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). Continue reading
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On Wednesday, the Diamondbacks and Mariners agreed on a trade that sent first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo and pitcher Vidal Nuno to the Pacific Northwest, and catcher Welington Castillo, pitcher Dominic Leone, and two prospects (one of which is the nephew of former Major League star Vladimir Guerrero) were sent packing to the desert. What kind of impact does this have for the fantasy community?
We’ll start with the Mariners side of this. Trumbo has been one of the better home run hitters in the game since he became a full-time player in 2011 with the Angels. Since 2011, Trumbo has hit 118 HR (or as I like to call them, “Trumbo jacks” or “Trumbombs”), which is the 12th most in the Majors — and that is with only playing half the season last year due to injury. Playing his home games at Chase Field in Arizona was a great spot for Trumbo and his right-handed power, so the move to the pitcher friendly confines of Safeco Field in Seattle will curb his appeal a bit. Just look at Nelson Cruz and how playing at Safeco Field has suppressed his power numbers. Only 4 of Cruz’ 18 HR this season have come at home. Also, Trumbo moves from an offense that was the top run scoring team in the National League to an offense that is the 3rd lowest scoring in the Majors. So maybe his presence will help the players surrounding him like Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager, but Trumbo’s value also takes a little bit of a hit in this regard. Another fantasy loser from the Mariners side of the deal is Logan Morrison. Trumbo is slated to be the team’s first baseman and will also see time at DH, which will shift Morrison into a bench role, but Morrison was likely not on many fantasy rosters to begin with.
For the Diamondbacks, this trade cleared up a big logjam that they were about to have with the impending return of third baseman Jake Lamb from the DL. Lamb started the season very hot and the Diamondbacks are high on him and need a left-handed power bat like his in the middle of their lineup. While he has been on the DL, Yasmany Tomas has been seeing most of the time at third base and has been very impressive with his hitting skills to all fields, so the Diamondbacks didn’t want to lose his bat from the lineup. So once Lamb returns, Tomas will move from third base to the outfield (but should also see some time at third base) and be a part of an outfield rotation that also includes A.J. Pollock, Ender Inciarte, and David Peralta. Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale will continue to give all of these guys playing time as he mixes and matches based on matchups, so the good news here is that none of these Diamondbacks stand to lose any value.
From a non-fantasy baseball perspective, I like the trade for both sides as the Mariners look to infuse their lowly offense with some life. Trumbo is set to become a free agent after this season, but the Mariners are in a year where they were supposed to be legitimate AL West contenders after adding Cruz in the off-season, so it makes sense to make some sort of move like this one. And the Diamondbacks traded from a position of strength and surplus to clear up their third base and outfield situations, and they got a decent backup catcher and some prospects in the process — in exchange for a player that they probably weren’t going to be able to keep after this season anyway.
Let’s take a look at Thursday’s action now.
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In the pre-season, I highlighted Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock to be “This Year’s Michael Brantley.” So follow the link for a more in-depth analysis on Pollock as not much has changed my views on him since then. But let’s talk about what he has done so far this season to paint a new picture in the lineup for the Diamondbacks.
There were a lot of fantasy baseball people who liked Pollock for 2015, but I think that I liked him a bit more than most so I drafted him (or paid) a bit earlier (or more $) than I would have liked because I did not want to miss out on his predicted breakout season. So far he has not let me down and I am not minding the the earlier picks (extra $) that I spent on him as I am enjoying the season that he is having. Pollock hit a game-winning pinch-hit HR this past Tuesday and then on Wednesday he made the baseball diamond his canvas and turned in quite the masterpiece as he went 3 for 4 with a walk, leading to 4 runs scored and 3 stolen bases. The strong game brought his season line up to a .298 AVG, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 27 R, and 9 SB — he is doing a little bit of everything.
While he is not likely to have a huge breakout in the same statistical way that Michael Brantley had in 2014, Pollock is on pace for a great season. One thing that is different than I anticipated is that Pollock has gotten the majority of his at-bats in the 2-hole with the emergence of Ender Inciarte as a viable leadoff option. I like the 2-hole more for Pollock as it gives him a little bit more RBI opportunity without changing his upside in any other aspect. He is still getting some time in as the leadoff hitter, and actually is also occasionally in the lineup as the cleanup hitter versus lefties because he has great splits against them southpaws. Pollock is getting rested more than I would like to see due to the Diamondbacks having a crowded outfield situation, but he usually does find his way into the game as a pinch-hitter if he wasn’t in the starting lineup and this perhaps can actually aid him in staying more fresh and healthy. What prevented Pollock from a true breakout season last year was his health, but with good health on his side and being protected by Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, the outlook for him can be amazing. For the rest of the season, I’ll give him: .290 AVG, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 63 R, 23 SB
Now on to the rest of the Wednesday daily report.