6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 3
Last week, we got to see the debut of Kris Bryant. Fanfare, strikeouts and excitement all abounded in the debut of one of the league's top prospects.
The thing that was a bit of a buzzkill on Bryant is that he was already owned in a grand majority of all fantasy leagues because people knew he'd be there soon and that he'd be good. That is not the case for two other top prospect who will make that same leap this week.
The top two guys on this list are both owned in less than three percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues. They may not set the world on fire, but they can provide some value and crazy upside for you when they're on the field.
It should be noted before we fully dive in that I chose these six based on their ownership numbers on ESPN. This means there were a couple of guys that need to be owned in your league but were too highly-owned to fully qualify for this column. So if Steven Souza, Devon Travis or Stephen Vogt are available, do the right thing and change that. Now, let's get to the treasures of the week.
Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox
Odds are that someone in your league put in a claim for Carlos Rodon last night. If they did, sad faces all around. If not, though, you're in luck, baby. He's about as can't-miss as can be.
Rodon was ranked 12th on Keith Law's top 100 prospects over the offseason. After being selected third overall in last year's draft, he threw 21.2 innings in the minors and struck out 33 guys while recording a 2.49 ERA between high-A and triple-A. You want his goodness on your team.
The problem with Rodon is that he won't start his stint with the White Sox in the rotation. Even with that being the case, I don't see many situations in which you should resist adding him if he's available. You know he won't spend the entire season in the bullpen, and he had better be on your roster when they pull the trigger.
Kevin Plawecki, C, New York Mets
Kevin Plawecki's different from Rodon as I don't see him as an instant-add guy. Travis d'Arnaud will eventually return from his broken hand, and Plawecki isn't as much of a stud as Rodon. But if your catcher is plodding along this year and has no real upside (or you're a d'Arnaud owner), I'd say go for it.
Plawecki was ranked 45th on Law's rankings and for good reason. He hit 11 home runs in 419 plate appearances between double-A and triple-A last year while posting solid rate numbers. His double-A slash was at .326/.378/.487, and at triple-A he clocked in at .283/.345/.421.
There will probably be bumps in the road with owning Plawecki as he adjusts to the majors, but not enough for me to hold off on him. Terry Collins said yesterday that Plawecki would be playing if he were in the majors, so volume's not a concern. Plus, if Plawecki plays well enough and gets traded, then you don't have to worry about the gross park factor of Citi Field. Money, homie.
Chris Heston, SP/RP, San Francisco Giants
Chris Heston is perfection. He can fill the reliever role on your roster without the frustration associated with guys that are actually relievers. And he seems to actually be pretty good at this baseball thing! Score!
Through his first three starts, Heston has allowed two earned runs while walking five and striking out 16 in 20.2 innings. These numbers included a start at the pitcher's death trap that is Chase Field and another against a Rockies offense that ranks third in road wOBA among National League teams this year.
The downside of Heston is that he's not going to get you a boatload of strikeouts. The Giants don't appear as though they're going to be getting their pitchers lots of wins, either. But his innings and general effectiveness are solid for a waiver-wire add.
Jed Lowrie, SS, Houston Astros
Exciting! Young! Full of potential! And then there's Jed Lowrie. Woot.
Lowrie took a solid step backwards last year when he was in Oakland, but he's looking fresh and dapper in Houston. He already has half as many bombs as he did in 2014, even though his fly-ball percentage is down. Assuming that comes back up a bit, Lowrie's slugging percentage should easily top last year's .355 mark.
Even with the Astros' mentality towards strikeouts, Lowrie's 26.8 strikeout percentage isn't likely to hold. Nor is his .227 BABIP. His .222 average should come up for those concerned about that in roto leagues, so he's not a bad add if you're in a crunch.
Denard Span, OF, Washington Nationals
I must admit that my usual lovey-dovey feelings towards Denard Span have been tempered a bit. His activation resulted in Michael Taylor being sent down, and Taylor was such a tasty DFS play. My undying Twins homership overrides any hard feelings, though, so Span and I are still Gucci.
The Span Renaissance Tour last year resulted in 31 steals, 94 runs and a .302/.355/.416 slash. He should slide down from those numbers, but he's still the leadoff guy on an offense that has produced well over the past week.
Span's return also adds solid value to the Nats' order in general. As much as I love Taylor, Span will probably produce more at the top over the course of the season, and he most certainly will do more than Yunel Escobar. The ripple effect throughout should make this team a solid buy candidate if you're looking to spin a trade.
Odubel Herrera, SS/OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Odubel Herrera has been one of this year's small-sample-size-stud muffins. You shouldn't expect him to keep hitting like he has lately, but that doesn't mean he isn't worth an add in leagues where you need an injury patch at shortstop.
This is Herrera's first time seeing action above double-A after being picked up in the Rule-5 draft this offseason. His hitting picked up in his last year at double-A, posting a .321/.373/.402 slash with a .356 wOBA. This means that his current .308/.372/.513 slash with a .380 wOBA is totally unrealistic, but it doesn't mean he can't provide you some value.
Herrera is mostly an option in points leagues or roto leagues where you're searching for batting average, runs scored or (to a lesser extent) steals. I would mostly consider him a patch while a regular is on the shelf or in a deep slump, but if that's what you're expecting from him, then he can fit the bill.