Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 9
The waiver wire has plenty of gems available for the taking, so let's try to get a leg up on our fellow league members and make some moves where needed.
The four players below are all owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues and could give your squad a shot in the arm as we move through May.
Alex Reyes - St. Louis Cardinals (SP)
ESPN Ownership: 50.8%
So we are making a teeny, tiny exception to the "owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues" comment above, and that's thanks to wunderkind Alex Reyes, who will be making his Major League debut in 2018 following Tommy John surgery in just a few short days:
Alex Reyes leaves minor-league records in his wake and he blazes through rehab assignment and readies for return to the #stlcards rotation, next week, in Milwaukee. Hummel has the news: https://t.co/gRbK4bKtR4 #Cardinals #MLB
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) May 25, 2018
This season, Reyes has blazed his way back to the Majors by dominating every stop in his path. Across four different levels spanning 23 innings and 82 batters, Reyes whiffed 44 batters, good for a ridiculous 53.7% strikeout rate. And he's not just winging the ball all over the place: Reyes has walked only 7 batters in that same stretch (8.5% walk rate).
That strikeout rate surely won't keep up, but the young right-hander has shown plenty of strikeout moxie pre-surgery. Spanning 46 Major League innings in 2016, Reyes struck out 27.5% of batters faced on his way to a 3.96 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA).
Reyes is sure to have some ups and downs while working his way back from such a devastating injury, but if he's still available in your leagues, now is the time to snatch him up.
Austin Meadows - Pittsburgh Pirates (OF)
ESPN Ownership: 45.8%
When Starling Marte went down with an injury, Austin Meadows came up to help the big league club, and many surmised that this was an easy way to give him some big league experience before an imminent return to Triple-A. Over his first 30 Major League plate appearances, a funny thing happened: Meadows has been rocking the baseball, and now he will stay with Marte being activated. It's time to give some serious consideration to the young fella for our lineups.
Meadows, like Reyes, has a lot of prospect hype. The ninth overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft, which also featured studs Kris Bryant, Jon Gray, and Colin Moran, Meadows took a little bit longer to get to The Show.
But, that's not for a lack of talent. While Meadows doesn't showcase a ton in the power department -- he's never cracked double-digit homers in any minor league stop -- he provides a little bit of everything else. Meadows swiped 21 bags in 2015, 17 in 2016, 11 in 2017, and 8 in 32 games in Triple-A this year. He's also an on-base machine, posting double-digit walk rates in seven individual stops, which should help you contribute plenty to the runs category.
If your outfield needs help and you need a player who can contribute across multiple categories, Meadows could fit the bill.
Mark Reynolds - Washington Nationals (1B/3B)
ESPN Ownership: 17.6%
In a season where regular contributors Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Matt Wieters, Adam Eaton, Brian Goodwin, Ryan Zimmerman, and Howie Kendrick have all hit the disabled list, Mark Reynolds made his debut a few weeks ago, and he's been smacking the ball ever since. Given all of those injuries, which would seemingly clear a path to playing time for Reynolds and the legit juice in his bat, it's time to look a look at the slugging right-hander for fantasy rosters.
Power has never been an issue for the journeyman corner infielder. He sports a .220 isolated power (ISO) mark for his career and has 11 double-digit home run seasons. Reynolds has ripped 5 long balls this season in just 31 plate appearances.
If you play in a batting average league, temper your expectations. While Reynolds is off to a white-hot .444 batting average start, his .239 career mark and a .400 BABIP in 2018 shows that's likely to dip down -- and fast. But even in that format, if you need some power help, look at Reynolds.
Nate Jones - Chicago White Sox (RP)
ESPN Ownership: 16.8%
The Chicago White Sox finally seem to have realized that their best bullpen arm should finish out games. With saves in three of his last four appearances, and some nasty peripherals to go along with it, Nate Jones looks to be officially installed as the Sox closer, and you should grab him if he's available.
Despite a solid profile throughout his professional career, Jones recorded three saves in 2016, and that's all he owned to his name prior to this year. Though he didn't get the call for that all-important fantasy category previously, he seems plenty capable of doing the job. In 270 1/3 Major League innings, Jones has racked up a 27.1% strikeout rate, and his 47.1% ground-ball rate shows he shouldn't be particularly prone to the game-ending homer.
Closer is a volatile role, both in real-life and fantasy sports, so add Jones to your mix if your bullpen needs a boost.