Welcome back to another season of Fantasy baseball! As always, we offer weekly waiver wire recommendations in our MLB Wire Troll, with the caveats that we never pick a player more than once per month and the choices must be owned in no more than 50 per cent of ESPN and CBS leagues… i.e., these dudes are likely available.
Last week, Kyle Schwarber owners were devastated by his season-ending injury; A.J. Pollock will be out at least three months in the wake of elbow surgery; and the original Jackie Robinson contracts have surfaced — and are valued at a cool $36 million.
Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire recommendations.
Jose Iglesias, SS, Detroit Tigers (ESPN: 6.4 per cent; CBS: 17 per cent): We recommended this defensive wizard (see video below for an example of his glovework) last August as he was heating up down the stretch. Unfortunately, a broken finger cost him most of September. This season, Iglesias has hit the ground running, delivering hits in all four games, including three straight multi-hit efforts. Don’t expect much extra-base sock here, but if he can stay healthy, he’ll provide a .300 bat with solid on-base skills and some decent stolen base totals. Iglesias makes for a fine AL-only option that will really give you a boost in the BA department, but not offer much more.
Ross Stripling, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 11.4 per cent; CBS: 37 per cent): Every year it seems the Dodgers find these hurlers that no one has ever heard of, and they wind up providing surprising value at times. Stripling is the latest example, tossing 7 1/3 hitless frames in his big league debut on Friday. The Dodgers’ fifth round pick from 2012 has shown tremendous command in his minor league career, although — ironically — it was spotty in his otherwise sterling big league outing. Having tossed 100 pitches, Stripling was yanked from what could have been a historic debut. He’s just as likely to be throttled in his next outing, so don’t overpay for him, but if you need pitching help, he’s worth grabbing to see how this plays out.
Erik Johnson, SP, Chicago White Sox (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): There’s already talk that the leash on John Danks won’t be long this season, so now’s a great time to consider who might benefit when/if he gets yanked from the rotation. For our money, Johnson is the most obvious choice despite a shaky debut at Triple-A. The team’s second round pick in 2011 has been given a handful of big league starts in each of the last three seasons, but has never really received a prolonged audition. It’s time. The Pale Hose could use another righty in the rotation, and Johnson has the build to handle big innings. In time, he could be a solid No. 3 starter, and we suspect that he’s going to get his shot very soon, so consider stashing him now.
Mike Napoli, 1B, Cleveland Indians (ESPN: 4.7 per cent; CBS: 17 per cent): Need pop? Napoli has hit in three straight games, pounding two dingers, scoring five runs and driving in three with a couple of walks. He’s 34, so we’ve clearly seen his best already, but could still be a nice source of cheap power in AL-only leagues. This Florida high school product was the Angels’ 17th round pick way back in 2000, but he should get enough PT this year to be a useful asset.
Matt Albers, RP, Chicago White Sox (ESPN: 0.4 per cent; CBS: unowned): Need cheap holds in an AL-only league? We slotted Albers 81st in our Relief Pitcher Rankings into 2014, but he missed most of that season with a shoulder problem and then ran into serious injury issues again last year. Well, he’s healthy now, racking up holds and Ks and looking extremely sharp in the early going. Give him a look if you’re in a format that rewards holds or is deep enough for you to need non-closer relief help.
Trayce Thompson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 0.8 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): Thompson has shown he can play all three outfield slots, which is going to come in handy now given that Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke are all hurting. Thompson showed some power in his MLB debut with the White Sox last year, and he’s also proved he’s capable of getting on base at a good clip. Take a flier on him in NL-only formats.
Others to Consider
Enrique Hernandez, OF/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 1.5 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): Hernandez is hitting very well, and his extra-base sock hasn’t even kicked in yet. At the very least, he’s an intriguing DFS play when the Dodgers face southpaws.
Logan Verrett, RP, New York Mets (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): Verrett will make a spot start on Wednesday in place of Jacob DeGrom (lat). It may be just the one start, but he’s a nice streaming option against a Miami team struggling to score runs so far.
Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers (ESPN: 9.3 per cent; CBS: 19 per cent): Gennett wanted to improve his plate discipline this season and so far it’s working as he’s been one of the hottest players through the first week of the schedule.
Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 14.9 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Hellickson looked great in his Phillies debut, but he’ll need to stay ahead in the count to succeed, so proceed with caution here.
Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 4 per cent; CBS: 31 per cent): Howard doesn’t get any love anymore — even in his own city — but with two homers in his last three games, it’s clear he can still mash the ball.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.
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