9 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds for Week 5
With another week in the record books, many underrated players are now owned in most leagues. Therefore, the emphasis in this column is likely to shift to players who were dropped early in the season.
If any of the players from last week's column such as Ian Kennedy or Drew Hutchinson are still available in your leagues, I still suggest adding them over everybody listed here except for Eovaldi (I rank them similarly). If you have been struggling to fill some non-outfielder hitter spots, I suggest trading pitching for hitters and adding more pitching instead of adding a mediocre hitter.
Please feel free to tweet at me with any players you believe should be listed here.
Nate Eovaldi, P, Miami Marlins
If he still played for the Dodgers, I believe Eovaldi would be one of the most hyped-up young starters in baseball. Instead, he’s some unknown guy on the Marlins who throws fast. If you've read some of my previous work, you know I gravitate towards groundball pitchers, and Eovaldi could possibly be a prototype fantasy ace. His 10.9% line-drive allowed rate is the lowest of qualified starters, and he sits 11th among qualified pitchers in terms of groundball rate. This is a guy who throws hard, strikes batters out (8.62 K/9), limits baserunners (1.12 WHIP), and his groundball tendencies will mean he is at a reduced risk of allowing home runs. He's also the league leader in tERA, a somewhat popular ERA estimator. Sign me up!
Josmil Pinto, C, Minnesota Twins
If you're in need of a replacement for Devin Mesoraco, Pinto is your guy. My favorite Pinto stat is that he has more walks (17) than hits (14). I doubt that the 26.3% HR/FB will stick, but neither will the .220 BABIP. The Twins offense has been successful this year because their patient approach has led to MLB’s best walk rate, so they will have plenty of baserunners for Pinto to drive in. I am not really worried, but his line-drive rate bears watching, as he managed a .440 BABIP last year by lining 24.1% of his batted balls, but is only at 10.9% this year.
Matt Joyce, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Joyce is the number one add for daily leagues, since he mashes righties but sits for lefties. With two homers so far, he may not look like the power hitter we expected him to be, but he does have seven doubles and is on pace for career bests in runs and RBI. Joyce is showing improved plate discipline, evidenced by a league-best 13% chase rate and his 16 unintentional walks in 81 plate appearances. The .350 batting average is unfortunately a mirage due to a .396 BABIP, but if he is only making contact on strikes and is patient at the plate, he may be prone to sustaining an above-average BABIP.
B.J. Upton, OF, Atlanta Braves
It is no secret that Upton’s $75-million contract with the Braves has so far been a disappointment, as he managed only a .252 wOBA in 2013 and isn’t faring much better this year. We do know he will never hit .300 as a regular again, which he did in 2008 thanks to a .393 BABIP. The main issues at hand are the rate stats, which currently stands at .211/.290/.289. Excuse me, I will now clean the vomit off my computer. The reason Upton is listed here is that he has recently started to wear glasses. Perhaps Upton’s poor performance has resulted from poor vision, which does partially explain why his Z-Contact rate (how often a hitter makes contact when swinging at pitches inside the strike zone) is down to a career-low 68%. The home runs might not return unless he starts hitting more fly balls, but he is definitely worth the add as a potential 15/20 player on a strong Braves offense.
Dallas Keuchel, P, Houston Astros
Sorry, another groundball pitcher here. Keuchel’s 64% groundball rate is the highest of qualified starters, which makes his 8.90 K/9 even more impressive. His 3.56 ERA is decent given that his main draw is strikeouts, but ERA estimators xFIP and SIERA say Keuchel’s ERA from his five starts thus far should be below 3.00. The main drawback to Keuchel is that wins are uncertain while he plays for the tanking Astros.
Collin McHugh, P, Houston Astros
McHugh’s first start was so good that he had a negative FIP. He did allow one run in his second outing, but his FIP and xFIP have returned to somewhat reasonable levels. He has been benefitting from some luck with BABIP and strand rate, so we will have to wait and see what happens next. He has never been considered an elite prospect and is now 26, but has never been given an extended trial in a major league rotation.
Corey Kluber, P, Cleveland Indians
Stop reading now and go get Kluber. The trendy preseason sleeper struggled in his first start but has been better in his next four. The strikeouts and groundball rate that made him so desirable are still there, and his ERA estimators are all moderately lower than his 3.90 ERA. Since he has accrued a .337 BABIP over parts of four seasons, I'm wondering whether he is prone to a high BABIP. But at this point in his career, we should still give him the benefit of the doubt.
Tim Lincecum, P, San Francisco Giants
If you play in a league that heavily weighs ERA, it's probably best to leave Lincecum on the waiver wire. His ERA hasn’t been pretty since 2011, and he's a shell of his former self. However, he still provides solid strikeout numbers, and his 2.90 xFIP suggests he is getting unlucky, although he is allowing a few too many line drives for my tastes. The line drives may also be at fault for Lincecum’s .395 BABIP, so I am hesitant to immediately conclude his BABIP will regress much. Proceed with caution.
Dayan Viciedo, OF, Chicago White Sox
I'm not totally on board with Viciedo, but I've been a fan for a few years and am glad he looks like he is getting it together. I was surprised to see he is destroying righties and is adequate against lefties, which means he could be in line for more playing time. His BABIP and batting average are sure to fall, but here’s my favorite Viciedo stat: He's 12 for 14 on line drives. Either he is an elite hitter (not likely), or is due for some regression. It's worth mentioning that his HR/FB is well below his career norm, so the power should balance out any regression in the counting numbers. His strikeout rate is also down from 2013, so there could be a real underlying skill improvement.