D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired: The Happening

Thursday, July 6, 2017


I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July, however you decided to spend it. We’re now officially more than halfway through the season. Whether you want to blame juiced baseballs or not, it feels like so much has changed since our evaluations during the offseason and spring training. This is my ninth season here at Rotoworld and I can’t recall a season which has been as unpredictable. That’s sort of humbling for someone like me, but it would be pretty boring if we had this game figured out.

Have specific questions about your roster? Ask @djshort on Twitter.

 

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MIXED LEAGUES

Yoan Moncada 3B, White Sox (Yahoo: 39 percent owned)

Here’s your monthly reminder to stash Moncada if you have the roster flexibility. I understand it’s getting frustrating to wait on him, but his time has to be coming soon, especially as the White Sox begin to sell of parts this month. The 22-year-old remains strikeout-prone and didn’t have the best June after returning from a thumb injury, but he’s still hitting .282/.380/.455 with 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases through 71 games in Triple-A this year. Perhaps the White Sox will wait until he gets into a nice groove again, but this across-the-board ability can’t be left on the wire.

Joe Ross SP, Nationals (Yahoo: 46 percent owned)

Ross admittedly hasn’t had the kind of season I was hoping for coming into the spring. In addition to going up and down from the majors to the minors, he’s sporting a 4.86 ERA through 12 starts. The big issue has been the home run ball, as he’s surrendered 15 big-flies in just 70 1/3 innings. We’ve at least seen some progress recently, in the form of a 2.18 ERA and 18/7 K/BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings across his last three starts. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five out of his last seven turns. The secondary numbers are right on track with what we’ve seen in the past, so I like giving him a spin as a fourth or fifth starter in a mixed league.

Ian Happ 2B/OF, Cubs (Yahoo: 48 percent owned)

The Cubs are getting healthy in a hurry and Kyle Schwarber is due to make his return to the majors on Thursday, but I don’t see any reason why Happ should be squeezed out of playing time. The 22-year-old might not be on the level of fellow rookies Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, but he’s put up 24 extra-base hits (including 12 home runs) with a .906 OPS through his first 47 games in the majors. He’s hit safely in 14 out of his last 15 games while batting .367 with a 1.047 OPS. We’ll probably see less of Albert Almora, Jr, Jon Jay, and even Ben Zobrist moving forward. I’m putting Happ in here in case he jumps over the 50-percent ownership threshold and never looks back.

Manuel Margot OF, Padres (Yahoo: 23 percent owned)

Margot has hit the ground running since returning from the disabled list, batting .355 (11-for-31) with one home run, three doubles, four RBI, six runs scored, and four steals in eight games. The 22-year-old was a popular pickup in mixed leagues after an early two-homer game in April, but I mostly like him for his speed potential at this point. The efficiency hasn’t been great in that area so far, as he’s just 9-for-15, but he’s swiped as many as 42 bases in a season in the minors and he should continue to get plenty of chances as San Diego’s regular No. 2 hitter.

Lonnie Chisenhall OF, Indians (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)

You wouldn’t know it by his modest ownership percentage, but Chisenhall has been of the hottest hitters in the game in recent weeks. He’s batting .368 with four homers and 22 RBI across his last 21 games. He’s already up to 11 home runs on the year, just two shy of his career-high from back in 2014. There’s reason to believe in the increased pop, as he’s hitting the ball in the air more often while increasing his hard-hit rate. He’s also showing more patience than ever before. While Chisenhall isn’t as good as this recent hot streak would suggest, he deserves more attention than he’s getting at present.

Orlando Arcia SS, Brewers (Yahoo: 31 percent owned)

Speaking of red-hot, what is going on with Arcia? Down in the dumps at .208 as recently as May 17, the slick-fielding shortstop has hit .359 over his last 44 games to pull his batting average all the way up to .292 on the year. Looking under the hood, we have seen him make strides with his contact rate this year, especially on pitches in the strike zone. With his speed, he was always likely to do a little better in the BABIP department than his rookie campaign last year. Even with his recent hot hitting, Arcia is hitting eighth in the Brewers’ order. This obviously caps his usefulness in standard formats, but he’s at least a middle infielder consideration at this time and warrants monitoring for the future.

Yulieski Gurriel 1B/3B, Astros (Yahoo: 47 percent owned)

Gurriel doesn’t come without flaws. He’s drawn only six walks in 295 plate appearances all season. Among qualified hitters, only Alcides Escobar and Jose Peraza have walked less often. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from being productive during his first full season in the majors. The 33-year-old is hitting .352 with six homers and 28 RBI over his last 30 games, boosting his average from .256 all the way up to .299 on the year. This includes an 11-for-18 (.611) stretch to begin July. Gurriel was regarded as one of the best players in Cuba for well over a decade, so maybe he just needed some time to get comfortable against major league pitching? He’s in a great situation in this lineup and ballpark, so it’s worth picking him up to find out.  

Mallex Smith OF, Rays (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)

Looking up Smith for this week’s column, I was surprised to find that he still hasn’t caught on in most leagues. It’s time to change that. The 24-year-old speedster is batting .333/.405/.417 in 31 games with the Rays this season while going 10-for-14 in stolen base attempts. With Kevin Kiermaier likely sidelined until August with a right hip fracture, Smith is locked in as the regular center fielder and leadoff man. He’s not going to provide power, so picking him up requires balancing your roster with the current home run environment, but this is someone who stole 245 bases over 430 games in the minors. He’s one of the more promising widely-available speed plays.  

Charlie Morton SP, Astros (Yahoo: 24 percent owned)

After missing more than a month with a strained right lat, Morton is scheduled to make his return Friday night against the Blue Jays. I understand if this doesn’t get you overly excited. Morton had a 4.06 ERA over 10 starts prior to the injury, looking more match-up play than mixed league staple. However, he also had 65 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings. Going by strikeout percentage, that puts him 25th among starters with at least 50 innings pitched. He’s had major issues the third time through the order, but I still see a place for him on mixed league rosters.  

Stephen Vogt C, Brewers (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)

Vogt is making fast friends since being acquired by the Brewers, slugging three homers in 17 plate appearances through his first six games. Keep in mind that he had four home runs in 174 plate appearances before the Athletics surprisingly designated him for assignment last month. I’m not expecting Vogt to return to his All-Star status or even take away the majority of at-bats from Manny Pina, but I’ve said many times how much I like picking up left-handed hitters in Milwaukee. He’s capable of being a useful bat in two-catcher formats the rest of the way.

Shopping at the five-and-dime:

(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Luis Castillo SP/RP, Reds (Yahoo: 7 percent owned)

First off, let me say that Castillo is in matchup hell at the moment. Coming off a start against the Rockies in Coors Field on Monday, he’s lined up to face the Diamondbacks in Arizona in his next outing this weekend. I don’t blame you if you sit this one out, but I’ve seen enough from him so far to be intrigued. Acquired from the Marlins in the Dan Straily deal over the winter, the 24-year-old has averaged 97.8 mph with his fastball so far while getting plenty of whiffs on his slider and changeup. He’s fanned 22 batters in 16 1/3 innings, though that comes along with nine walks and five home runs. There are some potential landmines here, especially given his home stadium, but I can’t ignore this sort of strikeout upside. I could see him being a very popular pickup before long.

Jason Grilli RP, Rangers (Yahoo: 3 percent owned)
Alex Claudio RP, Rangers (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)

The Rangers’ closer situation is a mess. Just when it looked like Keone Kela was the favorite for save chances, he hit the disabled list last week with right shoulder soreness. Jose Leclerc was charged with a blown save after giving up a two-run homer to Yolmer Sanchez in the eighth inning on Sunday, so it’s hard to say where Rangers manager Jeff Banister might turn next. It’s very possible that he just goes back to Matt Bush, but the recently-acquired Grilli provides an alternative. The 40-year-old admittedly might be at the end of the line in his career. He put up an ugly 6.97 ERA with nine home runs allowed in just 20 2/3 innings before being designated for assignment by Toronto, but the silver lining is the he was still picking up strikeouts. Claudio is more of a contact-oriented pitcher (6.51 K/9 career), but he owns a strong 2.78 ERA over 110 relief appearances in the majors. The 25-year-old lefty could see some chances if Banister decides to play the matchups.     

Tommy Hunter RP, Rays (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)

In case you haven’t noticed, Rays closer Alex Colome has been very bad recently. Like so bad it’s troubling. He’s allowed 10 runs on 10 hits (including two home runs) and six walks in five innings over his last five appearances. Oh, and he’s also hit a couple of batters along the way. While his ERA was at 1.95 before this disastrous stretch, he’s now sitting at 4.10 for the year. Who knows if it’s something physical or mechanical, but with the Rays in the race, it will be interesting to see if they consider giving him a break from the closer role. Hunter might be my favorite stash in this bullpen. With increased reliance on his cutter, the 31-year-old has quietly posted a 2.25 ERA and 27/7 K/BB ratio over 24 innings this season.


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D.J. Short is a Rotoworld senior baseball writer and hosts the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.
Email :D.J. Short



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