For batters the waiver wire is for two things. Do you need a bandaid to get you though someone’s 15 day DL stint or are you looking to strike gold ? For bandaids I’d advise you to look to see who is hot right now or who finds themselves with an opportunity given someone else’s trip to the DL. But if you are looking for gold the best places to look are: kids getting the call, blocked talent getting an opportunity, or established vets getting healthy. By far the most exciting of those three propositions is kids getting the call.
This weeks waiver train makes it first stop in Boston where Friday night saw Rusney Castillo and Blake Swihart batting 8 and 9 for Red Sox for the first time this season. If this goes to plan this could be the most fun you’ve ever had picking up your sox.
Rusney Castillo OF ( 80% owned in Yahoo Leagues) Friday promotion will see owners all over fantasy clamoring to grab Boston’s new right fielder and why not ? His The trip to Boston last fall as a 25 year old produced a .333/.400/.528 slash line with a pair home runs in just 10 games. He looked then and looks now like he is destined to own that patch of grass in Fenway’s right field for the next 10 years. If you’re lucky enough to be in a league in which he is still available – grab him immediately. This is the perfect storm of ability and opportunity. Of course it’s always better to pick up a pair of sox then just one.
Blake Swihart C ( 38% owned in Yahoo Leagues) has been up for a few weeks already – and as a catcher has a little steeper learning curve coming to the show. He has looked better recently though with hits in 4 of his last 6 games. He has yet to take a walk in his 11 major league starts which does give me pause, but given the barren catching landscape I think he has more upside than anything else you will find on waivers to suit up behind the dish.
The second stop for this weeks waiver train is in Philadelphia where a pair of Philly’s are deserving your attention. Like Swihart in Boston, Maikel Franko has been up for a few games already. Ryan Howard has been up forever and most thought him closer to retirement than relevance and while that is still most definitely true – it is a little less true than many assumed.
Maikel Franco 3B ( 59% owned in Yahoo Leagues) has been up for a few weeks and looks like he belongs. A highly touted prospect Franco has 8 hits in his last 7 games, with 5 rbi’s and a homer in that stretch to add some urgency to his addition.
Ryan Howard 1B ( 43% owned in Yahoo Leagues) has miraculously risen from the dead. Howard presently leads the Phillies with 9 HR’s, 21 Rbi’s and 75 TB’s. If I owned him I’d be trying to sell him – but if I could get him off the wire for nothing, then that is good value.
Final stop for this weeks waiver train in search of bats is in Cleveland.
Jose Ramirez SS ( 14% owned in Yahoo Leagues). Cleveland’s 22 year old SS seems to be on the rebound from his slow start which saw him batting below the Mendoza line a week ago. All he did this week was hit (7 hits) and run (5 SB’s) and score for his team (6 runs) and for whoever’s fantasy team started him (28 pts) which were probably nearly nobodies. His point totals over the last 7 days was second only to Crawford’s crazy 30 point 10 rbi week and Kipnis’s 29 point effort. All this from a 22 year old – who certainly will have weeks where he will blow cold – but if you just lost Devin Travis like I did this week – you should count yourself lucky that there is a Jose Ramirez for you to add.
This weeks search for quality pitching looks at the DL where a few big arms are ready or looking ready or close to ready to returning to the hill. The first two choices Garcia and Moore are prime waiver wire fodder. The latter two are probably more guys to target in trade unless you are in those 8% or 4% of leagues where they are miraculously available.
Jaime Garcia P ( 32% owned in Yahoo Leagues) went seven strong innings Thursday against the Mets in his return from his shoulder surgery. He looked good and hit 94 MPH on the gun. He did walk 5 batters, but that is not typical for him so I am happy to put that on the time he missed. Garcia is a solid pick and plug and play as you will find on the wire this week.
Matt Moore (L) P ( 40% owned in Yahoo Leagues) Moore saw only 2 starts last year before going down to Tommy John surgery. Moore reported no issues after Wednesday’s bullpen session and is scheduled to throw 35 – 40 pitches Saturday in extended spring training. Similar to Garcia, Moore is a solid middle of the rotation guy that might be able to help you out down the stretch. Unlike Garcia – he is not all the way back just yet.
If you are looking for aces on the wire – they too might be there in the form of pitchers who are are nearing return status.
Jose Fernandez P (Owned in 92% of Yahoo Leagues) was in my humble opinion the best pitcher in baseball when he went down a year ago to Tommy John surgery. This week he faced live hitters for the first time since his surgery and barring a setback he could very well be the best arm in baseball from the All Star game home. “It felt great,” Fernandez said after throwing 15 pitches at the team’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida. “Finally facing hitters, I’m excited. It felt really fantastic. It felt where I belong.” If you can still get him – you’ll feel great soon too.
Masahiro Tanaka P ( 96% owned in Yahoo Leagues) also threw three minor league innings this week leaving saying he “felt pretty good out there”. Now most likely someone in your league held onto Tanaka when he went down – but if someone’s lineup got this and he got cut – run, don’t walk to add to your lineup. Aces like Tanaka go in round two or three and rarely find themselves on the waiver wire and when they do, if you do not jump on them, like Kaiser Soze “… my guess is you’ll never hear from him again.”