As the fantasy world clamors for Sam Dyson and Pedro Strop to scoop some extra saves, we will be different. Sure, these two may be in line for the occasional save opportunity, Strop until Brandon Morrow returns from his back injury and Dyson until Mark Melancon proves more durability, but both situations are temporary. There are some names available that could bring long-term help to your fantasy roster. This week I am headed to the waiver wire to see if Joe Jimenez (FAAB Bid: 5%) or Jordan Hicks (FAAB Bid: 5%) are still around. Both of these relievers have found themselves sneaking into save chances. Jimenez and Hicks provide upside that Dyson and Strop do not. They can potentially provide saves for the rest of the season with a strikeout ability unmatched by most relievers on the wire.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ketel Marte (3-5% FAAB) is not the most intriguing pick-up of all time. He will not star in any Dos Equis commercials alongside silver-haired foxes who dive out of planes into the North Atlantic as an extreme form of salmon fishing. However, if you have injuries, it was surprising to see Marte available on the waiver wire. If your league is savvy enough, someone may be stashing the 24-year-old Arizona shortstop still trying to achieve his full potential. Since June began, Marte has 3 of his 4 HR to go along with a .426 ISO, 209 wRC+, and 3 barrels, that have all come on offspeed pitches. He has found more success this year on breaking and offspeed pitches. In fact, all 4 of his homers have come off of these offerings. Marte hasn’t made significant changes. However, now that he has 316 games of experience in the majors, this young player can finally be comfortable in the box against big league stuff. The MLB is not the best for a kid who can’t catch up to fastballs. Ketel Marte is now making all the contact you want to see while adding a little power to go with the speed. He’s not going to turn into a 20/20 candidate overnight, but that speed potential has been there this whole time. Pairing it with 15 HR pop is what Marte needed to stay relevant in today’s fantasy baseball landscape. While Ketel Marte doesn’t have off-the-charts raw power, he is looking a little more athletic these days, and it shows in the numbers. Pick him up where he is available and enjoy a solid floor for the rest of the season.Please, blog, may I have some more?
All it took was a few homers in a week for us all to realize that Joc Pederson (FAAB: 8-10%) is pretty, pretty, PRETTY good this year. Now on his third year of plate discipline improvements, the Los Angeles outfielder has cut the K% under 20% for the first time in his career. Not only is it below 20%, but it falls to a ridiculously low 14.5% to go along with higher contact%, lower SwStr%, and overall better pitch recognition. He is making more contact than ever on breaking and off-speed offerings. The specific contact Pederson is making this year shows more fly balls with a career-high FB% and Under%. (Baseball Savant) It is inspiring to see this 26-year-old finally make the jump, stop swinging and missing, and improve as a baseball player. Joc Pederson carries excellent power (Career ISO: .218) and a plus-approach (Career OBP: .345) that is improving in 2018 with a .255 ISO and .347 OBP, but the real marker of elevated batters-eye exists in the 14.5% K%. Below is an image of exactly how Joc battled to advance his pitch recognition into the realm of his power. It took a little while to get going, but these changes stem from last season which seemed like a down year for Pederson. At the end of 2017, he had his first ISO below-.200, first OBP below-.345, and his worst AVG. However, he also had his best K%, SwStr%, and Chase%. Joc Pederson continues to develop all of these statistics in his game which is why I’m buying this year, and I’m not afraid to pay up. Hopefully, he can find space in a healthy Dodgers lineup that includes a red-hot Max Muncy (also one of my favorite pickups for the past few weeks.)Please, blog, may I have some more?
Just a couple weeks ago I was touting Max Muncy (1B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers FAAB Bid: 5-10%) as one of my ONLY league targets. Since that point, he has done nothing but continues his incredible barrel madness. Muncy has achieved a Statcast barrel on 19.4% of his batted balls this year, a rate which falls 6th on the overall leaderboard. This dramatic change stems from tremendous improvements against fastballs and offspeed pitches, alike. His xwOBA against the heater is .459, and when seeing an offspeed pitch, it is even higher at .494. He did see 331 fastballs in his last major league appearance with the Oakland Athletics back in 2016. During that sample, he was able to mash those offerings by hitting 2 HR to only 6 K. So far this season he has a higher K% against the pitch, but every underlying number is vastly more impressive than they were when he was donning green and yellow. One of the most shocking parts of his profile is the fact that he’s not getting under the ball more and he’s topping the ball a lot less. Basically, he has found a way to improve his approach for a better launch angle, without sacrificing part of his season with a ridiculous pop-up rate to compensate for generating more backspin and changing swing plane. I do love this profile, and he has found a pretty consistent spot near the top of the Dodgers lineup. Muncy was a lot sneakier a few weeks ago, but since I think he is now a clear mixed-league add I had to do a write-up on one of my favorite waiver wire adds of the season.Please, blog, may I have some more?
This week’s edition of the FAAB Five begins with a pitcher most of us have been waiting for all season, Jack Flaherty. Consensus would lead one to believe that the St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect will not go cheaply. He has been hyped all season as his domination of the minor leagues have been witnesses by anyone doing a bit of research to win their league. Flaherty has been a top arm in that system for quite some time, and this is a system that is known for the development of top-quality arms. Flaherty joins Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and more that have grown and continue to flourish from within the St. Louis ranks. The talent is becoming undeniable after a couple more juicy starts in the majors this past week. Look for him to go for at least 10% of your budget, if still available. Jack Flaherty can be a successful pitcher in the majors right now posting nearly a strikeout per inning, limiting walks, and stepping up for impressive outings like his last performance on May 20th, 7.2 IP with 13 K and only 3 baserunners allowed.Please, blog, may I have some more?
This week is going to get ridiculous for Juan Soto (FAAB: 30-40%) bids. However, he often gets overlooked for his lack of experience in the minors. Do not follow this path of thinking because Soto is monstrous. Early scouting reports would always contain glowing reviews of the bat and approach. People were shocked by his ability to barrel the ball, and this was back in 2015 when Statcast was in its infancy. That was also back when Soto was 16-years-old, some scouts even saying the bat was the most polished in a class that included Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Soto consistently dealt with injury over the past couple years, but every single time he hit the field was special. The power has been there, average, walks, everything except speed which was never part of his game to start. All it takes is a few viewings of his swing, and a live barrel or two, for anyone to become an immediate fan of this youngsters bat.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Another week, another FAAB run. Happy Cinco de Mayo for those of you who remember what happened this weekend, and Happy Cinco de Cuatro for fans of Arrested Development. As with every week, I bring you my five FAAB picks. These are players that most people will be looking at this week along with others that can be had for cheap, off-the-radar, stabs. I will also provide a few names for those ONLY-league players at the end. All FAAB percentages can be applied to leagues with any budget.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Here we stand after one month of baseball. Ronald Acuña is finally up in the bigs! Still waiting on guys like Nick Senzel and Kyle Tucker to take their rightful places alongside them. As we head into May there continue to be players falling onto the DL and in the constant struggle to find replacements, here are my nominees for this week’s FAAB Five. All of these percentages can translate to any FAAB Budget, and my target league format is 12-15 Team (Mixed Leagues).Please, blog, may I have some more?
Gleyber Torres (25-30%) [MASSIVE BID POTENTIAL] is one of the highest ranked prospects projected to come up this season is Gleyber Torres. He will make his first start for the New York Yankees on Sunday, April 22nd and, according to Jack Curry, slots in as the starting 2B for the rest of the year. The upside is evident based on his track record in the minors. Always young for his level, Torres has accumulated 19 home runs in his last 180 games with impressive BB/K ratios. We have seen prospects called up only to manifest career-high power numbers in the MLB, so Gleyber could easily be another one of these narratives. This week the bid is for an above-average approach with decent power and speed to provide excellent fantasy value in a star-studded New York Yankees lineup.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Teoscar Hernandez (10-15% FAAB Budget) is a player that screams fantasy upside. Teoscar Hernandez is a coveted combination of power and speed that does not come along on the waiver wire often. Past seasons of 20-30 steals in the minors with a double-digit home run ceiling are tools to look towards when planning to bid some FAAB budget this week. Teoscar is also a Statcast darling who pops up on the top of the 2017 Brls/PA leaderboards surrounded by players like Nelson Cruz, Khris Davis, and teammate Justin Smoak. The approach could still improve, but the potential for gaudy fantasy stats is evident with this call-up. Hernandez could have made the opening day lineup in a desolate Blue Jays outfield. The team opted to give Randal Grichuk a chance to fulfill his trade. However, faith in the former Cardinal is fleeting. Hernandez could be a player that sticks on fantasy rosters all season providing double-digit steals and home runs with the potential to surpass 20 in both categories.Please, blog, may I have some more?