Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 5
Did you think last week was bad with injuries?
After fantasy baseball owners were devastated with an injury to San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who is likely to be out until after the All-Star break, they may be struggling even more after injuries to studs like Adam Eaton and Noah Syndergaard.
But, there are a few players who can help offset these massive blows -- they certainly can't fully replace them, but can they can go a long way to help offset these losses.
Michael Conforto - New York Mets (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 34.9%
Michael Conforto broke on to the scene as a rookie in 2015, and announced himself to the league with a two-homer game in the World Series.
After 194 big league plate appearances in 2015, Conforto was reasonably hyped going into last year as a breakout candidate. And, over 348 plate appearances, he delivered a less than impressive .312 wOBA, mixed in with 144 plate appearances at Triple-A. Not exactly what fantasy owners had hoped for.
But the 2017 New York Mets are in a bit of a different predicament -- with a tough spate of injuries, it's turning into a war of attrition for this group, and Conforto's performance has been fantastic. Over his first 66 plate appearances, he's rocking a .431 wOBA, .339 ISO, and 6 homers. Injuries or not, he may have been well on his way to more playing time with this impressive performance.
Conforto has been rather productive with the opportunity he's received thus far, and with so many injuries, he'll continue to get those chances.
Cody Bellinger - Los Angeles Dodgers (1B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 27.3%
Top prospect Cody Bellinger was recently called up, and the Los Angeles Dodgers certainly haven't wasted any time throwing him directly into a prominent position in their lineup -- he batted second in a win on Sunday over the Philadelphia Phillies.
He's accumulated just 24 plate appearances, but he's already shown why he's gotten the top-prospect hype by rocking two homers.
While Bellinger may not be long for the majors at this point -- he was originally called up due to Joc Pederson's injury -- his 168 wRC+ over a small sample size certainly indicates he can hang. His 12.5% walk rate indicates a keen batting eye that could be ready for a bigger role in the bigs if there's a spot in the lineup.
Aaron Altherr - Philadelphia Phillies (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 10.0%
If you can remember Aaron Altherr but it seems a little fuzzy, don't be alarmed -- many fantasy owners are, too. Altherr suffered a terrible wrist injury and missed the majority of 2016, which limited the Philadelphia Phillies outfielder to just 226 plate appearances.
And when he did come back, he was a bit rusty -- Altherr posted a 30.1% strikeout rate, .091 ISO and a .270 wOBA. So far on this young season, though, Altherr has been forced into more playing time thanks to an injury to offseason acquisition Howie Kendrick. He's been great while filling in, too -- the strikeout rate is still at 29.2%, but he's also logged a .375 wOBA and .227 ISO.
All Aaron Altherr does is hit. And throw dudes out with his arm. And steal bases. He just collected an RBI double off Big Sexy. 2-0 Phillies
— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) April 21, 2017
It's only 48 plate appearances, but Altherr showcases a sneaky power-speed combo -- he has two homers and two stolen bases, and seems to be healthy again.
Archie Bradley - Arizona Diamondbacks (P)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 7.3%
This sounds all too familar -- a stud pitching prospect struggles as a starter, turns into a reliever and is suddenly lights out. Perhaps Archie Bradley is in the next line of failed starters turned into stud relievers, as his start to 2017 seems like he's embracing his new role.
Bradley struggled in 2016 over 141 2/3 innings pitched, to the tune of a 4.35 SIERA and 35.8% hard-hit rate. But converted as a full-time reliever this year, Bradley has been sensational. Over 15 innings pitched, he's posted a 2.24 SIERA, 32.2% strikeout rate, and walked only 5.1% of hitters (down from his 2016 mark of 10.5% as a starter in 26 turns).
Maybe the biggest reason to consider adding Bradley is the implosion of Fernando Rodney -- signing a one-year deal this offseason for $2.75 million, Rodney has blown back-to-back save opportunities on his way to a 12.60 ERA over 10 innings pitched. If you are looking for saves and want to potentially get a jump on your league-mates, Bradley is not a bad option.
J.C. Ramirez - Los Angeles Angels (P)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 4.3%
J.C. Ramirez may be the exception to the rule just discussed, being a pitcher that actually gets better by making the jump from reliever to starter. This one is even more of a head scratcher, as Ramirez hasn't been a starter since 2011 in Double-A, and even began this season as a reliever for the Los Angeles Angels.
Ramirez flashed a plus breaking ball in spring training as part of a new repertoire, and it's carried over to some pretty impressive regular season numbers.
Over 27 2/3 innings pitched, he's posted an impressive 27.9% strikeout rate. While he's made his last four appearances as a starter, he's racked up a healthy 25 strikeouts over his last three starts (19 1/3 innings pitched), which is good for a 37.9% strikeout rate.
It's not the largest sample size, but Ramirez's 3.34 SIERA shows he's been impressive in this new role with a pile of strikeout upside.