Week 1

We start 2017 the waiver wire series with players who showed enough skills to go North with their teams out of Spring Training.  Some of these players should be picked up immediately (Glasnow and Morton) while others are just names to monitor.

  1. Jason Grilli (TOR, RHP, 12% owned) will start the year as the closer in Toronto as Roberto Osuna hits the DL in a bit of a surprise move.  I doubt Osuna is out long, so set your FAAB accordingly.  But two or three saves is well…two or three saves.
  2. Tyler Glasnow (PIT, RHP, 56% owned) gets the number five rotation spot in Pittsburgh.  He’s owned in more than 50% of leagues but could show some inconsistencies early in the season which will lead to owners dropping him.  If this happens, jump on him.  When it all starts to click, he has top-of-the-rotation potential.
  3. Delino DeShields (TEX, OF, 20%) played well in Spring Training and could have earned the starting left field job in Texas.  I still think long-term he’s a fourth outfielder, but he has double-plus speed, and walks 10% of the time.  If you need speed, you should probably take a risk and pay up.
  4. Charlie Morton (HOU, RHP, 29%).  Morton has had flashes in the past but with a noticeable velocity uptick in Spring Training, I think you need to strongly consider adding him to your rosters.  I put my money where my mouth is and grabbed him in as many leagues as I could in last week’s FAAB.
  5. Trevor Cahill (SD, RHP, 8%) might be the best pitcher in the Padres rotation.  He was an all-star with Oakland but his sinker didn’t work once he was traded to Arizona.  Last year in Chicago, he revived his career in the bullpen and earned a World Series ring.  He might have something left in the tank and the park should play to his strength.  He’s worth a flyer.
  6. Luis Perdomo (SD, RHP, 5%).  While Cahill might be the best starter in San Diego, Luis Perdomo is the most intriguing.  He has a good fastball and slider but the change-up is not ready.  Keep an eye on him.
  7. Jeanmar Gomez (PHI, RHP, 37%) was forgotten in most drafts.  I even picked him up in one of our leagues first FAAB.  He’ll probably not wind up being the closer for the Phillies at the end of the season, but for now, he has the job.
  8. Adalberto Mejia (MIN, LHP, 4%). I saw Adalberto Mejia pitch several times in the minor leagues when he was with the Richmond Squirrels.  He has good size, pretty good stuff, and of course is a lefty.  Plus, he might be the best pitcher in the Twins rotation.  I know that’s not saying much, but he might be worth a flyer.  Speaking of the Twins, can someone explain why Byung-Ho Park did not make the team?   While I’ve always been a fan of Kennys Vargas, Park outplayed him and they are paying him $6 million dollars to play in the minors.
  9. Jesus Aguilar (MIL, 1B, 3%) led the league in hitting this spring and also hit seven bombs.  Word is he’ll platoon with Eric Thames at first.  If that happens, it will surely hurt Thames value.  Is he worth a pickup?  Probably not, but he’s an interesting name to monitor, particularly if the modest investment in Thames doesn’t pan out.
  10. Ariel Miranda (SEA, LHP, 3%).  Drew Smyly starts the season on the DL and will likely be out for two months with a flexor strain.  This doesn’t feel good as flexor strains, many times turn into UCL tears.  Ariel Miranda, the former Cuban émigré, signed by the Orioles and traded to the Mariners last year for Wade Miley gets his spot.  He pitched well last year and you can do a lot worse than adding him to your team.  He sits 91 to 93 MPH, is a lefty with a nice split-change.
  11. Yasiel Puig (LAD, OF, 78%) will not bat in the middle of the lineup according to Manager, Dave Roberts.  This isn’t good.  Tons of talent but I just don’t think he’ll ever reach his ceiling.
  12. JaCoby Jones (DET, OF/3B, 12%) will split time with Austin Romine in centerfield for the Tigers.  Jones is the more intriguing fantasy option.  He has a little speed and pop but the approach is poor, leading to a lot of swing and misses.  I wouldn’t be running out to pick him up, but he’s definitely worth monitoring.
  13. Michael Brantley (CLE, OF, 95%).  Will he be 100% of the old Michael Brantley, 80%, 50%, something less?  I just don’t know and nobody really does.  But the he looked good at the end of Spring Training and if he’s available in shallow leagues, you need to jump on him.
  14. Stephen Cardullo (COL, 1B, 1%) will split time with Mark Reynolds at first base in Colorado until Ian Desmond returns.  He’s not a star, probably not even a ceiling of a full-time regular, but in deep NL-Only Leagues, he might be worth a gamble.  Warning, at least early, he will likely play on the wrong-side of the platoon.
  15. J.J. Hoover (ARI, RHP, <1%) cratered last year as the Reds closer but prior to that, he was an effective pitcher.  He’s now in the bullpen of the Diamondbacks after throwing 10 scoreless innings over the spring.  Who’s the closer in Arizona again…I’ll wait why you check.  Just saying…
  16. Trey Mancini (BAL, 1B, 4%) makes the Orioles roster.  He hit at the end of last season and again in Spring Training.  As he was moving through the minors, I always thought he had a ceiling of a second division starter, but perhaps I under estimated his ceiling.  That said, there is no place for him to play.  Monitor.
  17. Yandy Diaz (CLE, 3B, 4%) makes the Cleveland roster.  He can really handle the bat, but doesn’t have very friendly fantasy tools as he has below average power and speed.  But, if he gets the chance to play, he might not hurt you as an injury replacement.
  18. Rio Ruiz (ATL, 3B, 1%) Selected by the Astros in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, Ruiz career started off well, showing a solid approach.  However, as as he moved through the system, the swing and miss became a problem.  Even this spring, he struck out 18 times in 56 at-bats.  He’s a decent third baseman, has great arm…95 off the bump.  Does he get playing time?  Not sure…he’s a hold for me.
  19. Christian Bethancourt (SD, RHP/C/OF, <1%) might break fantasy baseball.  Why?  Well, the Padres moved him to the bump in Spring Training and guess what, he performed.  He came up through the Braves organization as a catcher with an 80-grade arm and many scouts always thought he would move to the mound.  It looks like that’s happening but he’s also going to the be the backup catcher…and be a fill-in in the outfield.  If you’re a trouble-maker like me, add him to your deep fantasy league and then complain to the commissioner when you can’t get his hitting stats when he starts behind the plate.  I’m sure you won’t win, but at least it’ll be fun.


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