Last week’s headliner, Franklin Gutierrez, didn’t end up providing any value at all over the last week because of an injury, but outside of Gutierrez, last week’s recommendations as a whole basically killed it. So hopefully you all we are able to capitalize on some of those players.
We have just a few weeks left in the season, so this is the time where you can’t be afraid to waive certain players that are battling nagging injuries or are slumping pretty badly, because it is all about maximizing what little opportunities remain. So scavenge that waiver wire, play those streamers, and win your league! Let’s look at some players who you might want to have on call, but first check out how last week’s recommendations did.
***NOTE: To qualify as a waiver wire recommendation, a player must be owned in less than 50% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues and less than 60% of CBS leagues (players typically have higher ownership levels on CBS).
LAST WEEK’S RECOMMENDATIONS
- Brett Lawrie went a week without hitting a homer, but he did go a decent 7 for 24 (.292 AVG) with 2 RBI and 4 R. He still makes for a decent play for deeper leagues at 2B or 3B down the stretch if you need the help.
- Marlon Byrd wasn’t able to show off his power playing at hitters parks Coors Field and Chase Field in the last week with 0 HR and 1 RBI, but he went 9 for 22 (.409 AVG) to help raise his batting average. He doesn’t figure to make for a great play at home in his upcoming homestand in San Francisco, but he’s actually done quite well there so you never know. Keep him in mind.
- Corey Seager has seemingly carved himself out a role in the Dodgers starting lineup since being called up and he is hitting .360 with 4 RBI, 5 R, and 1 SB in 7 games while showing a great plate approach with an even ratio of 3 K/3 BB. He hasn’t hit a HR yet and probably won’t show a whole lot of power initially, but he’s showing that he may be able to hang at this level despite his tender age of 21 years old. He’s deserving of a pickup everywhere and can be started in a lot of leagues.
- Franklin Gutierrez struck out in his only plate appearance since last Friday’s recommendation as he got hit with an injury to his groin. This was very poor timing for Gutierrez’ injury as he would have had some amazingly juicy matchups against left-handed pitching. It’s unclear how long he will remain out, but the Mariners may feel no need to rush him since they aren’t playing for anything. With the mystery of how long he will be shelved, he doesn’t need to be owned in mixed leagues right now, but as soon as he gets back in the lineup then you might want to pounce on him again.
- Michael Conforto didn’t light it up in the last week with 4 hits in 25 AB (.160 AVG), but he did hit his 6th HR of the season. The kid has power and should continue to be considered as a source of it in games where the Mets face right-handed pitching.
- Michael Taylor returned to the lineup for the Nationals after missing some time with knee soreness and he went 5 for 12 (.417 AVG) with 1 HR, 6 RBI, and 5 R in the last week. That’s a pretty solid week and there aren’t many players with his power and speed blend that can be found on the waiver wire.
- J.A. Happ has continued his hotness by tossing 2 strong games in wins against the Cardinals and Reds where he had a 1.38 ERA, 0.46 WHIP, and 18 K/0 BB in 13 IP. I recommended Happ, but I didn’t really expect that type of outburst from the Pirates lefty, so it was a real pleasant surprise. He’s been amazing since coming to Pittsburgh in the absence of A.J. Burnett and hopefully you got a piece of that action.
- Josh Tomlin has gone 2-0 with 2.45 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 12 K/1 BB in 14.2 IP in the last week. You have to figure the luster will begin to wear off, but it was a great week for him and appears to have been a very solid recommendation.
- Matt Moore returned to the Rays rotation over the last week and he made one start where he went 4.2 IP with 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 3 K in a no-decision. It wasn’t strong, but at least he didn’t get blown up either. Proceed with caution with Moore as he continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery.
- Anthony DeSclafani quieted the Pirates pretty well with 7.1 IP a line of 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 6 K in a victory. He was fortunate to face the Pirates who were in a bad scheduling spot (traveling from St. Louis to Cincinnati after the Sunday night game, only to play very early in the afternoon on Monday). However, DeSclafani still should be given credit where credit is due and this is yet another pitching recommendation that turned out pretty well.
- Roenis Elias was charged with a loss in his lone start since last Friday, but he fared pretty well with 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 6 K. He actually took a shutout into the 6th inning before getting touched up a little bit. He gets one more start this week at home against a Rockies team that struggles against lefties and struggles on the road. Roll him out there again.
THIS WEEK’S RECOMMENDATIONS
Mark Canha 1B/OF, A’s (Ownership: Yahoo 20%, ESPN 26%, CBS 29%)
Canha, a Rule-5 pick by the A’s that has been able to stick with them all season long, has flashed some skills with the bat this season, but a good chunk of his damage has come in the last 3.5 weeks where he has gone 29 for 87 (.333 AVG) with 6 HR, 22 RBI, 18 R, and 1 SB in 21 games. I would definitely say he is hot and Canha has also been hitting 2nd very often in the A’s batting lineup, which is an excellent spot for him to produce. Canha is a right-handed swinger, but he has not done well against lefties at all with a triple slash of .210/.269/.277. However, he hit lefties very well in the Minors, so there’s even further reason for optimism that he can keep improving and maintain some level of hotness.
Aaron Hicks OF, Twins (Ownership: Yahoo 7%, ESPN 11%, CBS 24%)
I recommended Hicks a while ago as a waiver wire pickup and he was on a nice run until he landed on the DL in mid-August. However, he has since returned and has smashed 2 HR in 6 games. But probably more notable is the fact that Hicks is back in the lineup everyday even with super prospect Byron Buxton around. When Hicks returned from the DL, it marked the first time this season that both Hicks and Buxton were on the active Major League roster, but it is Hicks who is seeing everyday playing time and batting leadoff. The Twins are currently scheduled to face left-handed starting pitching in 5 of their next 8 games and Hicks has been crushing southpaws to the tune of .338/.393/.584 with 6 HR in 77 AB this season. If you forgot about him, here’s your friendly reminder.
Greg Bird 1B, Yankees (Ownership: Yahoo 7%, ESPN 15%, CBS 24%)
I’m not a huge fan of Bird as I still think he needs some polish, but he needs to be given some attention because Mark Teixeira for the Yankees is on the DL with a shin bone bruise and he is very much in danger of not returning this season because of it. This means that Bird will collect regular starts as the Yankees first baseman and he has a bit of pop having hit 20 HR in each of the last two Minor League seasons. The Bronx Bombers have been pretty potent when it comes to scoring runs this season, so now Bird could potentially be a big part of that.
J.P. Arencibia C, Rays (Ownership: Yahoo 6%, ESPN 13%, CBS 8%)
Arencibia caught on with the Rays a couple weeks ago after Curt Casali suffered an injury and he has just been sizzling since the start of September with a .435 AVG, 4 HR, 10 RBI, and 6 R in 7 games. I have a feeling that the inclusion of Arencibia here will end up being a heat check gone wrong and he will soon go in an 0 for 20 swoon with 10 strikeouts — because that’s just what we have become accustomed to seeing from him over the past few years. The good news is that he will face some relatively weak pitching over the next week, so this may not be the last we see of him this season after all. If you can use a catcher with power, then Arencibia should be looked at.
Josh Phegley C, A’s (Ownership: Yahoo 1%, ESPN 1%, CBS 7%)
A’s primary catcher Stephen Vogt is dealing with a groin injury that should keep him out for a while and the A’s really have no need to rush him back with the position that they are in in the standings. So this will give the opportunity for the A’s to possibly get an extended look at Phegley as their catcher. Though he has since tailed off, Phegley impressed earlier this season in sporadic playing time. He’s currently batting .251 with 9 HR in 207 AB and his main assets as a hitter would be that he has good power (26 HR in 2014 between AAA and the Majors) and he has shown good contact ability in the upper levels of the Minors for a power hitting catcher (15.2% K rate in his career at AAA). He might not be a top 12 catcher option the rest of the way, but definitely borderline and should be used in a lot of 2-catcher leagues down the stretch with Vogt out.
Clint Robinson 1B/OF, Nationals (Ownership: Yahoo 1%, ESPN 1%, CBS 2%)
There seems to be a running theme with most of the hitter recommendations this week as Robinson is also falling into playing time due to an injury to one of his teammates. Ryan Zimmerman suffered an oblique injury and with the typical timetable for return for any player with an oblique injury, it’s looking probable that Zimmerman won’t be returning to the Nationals this season. Zimmerman already missed a good chunk of the season and when he did, it was Robinson who was the beneficiary of an increased role, so that is likely to be the case again. In 239 AB this season, Robinson has hit a solid .272/.368/.423 with 7 HR. He may not have the most friendliest of matchups in the week ahead of him with two games scheduled against Jose Fernandez, but the 30-year old rookie Robinson will have some appeal in deeper leagues as a hitter with decent power.
Sean Doolittle RP, A’s (Ownership: Yahoo 39%, ESPN 21%, CBS 26%)
I recommended Doolittle as a preemptive strike pickup while he was still on the DL, but then he came back from the DL and was not sharp at all despite a nice rehab. However, his velocity has been up even higher in his last two outings and the A’s seem ready to hand him his closer’s role back after Drew Pomeranz had some poorly timed mediocre outings. If you need saves, Doolittle should be the one to grab now and the A’s may ride him out the rest of the way just to try and instill him with some confidence heading into the 2016 season.
Kevin Gausman SP/RP, Orioles (Ownership: Yahoo 12%, ESPN 13%, CBS 48%)
With teams skipping pitchers’ turns in the rotation, going to 6-man rotations late in the season to not overwork their pitchers, and/or just adjusting their rotation to prepare for post-season play, 2-start weeks are not easy to come by in the final few weeks of the season. But if you’re playing in leagues with weekly lineup changes, those 2-start weeks down the stretch can be crucial to have. I’ve recommended Gausman before as he has some upside and strikeout appeal and he’s scheduled for 2 starts in the upcoming week hosting the Red Sox and then visiting the Rays. The matchup against the Red Sox isn’t the greatest, but the one against the Rays isn’t terrible. Seems a bit risky, but where else will you find a 2-start pitcher with some upside for the upcoming week?
Erasmo Ramirez SP/RP, Rays (Ownership: Yahoo 26%, ESPN 19%, CBS 54%)
Well, speaking of 2-start pitchers… Another guy that I have recommended before and has now found his way back here with a 2-start week is Ramirez who is scheduled for starts at home against the Yankees and Orioles. He might not have the upside of Gausman, but he’s probably a tad safer and he shouldn’t be in any danger of losing his 2-start status since he’s not going to get shut down and he’s scheduled for the first game of a 7-game week beginning Monday. Ramirez has hit some regression as of late and the matchups against the Yankees and Orioles aren’t the greatest, but he’s still been pretty solid ever since joining the rotation this season with a 3.96 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.
Vidal Nuno SP/RP, Mariners (Ownership: Yahoo 2%, ESPN 1%, CBS 5%)
Nuno virtually came out of nowhere to post a 10 strikeout performance over 7 shutout innings against the Rangers earlier this week in what was supposed to just be a spot start. However, the strong performance has likely earned him at least one more start that could come against the Angels next week. He was always an intriguing prospect coming up through the Yankees organization and he’s at a prime age of 28 years old, so there’s surely room for growth here and perhaps this is the beginning of it. Don’t hold your breath on that, but do give him some consideration as a streaming option in deeper leagues if he’s up against an Angels offense that has been scuffling lately.
Adam Warren SP/RP, Yankees (Ownership: Yahoo 5%, ESPN 4%, CBS 10%)
The Yankees learned that Nathan Eovaldi will probably miss the remainder of the regular season, which means that Warren should be stretched out to finish the season in Eovaldi’s rotation role. Warren has made 14 starts for the Yankees this season (and 25 relief appearances) and he hasn’t been terrible in the role with a 3.59 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. The strikeouts as a starting pitcher are lacking at just 5.88 K/9, but he could be serviceable as a streamer for the starts that he makes the rest of the season.
Logan Verrett RP, Mets (Ownership: Yahoo 1%, ESPN 1%, CBS 2%)
With the Mets skipping the rotation turns of Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard every now and again in an effort to keep their innings down and their arms fresh for the post-season, Verrett is the guy that they appear to be willing to plug in for spot starts. Verrett has worked primarily as a reliever with the Mets this season at the Major League level, but his lone start so far went over very well as he held the Rockies to 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8 in 8 innings at Coors Field of all places. So given what he did in the thin air in that start, he could be poised for another solid spot start next week at home against a poor Marlins team. He may or may not receive any more starts this season after that one, so this could be a one-time stream, but you might just have to do what you have to do and send him out there in your fantasy starting lineup.