The Wire Troll: Luis Valbuena Responding to the Pressure
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball recommendations.
This week, Edwin Encarnacion earned himself a one-game suspension for getting a little too cozy with an umpire; Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel needs knee surgery, a procedure that will sideline him for the next 3-to-6 weeks (thrusting Koji Uehara back into save-earning situations); and Derek Jeter finally said goodbye to his bachelor ways by marrying this tremendous hottie.
Now let’s get to those Fantasy baseball recommendations, shall we?
Sandy Leon, C, Boston Red Sox (ESPN: 3.8 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): On Wednesday — after the demotion of Christian Vazquez to Triple-A — the Red Sox announced Leon would be the team’s primary catcher moving forward. That in itself should be cause for a waiver wire pick up. But not only is the switch-hitting Leon hitting in the top offense in the league, he’s been fantastic in limited time this season. Through 53 PAs, he is hitting .438 with nine extra-base knocks. Leon is only a career .233 hitter, so temper your expectations, but to be fair he has never eclipsed 130 PAs in his four and a half seasons. He makes a great pickup in two-catcher leagues.
Luis Valbuena, 1B/3B, Houston Astros (ESPN: 6.8 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): It seems as if the pressure of Alex Bregman tearing up all levels of the minor leagues is really lighting a fire under Valbuena’s behind. Over his last six games, the switch hitting Valbuena has nine hits, three homers and nine RBI. His current .265 BA would be the highest of his career if the season came to an end today. Valbuena is hitting left and right handed pitching, and hits in a star studded Astros lineup. Bregman may be the Astros third baseman of the future, but Valbuena is doing everything in his power to ensure that the kid doesn’t take his job this year.
Brad Miller, SS/OF, Tampa Bay Rays (ESPN: 19.4 per cent; CBS: 27 per cent): Miller was one of the Rays’ offseason acquisitions as they attempted to improve their offense against righties — a situation in which they ranked dead last in 2015. Unfortunately they still only rank 29th in runs scored, but have also hit the fifth most homers in the league against righties, a category in which Miller has certainly pulled his weight. His 13 dingers rank 11th among players that have shortstop eligibility in Fantasy leagues, and he’s only picking up the pace lately by smacking five in his last 11 games (see video below for his most recent impressive blast). The BA leaves much to be desired, but a SS sitting on the waiver wire with power upside is not to be ignored.
Tyler Clippard, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (ESPN: 14.2 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Once again, never overpay for saves. After Arizona sent Brad Ziegler to the Red Sox last week, it looks as if Clippard will now be the ninth inning man in the desert. Clippard has pitched well this season, to the tune of a 3.02 ERA with a 10.9 K/9. The veteran is no stranger to high leverage-late inning roles, and can be added in all leagues for those highly sought after saves.
Brandon McCarthy, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 38.4 per cent; CBS: 49 per cent): Since coming off the DL after undergoing 2015 Tommy John surgery, McCarthy has had his strikeout pitch working, fanning 14 in 10 IP while going 2-0 with a sparkling 2.70 ERA. Watch for the Dodgers to slowly stretch him out in the second half, which will make him even more valuable. With good veteran pitching hard to come by, McCarthy won’t last long, so pounce while you can.
Others to Consider
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox (ESPN: NA; CBS: 19 per cent): Boston GM Dave Dombrowski has said that they are plenty of teams inquiring about Benintendi’s availability, but why bother dealing him? Considering the extra-base pop and productivity this prospect has flashed at Double-A, perhaps we should be paying more attention to the fact that Dombrowski also intimated that Benintendi may still help the BoSox this year.
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B, Seattle Mariners (ESPN: 6.8 per cent; CBS: 18 per cent): Lee looked like a decent deep league option earlier this season, but now that he’s pretty much entrenched himself as the everyday first baseman in Em City, he’s a much more attractive pickup. The hand contusion that forced him out this weekend is likely minor, so don’t let that dissuade you. We’d like to see more walks out of Lee, but the power is intriguing as he could reach 25 bombs by season’s end.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.
Download the RotoRob App
Did you know that RotoRob.com now has its own app? Download it here!