D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired: Mad Mallex

Thursday, August 9, 2018


I think we can all agree that the biggest move at the deadline was the Yankees acquiring Lance Lynn from the Twins. Okay, we’re not to that point yet, but Lynn has been lights out through his first two appearances with the club, tossing 11 2/3 scoreless frames with a 14/1 K/BB ratio. He allowed just two hits and pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season in his most recent start against the White Sox on Monday.

Is it time to pick Lynn up in mixed leagues? I’ll tap the breaks a little bit on that. Lynn had a disappointing 5.10 ERA in 20 starts with the Twins prior to the trade. He walked 62 batters in 102 1/2 innings, an alarmingly high number from anything he’s done in the past. It should also be noted that he struck out 100 batters in that time, so there’s some potential here if he can get his control back in check. But we need to see more before getting back on board in most mixed leagues.

I can at least see the appeal on a matchup basis. His start against the Rangers this weekend is too risky, but Lynn lines up for probable starts against the Rays, White Sox, Orioles, and Tigers after that. The Yankees’ offense has struggled recently, but those are winnable assignments. Just something to file away for now.

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

MIXED LEAGUES

(Percentages are from the morning of Thursday, August 9)
 
Mallex Smith OF, Rays (Yahoo: 47 percent owned)

Smith has been one of the most popular waiver wire pickups in recent weeks and for good reason. After going 1-for-5 with a run scored and two steals on Wednesday, he’s now hitting .395 with a .474 on-base percentage over his last 28 games. He’s also swiped 10 bases in that time, bringing his total to 25 for the year. Only five players have stolen more in all of MLB. The Rays have hit him leadoff in each of their last three games, so hopefully he’ll get a chance to stick there. Smith has only hit six homers in 864 plate appearances in the majors, so don’t expect any power here, but he can get on base and provide a legitimate speed boost. Feel free to add him in most formats at this point.

Ryan Madson RP, Nationals (Yahoo: 39 percent owned)

The Nationals were already missing Sean Doolittle with a stress reaction in his left foot, but now fill-in closer Kelvin Herrera has been placed on the disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation. Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley were both shipped out of town prior to last week’s trade deadline, so Madson is now at the top of the depth chart. The 37-year-old holds a mediocre 4.32 ERA this season, but he’s allowed just one run in 10 1/3 innings with a 9/2 K/BB ratio over his last 11 appearances. He also has previous experience in the role, which should carry some weight here. The Nationals recently signed Greg Holland, but he’s been far too erratic this year to trust as the club tries to stay in contention. Doolittle has yet to be cleared to throw off a mound, so Madson could get a decent run here.  

Michael Conforto OF, Mets (Yahoo: 42 percent owned)

Conforto’s first season back from shoulder surgery has been a struggle, but he’s at least shown signs of progress of late. The 25-year-old is batting .308/.378/.523 with three homers, five doubles, nine RBI, and 13 runs scored in 18 games since the All-Star break. That’s much closer to what we expect from him when he’s at his best. Conforto’s hard-hit percentage has been down overall this year, but he ranks top-10 in the majors (per FanGraphs) over the past month. He’s also in the top-five in line drive percentage during that time. It’s a small sample, but I’m not going to complain about signs of progress. He could be a really nice value the rest of the way.

Steven Souza OF, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 29 percent owned)

After a nagging pectoral injury essentially rendered Souza a non-factor for the first three months of the season, he’s finally getting into a groove at the plate. The 29-year-old is hitting .293/.369/.522 with 13 extra-base hits (including three homers), 19 RBI, two steals, and 11 runs scored over 24 games since returning from the disabled list on July 5. He’s knocked in 10 runs in his last nine games while hitting fourth and fifth in Arizona’s lineup. It’s a good situation for him. I don’t expect Souza to keep this up on the batting average front, but he put up 30 homers and 16 steals with the Rays last season. There’s a reason I was aggressive on him in drafts this spring.

Kyle Gibson SP, Twins (Yahoo: 45 percent owned)

Gibson is no stranger to this column and he gets another mention here with a matchup against the Tigers on Saturday. The 30-year-old is coming off one of his shakiest outings in quite some time, as he allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks over just five innings against the Indians. He allowed two homers in a start for the first time since June 9. Still, Gibson has been really good for the great majority of the year, even if his record doesn’t show it. Also, the Tigers’ offense is just bad. No team has scored fewer runs since the All-Star break. They are batting .203/.251/.303 as a team during that time. Yama hama. Every matchup needs to be scrutinized at this time of the year, so we can’t let this opportunity slip by.

Ryan Tepera RP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 21 percent owned)
Tyler Clippard RP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 14 percent owned)

Tuesday night was a rough one for the back-end of the Blue Jays’ bullpen, as Tepera and Ken Giles combined to allow nine runs against the Red Sox. Giles is the closer on paper right now after coming over from the Astros in the Roberto Osuna deal, but he now holds a 6.21 ERA in 37 appearances this season and wasn’t much better during his time in Triple-A last month. The secondary numbers still provide reason for optimism, but it’s far from a sure thing that he’ll find it in the short-term. This is very much a speculate-where-you-can situation, as Tepera has a 9.72 ERA in 10 appearances since coming off the disabled list while Clippard holds a 9.00 ERA in seven appearances since the All-Star break. Good luck figuring this out.

Shohei Ohtani UTIL, Angels (Yahoo: 37 percent owned)

Ohtani stumbled with a .200/.257/.415 batting line and a 24/5 K/BB ratio in his first 71 plate appearances after returning from his partial UCL tear at the start of July, but he’s 8-for-19 (.421) with three homers, a double, and three walks over his last five games. Even with the rough patch in July, he’s sporting a .376 wOBA for the year, which ties him with A.J. Pollock for 24th among players with at least 200 plate appearances. He’s just behind names like Trevor Story and Joey Votto and just ahead of names like A.J. Pollock and Rhys Hoskins.  He’s been legitimately impressive at the plate. Ohtani is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday in hopes of returning to game action as a pitcher down the stretch, but he’s still doing enough as a hitter to warrant attention in most formats.    

Brad Peacock SP/RP, Astros (Yahoo: 29 percent owned)
Collin McHugh SP/RP, Astros (Yahoo: 44 percent owned)

This is mostly a dart throw on the chance that one of these guys gets a shot in the rotation with Lance McCullers expected to be out until September with a muscle strain in his right forearm. The banged-up Astros have some convenient off-days this month, so they can afford to go with four starters in the short-term. They’ll need a fifth starter next on August 22. Peacock was effective in the rotation last year and has mostly dominated out of the Astros’ bullpen this year aside from a rough patch in the early part of July. He’s looked really good in his last three appearances. McHugh has been even better out of Houston’s bullpen this season and makes for another strong option. There’s obviously an argument to keeping them where they’ve been most successful and neither pitcher has been stretched out, so I’m not sure of the bang for your buck here if we’re only talking about a couple of starts. But both pitchers are providing value in mixed leagues even though they aren’t starting, so it’s worth a shot.

Josh Bell 1B, Pirates (Yahoo: 42 percent owned)
Tyler White 1B, Astros (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)

I’m grouping Bell and White together as corner infielders to keep in mind in both shallow and deeper formats. Bell is fresh off the disabled list after missing just over the minimum with an oblique strain. He’s been a disappointment overall this season and I worry a little bit about him returning from his oblique issue so quickly, but he was swinging the bat well prior to going down. He’s definitely capable of finishing strong. As for White, he’s hit .321 (9-for-28) with two homers, one double, one triple, and four runs scored over eight games since returning from the minors at the end of July. The 27-year-old is seeing pretty steady at-bats with Yuli Gurriel covering for Jose Altuve at second base. He even got a chance out of the cleanup spot on Tuesday. He’s a decent short-term pickup, anyway.

Tyler Glasnow SP/RP, Rays (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)

I pretty much have to include Glasnow here after his start on Tuesday night. He struck out nine batters in just four innings and has now allowed two runs in seven innings with a 14/1 K/BB ratio through his first two outings since coming over to the Rays in the Chris Archer deal. He’s still in the process of getting stretched out, but he should be ready for a regular workload soon enough. I think he’s worth a stash in deeper leagues on upside alone, but I’ll acknowledge that the control remains a concern. He walked 34 batters in 56 relief innings with the Pirates this year. Two brief starts isn’t enough to convince me that he has suddenly changed, so I’d be careful about going too crazy in shallow leagues just yet. There are just better bets out there right now. Still, he’s a name to follow in all formats.

Hyun-Jin Ryu SP, Dodgers (Yahoo: 44 percent owned)

I love stashing upside plays in a DL spot, which is why the time is right to pick up Ryu. The lefty suffered a severe groin strain back in early May, but he recently began a minor league rehab stint and threw five innings of one-run ball with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. He got stretched out to 71 pitches (51 for strikes) in that one, so he’s not far off from rejoining the Dodgers. Ryu had a sparkling 2.12 ERA and 36/10 K/BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings over six starts prior to the injury. There’s minimal risk involved with stashing and seeing how things play out down the stretch.


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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.
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