I must say, I’m not too excited about the waiver wire in either my NL-only or AL-only leagues this week. Not that I ever feel like there is a ton to choose from, but at least up until this point in the season I’ve felt like there are almost always one or two guys in each league that either got called up under the radar/got surprisingly shoved into a starting rotation/fell into a job due to injury/etc, that had at least a distant shot at mixed-league relevancy. This week, though, I’m not so sure.
While my instinct is to always have a healthy player filling each spot in my lineup, I have to say that there have been multiple times where I would have been better off keeping a DL’d player in my lineup than any of the healthy alternatives I had available to me. In one of my AL-only weekly leagues, I needed to replace Michael Brantley at the last minute Monday upon finding out that he’d returned from his paternity leave only to hit the DL with a sprained ankle. Once I perused my waiver wire “options”, I decided to just leave Brantley sitting in my lineup. I remembered very well the last time I had a similar decision to make, grabbed whatever guy was available and might get a handful of at bats — and ended up with a clean 0-12 in my starting lineup that week. It can be hard to digest just how weak the deep league waiver pool can be, especially if you are used to making shallow mixed-league decisions. But depending on your league set up and how close you are to gaining/losing points in the standings in certain categories, at times, it is possible for nothing to be better than something. This is even more true with pitchers, of course, where one bad start can ruin your day, week, or month. Just remember that when you’re looking over your waiver wire options — and also when you are looking at the following list of names of players that may be available in your NL/AL-only league.
Homer Bailey. If you’ve owned Homer Bailey even once in your fantasy baseball life, that may have been enough for you. But he’s looked great in his rehab starts (1.08 ERA, 17 K/3 BB in 16 2/3) and could pitch for the Reds as soon as this weekend. He’s one of those guys where there’s just no way of knowing how much of the time he was pitching completely healthy over his career, and he probably has as low a floor and as high a ceiling as anyone on this list. Temper your expectations, but if he’s available in your league, who knows? We are, after all, talking about a guy who has a pair of no-hitters in his career.
T.J. Rivera. Pretty much every other Met is hurt, and Amed Rosario still has no plane ticket no the Big Apple. T.J. has played 1B, 2B, 3B, and OF… while he might not be very good, he’s a warm body who’s getting at bats and hopefully won’t hurt your average. If I’d been thinking about the fact that the Mets often seem to have little interest in actually putting their best team on the field, I’d have picked up Rivera weeks ago in my deeper NL-only leagues.
Gavin Cecchini. As you may have heard, because I mentioned it in the last paragraph and because it’s been the talk of the fantasy world for what seems like three years now, the Mets claim they will not be promoting Amed Rosario any time soon. Since they have actually promoted Cecchini, maybe he’s so sick of people talking about Rosario that he’ll take advantage of this opportunity and make people forget about him the way Trevor Story made folks temporarily forget about Brendan Rogers last year. (Pause while I take a moment to myself to daydream about 2016 first-half Trevor Story… hey, while I was trying to forget that Story sucks now, Cecchini became the third player ever to hit his first major league homer off of Kershaw. Amed Who??!)
Jhoulys Chacin. I think he’s been dropped and picked up like 14 times in one of my NL-only leagues, and he’s not a guy to leave in your lineup no matter how deep your league is. His current ERA is on ugly side of 5, but as Grey pointed out last week, Chacin’s ERA in San Diego is about a buck and a half. If he’s available and has a home start against a not-very-scary team coming up, go for it.
Johan Camargo. He doesn’t have a home run or a stolen base in his 21 games for the Braves so far this year, but he does have three multi-hit games in his last four starts. Rio Ruiz looked to have a clear path to playing time when Adonis Garcia’s finger injury proved to be worse than originally thought (it sounds like Garcia will be out a couple of months), but Ruiz hasn’t been able to buy a hit in June. Camargo is not exactly loaded with upside, but he doesn’t need to do much at this point to keep himself in the lineup.
Ruben Tejada. He may suddenly be getting regular playing time with the Orioles now that J.J. Hardy is down with a wrist fracture. Tejada has never been a particularly valuable hitter in real baseball or in fantasy, but if you are chasing at bats in the deepest of AL-only leagues, he should be getting some. Also, Paul Janish was called up to help fill the Hardy void. Maybe either he or Tejada will get confused, temporarily think he is Scooter Gennett, and accidentally hit four home runs in a game next week!
Matt Chapman. I haven’t even had a chance to discuss the A’s decision to DFA Trevor Plouffe and call up Chapman to play third, yet already so much has happened. Plouffe has been traded to Tampa Bay, Chapman has started four games for the A’s, Chapman is only hitting .214, Chapman is out for at least a couple of days with a knee infection. He did have 16 home runs and five steals in AAA this year, though (obligatory disclaimer: PCL league alert!) Perhaps he’ll get healthy, find his stroke, and there will be even more to talk about in a week or two when we’re discussing what Chapman has been up to lately.
Daniel Robertson. You could either pick up Daniel Robertson, the Cleveland outfielder, or Daniel Robertson, the Tampa Bay infielder, and you may never know the difference. The outfielder is hitting .216, but has started five games in a row and should continue to get chances due to the aforementioned Michael Brantley injury. The infielder is hitting .216, but he does have four homers on the year, has already played four different positions in 2017, and should continue to get lots of starts with Brad Miller out (groin troubles, you know). Hmm, make that five homers on the year for the Rays Daniel Robertson after he went yard Monday –he’s clearly trying to make me look silly for comparing the Daniel Robertsons in the first place.
Austin Jackson. Speaking of the Cleveland outfield, we move to Jackson, who has basically been on the short side of a platoon with one of the Daniel Robertsons. The good news? He’s had a couple nice games recently (a homer and three walks Sunday/two hits and three RBI Monday), and is now batting a healthy .286 on the season. The bad news? He’ll probably only play against lefties even with Brantley down, and he doesn’t have a single steal this season, which is where Jackson provided most of his fantasy value back in the day. I told you the pickings were slim this week!
Adam Engel. He’s back in the majors as the corresponding move when the White Sox DL’d Leury Garcia. Engel is a fourth outfielder type and will never be a great hitter, but he’s leading off on Tuesday and should get at least a handful of starts. He’s held his own in his eight games with the big club this year – 6 for 20, with (most importantly) four steals.
Sam Travis. Also back in the majors, Travis is playing first and batting sixth for the Red Sox on Tuesday and should continue to see some starts against lefties. In his last stint in Boston he played in six games, and while he didn’t have an RBI, he did score six runs, steal a base, and hit a ridiculous .471 (8 for 17).