The waiver wire is like sugar… I always plan to avoid it but I just can’t stay away, it’s a part of who I am. People get so excited for draft day and having the perfect draft, but teams ALWAYS underestimate just how badly the best-laid plans of mice and managers can go. On my PitcherList team that is currently in the Championship match, I currently only own 4 of my originally drafted pitchers and 3 of my drafted hitters (including Billy Hamilton on my DL) out of a 24-man roster. But the guys who made the difference were the Severinos, the Peacocks, Smoaks, Mash Olsons, the Hoskinses, all available for free on the wire. Baseball is a marathon, and if you stay vigilant and are willing to take risks, it can have a sweet payoff. And with that concludes 2017’s final Buy & Sell. Oh wait, I forgot to list the players! Here’s some under 50% owned finds, and to any contenders, good luck!
Jacoby Ellsbury (OF, New York Yankees) – Call him the Ellsbury Doughboy, because his numbers lately have been poppin’ fresh. Over the past 3 weeks, he’s hitting .377 with 14 runs scored and 5 RBI. And lately he’s running as fast as he can like a gingerbread man, with 3 stolen bases in the past week to bring him to 21 on the year with only 2 caught stealing. Now that Hamilton is down and many other speedsters are slumping or benched, Jacoby is one of the best outfield wire guys to stream for speed, runs, AVG and OBP at just 29.1% owned, a delicious treat 12-team mixed formats in both AVG and OBP leagues. I just learned what happens when I let myself write while hungry. Never again.
Justin Bour (1B, Miami Marlins) – Bour some sugar on me! Oops, I lied. Bour is finally back and the world hasn’t seemed to notice, as it seems like eons ago that Bour was mentioned alongside Alonso, LoMo and Smoak as the breakout first baseman of the year. He’s hardly missed a beat, hitting .355 since his return with 8 R, 5 RBI, and a solid 5/7 BB/K ratio in 31 ABs. The homers have yet to come back, but I’d expect him to hit a few in the final weeks with a strong average and OBP to boot. He’s still at just 32.5% owned and that needs to go up, as he is a viable starter in any 12-team format and may be worth a flier in 10-team as well. Bour power your way to victory!
Tim Anderson (2B/SS, Chicago White Sox) – Anderson has been the most added player in the past week, up 22.1% to 33.3%, and with good reason. Over the past 3 weeks, he’s hit an impressive .413 with 2 HR, 14 R, 8 RBI and 7 SB in 75 AB. The speed has been especially useful lately, with 4 bags in the past week. Be warned, though, that this hot streak has been largely batted ball-dependent, as he has a 1/20 BB/K ratio over those 75 AB. Still, his power and speed combo at the position combined with his youth and upside make him a worthy add in most 12-team batting average leagues. With his weak walk rate though, in OBP leagues he’s probably better left for 15-team formats.
Mitch Haniger (OF, Seattle Mariners) – If you’re hitting is down, you can use a helping Haniger. Over the past 3 weeks, he’s hit .403 with 5 HR, 14 R, 12 RBI, and 1 SB in 72 AB. While his numbers on the season are depressed due to a midseason slump followed by an injury, we also saw in April and May how studly he can be when he’s hot, and he’s in a great spot in the M’s lineup for run production to back his power/speed combo. He’s not quite a sleeper at 44.7% owned, but still should be owned in 12-team formats. If you need a hot bat for your final push, he’s a fine flier for 10-team as well.
Kevin Kiermaier (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – He’s not just a set of piercing green eyes and highlight reels anymore. Written off for dead as a Kiermaier Wiener by many prior to his injury, he’s relished in his triumphant return, hitting balls with mustard so if you’ve been snoozing, you better ketchup. He’s .301 with 13 RBI, 4 HR, 8 R, and 3 SB over his last 73 AB, with 3 of the long balls coming in the past week. He’s a fantasy Swiss army knife, and a wise add if your team’s needs are evenly spread, like condiments on a Kierboss-a.
Jed Lowrie (2B, Oakland Athletics) – It’s Jed! Please clap. No, really, Lowrie has been one of the more underrated assets in fantasy this year, as he’s hit .345 with a homer, 13 R and 11 RBI with a studly 13/8 BB/K over the past 3 weeks, and that’s not counting Tuesday night’s game where he went 3-5 with a homer, 2 R and 5 RBI. He’s among the league leaders in doubles, and all of those extra base hits make him a sleeper in leagues with a category for total bases or slugging. xStats believes he had some bad luck and so do I, and maybe now it’s finally turning around. He should be owned in all 15-team formats and makes for a solid flier in 12-team OBP.
Christian Vazquez (C, Boston Red Sox) – Quick, name how many AL catchers are hitting .300 this year! If you guessed just one and it’s this guy, that’s probably because of how predictably I set this up, but also you’d be right! On the year he’s hit .300 with 5 HR with 38 R, 31 RBI, and a surprising 7 SB in just 293 AB. On a per-at-bat basis, those numbers aren’t that far off from Buster Posey. Of course, unlike Posey, this level of success isn’t sustainable for Vazquez, but helping in average and SB from the catcher position is rare, making him vastly under-owned at just 13.8% in ESPN. Giddyap.
Yoan Moncada (2B, Chicago White Sox) – The past week, he’s hit like a MonStar, space jamming to the tune of a .370 AVG, 2 HR and 1 SB over 27 AB. That may not sound great, but for a player with his raw upside, it’s certainly encouraging to see him trim that unsightly K rate. Of course, due to that upside, nobody’s sleeping on it and he’s owned at 33.3% owned despite inferior production, to, say, Lowrie, who’s owned at just 32.4%. But if you want the flashy upside option and hoping more speed comes, it’s not a bad time to gamble on the youngster. I’d personally recommend him primarily for 15-teamers or as a desperation flier in 12-team average leagues (or in ones with deeper benches).
Jeimer Candelario (3B, Detroit Tigers) – Most rookies can’t hold a Candelario to what Jeimer has been doing with plate control lately. Over the past 3 weeks, he’s hit .345 with 2 HR, but what’s most impressive is the 11/9 K/BB ratio, a rare sign of discipline from a rookie. Of course, this was part of his minors profile as well, as well as defense good enough to move Castellanos off the position (granted, that should have happened a long time ago, I mean, yeesh). He’s getting full-time reps and has a decent spot in the lineup for a rookie, and he’s still widely available at just 9.2% owned. He should be added in all 18-team formats, and makes for a sneaky play in 15-team OBP as well.
Asdrubal Cabrera (2B/SS/3B, New York Mets) – Give Asdrubal all your rubles! He’s hitting .413 with 3 Homers 10 R and 13 RBI over the past three weeks, and hitting .528 over the past two weeks. While he’s older and lacks the upside and lacks the power-speed upside of many other players on this list, he’s more widely available at 19.8% owned, and provides a high floor with his solid average and power production combined with triple-position eligibility. He should be owned in 15-team leagues and makes for handy utility/bench bat in 12-team.
Logan Morrison (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – I had the privilege of owning LoMo at the start of 2016, so I know full well that when he’s bad, he’s REALLY bad. Sorta like how now he’s hit .194 in September, and .000 with 12 Strikeouts in 19 AB over the past two weeks. The fact that he’s had so few AB over the past two weeks should alert you that despite his 36 homers on the year, the team really doesn’t want to see it either. I understand why he’s still 53.2% owned because of the pretty season numbers, but in 10 and 12 team, it’s best to see LoMo NoMo.
Josh Bell (1B, Pittsburgh Pirates) – Do I hear Metallica, because I hear “For whom the Bell tolls” when I see his name. He’s had a fine rookie season, but he’s clearly worn down, as over the past two weeks he’s hit a paltry .163 with 0 R, 0 HR 1 RBI, 0 SB (but 2 Caught Stealing). That could explain why he’s starting to see the bench more often this month, and fortunately owners have noticed, as he’s one of the top non-injury drops this week. Cut in 10-team, 12-team and possibly in 15-team AVG. formats. He’ll be interesting next year, but for now be the fantasy Undertaker and just like 1998, slam him through the roof of Bell in a Cell.
Brian McCann (C, Houston Astros) – In the second half this season, Brian McCann’t. He’s been relegated to a part-time role and has done nothing to change the team’s mind, with just 1 HR and 33 AB in the past 21 days. And despite that, he’s still owned in 54.1% of leagues, which I can only explain by assuming that teams that owned him lost so badly they stopped looking at their team to avoid the pain. Even though he’s owned nearly twice as much as James, Brian is now the lesser McCann. He shouldn’t be owned in anything deeper than an 18-teamer.
Lucas Duda (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – Steven Foster may have predicted this decline in Camptown Races, because it seems every day is an 0 Duda day. The numerous O-fers have him hitting .154 with 4 Homers, 5 R and 8 RBI over the past 3 weeks, and .111 with no homers over the past week. Sure, it’s nice to know he can sock an occasional longball, but right now there’s lots of players that can do that without hitting below the Mendoza line. ESPN actually has him at a reasonable ownership rate of 8.6%, but I’m guessing there are some leagues where an owner feels like they can’t just let a 30-homer hitter sit on the wire. But in anything shallower than 18-team, let the Duda bide. Yep, I just had to end the year with a baseball pun.