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The Wire Troll: Ezequiel Duran Enters the Picture

April 6, 2024 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Ezequiel Duran is going to get plenty of PT for the Texas Rangers.
Texas will lean on Ezequiel Duran for now. (MLB Trade Rumors)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. The season is underway in earnest now, so there’s myriad goodies to be found on the waiver wire.

This week, Jonathan Loaisiga has been knocked out of action for a couple of months (see below for the Fantasy opportunity this presents); Wander Franco still has to check in with police each month as he waits potential charges; and Spencer Strider continues to be a strikeout machine but he got roughed up by the Snakes and is now headed for an MRI (gulp).

And now, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks

Ezequiel Duran, SS/3B/OF, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 6.3 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): We were bullish on Duran when he was recalled to Texas just under two years ago, but his big start, he failed to live up to that showing. He was better last year, but had been off to a slow start early on in 2024. However, even though he didn’t start Friday, pretty much everyday PT awaits Duran now for the next couple of months after Josh Jung broke a wrist, so it’s time for a second look at Duran given that he’ll have a bigger than expected role. We haven’t seen the offense flowing from Duran in recent games, but he’s proven he can rack up plenty of counting cat numbers in a part-time role (55 runs in just 439 plate appearances last season), so he’s worth grabbing to see what he can accumulate playing almost every day.

Jake McCarthy, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 7 per cent): We recommended McCarthy in May, but after a hot start, his play regressed as the season progressed. All told, it was a very disappointing sophomore season (other than 26 steals) after he showed such promise as a rookie. Still, with Alek Thomas (hamstring) out for around two weeks, McCarthy has another chance to shine, making him worthy of deep league attention. Yes, many an owner was burned by McCarthy last season, but he did make some progress with his plate discipline, has some pop, and even if he’s failed to swipe a bag so far, the steals will come.

Ian Hamilton, RP, New York Yankees (ESPN: 6.3 per cent; CBS: 12 per cent): Former White Sox prospect and 2018 Southern League All-Star Hamilton endured a long road to get to where he is now — a highly dependable, multi-inning reliever. He broke out with the Yanks (-400 to make the playoffs as per FanDuel) last season, and is suddenly in a position to play a much bigger role with Loaisiga (flexor strain) out until at least June and Tommy Kahnle (shoulder) having his throwing program slowed because of the recovery issues he’s having. Hamilton is off to a superb start, and looks like one of the top non-closing relievers in the game having thrown scoreless ball over 5 2/3 innings while striking out 43.8 per cent of the batters he’s faced without walking one. He’s a slider-heavy hurler, so could be a higher injury risk, but is definitely worth rostering in most formats.

Brice Turang, 2B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers (ESPN: 19.4 per cent; CBS: 47 per cent): We recommended Turang in mid-August and the pick offered mixed results as he hit well that month, but regressed down the stretch. Overall, it was a less than inspiring rookie season for the former top prospect as he didn’t get on base enough to take advantage of his excellent baserunning skills. There was talk Turang could be usurped this season, but he was again handed the everyday job at second base and has rewarded the Brewers’ faith as few players are as hot right now. He’s sure to be one of the top waiver wire picks of the week, so don’t hesitate here — the dude has already swiped six bags through six games. Turang has elite speed, but his in-game power will likely always be a weakness.

Gio Urshela, 3B/1B, Detroit Tigers (ESPN: 0.9 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Nearly two years ago, we gave Urshela some love as he had improved his contact rate. It was even better last year, but a pelvis fracture (ouch) cost him most of the season. This season, Urshela is off to a blazing start and is proving he can be a productive corner infielder worthy of deep league attention. No, he’s not going to play every day, but if he can keep building on what he’s shown the last couple of years — and stay healthy — he will earn enough PT to offer some value.

Jose Miranda, 3B, Minnesota Twins (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): After such a promising rookie season in 2022, last year was just a nightmare for Miranda. He struggled early, was demoted in May and it was ultimately revealed that a shoulder woe was affecting his performance and necessitated surgery. All told, Miranda got only 40 games in the bigs last year, and did not hit well at all. Worse yet, he was passed on the depth chart and had to begin this season back at Triple-A. But Miranda finally began to feel healthy this offseason and early on is looking strong both at third base (despite the fact that he was supposed to focus on playing first base going forward) and at the plate (779 OPS through six games). With Royce Lewis out for at least another month and some less-than-inspiring options to replace him in the bigs, Miranda could work his way back into the team’s plans sooner than expected.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Van Morrison is now in his seventh decade as a recording artist. In 1974, he released his eighth album, Veedon Fleece, and the only single was “Bulbs,” a song he’d been toying with in different formats for about a year.

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