6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 7
Take a peek at your season-long roster. Do you see the red starting to accumulate with guys that are on the shelf and dinged up? Mine is a Christmas tree with holiday cheer replaced by plantar fasciitis and flexor strains. Sounds like a jolly old time.
This means replacement guys to help fill your roster! Ain't nothin' better than the cast-offs of the fantasy baseball world wiggling their way into your life out of sheer desperation. Some of the guys below might be dope season-long adds, but others can at least help you bide the storm until ribs are no longer cracked and injuries no longer stacked.
This list is based on guys that are owned in around one-third or less of ESPN fantasy leagues. Some of them may require patience, but, hey, if you're still invested in your roster after a healthy dose of frustration, you're probably swimming in patience. So let's take a look at dudes deserving of a look if your roster has been more about the ice baths than the base paths.
Brad Miller, SS, Seattle Mariners
It's not often you'll find a shortstop that can provide some pop on your waiver wire, but here is Brad Miller chilling on over 95 percent of the wires on ESPN. They moved him up to the two-hole about 10 days ago, and dude went off the rocker. He has four home runs in his past five games and is now slashing .264/.328/.500 on the season. Swoon.
Miller isn't your typical light-hitting middle infielder. He had a track record of mashing taters in the minors, as well, but it hadn't translated to the majors. He hit 20 home runs in 2013 between three levels, including the big squad. He's only 25, so it's possible were just seeing him finally start to break out.
There are some peripheral reasons to believe Miller has figured it out. He has dropped his chase percentage down to 29.5 from 32.8 percent last year, helping raise his walk percentage to 9.2 and drop his strikout rate more than two percentage points. If you need some help at short due to injuries, or just want to make sure you don't miss the breakout, leap on this bad mamma jamma right now.
Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
Maikel Franco's cup of coffee last year wasn't too swell as he finished 58 plate appearances with a .179/.190/.214 slash. So, he understandably started the year at Triple-A. Homie didn't get promoted. He just got banned from Triple-A for slashing souls at a .355/.384/.539 clip. Dude has no chill.
Franco most likely won't be the world's greatest option if you're searching for runs and RBI's as the offense around him is lacking. He will, however, provide you with some power potential at third base. He did slam 31 bombs in 2013 between High-A and Double-A, which is totally thirst-worthy.
Franco is a bit less attractive in on-base-percentage roto leagues. He hasn't posted a walk percentage above 7.0 percent at any level above Low-A. He gets plenty of hits, so it's not a concern for average leagues or points leagues, but it is a minor caveat to keep in mind. He's not at automatic-add status quite yet, but if he can notch any more contests like his performance Sunday where he had a triple and a homer, then you can consider it so.
Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
What. The. Poo. No lie, I would never have given Ryan Howard a chance of making it on this list at any point this year. But, at the same time, he has been straight raking as of late.
It's very possible (likely, even?) that this is just me overreacting to a small sample size. But let me present this to you. In 48 plate appearances since May 3rd, he is slashing .364/.417/.682 with three bombs. That is All-Star quality over a very short stretch, but it's still at least something. He could go out and go 0-21 with fiddy K's over the next week, but what if this is real, y'all?
This isn't solely based on Howard's last 48 plate appearances, though. For the season, he does have a .488 slugging percentage, which would be his highest mark since 2011, when he hit 33 home runs. His BABIP is at .284 for the season, as well, so it's not as if he's just benefiting from quality luck. Maybe this is all smoke and mirrors, but you never know. It might be worth a shot if you need an extra bat and enjoy a little risk in your life.
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
People just can't let a beautiful thing be. Carlos Correa is already starting to fly off of waiver wires in anticipation of his inevitable call-up some time in the (hopefully) very near future. You might want to do the same if you can afford to have a stash on your bench for a bit.
Correa doesn't turn 21 until September, which makes me feel like an unaccomplished curmudgeon. Thanks, bruh. He forced a promotion to Triple-A by slashing .385/.459/.726 with seven home runs in 133 plate appearances at Double-A. He has followed that up by doinking at a .348/.423/.522 rate through his first five games. You plan on keeping that in the minors with Jed Lowrie on the disabled list? Nah, man.
Part of the allure is Correa is, like Miller, his shortstop eligibility. He doesn't even need to come close to the numbers he has posted in the minors to provide value on a fantasy roster. You'll have to eat a bit of time without him on the field, but I think you'll forgive him if and when he gets the call.
J.A. Happ, SP, Seattle Mariners
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was telling peeps to stack against J.A. Happ in daily fantasy baseball. My bad, dude. Happ's a'ight, and he could probably help a fantasy team in need of starting pitching.
Happ won't bring you a ton of strikeouts as he averages 6.95 per nine innings, but he's also not going to jack up your ERA. He's sitting at 2.98 right now paired with a 3.35 FIP and 3.59 xFIP, so it's not totally based on luck. His opponent BABIP will probably rise a bit and his strand percentage should come down, but he's really just kind of a nice option.
The one downside to Happ is that he's not a heavy ground-ball guy. Pitchers that don't rack up strikeouts or ground balls scare me a bit when it comes to fantasy because they can have blow up outings. Being in Seattle certainly helps Happ, and I think it's enough to justify a waiver add if you are in need.
Henderson Alvarez, SP, Miami Marlins
Henderson Alvarez kind of got rocked in his first start off the disabled list yesterday, allowing six runs over 5.1 innings. Blurgh. I still think he can be a decent add if you're okay with a low strikeout total.
Unlike Happ, Alvarez does have that high ground-ball rate in his arsenal. He had the tenth highest ground-ball rate last year among starters at 53.8 percent, and he has amped that up to 57.8 so far this year. That helped him post a 2.65 ERA for the season with a 3.58 FIP in 2014.
Again, though, the downside is that he subscribes to the Kevin Costner, "Strikeouts are fascist," theory. He averaged only 5.34 per nine innings last year, which was the third lowest total among starters. He's only 25, so there's a possibility he could eventually increase this mark at some point. I'm not fully on the Alvarez train for this reason, but, like Happ, he's going to log you quality innings without blowing up your rate stats. When you're at this point on the waiver wire, that's not the worst thing in the world if you need an extra arm.