Deep leaguers are nearing a point in the season where waiver wire pickings aren’t going to be easy to find. But it’s barely Week 3! Tell that to someone who gives a damn! All intense rage aside, despite the season’s relative infancy, if you’re in a league of 14 or more teams, adding players who can contribute will become more difficult by the week. This isn’t a 10 team league where No. 3 starters are sitting on the wire. This column is designed to help you dig deeper (and deeper). Read carefully, and maybe one of these players will be your lucky star.
Last week’s post discussed middle infielders, and today I’ll be passing out advice on some outfielders who can assist you in your travails. As always, I will be using ESPN’s ownership percentages and only selecting players who are available in less than 10 percent of leagues.
Chris Coghlan, OF, Cubs (1.8% owned): Chris Coghlan won Rookie of the Year in 2009. A good trivia question for sure. But the former Marlin proceeded to immediately fade from existence. From 2011 till 2013, Coghlan played 126 minor league games. Not the type of thing you’d expect from a player who had recently won a ROY Award. It wasn’t until last year that Coghlan finally showed us he was again worthy of an MLB roster spot. The Cubs’ were in complete rebuild mode in 2014, and that allowed Coghlan to rack up 432 plate appearances, batting .283/.352/.452 with 9 HR and 41 RBI. Those numbers were eerily close to the stats he put up in his ROY campaign: .321/.390./.460, 9 HR, 47 RBI (in 133 more PA). The 29-year-old is off to a nice start in 2015, hitting .304 with 2 HR, 2 RBI, four runs and a stolen base. Coghlan was already playing nearly every day vs. right handers, but an injury to Mike Olt has forced Joe Maddon’s hand. We all know how kooky Maddon can be when it comes to positional flexibility, and he has shown it with Coghlan, playing him a game a piece at 2B and 3B. With Kris Bryant eventually getting called up today, and Addison Russell getting some 2B reps down in Iowa, it’s unlikely Coghlan will play the 10 games at 2B or 3B that is ordinarily required to qualify at a position, but if you’re in a league that needs only five games, this has sleeper appeal written all over it.
Chris Young, OF, Yankees (1.0% owned): Keeping up with the Chrises (not likely to be seen on the E! Network anytime soon), Yankees’ OF Chris Young makes for a nice add if you’re strictly looking for power and have a bench spot that you can use on a platoon player. Young will mostly play vs. lefties and so far he’s hit two homers and driven in four, to go along with a nifty .318 BA in 24 PA. The average will drop — a lot — but the Yankees are already hurting (Brett Gardner is out with a wrist injury), and with more injuries sure to pile up among their AARP-eligible, Young could be used more often than Joe Girardi would probably like. His K%, which is 5.8 percent lower than his career norm, is also helping him stay in the lineup. Young had a pretty nice showing in his late-season stint with the Bronx Bombers last year (3 HR, .282 BA in 23 games) and could serve as a seriously underrated source of homers if you really need them.
Daniel Nava, OF, Red Sox (0.3% owned): This is an add you’d only be making if you’re the speculative type. Nava is obviously part of the extremely muddled Red Sox’ outfield quintet, but could have value if he were to be part of any deal Boston may make for a pitcher. It’s no secret the Sox’ bats are stacked, and it’s also no secret that their starting rotation lacks punch. All winter, rumors swirled around the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, and not if, but when he’d be pitching his home games at Fenway. No deal was made prior to Opening Day, but if Boston wants to contend, they need to add an ace to their staff, and Hamels is the likely guy. The Phillies have no reason to keep him on board, and the Sox have a vast amount of prospects to offer them in return. In a trade to Boston, the Sox would likely need to ship off at least two top prospects. Of course, Hamels is owed $94 million through 2018. Nava, who is playing on a cheap one-year, $1.85M deal, could be an enticing addition to a package for the spendthrift Phillies. In Philly, Nava would immediately become a starter, and would garner significant fantasy value. So far, he has already amassed 5 RBI in just 17 PA in Beantown. The 32-year-old hit .303 with 12 homers and 66 RBI in 2013, which shows there’s some potential for fantasy relevance if he were given a solid amount of at bats.
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