6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 10
Y'all were warned this day would come. Finally, it's here.
Carlos Correa is on his way, and life is wonderful.
We'll talk more about Correa in a second, but he's obviously not the only valuable piece available on this week's waiver wire. We've got a few boom or bust guys below that could certainly help over the rest of the season.
These are based on players that are available in around two-thirds or more of all ESPN leagues. It's inexact, but at least a few of the following should be open in your league. Let's get to it!
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
I'm really not a big fan of stashing prospects that may or may not be called up later in the year, unless the league has a deep bench. Yet, back in mid May, Mr. Correa made this list as a stash add when it became clear he was knocking down the door of the big leagues. Now, he's there. Here's why that thought alone should get you all drooly.
Through his first 52 games in the minors this year (29 at Double-A and 23 at Triple-A), Correa was slashing silliness at .332/.404/.602. He also added 18 stolen bases while being caught just once. This is all happening while he is facing competition much older than he as Correa won't be able to legally consume alcohol until September 22nd.
It's not just the numbers for Correa, as sweet as they are. ESPN's Keith Law bumped him ahead of my main boo Byron Buxton in his latest top prospect rankings (insider article). He's analogous to Kris Bryant in that both scouts and stats say he's destined for studliness. Someone in your league is going to add him today, so it might as well be you.
Ben Paulsen, 1B, Colorado Rockies
This one sucks. I absolutely adore Justin Morneau, and it's awful to watch him go through more concussion problems. As unfortunate as the circumstance is, it has led to additional opportunities for Ben Paulsen.
Paulsen is very much an option because of the home field in which he plays. Coors Field can make guys like Nick Hundley and D.J. LeMahieu fantasy relevant, and it has done the same for Paulsen. He's hitting .319/.362/.588 through his first 127 career plate appearances with 8 bombs, which is more than enough to warrant a waiver add.
The biggest knock on Paulsen is volume. He's mostly being platooned and not hitting against lefties, so he'd be ideally suited for a league in which you switch him out daily. But if the schedule works out where they're facing mostly righties with a few games at Coors, Paulsen has unlimited upside just because of his situation.
Francisco Cervelli, C, Pittsburgh Pirates
Yo, like, what in the world? Where did this come from? Francisco Cervelli wasn't even supposed to get enough plate appearances to warrant consideration this season, but dude is currently littering leaderboards everywhere.
Among catchers that have recorded at least 100 plate appearances (Cervelli is at 165, so this isn't me trying to cherry-pick), Cervelli leads in both batting average (.331) and on-base percentage (.396). The only other catcher with a batting average above .300 is the aforementioned Hundley, meaning Cervelli has been straight money in roto leagues.
The downside with Cervelli is his .417 BABIP. Obviously, that's not going to stick. The encouraging thing, though, is that, among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances, he ranks fifth in hard-hit rate and has the second-lowest soft-hit rate in that group. His BABIP will come down, but he still has a good shot to have an average around .300 for the rest of the season if he continues to spank the ball like he has been. He's not going to give you a bunch of home runs, but considering the black hole that is catchers on waivers, he's a pretty dope little option.
Trevor May, SP, Minnesota Twins
May has been throwing well the entire season, but he hadn't been getting the results to show for it. Entering last week, he had a 5.07 ERA despite a 3.12 FIP. Then he messed around and blanked the Red Sox for seven innings while allowing two hits and striking out nine. This brought his FIP down to 2.80, which ranked 13th in the league entering play yesterday. That's what's sitting on the waiver wire in over 95 percent of ESPN leagues.
Even for a total Twins fanboy like myself, this breakout would have been hard to predict. May walked 4.34 batters per nine innings last year in 45.2 Major League innings on his way to a 7.88 ERA. He has cut the walks down to 1.43 per nine this year, and his low ground-ball rate has started to tick up. He's in no ways a slam dunk, but there's no way May should be free as widely as he is.
Carson Smith, RP, Seattle Mariners
There's a decent amount of risk here as it's possible the Mariners will continue to bang their head against the wall and slot Fernando Rodney back into the closer's role. We're going to cross our fingers and pray for competency on this one.
Carson Smith is clearly the superior reliever in this situation. He averages 10.44 strikeouts per nine, he doesn't walk a lot of guys, and he induces ground balls 58.9 percent of the time. That's the formula you look for in a pitcher. Rodney and his 6.94 ERA and 5.43 FIP? Not so much.
The big concern with Smith would be save opportunities. Ideally, you're not going to be targeting closers on teams that are 25-32 with a -30 run differential. He does provide enough in terms of strikeouts and ERA, though, to warrant a roster spot even if he isn't spewing save chances. It's a good little flyer if you're looking for a perk to your relievers that you don't see often this late in the season.
Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
I'm a bit torn on this one. Matt Moore isn't on the Jose Fernandez level where you automatically roster him despite concerns coming back from Tommy John. He does provide a good amount of upside, though, as he should be back in the rotation soon enough. Is he worth the risk?
In 347 career Major League innings, Moore has walked 4.28 batters per nine innings. He has been able to get by with a sub-4.00 ERA because of his high strikeout rate, but is that something you can depend on after more than a year off the mound? He walked three and struck out two in his first rehab start, which lasted 2.1 innings at High-A. That's to be expected, but I might still wait until after his next appearance Tuesday before pulling the trigger.
In my mind, Moore is worth the risk. He provides a good number of strikeouts, and he's coming back to a team that should help you out in leagues in which wins matter. He's far from Fernandez, but that doesn't mean he's a worse option than the other options floating around on waivers at this point in the season.