10 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds For Week 4

Can Ian Kennedy be this year's top pickup?

This week, we're adding a new twist to this column - every player mentioned is owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. With this criterion, I noticed that most of the players on my outline were pitchers, so I adjusted the list so all 10 spots are stat-focused and balanced between hitters and pitchers.

For example, you don’t need me to tell you that Kyle Farnsworth is potentially worth a spot on your roster, because Terry Collins pretty much said it for me. Tyson Ross, who appeared on this list last week, dominated San Francisco last Friday and should be scooped up before it is too late, but I won't list him again.

The intended scope of this column is targeting players who could be useful in the next few weeks, and whom I expect will either keep up solid numbers or rebound from poor ones. Without further ado, here are my recommended adds.

1. Ian Kennedy, P, San Diego Padres

Why is the number one add a guy whose 2013 ERA was 4.91 and is at 4.13 through four starts? Kennedy’s FIP (2.33), xFIP (2.95), and tERA (2.58) are all under 3.00. His home park is great for a pitcher who tends to allow a high percentage of fly balls, and his strikeout rate has increased every year since 2010 (8.63 K/9 now). In addition, he has cut down on his walks, and has a sterling 23:5 K/BB ratio. It is safe to assume a rebound soon, which is dependent on the improvement of a low 59.3% strand rate.

2. Derek Dietrich, 2B, Miami Marlins

Without a scouting background, I found it hard to understand Dietrich’s profile just by looking at numbers. If you don’t know much about him, I’d highly recommend clicking here. He profiles as a lefty power bat, has five unintentional walks in 39 plate appearances, and it will be interesting to watch his distributions of grounders, fly balls and line drives as the season progresses. So far, he's put the ball in the air in 17 of his 22 balls in play. There’s an outside chance he hits 25 homers this year.

3. Martin Perez, P, Texas Rangers

Today he jumped above 50% owned on ESPN as I was finishing up the edits, but it does appear that the cutter cutter Perez added this spring is working out for him. As a heavy ground ball pitcher (57.1% GB in 2014), his strikeout upside is limited, but does strengthen his WHIP and ERA, especially when he pitches at home in a hitter’s park. His 7 walks in 29 innings are a testament to his plus control, and no peripherals jump out as clear signs of regression.

4. Drew Hutchinson, P, Toronto Blue Jays

It doesn’t take much to realize that strikeouts are what make Hutchinson fantasy relevant, and so far he has 24 of them in only 20 frames this season. Past that, it becomes fuzzy. His FIP and xFIP support his 3.60 ERA suggests he might even be better than that, possibly because his BABIP is .365. On the other hand, he has a BB/9 of 3.60 and a strand rate of 80.9% that is unlikely to last. I would treat him like teammate Brandon Morrow, in that you buy for the excellent strikeout numbers and accept whatever ERA he gives you, whether 3.50 or 4.50.

5. Juan Nicasio, P, Colorado Rockies

A personal favorite of mine, Nicasio boasts the resume you want in a Rockies pitcher, with a 48.6% ground ball rate after four starts. Despite his 4.30 ERA, his xFIP sits at 3.21 and he has 20 Ks through 23 innings with only 5 walks. The only red flag in the data is the three homers allowed, which aligns with his career numbers and probably will not change while pitching for the Rockies.

6. James Loney, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

An infamous singles hitter, Loney is actually better than his reputation would suggest. We know from the past that his .271/.362/.424 line is completely legitimate, but this is his best opportunity to rack up counting numbers while on a Rays squad that emphasizes getting on base and safe baserunning. If he stays healthy, he could finish just outside the top 12 first basemen.

7. Tyler Chatwood, P, Colorado Rockies

Since he calls Coors Field home, Chatwood may not be a must-start pitcher, although his ground ball tendencies diminish the Coors effect to a moderate extent. As Brett Talley and Chris Cwik explain, there is a clear association between how often Chatwood throws his slider and his success. While he has failed before at the major league level, he is only 24 and only began pitching a few years ago, meaning he still has room to develop. After two starts where he used his slider a combined 15.9% of the time, his numbers suggest he is breaking out, as his ERA, FIP, and xFIP are all under 3.00 and he carries a K/BB ratio of 11:1.

8. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Texas Rangers

Jumping into the lineup with Adrian Beltre sidelined with a quad injury, Kouzmanoff has raked to a line of .366/.409/.634. I see him as more of a “ride the streak” guy until Beltre returns in a few days and the best-case scenario is a platoon with Mitch Moreland. Unfortunately, the 2.3% walk rate and .382 BABIP indicate he is unlikely to sustain a batting average close to .366, but he does have 20 homer potential.

9 & 10. Cody Allen,RP, Cleveland Indians & Joaquin Benoit, P, San Diego Padres

These are the “upside” picks, as neither currently holds a closer job but are on the cusp of obtaining the role. Allen will never top John Axford’s facial hair, but can be a more consistent late-inning reliever. He has racked up 12 strikeouts in 7.2 innings and is likely the closer-in-waiting should Axford have one of his classic week-long cold streaks and lose the gig.

After Benoit picked up 24 saves in 2013 for Detroit, he signed with San Diego for two years to set up for Huston Street. Yes, the same Huston Street that has landed on the DL in each of the past four seasons. Benoit posted elite numbers in relief from 2010-2013, including a sparkling 10.2 K/9 and 0.98 WHIP. Why not stay ahead of the game if you have the spot?