Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 3
Baseball is funny.
Most of the time, it's not "ha-ha" funny. Don Rickels, rest his soul, it ain't. Baseball is "funny" in that, so much of the time, it doesn't make a darn bit of sense.
Take the New York Mets for example. Last week in Philadelphia, they scored a jillion runs (I'm rounding up) and hit 845 home runs in the three-game series (actually, it was 10, but if felt like 845). They looked like the greatest slugging team in the history of baseball.
This past weekend, they went into Miami and were almost no-hit by Dan Straily and a collection of Miami Marlins relief pitchers. They lost three of four (including their last three in a row) to a Fish pitching staff that isn't very good.
Nevertheless, even though the Mets themselves had an up-and-down week, a couple key performers in their lineup continue to have solid 2017 campaigns and should be owned by just about everyone in season-long fantasy leagues.
Remember, waiver-wire eligible players are those who are owned in less than 50% of ESPN season-long fantasy leagues.
Asdrubal Cabrera - New York Mets (SS)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 48.6%
Asdrubal Cabrera has never been a big on-base guy, and this year is no different -- he currently boasts a .310 OBP, but that should come up a bit to his career mark of .329. What is encouraging about Cabrera so far this season is the power he's displayed.
He's coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 23 bombs with a personal-best wRC+ of 119. He hasn't met those numbers quite yet this year, as last weekend in Miami really slowed him down. His wRC+ is currently 105 (league average is 100), and he has just two dingers here in the early going, but also has nine runs scored and nine RBI.
Add him specifically for this week, for he is hitting in the middle of a powerful Mets lineup that once again faces the Philadelphia Phillies, a team the Mets have owned over the last two seasons. He hit .371/.405/.686 in 19 games last year against Philadelphia, and he'll be facing mostly the same exact pitching staff.
Lucas Duda - New York Mets (1B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 13.8%
Yoenis Cespedes' three-homer game against the Phils last week obviously caught most of the headlines, but Mets first baseman Lucas Duda also had a career night in New York's 14-4 drubbing, collecting four hits and smashing two mammoth home runs that were simply obscene.
After an injury-plagued 2016 season in which he played just 47 games, Duda, a former 30-homer guy, is back and crushing the ball with a slash line of .256/.356/.615 that also includes 2 doubles, 4 homers and 7 RBI. His wRC+ of 155 tells the tale. The dude-a (sorry, it couldn't be helped) is raking.
And, like Cabrera, Duda gets a Phillies pitching staff they feasted on just a week ago. Plug and play, kiddos.
Cesar Hernandez - Philadelphia Phillies (2B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 30.1%
Cesar Hernandez burst onto the scene last year with the Philadelphia Phillies after nearly hitting .300 (.294) and putting up an on-base percentage of .371 as the everyday second baseman. That was coming off a 2015 season in which he put up an OBP of .348.
This season, Hernandez has continued to be a hit-gathering, walking machine at the top of a stagnant Phils lineup, hitting .346 with a .393 on-base percentage so far. And that would be good enough to warrant inclusion in this week's waiver wire piece, but that ain't all.
He's added a little power to his game.
The formerly light-hitting second baseman has swatted three dingers so far this year, including two of the leadoff variety. On Sunday, he led off the game with a blast from the right side of the plate, whereas his other two homers this season were left-handed. He is slugging .615, a higher number than players like Corey Seager, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and Kyle Schwarber, among many others.
Domingo Santana - Milwaukee Brewers (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 19.1%
Domingo Santana was among the league leaders in exit velocity last season, coming in 12th among all MLB hitters at 93.8 mph. The dude consistently hits the ball hard, and he's continued to do that this season.
Over the last seven days, Santana is 7-for-20, which is good for a .350/.409/.650 line. Overall this season, he has a wRC+ of 130 with two long balls and, more significantly, has seen his strikeout percentage drop from a very high 34.2% to just 20.0%. He's also walking a bit more, up from 11.4% to 13.3%.
If Santana is learning plate discipline, then the Milwaukee Brewers might truly have something special on their hands.
Tyler Chatwood - Colorado Rockies (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 5.7%
Tyler Chatwood has been thrust into the position of being the de facto ace of the Colorado Rockies for a little while. With Jon Gray on the 10-day DL with a foot injury, Chatwood is the best pitcher on the staff, and in his last time out, he pitched like it.
He twirled a two-hit shutout last week against the San Francisco Giants, walking just one batter and striking out another four. He's never been a high-strikeout guy, averaging just 5.78 per nine innings throughout his career, and that's held true this season -- he's struck out 7.08 batters per nine through his first two outings.
It's always dangerous to roll with a Rockies starting pitcher who has to pitch half his games at the homer haven that is Coors Field, but through three starts (20.1 innings), he has a 3.54 ERA with a Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA) of 3.14.
He's worthy of a bench stash in case he's emerging as a dependable member of the Rockies' rotation.
Jharel Cotton - Oakland Athletics (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 34.9%
In two starts this season, the A's starter has struck out 7.94 batters per nine with an ERA of 3.97 and a SIERA of 4.26. And just look at what this kid can do with his changeup, a pitch some say is a screwball. It's nasty.
Jharel Cotton's Changeup was all types of awesome yesterday against the Royals. pic.twitter.com/RsFY112cK6
— Pitcher List (@ThePitcherList) April 11, 2017
In his previous outing, Cotton tossed seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over the Royals, allowing just two hits and three walks with six strikeouts. That's following a debut this year that was actually much better than the final line score indicated.
The @Athletics’ Jharel Cotton allowed 8 hits in his 2017 debut, but not one of them was hit harder than 85 mph. #Statcast pic.twitter.com/WVjXzxM2KV
— #Statcast (@statcast) April 10, 2017
Cotton's start on Sunday was rained out, so if you pick him up now, you'll be able to get two starts out of him this week. And that's a good thing.