I understand why sports fans who don’t watch baseball (aka losers) are so bored during the summer. I get this similar feeling every year during the All-Star Break. Like a “WOW! So this is what it feels like?” Even just a few days without baseball feels like a punishment. I can’t imagine not being a baseball fan and having an entire summer filled with no other live sports. Sure, there is NBA/NFL free agency news going on. Which I must admit was pretty exciting this year, but still. I get so tired of the news loop and the same old stories being repeated over and over. Yes, fortunately there was a World Cup which was a truly great one to watch this year. But still.
Aside from off-season “news” from other sports and a World Cup every 4 years, the summer is a terrible time for sports. That is of course, unless you are part of the pinnacle of society known as “baseball fans.” In that case, summer is awesome because baseball is the only sport we have to focus on. There are multiple games every single day, and news stations actually report on it (kinda). All I’m really trying to say is that I now can relate to people when they say the summer sucks because there are “no sports” on. These few days have made me realize how lucky I am to be able to enjoy the game of baseball every day.
As you might have guessed from my horrendous title, I am here to discuss some outfielders that should be out there on waivers that can help your team make a big push in the 2nd half.
Carlos Gonzalez (47% owned on ESPN)
1st half stats: .280/.332/.479 in 280 PA, 11 HR, 44 R, 41 RBI, 4 SB
I must admit, I did not envision myself advocating for CarGo before the season started. There was a lot going against him. His power was dwindling (14 HR in 136 games in ’17), average was down (.262), he strikes out a lot (career 22.1% rate), and he is usually platooned (.261 vs LHP). The icing on top was the presence of 24 year old OF David Dahl, who figured to drive CarGo out of fantasy relevance. A strong effort from Gonzalez and a broken foot for Dahl has resulted in a productive season thus far. After just 14 HR in 534 PA last year, CarGo has already swatted 11 in 280 PA this season. Though not a dependable speed asset, he has already recorded the most stolen bases (4) in his career since 2013. He hits in the heart of the order for a team who is 6th in the MLB 467 runs scored, which bodes extremely well for his counting numbers. The only real downside here is that CarGo, like every else, experiences the Coors Effect. He is batting .327 at Coors, with 8 HR, 6 2B, and 2 3B in 124 PA. On the road? A .243 average with 3 HR and 8 2B in 156 PA. There is certainly some risk here if CarGo were to be traded away from Coors, but until then we reap the benefits. He’s hitting .311 with 5 HR, 24 R, 15 RBI, and 1 SB in the last 30 days.
2nd half (Steamer) projections: .276/.340/.486 in 205 PA, 9 HR, 26 R, 30 RBI, 2 SB
Stephen Piscotty (41% owned)
1st half stats: .264/.326/.457 in 344 PA, 12 HR, 43 R, 46 RBI, 1 SB
Fun fact: I drafted Piscotty in one of my leagues so I could change my name to “Piscotty 2 Hotty.” If there’s one thing I love more than baseball it is a nice WWE/MLB crossover. Piscotty wasn’t 2 Hotty to start the year, but that is more than understandable. Aside from switching to a new ball club, he had to play knowing his mother’s last days were upon her. Rest in sweetest peace, Gretchen Piscotty. A class act by the Cardinals over the offseason sent Stephen to Oakland to be closer to his mother and family. I can’t imagine how difficult this season has been for Stephen, but he is a true warrior. I just wanted to pay my respects, and now I will continue with the baseball side of his year. Since the start of June, Piscotty is slashing .309/.374/.590 with 9 HR, 23 runs scored, 27 runs batted in, and one stolen base. Over that same time span, he has a .408 wOBA and 164 wRC+. Of course this is not sustainable, but it shows just how great Piscotty has been in the past month and a half. His success has seen his spot in the order move up, as he now hits in the middle third of the lineup on most days. That is a great spot for him, considering the Athletics are 10th in the MLB with 449 runs scored. If he continues to produce and get on base, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to continue generating runs. Grab Piscotty before he gets 2 Hotty and you miss your chance.
2nd half projections: .256/.333/.426 in 212 PA, 7 HR, 25 R, 25 RBI, 2 SB
Jesse Winker (34% owned)
1st half stats: .293/.404/.429 in 318 PA, 7 HR, 35 R, 42 RBI, 0 SB
Though their record may not show it, the Reds actually have one of the better offenses in baseball. If they had a somewhat serviceable pitching rotation, these guys could be playoff contenders even in a stacked NL Central. The Reds have scored 461 runs this season, which is 7th most in the league and may come as a surprise to many. They are hitting .260 as a team, which is 4th best in the MLB. Winker typically hits 5th or 6th, behind OBP machine Votto, but also a couple of the game’s most underrated stars in Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez. This gives Winker ample opportunities to drive runs in, which he has done a fine job of so far. Through his team’s first 85 games, Winker has a wRC+ of 128. That mark is good for 41st in the entire MLB, ahead of All-Stars like Jean Segura and Trevor Story. His walk rate of 15.1% is the 10th best in all of baseball. In fact, he is one of a handful of players who has walked more than he has struck out (15.1% to 13.8%) this season. Yet you hardly hear anyone talk about Winker, as his 34% ownership supports. I guess that is what happens when you are an unsung hero on the game’s most underrated offense. In his last 30 days, Winker is batting .405 with 4 HR, 12 R, 23 RBI, and a 1.152 OPS. He has ended the 1st half on a 10-game hit streak, and he looks to continue that streak when the 2nd half gets underway.
2nd half projections: .279/.372/.424 in 192 PA, 5 HR, 22 R, 20 RBI, 1 SB
Denard Span (25% owned)
1st half stats: .271/.358/.435 in 310 PA, 8 HR, 43 R, 43 RBI, 6 SB
As usual, I felt obligated to include a deeper league option because those in competitive leagues may not be able to snag the names above. Span is a guy that has been right on par with them production wise, but is available in three-quarters of the leagues out there. You know I’m a sucker for guys that help out with a modest pop-speed combo, and that is exactly what Span brings to the table. He recorded 24 HR+SB last year in 542 PA, and has recorded 14 HR+SB in 310 PA thus far. Steamer has him good for another 8 HR+SB, which could help be the difference in some matchups. Span saw some success with the Rays this year before being traded into a much more favorable situation. Since being acquired by the Mariners, he is slashing .310/.350/.492 with 4 HR, 16 R, 15 RBI, 7 2B, and 2 3B in 137 PA. Span has also produced a .359 wOBA and 132 wRC+ since being a member of the Mariners. While it may seem unsustainable, it is appropriate to note that he has a wRC+ of 123 and .345 wOBA through 81 games played. He moves around in the order, but his superb defense and success at the dish has solidified himself as an every day player.
2nd half projections: .257/.327/.394 in 178 PA, 4 HR, 21 R, 17 RBI, 4 SB