The Wire Troll: Kyle Hendricks Returns
Kyle Hendricks is healthy again. (Arturo Pardavila III)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. May’s nearly done, the A’s are nearly done in Oakland, and you need to exploit the waiver wire. Do it.
This week, Gary Sanchez‘s return to the majors didn’t last long; the Yanks gave prospect Randy Vasquez a shot (and he wasn’t bad); and the Cards’ recovery from a horrific start has continued, with wins in 13 of 19.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks
Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: 3.7 per cent; CBS: 19 per cent): When we last checked in on Hendricks over four years ago, he was shaking off a slow start en route to authoring a fairly solid campaign that included yet another winning record. He was even better in 2020, but it’s been a struggle since, and he missed nearly a year with a shoulder injury until making his season debut on Thursday. Okay, so it was a rough start for the long-time Cub, but it was only natural for there to be plenty of rust. However, once Hendricks’ usually steady command returns, he’s going to pay dividends, so grab him now.
Marcelo Mayer, SS, Boston Red Sox (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: NA): Mayer entered the season No. 12 on our Top 100 Prospects list, but a fast start and promotions ahead of him have seen him shoot up this list. No, he’s not a 2023 option, but as a keeper? Oh ya. Mayer just keeps on hitting, flashing improved extra-base pop (including his first pro multi-homer game, see video below) and proving highly productive. It seems like just a matter of time before he’s bumped up to Double-A as he’s passing the eye test while showing growth in most areas (although the declining walk rate is worth noting).
Randal Grichuk, OF, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 3.5 per cent; CBS: 18 per cent): We slotted Grichuk just outside the top 50 in our Outfield Rankings before the season, but hernia surgery right after we released that sent him off track. Well, he was activated about four weeks ago, and has not slowed down since. After a three-hit showing on Thursday, Grichuk is batting .338, and while we know he’s not that good of a hitter, you may as well ride this hot streak while you can in 15-team or deeper leagues.
Jake McCarthy, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (ESPN: 14.4 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): McCarthy was a popular sleeper pick heading into 2023, but other than an improved walk rate, his game fell apart, prompting a demotion to Triple-A. He’s back now after proving to be an on-base machine in the minors, and given his speed upside (he got a steal in his first game back) and PT opportunities, he needs to be added. McCarthy better hit the ground running with Dominic Canzone tearing it up at Triple-A, but it’s worth grabbing him to see if he can bounce back to his 2022 level as the D-Backs are banking on.
Alex Faedo, SP, Detroit Tigers (ESPN: 1.3 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Faedo dropped off our Top Prospects list back in 2019 and it took him until last year to make it to the bigs for what wasn’t exactly an inspiring debut. However, thanks to some otherworldy command he looks vastly better so far this season, highlighted by a career-best 10 strikeout performance on Thursday for his first win of the season. If Faedo can deliver consistent results, he could be a major asset.
Mike Tauchman, OF, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): The last time we checked in on Tauchman, he was competing for a job with the Yankees. Well, after just 11 more games in the Bronx, he was traded to San Francisco, which DFAed him a couple months later (things were so bad he had to go to Korea to find work the following year). Tauchman is back now, and suddenly playing every day while Cody Bellinger (knee) is out, so consider him a short-term option in deep NL-only leagues.
Fernando Cruz, RP, Cincinnati Reds (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): Cruz has been activated off the IL after missing nearly a month with a strained shoulder. Why would you care about a 33-year-old reliever with a 6.14 ERA? Well, we think there’s more than meets the eye here. Yes, he’s given up a lot of hits, but is averaging nearly 13 K/9 and his FIP (2.95) suggests lots of bad luck. Cruz is a sleeper. Just sayin’…
Paul DeJong, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 12.9 per cent; CBS: 32 per cent): Six years ago, DeJong was a Wire Troll All-Star, but he’s never really duplicated the completeness of that rookie effort — until this season. He missed the first month with a back woe, but since then he’s been a steady presence in the lineup and is hitting better than he has in years. DeJong has become a hard out this year, and deserves a role on your team as a result.
Eric Haase, C/OF, Detroit Tigers (ESPN: 1.3 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): Another former Wire Troll All-Star (of more recent vintage), Haase showed progress in some regards last year, but inexplicably, his power has waned since that 2021 breakout. He did manage another double on Thursday and is slugging slightly higher this month, so we keep waiting for that pop to reemerge. Consider Haase as a flier for AL-only, two-catcher leagues, but know that, realistically, we’re not that bullish that a recovery is actually coming. It’s more of a gut pick, which is not ideal. (So if we’re wrong here, we kind of knew it, but if we’re right, we’re genius… see how that works?)
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Known for their superb vocal harmonies, The Doobie Brothers gave one last tour before breaking up in 1982, and from the ensuing live album comes the Sonny Boy Williamson tune “Don’t Start Me Talkin’,” a track recorded by many artists including The New York Dolls and John Hammond Jr.