The Wire Troll: Chris Stewart Protecting the Pittsburgh Plate
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. It’s the final week of August, and your trade deadline has likely long since passed. Need a push? Use the wire!
This week, Max Scherzer has made enough progress from his injury that he’s expected to start on Monday; Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) has landed on the DL, and could be done for the season; and Danny Duffy (elbow) has also hit the DL and is headed for an MRI, so his owners are treading lightly right now.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire recommendations…
Chris Stewart, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): Stewart is having no one’s idea of a good season; in fact, he’s never looked more inept offensively. But with Francisco Cervelli hitting the DL, Stewart will be getting more PT, and with opportunity comes value. So if you need a second catcher in a deep NL-only league, Stewart could provide some short-term use. Just remember, in 2014 and 2015, he showed he could hit, so we know he’s capable. He also knows how to handle a pitcher (see video below).
Tyler Olson, RP, Cleveland Indians (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: unowned): His Fantasy value is still extremely limited, but if Olson keeps pitching like he has so far, that may soon change. He was having a nice season at Triple-A, going undefeated with a splendid 0.95 WHIP, but what he’s done with the Tribe has been very impressive so far. How about 15 appearances without an earned run allowed? A nice WHIP and fine K/BB rate suggest that Olson could move up in the Indian bullpen pecking order. The team is very pleased with his performance, and that could lead to more responsibilities and — ideally — more holds.
Curtis Granderson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 41.6 per cent; CBS: 44 per cent): Granderson was having a decent season with the Mets, and brought his power bat to the Dodgers, mashing three homers in five games early on in his tenure on the west coast. He’s been walking more often than ever before this season, and while his speed has recovered somewhat, he’s no longer a threat for 20+ swipes, so hasn’t been able to fully take advantage of all those free passes. Still, we’re expecting a nice boost in runs for Granderson now that he’s a Dodger.
Tyler Mahle, SP, Cincinnati Reds (ESPN: 1 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Cincy’s seventh rounder from 2013 has taken a huge step forward this season, and wasrewarded with a promotion for his first MLB start on Sunday. Mahle started the year at Double-A, where he had spent the previous half season, but this time, something clicked. He went way deeper into his starts, cut his ERA by more than two-thirds, and never looked harder to hit. Promoted to Triple-A, he put up a tremendous 1.10 WHIP thanks to a higher groundball rate. The righty was taking on Pittsburgh Sunday, so it looked like a nice matchup, and while he wasn’t bad, some control issues were his undoing. This could be a one-off look as Homer Bailey’s shoulder heals or could be the beginning of something bigger for Mahle.
Jake McGee, RP, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 1.6 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): With Greg Holland getting lit up lately, McGee was called on to earn the save Saturday. Other than one bad outing, McGee has looked very sharp since coming off the DL earlier this month. He’s pitched much better in his second season in Colorado, so pay close attention to the three-headed monster of him, Holland and Pat Neshek in the Rockies’ pen.
Willie Calhoun, 2B, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Acquired from the Dodgers in the Yu Darvish deal, Calhoun is a top 100 prospect that looks like a legitimate future hitter. A former second baseman, Calhoun has mostly played outfield since coming to the Texas organization, and seems to be adjusting well to the move. He’s slid a bit offensively since the trade, but is still having a phenomenal season, having already matched his career best in runs. After smacking 27 dingers at Double-A last year, Calhoun is one shy of reaching 30 at Triple-A, while batting a robust .295. This is a keeper.
Mike Montgomery, RP/SP, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: 9.2 per cent; CBS: 46 per cent): Montgomery was fantastic in his return to the rotation, hurling six goose egg frames for the win on Wednesday. As long as Jon Lester remains sidelined, Montgomery should continue to hold down a starting spot, but note that he’s been far more consistent out of relief this year, so you may want to just use him in favourable matchup situations. On Monday, Montgomery gets the Pirates, so feel free to start him in that one.
Others to Consider
Jorge Polanco, SS, Minnesota Twins (ESPN: 18.9 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): Polanco hasn’t been as impressive this year as he was during his trial down the stretch in 2016, but after a putrid July, he’s been on fire this month, driving in 20 runs already.
Buck Farmer, SP, Detroit Tigers (ESPN: 1.8 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Farmer was recalled to make the start Saturday, and pitched well enough to earn the win and likely ensure himself another outing this week. He’s averaged over a strikeout per frame through five starts and his xFIP suggests he’s been far better than his ERA would indicate.
Delino DeShields, OF, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 16.8 per cent; CBS: 26 per cent): Two years ago, DeShields was a waiver wire hero, but last year, his walk rate regressed along with most of his game. He’s really rolling now, seeing more action this month and playing his best ball of the season currently. Twenty five steals with fewer than 275 at-bats? The dude has amazing speed.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.