Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 18
There is sure to be a flurry of activity today, as the MLB trade deadline approaches (the non-waiver deadline is 4:00 PM EST), but that doesn't mean we should ignore the folks available on our waiver wires before the clock strikes. After all, the fantasy baseball playoffs are quickly approaching.
Here are three arms and two bats to target. All players listed are owned in less than 50.0% of ESPN leagues.
Kevin Gausman - Baltimore Orioles (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 48.6%
Surprisingly, we're recommending a pitcher with an ERA over 5.00 (5.37, to be exact). Even more surprising is that Kevin Gausman is again relevant after an absolutely brutal start to the year for the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, over his first 30.0 innings pitched, he recorded a 7.30 ERA. Yes, that bad.
But simply looking at Gausman's full-season numbers would be a mistake, and it would cause you to miss out on some gems like this:
After his rough start, Gausman has been nasty. In his 45 2/3 innings pitched since June 21, he's racked up a .315 wOBA, a 3.35 ERA, and a robust 30.5% strikeout rate.
Want more Gausman-goodness? Those numbers include two blow-up starts against the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago Cubs. Remove those, and he's allowed only four earned runs in his last 38 2/3 innings pitched (0.93 ERA).
Gausman has righted the ship, and has tons of strikeout upside.
Nick Williams - Philadelphia Phillies (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 34.7%
When a team ranks 27th in team wOBA -- that would be the Philadelphia Phillies, with a .308 mark -- it may seem odd to recommend offensive players to pick up. But rookie Nick Williams has certainly made his presence felt, and merits some attention.
As one of the major centerpieces of the Cole Hamels flip to the Texas Rangers, Williams was a solid producer in Triple-A last season, but concerns over a high strikeout rate (25.8%) and a low walk rate (3.6%) had some questioning his long-term viability.
While those questions still remain, Williams forced his way up to the major league club by showing increased power this season. Over 306 plate appearances, he posted a .230 ISO, thanks to 15 bombs, which were accompanied by a tidy 43 runs, 44 runs batted in, and 5 steals to boot.
Williams has continued mashing over his first 103 plate appearances, posting a .345 wOBA and a .234 ISO. With the trade of Howie Kendrick to the Washington Nationals, Williams may have a permanent spot, and given that strong home run factor in Philadelphia (fifth in home run factor the last three years), he could make for a sneaky power source.
Bradley Zimmer - Cleveland Indians (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 31.8%
It's pretty easy to get overshadowed in a powerful lineup that includes Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Santana, but rookie Bradley Zimmer of the Cleveland Indians is starting to announce his presence with some authority.
During his minor league career, the rookie demonstrated a keen batting eye, and that's been the case in Cleveland, where he's compiled an 8.8% walk rate over 227 plate appearances.
Zimmer has also continued flaunted a nice power-speed combo -- not only has he ripped seven homers, but he's also swiped 13 bags.
Zimmer has also shown even platoon splits -- against same-sided southpaws, he's held his own with a wRC+ of 86. It won't set the world on fire, but does allow Zimmer into the lineup to help your counting categories.
German Marquez - Colorado Rockies (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 29.2%
It's interesting to watch a team like the Colorado Rockies in the playoff hunt, as pitching always seems to be an issue. But the Rox have some strong young arms, and German Marquez, who was called up due to Jon Gray's early season injury, has been impressive.
After an ugly stretch during which he was where was blasted for 14 hits and 13 earned runs over 10 innings, Marquez been solid -- since May 10, he's posted a 3.44 ERA over 81.0 innings pitched, including a 24.3% strikeout rate thanks to a nasty curve.
.@germanmarquez5 was exceptional last night! Peep the nasty breaking stuff. 👀 pic.twitter.com/dfleFvOJf4
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 30, 2017
Marquez has been exceptional in taming his pitcher-unfriendly home park, and certainly deserves some attention to help the back end of rotations.
Zach Davies - Milwaukee Brewers (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 17.8%
The surprising Milwaukee Brewers are in a pennant chase, and their starting pitching staff -- which ranks 7th this season in team ERA (4.04) -- deserves much of the credit. As of late, Zach Davies has stood out.
Davies nearly lost his job after an April. During his 24 2/3 innings pitched that month, he recorded a 6.57 ERA, including a 37.2% hard-hit rate, and a 36.9% fly-ball rate. But since then, he's been tough, and he's done his finest in July.
Over six turns in the rotation this month, Davies has thrown 39.0 innings, allowing a .287 wOBA, a 3.23 ERA, and only a 24.6% hard-hit rate. He won't strike out a ton of dudes (his mark of 19.4% in July is his best monthly mark), but he will provide some solid insulation to all of the other categories.
Check out Davies as strong filler for the end of your fantasy staff.