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Waiver Wire – Week 4

Waiver Wire2The injuries came fast and furious with this week with early-round draft picks such as Jacob deGrom, Aaron Judge and Starting Marte hitting the shelf and up-and-coming youngsters, Austin Meadows and Scott Kingery joining them. In a word, it was brutal.

But, that’s what we are here for.  When you’ve got problems, we have solutions…er, well, we’ve got names for you.

The entire fourth-week waiver wire can be found here.

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Hot Prospects – Week 2

HOT PROSPECTS 1The second week of the minor league season is upon us with Luis Robert putting on a great copy of what Vlad Jr. did in 2018.  He’s hitting everything in sight while showing plus power.  It shouldn’t be long before the White Sox challenge him with a promotion to Double-A.

Once again, I went with seven hitters and three pitchers but I’m considering expanding the list to 15 players next week where I’ll be able to include some lesser known names to many of our readers.  After all, most prospect watchers are familiar with many of the players listed on this week’s list.  It’s time to go deeper.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.

Luis Robert (CHW, OF, High-A)

For two weeks in a row, Luis Robert has made our Hot Prospects list.  He’s gone hitless in only one game so far in 2019.  In the other nine, he’s had multi-hits and has accumulated five home runs while stealing four of five bases.  He’s only walked twice, but when you are seeing the ball like he is, you might as well swing the pole.

Vlad Guerrero Jr (Tor, 3B, Triple-A)

The clock has started for Vlad Jr’s arrival to Toronto and this could, in fact, be his only appearance on our list.  While it’s an 80-grade hit tool with double-raw power, I am starting to worry about his conditioning.  Not only will it move him off third base faster, but it might also move him off first base fast as well; not to mention what it will do to his long-term upside.  That said, he has a chance to be one of the better hitters in the game and…very soon.

Buddy Reed (SD, OF, Double-A)

I’ve seen Buddy Reed play multiple times through his career.  He has 70-grade speed and 30-grade power.  However, in 12 games in Double-A, he’s already hit six home runs, driving in 14.  I doubt he’s re-done his swing so I would guess that this is an aberration.  It’s notable as is his 16 strikeouts in 12 games.  If you’re thinking that perhaps the strikeouts are pointing to a player who has changed his swing, Reed has always struck out too much and for a guy who’s carrying tool is his speed, it’s something that needs to be addressed.

Jarred Kelenic (Sea, OF, Low-A)

After getting off to a slow start, Jarred Kelenic has started putting things together.  Over the past five days, he’s 11 for 20 including a 4-4 night on Tuesday evening in Lakewood.  He’s a hit first prospect who should develop 20 home run power as he matures.  For my money, he has a chance to be one of the best prospects in the game.

Will Smith (LAD, C, Triple-A)

While Keibert Ruiz is the better catching prospect, Will Smith has gotten off to a quick start for the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate.  While Austin Barnes has gotten off to a fine start, don’t be surprised if you see him splitting time with Smith before the season concludes.

Tirso Ornelas (SD, OF, High-A)

The Padres are so deep that excellent prospects like Tirso Ornelas get lost in the shuffle.  The 19-year-old outfielder is off to a hot start posting a 1.021 OPS in the first 12 games.  He has plus raw power that should start to translate into in-game power as he matures.  His mature approach at the plate should help to offset some swing and miss in his bat, but overall he has the ceiling of a 25 HR with .260/.350 average.

Cole Tucker (Pit, SS, Triple-A)

The Pirates gave Kevin Newman a chance to win the starting shortstop job in Pittsburgh, but with his recent trip to the IL, could this open up a spot for Cole Tucker?  He’s been red hot this year slashing .356/.431/.600 with two home runs and four stolen bases.  His double-plus speed gives him intriguing fantasy upside but the Pirates have to cooperate for owners to take advantage.  He’ll likely have to wait until the second half, but if he stays hot and June 20th has passed, he might be an interesting free agent addition over the summer.

Matt Manning (Det, RHP, Double-A)

Matt Manning has gotten off to a strong start this season.  In two starts in Double-A, he’s struck out 15, walking three while giving up two hits and one run.  The athleticism and arsenal are both excellent and if he can continue to throw strikes, the upside is a number two starter, if not more.

Grayson Rodriguez (Bal, RHP, Low-A)

Now that the Orioles have new leadership, I feel better about highlighting their pitchers once again.  Grayson Rodriguez was their 2018 first round pick and has gotten off to quite an impressive start to the season.  In two starts, he’s yet to give up an earned run while striking out 20 in 11 innings.  He’s got a solid arsenal with a fastball that will top out at 95 MPH and a slider and curveball that can both miss bats.  The Orioles will likely play it conservatively with their young pitcher limiting him to 100 innings this season.

Spencer Howard (PHI, RHP, High-A)

One pitcher that I missed on in the pre-season was the Phillies Spencer Howard.  However, with a fastball that can hit triple-digits and a slider that will miss bats, I’ve quickly become a believer. In his first two starts, he’s struck out 12 and walked only two.  Assuming he stays healthy, he should see Double-A before the end of the season.

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Digging Deep Series – “Buy Low (Hot-Rod), Sell-High (Lemons) Pitchers”

Digging DeepTo use StatCast data for deep analysis on pitchers, I started with the simple difference between wOBA and xwOBA. The difference between actual results (i.e. wOBA) and expected results (based on the batted ball data for their pitches, i.e. xwOBA) would provide a crude high-level method to identify overachievers or underperformers thus far in the young season. Again, the disclaimer of ‘small sample size’ applies, but anything that moves the needle one way or the other should be considered when making roster decisions.

Below are a some “Hot Rods” whose actual performance is below league average but whose expected underlying metrics suggest above average performance (and vice versa for the lemons). Also, I selected some lesser known names. Although Blake Snell may appear on a Hot Rod list, we already know that he is a stud so he would not be listed.

Some quick housekeeping before we dive in. For all this talk about wOBA and xwOBA, a reasonable question for a reader to ask is whether these numbers mean anything worthwhile to a fantasy owner. Doing a quick correlation analysis, we can see that wOBA is highly correlated with ERA (R^2 value of 0.77) so all this number crunching has real fantasy applications:

wOBA - 2019
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.

Hot Rods

Name wOBA xwOBA Difference
Jose Quintana 0.380 0.311 0.069
Eduardo Rodriguez 0.380 0.315 0.065
Freddy Peralta 0.340 0.289 0.051
Lance Lynn 0.298 0.268 0.030
MLB Average 0.317 0.317 0.000

Jose Quintana (CHC, LHP)

The Cubs pitcher has been a disappointment since arriving in the Windy City and continues to be unable to find any consistent footing. Although his last start – where he struck out 11 Pirates over seven shutout innings– was encouraging, is it a sign of a turnaround? After all, his composite season stats (including this dominating start) are still a gaudy 1.71 WHIP and 5.14 ERA (or 1.60 WHIP and 7.20 ERA if you don’t count his early season relief appearance). Well, owners can breathe a sigh of hope as his Stat Cast data suggests that his xwOBA is better than league average (and his SIERA is a trim 3.27). Look for better days ahead.

Eduardo Rodriguez (Bos, LHP)

Another southpaw shows up next on this list. Although all of the Red Sox have been struggling, the 26-year-old hurler has been suffering the same fate too, spinning an ugly 1.70 WHIP and 7.98 ERA. Luckily for the Beantown faithful, this seems to be “merely” bad luck as his expected wOBA against is actually that of a league average pitcher. In other words, expect some regression back to an ERA of 4.20 (which is what his pre-season projections were calling for and the performance floor that owners were expecting on draft day). It might be cold comfort that he “should” be pitching at his ‘floor’ – but right now, Boston fans would do well to take any signs of optimism.

Freddy Peralta (Mil, RHP)

The young Brewer hurler is a model of inconsistency so far this year as his 3 starts have been a meaty gem of a game (11 Ks over 8 shutout innings) surrounded by two blow-ups ‘buns’. In aggregate though, his xwOBA against is actually better than league average and his season’s 6.91 ERA really should be closer to his 3.64 SIERA. He may be a rollercoaster ride in redrafts this year but I’m still buying in dynasty.

Lance Lynn (Tex, RHP)

The former Cardinal (and Twins) pitcher has been pitching well thus far in Arlington (after a terrible debut), most recently striking out nine Diamondbacks in his last outing. Despite his gaudy 4.78 ERA, his FIP is 3.15 (SIERA of 3.69) and his WHIP is a tidy 1.18. And although his wOBA is already better than league average at 0.298, his expected wOBA is actually even better at 0.268. Doing a further deep dive on his individual pitches shows that all five of them (his 4-seam, his 2-seam, his cutter, his curve, and his changeup) all have xwOBA’s against that are better than league average. In other words, it’s likely not a pitch sequence issue that needs to be solved – but rather literally just bad luck/defense. I just picked him up in two leagues – so we’ll see if the analysis bears out.

Lemons

Name wOBA xwOBA Difference
MLB Average 0.317 0.317 0.000
Shane Bieber 0.180 0.319 -0.139
Matt Shoemaker 0.223 0.329 -0.106
Jake Arrieta 0.272 0.366 -0.094
Aaron Sanchez 0.279 0.363 -0.084

Shane Bieber (CLE, RHP)

So far for Cleveland, the young starter has posted a 0.62 WHIP and 1.38 ERA. You know that regression is in the cards as these numbers are unsustainable – and the StatCast data supports this, indicating that his ERA really should be league average (ie around 4.20). Ride it while you can.

Matt Shoemaker (TOR, RHP) and Aaron Sanchez (TOR, RHP)

Although the Jays’ season has been merely biding time until the Vlad call-up, in the early going, the starting pitchers have pleasantly surprised with a 2.71 ERA, 3rd best in the league. Unfortunately, that has been due in large part to overachievement from Shoemaker and Sanchez. They have two of the largest discrepancies between actual wOBA and expected wOBA. Most fantasy owners are savvy enough to know that they should be holding onto Shoemaker while the good times last so they’re unlikely to be surprised when he falls back to Earth – but those hoping that Aaron Sanchez may be indicating that he is poised to repeat his ‘blistering’ 2016 campaign when he led the league in ERA, will likely be disappointed. His ERA is 1.69 but his SIERA is 4.89…and that is more in line with how he should be performing.

Jake Arrieta (PHI, RHP)

The former Cy Young award winner shows up on the list boasting a 1.15 WHIP and 2.25 ERA thus far in the 2019 season. But looking under the hood, we see nothing but red flags. His SIERA is 5.41, his xwOBA is 0.7 standard deviations worse than league average and he’s not missing any bats either (5.6% Swinging Strike rate). He may still get wins on a contending Philadelphia club, but don’t expect much else. Another negative indication is that all of his pitches (sinker, changeup, curveball, and slider) have xwOBA’s significantly worse than the league average.

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Waiver Wire – Week 3

Waiver Wire2Chris Davis had the baseball world on pins and needles as he broke two major league records over the past six months.  The first is he posted the lowest batting average for an entire season in 2018 and since last September, he had not gotten a hit in 62 plate appearances.  He broke that streak this weekend and got cheers from everyone.

Tim McLeod, our senior baseball writer and the author of our weekly waiver wire report is very aggressive but is he crazy enough to put Davis name on this week’s report.  Well, there is only one way to find out.

The list can be found here.

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Digging Deep: Hot Rods and Lemons (Week 3)

Digging DeepWe’re back with a new installment of Hot Rod or Lemon. This time we’re trying to get some names for you prior to Sunday night FAAB to maybe throw some money at (or to drop whilst picking up someone else). This article looks at StatCast data through Friday night’s games.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.

Hot Rods

J.D. Davis

xwOBA (2.04) + AvgEV (1.69) + AvgDistance (-0.12) + Barrels/PA (1.93)

No surprise to see him written up here after revealing his name during the podcast. The Mets’ third baseman has been hitting lasers since getting more playing time in New York. With Todd Frazier’s looming return though, we’re not sure how the plate appearances will shake out – and in fact, he hasn’t started the last two Mets games on Thursday and Friday. But so far in 24 balls in play, Davis has been in the top 3% for barrels per plate appearance and xwOBA and in the top 10% for average exit velocity. His average distance, interestingly, is only league average so he may have a launch angle issue. Even still, he’s an intriguing option – provided the Mets give him plate appearances.

Hunter Dozier

xwOBA (1.24) + AvgEV (1.35) + AvgDistance (2.09) + Barrels/PA (1.31)

The former first-round pick may finally be putting it all together this year, as he is in the top 15% for these key StatCast batted ball metrics and in the top 3% for average distance. He’s having no trouble barreling the ball and in a retooling Royal season where they will likely be giving their players a long leash, he may have the freedom to thrive. In addition to the listed metrics, Hunter Dozier also grades out as a 60 for Maximum Exit Velocity and Maximum Distance. So he not only has Game Power, he is showing Raw Power too.

Jordy Mercer

xwOBA (0.97) + AvgEV (0.29) + AvgDistance (1.17) + Barrels/PA (1.36)

You wanted sleeper names, here is a sleeper name for you. The Tiger shortstop has played 13 games in a row (albeit hitting out of the 8th or 9th slot primarily) but has quietly put up some shockingly solid peripherals. Despite the superficially poor results (.195 batting average and .243 wOBA), his expected numbers are remarkably solid: .297 xBA and .401 xwOBA. In fact, his xwOBA-wOBA difference of +0.158 is the third largest discrepancy in the league. For those of you desperate for a shortstop, you could do much worse than Mercer.

Lemons

David Peralta

xwOBA (-0.57) + AvgEV (0.45) + AvgDistance (-0.34) + Barrels/PA (-0.54)

Despite the batting average of .359 and the wOBA of 0.386, the Diamondback outfielder is due for some significant regression as his xwOBA is actually below average at 0.283. His other hitting peripherals aren’t much better. If you can sell him at a good price, now might be the time to unload some freight.

Leury Garcia

xwOBA (-0.77) + AvgEV (-0.85) + AvgDistance (-1.26) + Barrels/PA (-1.27)

Leury Garcia was a popular name last week in FAAB – and for good reason, as he has hit at the top of the White Sox batting order in eight of the last nine games. And with a .341 batting average and wOBA of .349, it made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, looking under the hood, we see a lot of the same red flags that we saw above with David Peralta – but to an even larger degree. All of his batted ball metrics are not only below league average but essentially a 40 grade across the board. Don’t be surprised if the outfielder’s production falls off a cliff. Caveat Roster.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa

xwOBA (-0.81) + AvgEV (-1.85) + AvgDistance (-2.49) + Barrels/PA (-1.27)

Before the season, the hyphenated Middle Eastern chickpea meal was a popular sneaky name as he was expected to get full time at bats in a utility role and with all-important Catcher eligibility. And so far this season, on the surface he seems to be doing…okay but with a less-than-full-time role. His batting average is a reasonable .273 and his wOBA is actually above average at .338. Unfortunately, the reality is stark: he is hitting the ball with so little authority that he is in the bottom 2% of the league for exit velocity and distance. If you were holding on to him in the hopes he would eventually get full time playing time and the corresponding production, my suggestion to you is to cut bait.

Garrett Hampson

xwOBA (-2.06) + AvgEV (-2.68) + AvgDistance (-1.57) + Barrels/PA (-1.27)

The fantasy world has been waiting for the Rockies rookie to get untracked for weeks, but his underlying metrics have only reinforced the notion we are all guilty of forgetting sometimes. Repeat it with me: Spring Training Stats Don’t Matter. The brief idea that Hampson would begin to produce when Ryan McMahon joined David Dahl on the IL has become more and more a pipe dream as Hampson’s batted ball metrics have just not been inspiring in any way. In fact, there is a strong argument to be made that he is not ready for the major leagues at all right now.

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Hot Prospects – Week 1

WEEKLY HOT PROSPECTS 2The Minor League season started last Thursday and I had a chance to see an inside-the-park home run…on the first pitch of the game no less.  While Justin Dean didn’t make our list, the play was remarkable and deserved a callout.

While the 10 players below had a great week, there were many others that I could have listed.  But, we are limited to 10, so I kept the list tight and to the point.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.

Luis Robert (OF, CHW, High-A)

Luis Robert has done it all in the first week.  In five games, he’s posted a 1.774 OPS with four home runs and three stolen bases.  The athleticism and tools are clearly present but so are the strikeouts.  The upside continues to be fellow country-mate Yoan Moncada.  In other words, he’s an alluring talent but with pressure on the batting average and OBP.

Cavan Biggio (2B, Tor, Triple-A)

I’ve had a chance to see Cavan Biggio play multiple times over the past two years and have never been enamored.  I don’t like the bat speed nor the passive approach at the plate.  For me, the ceiling is more of a utility player as opposed to a starter.  But, he’s got the pedigree and has gotten off to a quick start in Triple-A.  In 5 games, he’s posted a 1.509 OPS with two home runs.

Yordan Alvarez (OF, Hou, Triple-A)

Yordan Alvarez biggest problem might be that he plays in the Astros organization and is just behind a lot of very good players.  He’s got big raw power that has been evident early in the season as he’s slugged four home runs.  He’ll strike out too much and is really a first baseman, or more likely a DH.  He does reminds me of AJ Reed, as the profile is similar and the last time I looked, Reed was stuck in Triple-A waiting for his trade as well.

Chris Seise (SS, Tex, High-A)

Drafted in the first round in the 2017 MLB Draft, Chris Seise missed all of 2018 after having surgery on his shoulder.  Seemingly fully healthy, he’s showing plus speed with four stolen bags already and an ability to get on base.  The profile is that of a top-of-the-order hitter.

Ryan Vilade (SS, Col, High-A)

It’s good to see Ryan Vilade off to a hot start as he was one of my breakout players in 2018 who just never got it going.  He makes solid contact, is a good runner with enough pop to eventually hit double-digit home runs.  Sure, he’s played the first five games in Lancaster, one of the best hitting environments in all of baseball, but a hot start is still a hot start.  In 5 games, he’s posted a .899 OPS with three stolen bases.

Nolan Gorman (3B, STL, Low-A)

Nolan Gorman is doing what I thought he would do after the Cardinals made him their first-round draft pick last summer.  He’s showing plus power with a SLG of 1.000 through five games and six strikeouts in 23 plate appearances.  If you can handle, the likely low batting average, he’s going to hit 30 plus home runs annually.

Gavin Lux (SS, LAD, Double-A)

Gavin Lux can really hit and if the power develops like I think it will, he has a chance to have a long and successful career with several all-star appearances.  After four games, he’s posted a 1.374 OPS with only two strikeouts in 20 plate appearances.

Darwinzon Hernandez (RHP, Bos, Double-A)

I had a chance to see Darwinzon Hernandez pitch in the Fall League and was duly impressed.  He built off his strong Fall showing by pitching five shutout innings with 10 strikeouts but also four walks.  It’s the lack of control that will likely move him to the bullpen but I’ve heard from more than one evaluator that still believes the control will improve enough to start.  I’m not yet convinced.

Dustin May (RHP, LAD, Double-A)

Dustin May opened eyes in Spring Training and kept it up with a strong showing in his first game of the year.  In five shutout innings, he struck out nine while walking only one.  The Dodgers started him in Double-A, but he could get the call at any point during the season to make his big league debut.  After all, the Dodgers pitching staff has been very fragile over the years.

Casey Mize (RHP, Det, High-A)

Casey Mize went 1:1 last June and continued to show he was worth the pick.  He has four quality pitches and provided he can stay healthy, has the everything needed to pitch at the top of the Tigers rotation.  He’ll likely only spend the first month or so in the High-A before a promotion to Double-A.  We will not see him in the Majors this season, but a callup sometime next season could very well be in the cards.

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Digging Deep Series: Looking under the Hood – Hot Rod or Lemon

Digging DeepIt’s only been a week but already we can take a look at some batted ball numbers in StatCast. MLB has downloadable leaderboards for average exit velocity, ‘barrels’ per plate appearance and expected batting average – both for hitters and pitchers.

Taking a look after about a week of games is not particularly definitive. However, because it’s a game of probabilities, there are some underlying metrics that can push the needle slightly in one direction or another. Thus, we bring you: looking under the Hood – Hot Rod or Lemon

Taking z-scores of xwOBA, Avg EV, Avg Dst (which is essentially a combination of EV and launch angle), Barrels/PA, we can see who has resulted in the top (or bottom) percentile. Let’s take a look. Note that the number in parentheses is the z-score for that characteristic.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.

Hot Rods

Pete Alonso

xwOBA (1.26) + VelAvg (0.98) + DistanceAvg (2.34) + Barrels/PA (3.32)

The young rookie first baseman has settled in quickly at the top of the Mets lineup. The percentage of his plate appearances that end with a barreled ball is 80 grade. And his strength and bat speed has the ball traveling fast (60 grade) and far (70 grade).

All in all, he is a 60-grade offensive threat. Already.

Christian Walker

xwOBA (1.63) + VelAvg (1.71) + DistanceAvg (0.64) + Barrels/PA (2.50)

When Jake Lamb went down with a grade 2 quad strain, Christian Walker became a popular add as he is the odds-on favorite to gain the most playing time. His underlying batted ball skills suggest that he will not disappoint. I will be bidding big this week.

Niko Goodrum

xwOBA (2.02) + VelAvg (0.93) + DistanceAvg (0.89) + Barrels/PA (1.25)

Niko Goodrum?? As surprising as it sounds, Niko Goodrum who is sporting a .296 batting average “should” actually have a .362 BA due to his 60-grade barrel rate, exit velocity, and average distance. Overall, his xwOBA is 70 grade (98th percentile). He could be a sneaky guy to grab from your opponents – who are likely frustrated by the Detroit lineup’s haplessness.

Rowdy Tellez

xwOBA (1.13) + VelAvg (1.61) + DistanceAvg (1.86) + Barrels/PA (0.94)

With the Blue Jays in full-on sell mode and Justin Smoak being felled with a nagging neck injury, the young slugging first baseman has taken advantage of his early opportunities by knocking the cover off of the ball. I happened to be standing in centerfield when he hit his 449-foot dinger to the Rogers Centre Flight Deck so I can attest that the boy can hit it far. Velocity and Distance is a 65 grade, his plate appearances end in barrels at a 60 grade. Solid batted ball skills all around. When you see that Smoak is essentially league average in all of these categories and that the Jays aren’t afraid to trade their veterans – it isn’t a leap to see Tellez end up with 550 plate appearances the rest of the season.

Lemons

Charlie Blackmon

xwOBA (-1.01) + VelAvg (-1.98) + DistanceAvg (-0.95) + Barrels/PA (-1.17, zero barrels in 40 PAs)

The former first rounder is not showing that he’s on the path back to the upper echelon…yet. His batted ball stats are in the bottom 15% in the league (bottom 3% for average exit velocity). It’s obviously early – but I would definitely prefer if it were only his results that were lagging – and not the underlying components.

Brian Dozier

xwOBA (-1.74) + VelAvg (-1.55) + DistanceAvg (-2.35) + Barrels/PA (-1.17)

The Nationals’ second baseman is possibly the only one playing worse in Washington than the bullpen – and it’s not a fluke. He is not hitting the ball with any authority. Although his batting average of 0.080 is not going to stay that low – but know that his expected batting average is only .159.

Eloy Jimenez

xwOBA (-1.21) + VelAvg (0.39) + DistanceAvg (-2.32) + Barrels/PA (-1.17, zero barrels so far in 30 PAs)

The freshly-minted rookie outfielder hasn’t been tearing up the South Side just yet. He is hitting .250 (“should” be 0.200) and only his exit velocity is above league average…and barely. I have no doubt that he will eventually produce commensurate with his pedigree (and to what he is being paid despite no MLB experience) – I just don’t know when it will be.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

xwOBA (-1.16) + VelAvg (0.14) + DistanceAvg (-1.15) + Barrels/PA (-1.17, zero barrels in 36 PAs)

Oh no! Not JBJ! As you know, we have been ‘all the way with JBJ’ here at Prospect361, having him as a 2019 sleeper in numerous articles. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to the hype (after one week). But neither have any of the Red Sox. We know they’ll bounce back – and we’re pretty sure that Jackie Bradley Jr will too. Pretty sure….gulp.

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Waiver Wire – Week 2

Waiver Wire2Another heavy load of players should be considered for this week’s acquisition through Free Agency. While there are always young players like Jon Duplantier, this week some veterans make the list. Mark Reynolds should get plenty of time with Ryan McMahon out and the fountain of youth seems to be working well in Kansas City as Alex Gordon has played well in the early going.

The list can be found here.

 

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Waiver Wire – Week 1

Waiver Wire2How many hours do we plan our fantasy drafts?  Some of us…way too much time.  It’s ok, we love the game but when you lose Daniel Murphy after a handful at-bats or watch Chris Sale get beat up by the Seattle Mariners, you begin to question the hobby you’ve selected.

Never fear, we’ve got the Great Tim McLeod as your secret weapon.  Last week, Tim provided you with 15 players under $15 to consider picking up, and starting today through the rest of the season, he will provide you his Waiver Wire picks.

I’ve seen Tim win many fantasy titles including Tout Wars by being extremely aggressive on the Waiver Wire early in the season.  Sure, there is only a handful of at-bats or a few innings that every one of these players has under his belt, but jumping early on players can make a huge difference in how you might finish.

Additionally, Tim will be providing a Five Under $5 list for those looking way off the radar for players.

The list can be found here.

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Fifteen Under Fifteen – Pre Waiver Wire

Waiver Wire2This year we started the regular season with two games in Japan the third week of March, took a break for a week, and then resumed the regular season the last week of March. Managing rosters, the DL, and potentially a staggered Waiver Wire is a handful, to say the least. With that in mind, here’s an early look at 15 players who are currently available on the Waiver Wire in most formats. Giving them a good look, could be beneficial to your Fantasy squads long-term success this season.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.


Shawn Armstrong, RP, SEA (CBS: 2% owned): Yes, he’s starting the season on the DL with a strained right oblique, but don’t let that deter you. Prior to the injury, Armstrong was penciled in as the setup man in Seattle. Hunter Strickland is on a one-year deal, and the rest of the M’s bullpen is far from being carved in stone. Once healthy, he’ll quickly assert himself in a prominent role in the Seattle ‘pen.


Yandy Diaz, 3B, TAM (CBS: 7% owned): Launch angle. Repeat after me, it’s all about the launch angle.


Steven Duggar, OF, SFG (CBS: 4% owned): Since turning pro in 2015 the lowest OBP that Duggar has amassed is a rather strong .354. That hit tool works well in the leadoff spot, as does the low double-digit speed potential.


Erik Gonzalez, SS, PIT (CBS: 1% owned): In what has to be considered a surprise, Gonzalez has now laid claim to the shortstop gig in the Steel City. The dream of Newman and Kramer playing in the Pirates infield seems to be lost.


Dakota Hudson, SP, STL (CBS: 9% owned): Hudson looks to be breaking camp in the fifth slot in the Cardinals rotation. That 96 mph sinker has me intrigued. He has proven that he can keep the ball in the park. Now he has to prove he can keep it around the plate.

Jung Ho Kang, 3B, PIT (CBS: 14% owned): Kang managed to beat out Colin Moran for the full-time gig at third, and with six homers under his belt this Spring looks ready to pick up where he left off in 2016.

Merrill Kelly, SP, ARZ (CBS: 10% owned): It’s a rule that I must own any former North American player returning from Asia, so why would I change my approach heading into 2019? Here’s hoping he follows in the footsteps of Colby Lewis, Ryan Vogelsong, and Miles Mikolas.


Pablo Lopez, SP, MIA (CBS: 6% owned): The 23-year-old Lopez is having a terrific spring. In five starts he’s currently sporting a 3-0 won/loss record with a .90 ERA and 16 strikeouts. Currently, Lopez is in a battle for the fifth spot in the Marlins rotation with Wei-Yin Chen, and barring a surprise, should emerge the victor.


Brandon Lowe, 2B, TAM (CBS: 13% owned): The 28 homers, 101 RBI and ten thefts in 2018 should have your attention. When you toss in the six-year $24 million contract extension and the strong numbers that Lowe is posting this Spring, the opportunity to secure full-time at-bats is at-hand.


Richie Martin, SS, BAL (CBS: 3% owned): The competition is thinning with the release of Alcides Escobar this past week. The fact that Martin has to be on the 25-man roster as a Rule 5 player or returned to Oakland, definitely improves the odds that he’ll be in the mix at shortstop and providing Fantasy teams with a boost in their speed game.


Frankie Montas, SP, OAK (CBS: 9% owned): The A’s currently have Montas penciled into the rotation in the three spot. If he can keep the free passes under control, he’ll stay there.


Renato Nunez, 3B, BAL (CBS: 4% owned): He slugged 32 homers at Triple-A in 2017. The power is very real and hopefully, the rebuilding O’s will give him the opportunity to put it on display.


Chance Sisco, C, BAL (CBS: 13% owned): The four homers, 11 RBI, and .300 BA in 30 Spring Training at-bats makes it very easy to forget the nightmare that was 2018.


Drew Smyly, SP, TEX (CBS: 7% owned): It has been one injury after another for the now 29-year-old Smyly. The Rangers are taking a cautious approach, as they should be based on his past history, but it appears he’s slowly rounding into shape.


Mac Williamson, OF, SFG (CBS: 5% owned): The concussion symptoms that caused him to miss most of the 2018 campaign appear to be resolved. A healthy Williamson should own the full-time gig in left field and with it comes the potential to be a solid contributor in the middle of the Giants lineup.