D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired: Keen on Kevin

Thursday, September 13, 2018


With the 2018 regular season winding down, Waiver Wired will look a bit different over the final two weeks. Instead of the usual lengthy tidbits associated with each recommendation, instead there will be much more of a focus on specific categories and matchups. It’s a system which has worked pretty well over the past couple of years, so we’re going to keep it going.

Don’t fret, though, as this week’s column is still pretty close to what you’ve come to expect. Click through to the second page to see a bunch of starting pitcher options. Also, be sure to listen to the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast if you don’t already. It’s a great companion to this column, where we go over the latest headlines as well as waiver wire pickups and upcoming streaming options. We have some fun things planned over the final three weeks of the season as we take an early look toward 2019. Be sure to subscribe.

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

MIXED LEAGUES

(Percentages are from the morning of Thursday, September 13)

Adam Frazier 2B/OF, Pirates (Yahoo: 7 percent owned)

After being a non-factor in fantasy leagues during the first half, Frazier has exploded since returning from the minors in late July by batting .331/.379/.564 with five homers, 22 RBI, and 22 runs scored over 40 games. He’s become a regular in the Pirates’ lineup and has even taken over the leadoff spot in recent days. With Gregory Polanco done for the season with knee and shoulder injuries, the playing time should continue to be there. Frazier doesn’t stand out in any one category, but he’s proven that he can hit for average and get on base. With multi-position eligibility in his favor, Frazier could be a very handy player to have around the rest of the way.

Ji-Man Choi 1B, Rays (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)

Choi has been quite the find for the Rays since coming over from the Brewers in the Brad Miller deal in June. After an impressive stint in Triple-A, he’s batted .290/.379/.550 with seven homers and 24 RBI in 39 games since his promotion to the majors in late July. This includes four homers in his last eight games. Choi is seeing regular at-bats out of the DH spot against right-handed starters and has become a fixture in the middle of the Rays’ lineup. It would be unfair to expect him to continue at this pace, but he’s put up some good numbers in the minors and it’s probably time he saw an extended chance in the majors. Those in deeper leagues can afford to take the gamble.

Kevin Kiermaier OF, Rays (Yahoo: 25 percent owned)

This has largely been a season to forget for Kiermaier, but he’s really hit his stride of late by batting .391 (25-for-64) with 11 extra-base hits (including three homers) and 10 runs scored over his last 18 games. He’s hit safely in all eight games he’s played this month. Kiermaier tripled and delivered a sacrifice fly against the Rays on Wednesday after missing a couple of games due to illness. His BABIP is north of .400 during this recent surge at the plate, but he’s also really cut down on his strikeouts, which were a real issue for him early on in the season. It would be nice if he showed more speed, but he’s healthy and producing again. He’s worth another try in mixed leagues.

Brandon Nimmo OF, Mets (Yahoo: 30 percent owned)

Nimmo was dropped in many mixed leagues after falling into an extended funk around midseason, but he’s picked things up again here recently by putting together a monster .384/.483/.658 batting line with 14 extra-base hits (including two homers), 12 RBI, and 19 runs scored over his last 22 games. This time period includes a stint on the disabled list with a bruised left index finger, but fortunately it doesn’t appear to be impacting his production now that he’s back. Nimmo only has four homers and one steal in 63 games dating back to mid-June, so it’s fair to question the counting stat upside, but his .392 on-base percentage is ninth-highest among qualified batters. He’s a useful mixed league option and there’s no excuse for him being on the waiver wire in any format which uses on-base percentage as a category.

Ryan O’Hearn 1B, Royals (Yahoo: 9 percent owned)

I wasn’t expecting much of anything from O’Hearn after his promotion to the majors. After all, he put up a mediocre .232/.322/.391 batting line over 406 plate appearances in Triple-A this season. Still, the 25-year-old has played his way into consideration after batting .260/.369/.625 with 10 homers through his first 32 games in the majors. We’re working with a small sample, but O’Hearn has shown an ability to hit ball in the air and hit it very hard. His hard-hit rate and average exit velocity puts him among some impressive company. O’Hearn batted ninth against left-hander Carlos Rodon on Wednesday, but he’s been hitting in the middle of the Royals’ lineup against right-handed starters. That should be enough to put him on the radar in deeper formats.

Closer check-ins:

There are plenty of places to speculate for saves right now. And I’m not going to get to them all here. The Phillies haven’t been very good recently, but Tommy Hunter (Yahoo: 7 percent owned) has snagged the last two save chances. Of course, Gabe Kepler is so unpredictable that it’s hard to say with confidence that Hunter will get the next one. Nate Jones (Yahoo: 10 percent owned) has returned from the disabled list and could see some chances with the White Sox if he proves he’s healthy and effective. I feel more confident about the names below, though.

Jose Alvarado RP, Rays (Yahoo: 25 percent owned)

Sergio Romo has been the main guy since the Alex Colome trade since the end of May, but oddly he’s made just one appearance dating back to August 25. It’s unclear why that might be. Meanwhile, Alvarado has secured three out of the last four saves for the club. The southpaw has been very good this year, posting a 2.14 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 59 innings, so he should be owned while we wait to see how this situation shakes out.

Ty Buttrey SP/RP, Angels (Yahoo: 6 percent owned)

In an unexpected development, Buttrey has locked down two out of the last three save chances for the Angels. Meanwhile, Blake Parker is without a save since September 3. Angels manager Mike Scioscia has been very difficult to read when it comes to his closer situation over the past two years, but Buttrey is intriguing enough to pick up where available. Acquired from the Red Sox in the Ian Kinsler deal in late-July, the 25-year-old has allowed just one run with an 11/3 K/BB ratio through his first 11 2/3 innings in the majors. He’s been sitting comfortably in the mid-90s with his fastball while getting a bunch of swings and misses on his slider.

Yoshihisa Hirano RP, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 15 percent owned)

Woof. The back-end of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen is very uncertain. Brad Boxberger has been pretty bad of late and Archie Bradley has scuffled during the second half, which opened the door for Hirano (Yahoo: 15 percent owned) to lock down his first save on Tuesday. However, the good feelings didn’t last long, as Hirano gave up a walk-off homer to DJ LeMahieu on Wednesday. Hirano came into Wednesday’s outing with just one earned run allowed over his last 19 appearances, so one admittedly bad loss shouldn’t negate that. He still deserves a prominent role. Brad Ziegler could also factor in here, but ideally he’ll be used in other spots.

Trevor Hildenberger RP, Twins (Yahoo: 24 percent owned)

The Twins might go outside the organization for a closer next year, but Hildenberger has done a pretty nice job of late. He’s racked up six saves since the Fernando Rodney trade and has allowed just two runs — one earned — in 11 2/3 innings over his last 11 appearances. He has an 8/5 K/BB ratio during that time, but he’s allowed just four hits. He’s done a much better job of keeping the ball on the ground.


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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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