Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball waiver wire recommendations. It’s still super early, so don’t put too much stock in your league standings yet, but do work the wire, because now is the time to find serious difference makers.
This week, Zack Britton has hit the DL with forearm soreness — never a good sign; things just keep getting worse in Toronto as now Aaron Sanchez is out; and the rotation is again falling apart in Cincy with four Reds starting pitchers now sidelined.
And now, here are this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks…
Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 30.1 per cent; CBS: 47 per cent): Since the start of the 2016 season, Hernandez ranks third in walks (68) and BABIP (.363), seventh in OBP (.371) and tied for seventh in batting average (.295) among all qualifying second baseman in the majors. In fact, that BABIP ranks eighth among any qualifying player in the majors over that span, at that’s a concern that he’s due for a correction at some point. But for now, it’s full steam ahead as in his last seven games, Hernandez is hitting .370/.414/.519 with four RBI.
Chase Headley, 3B, New York Yankees (ESPN: 26 per cent; CBS: 30 per cent): Headley already has five multi-hit games, and has scored nine runs. This is a dude that has not been productive since 2012 when he hit 31 home runs and knocked in 115, but with the recent surge in production in the last six games (.350/.480/.550), perhaps he’s someone to consider if you need help at the hot corner.
Joaquin Benoit, RP, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 28.5 per cent; CBS: 40 per cent): Thanks to Jeanmar Gomez’s ineffective, Benoit has taken over as the closer for Philadelphia. Benoit has not allowed a run in 29 of his last 30 appearances dating back to July. His 0.31 ERA (one earned run in 28 2/3 IP) over that span is the second lowest among relievers with at least 25 IP. Benoit has a current scoreless streak of 9 2/3 IP, during which opponents are batting .152 (5-for-33). Last year, when he pitched for Toronto (see video below), he posted a 0.38 ERA (one earned run in 23 2/3 IP) in 25 appearances, which was tied for the lowest ERA by a reliever from July to the end of the season.
Brad Brach, RP, Baltimore Orioles (ESPN: 14.3 per cent; CBS: 19 per cent): As mentioned in our intro, Oriole closer Britton is hurting, opening the door for Brach to earn some saves. Brach was among the top 80 in our relief pitcher rankings heading into last year and he definitely justified — and surpassed — that faith by putting up top 25 numbers thanks to a massively improved walk rate and the good fortune to earn double digit victories while recording his lowest ERA yet. There’s talk Baltimore will use a closer by committee approach while Britton heals, but our money’s on Brach to emerge with the most value.
Jordan Zimmerman, 2B, Los Angeles Angels (ESPN: NA; CBS: NA): Our first Dynasty league recommendation of the year (it’s never too early!), Zimmerman is currently tearing up the Midwest League. The Angels’ seventh rounder last year dominated Rookie ball in 2016, earning a promotion to Class-A, where he struggled. Back at Class-A this season, he’s clearly mastered the level, racking up the total bases. In fact, he’s almost matched his total bases from Class-A last year already — in 28 fewer games and 97 fewer at-bats. At this point, it won’t be long before Zimmerman forces his way to High-A, and really starts getting noticed. Why not invest early if you have the space?
Jordan Montgomery, SP, New York Yankees (ESPN: 2 per cent; CBS: 34 per cent): While we’re investing in Jordans, why not the young Yankee hurler? The Yanks’ fourth rounder from 2014 fanned seven in just 4 2/3 IP in his debut, and he sure looked good this spring is surprising many by stealing the fifth starter job. You could do worse in an AL-only league.
T.J. House, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): This is merely a speculative name to consider based on J.A. Happ having to come out early from Sunday’s start, but with Sanchez out as well (see above), Toronto needs rotation help. If Happ is also forced to the DL, could the Jays turn to House? House has looked unhittable in his two starts at Triple-A early on this season, so perhaps he’s ready for another crack at the bigs. Cleveland’s 16th rounder in 2008 had a nice rookie season in 2014, but hasn’t been able to stick in the majors since. Check the news to see what Happ’s prognosis is before making a decision here.
Others to Consider
Tony Barnette, RP, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 3.1 per cent; CBS: 8 per cent): Sam Dyson looks like he’s going to lose his closer job in Texas, perhaps opening the door for Barnette (who established himself as a key cog in the Ranger pen last year) or Jose Leclerc.
Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets (ESPN: 16.4 per cent; CBS: 35 per cent): After struggling last year, this kid is now killing it when he gets a chance, but the Mets’ outfield is stacked. Stash him and reap the rewards down the road.
James Shields, SP, Chicago White Sox (ESPN: 18.3 per cent; CBS: 34 per cent): Shields takes his 1.69 ERA through his first two outings into his start in Sunday’s finale against the Twins.
Yunel Escobar, 3B, Los Angeles Angels (ESPN: 32.9 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Escobar is averaging nearly a run per game so far, while improving his ISO to its best level since 2011. Who cares that as a third baseman he’s a DH waiting to happen? The Cuban vet can still swing the bat.
Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox (ESPN: 3.1 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Need a third baseman for your AL-only league? Davidson could be a sneaky source of cheap power and may have a bit of upside yet.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.