been given each of the save opportunities since the announcement.

Rivero has earned the save in consecutive games and followed Nicasio out of the bullpen in each outing. The 26-year-old lefty appears to be moving closer to tighten his grip on the closer’s role.

He has come into his own in Pittsburgh and has blossomed into one of the National League’s best relievers. His 0.68 ERA is second-lowest among MLB relievers behind Pat Neshek’s 0.61.

While his three saves this month are not massive, his low ERA, 43 strikeouts in 40 innings and 0.70 WHIP are outstanding. He is limiting opposing batters to a .137 batting average and a .451 OPS.

Felipe Rivero is the pitcher to own in this bullpen in Fantasy leagues. He is a borderline Top 10 closer the rest of the way. The young southpaw still has plenty of room for potential and expected improvement and that should scare opposing hitters but enlighten Fantasy owners. Surprisingly, he is still just owned in under 50 percent of ESPN leagues. Without a doubt, Fantasy owners should add him in all leagues immediately and without hesitation.

Cam Bedrosian, Los Angeles Angels

 

Cam Bedrosian was one of the most talked about relievers in the Fantasy Baseball world coming into this season. He showed impressive stuff in the minors. He was dominant during his major league stint last season before he suffered a season-ending injury and subsequent surgery to remove a blood clot in his right arm.

With his arm showing fully healed coming into the season, Bedrosian won the closer’s job out of spring training. He showed that he was fully recovered after his first six games. He posted a 0.00 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, three saves and a 9.0 K:BB ratio during that span.

Unfortunately, Bedrosian landed on the DL with a groin issue in mid-April. After a longer than expected recovery, he was finally activated on June 17 and just appeared in his first game in 56 days.

In one of the major surprises of the season, Bud Norris came in and excelled in the closer’s role in Bedrosian’s absence. In a twist of fate, Bud Norris was placed on the disabled list with a knee injury and Bedrosian was activated with anticipation of stepping right back into the closer’s role.

Cam Bedrosian is easily the most talented reliever in the Angels’ bullpen. He has the better numbers and upside going forward. It seems like a foregone conclusion that he will reclaim closer duties. Let’s see if Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia believes that Bedrosian can go back to handling the role. Bud Norris is expected back shortly and Huston Street is just returning back to the active roster. There will be options for Scioscia to utilize if Bedrosian falters.

Bedrosian makes for a very attractive option as a reliever on Fantasy rosters. I believe that the closer carousel ends up with Bedrosian being the primary option to close games and therefore someone for all Fantasy owners to add immediately.

Warming Up (Pitchers to Consider)

  • Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s
  • Pat Neshek, Philadephia Phillies

 

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Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL and college football (GO BUCKEYES), MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS), and MMA. WOW! Dennis finally did it! He broke down and gave in! Dennis joined the Twitter Universe! Please do all of us a favor and follow Dennis @ CALL_ME_SOS.
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