Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 16
Baseball is back.
That fun little game better known as America's pastime is in full swing, and the race to lock up playoff spots over the final 2.5 months is under way.
Similarly, fantasy baseball is back, and that race is also similar, albeit for head-to-head leagues, the deadline for nabbing playoff spots arrives sooner. Even with only a few days of second-half games under our belts, there's no time like the present to pick up a few fresh faces to benefit fantasy rosters.
The following four players are currently owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues, and they are worth taking a long look at depending on your league's settings.
Alex Cobb - Tampa Bay Rays (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 47.1%
When a pitcher makes nine starts over two seasons combined, as Alex Cobb did prior to 2017, it's justifiably tough to place a whole lot of trust in him in either real life or from a fantasy perspective.
But thankfully, the Tampa Bay Rays still believed in Cobb, and it's time fantasy owners did, too, after gems like these.
In 123.0 innings pitched and 19 starts in 2017, Cobb has been a fairly strong fantasy asset, posting a 3.59 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Following a tough April, in which he posted a 4.66 ERA over 29.0 innings pitched, Cobb has been nothing short of brilliant. Over 94.0 innings, he's logged an impressive 3.26 ERA, and hitters have recorded only a .286 wOBA against him.
Buyer beware -- Cobb does have a major flaw, and it's a lack of strikeouts. He's whiffing only 15.6% of hitters this season, so you'll need to make up for those somewhere else. But the contributions in the other categories are very strong, so check out Cobb for some back-end-of-the-rotation help.
Josh Bell - Pittsburgh Pirates (1B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 22.2%
Playing for a sub-.500 team in the Pittsburgh Pirates, it's been relatively easy for Josh Bell to fly under the radar a bit. But hitting dramatic moon shots like this is a surefire way to gain some notoriety.
In Bell's first full season as a major leaguer, he is posting some very solid numbers across the board, including 17 jacks, 46 runs scored, and 48 runs driven in, but it's the batting eye that should keep Bell around as a major contributor.
Posting a double-digit walk rate in each professional stop since the start of the 2012 season, Bell has impressively kept that up at the big league level with a 10.8% walk rate this year.
Still a low-owned option, Bell has proven he has the chops to stick around and could be a nice fantasy asset down the stretch.
Ryan Madson - Washington Nationals (RP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 16.3%
We're getting down to the time of the season when it's imperative to start focusing on team needs, and saves may be one of those counting categories you need to address. If so, Ryan Madson could be your dude.
Make no mistake about it -- this is a speculative add. Both Madson and Sean Doolittle were traded to the Washington Nationals in a five-player trade yesterday, and it's unclear who will assuming closing duties.
Here is what we do know -- the Nats' bullpen has been bad. Like, horrifically bad. Their relievers have the worst bullpen ERA in baseball (5.31), so the job is there for the taking. Names like Koda Glover and Matt Albers amongst others have taken a shot at securing the role and failed.
Madson, meanwhile, has been really strong in 2017. He's made 40 appearances and posted a 2.54 SIERA and 27.1% strikeout rate.
If there's a roster spot open and you're hunting for saves, Madson deserves some attention.
Gerardo Parra - Colorado Rockies (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 10.1%
The Colorado Rockies have managed to stay in the playoff hunt despite their outfield being a bit of a M.A.S.H. unit -- Gerardo Parra missed some time with a quad injury, Ian Desmond is back on the disabled list, and Carlos Gonzalez is now off the field with a shoulder injury.
But Parra has recently returned, and ever since, he has been on fire, picking right where left off.
Over 172 plate appearances this year, Parra has posted a very impressive .364 wOBA, which includes a .512 slugging percentage and a career-best .174 ISO.
While it's been a very small sample size, since returning from the quad injury on July 7th, over 27 plate appearances, Parra has hit .458 with an 1.116 OPS and 32.0% hard-hit rate.
The playing time seems to be there (at least while Cargo and Desmond are on the shelf), so grab him while you can.