8 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds for Week 6
Welcome to May! At this point, most of the April surprises are off the board and on fantasy rosters, so the number of free-agent-caliber players who are eligible for this column is down from a few weeks ago. I am opting to not try to fill up 10 slots per week, which would entail having to endorse players like Erick Aybar, who is by no means legitimate. I do, however, like Casey Janssen if he is available, but he's still hurt and has no potential to help your fantasy teams this week.
Two players featured in last week’s column, Nate Eovaldi and Corey Kluber, performed particularly well last week and would still remain at the top of this list had I elected to repeat names. Ian Kennedy, for some reason, is still available in most ESPN leagues and is totally legitimate at this point in time. To answer your question - yes, it does hurt my head to say that about a guy I have avoided in drafts for the last five years.
1. Travis Wood - P, Chicago Cubs
Although he has a reputation as a guy who got lucky and didn't strike out batters in 2013, Wood has reversed the script so far in 2014. He has put up a 3.35 ERA despite the increase in BABIP from .248 in 2013 to .325 in 2014, and has increased his strikeout ratio to 8.84 K/9. According to PITCHf/x, his improvement is mostly due to increased usage in the cutter, and FIP and xFIP agree that Wood has truly pitched this well or even better. We do not know how many wins he will get as a Cub, but he is walking batters at a career-low pace (1.67 BB/9) and can help with pretty much every other category, especially quality starts.
2. Michael Pineda - P, New York Yankees
While it seems counterintuitive to back a guy who had to cheat just to put up decent numbers, Pineda should return to expected levels upon returning from suspension. There are obviously no available numbers to back this up, but Pineda said he was using pine tar to grip the ball in cold weather. As we move closer to summer, he should be able to regain his desired grip and pitch at his true talent level, which means solid ratios and elite strikeout potential. He's been dropped by most owners, but you should nab him before he comes back.
3. Garrett Jones - 1B/OF, Miami Marlins
In weekly leagues, he wouldn't rank this high, but Jones is chronically underrated when it comes to daily fantasy leagues since he mashes right-handed pitching. He's hit .313 this year against them, which is likely to regress toward his .273 career mark, as well as all five of his home runs.
While I don't have a reason, the Marlins, as a team, have the second-highest batting average and runs scored behind only the Rockies this year. If you have the roster flexibility and another platoon-worthy first baseman, Jones is certainly worth a look.
4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C, Miami Marlins
Unlike Jones, I won't recommend you platoon Salty since it's often not worth holding onto two backstops. However, it's worth noting that he has hit both lefties and righties this year despite career struggles against lefties. For the most part, Salty plays whenever a right-handed pitcher starts for the opposition.
Salty’s batting average is worth watching, as it currently stands at .303 after he hit .273 last year. In both years, he has had huge BABIPs, so he is a regression candidate in that regard. However, don't expect his OBP to drop with average, since he has improved his walk rate to 15.9% in the first month up from 9.1% last year. I’m impressed I made it this far without mentioning that he has 25-homer potential, and numberFire’s projections expect him to hit 15 more homers this season.
5. Chris Young - OF, New York Mets
His 2010 and 2011 seasons, worth 8.6 WAR combined, may not repeat, but Young has proved he still has pop. His Z-Contact, which measures how often a batter makes contact at pitches in the strike zone, is phenomenal given his strikeout numbers, which means that he does a good job of making contact on his pitch. I would have expected the Mets to keep him still on the basepaths given his injury history, but he has three stolen bags only 61 plate appearances and could go 20/20 if he plays all year.
6 & 7. Jon Niese and Dillon Gee - P, New York Mets
Both Niese and Gee have pitched well so far and are likely to appear on other add lists. While advanced metrics clearly indicate that they have benefited from some luck, they also are flanked by a sneaky good Mets defense that is headed by Web Gem regular Juan Lagares. Proceed with caution with both, but they provide moderate strikeouts and will not hurt you in the WHIP department.
8. Alejandro de Aza, OF, Chicago White Sox
Granted, I don't watch White Sox games, but from looking at the batted ball distribution, plate discipline data and other relevant stats, the only change that may have caused de Aza's sharp decline in batting average was the 110-point drop in BABIP. Buy low cases don’t come much easier than that.
After stealing 20-plus bases over the past two seasons and smacking 17 homers last year, de Aza should return to form and his counting numbers should come back, assuming the White Sox will bat him high in the order even when Adam Eaton returns.