6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 12
One of the worst realizations in fantasy is finding out that managers and general managers don't give a flying poo about your fantasy roster. They'll bench a dude who's mashing the ball if his defense is sub-par or send someone to the minors to work on playing a position that many view as unrealistic. I understand it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Some of the guys below have been victims of this management. That makes them a bit risky as investments, but it doesn't limit the upside they have when they do play.
As a note, I generally limit this list to players who are owned in around one third or fewer of ESPN leagues. Let's get it cracking!
Kyle Schwarber, C, Chicago Cubs
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know Kyle Schwarber is supposed to go down to Triple-A today. What a buzzkill. But believe me, you are going to want the juiciness he showed on your roster when he comes back up.
Eventually, the Cubs are going to figure out that it's in their best short-term interests to plop Schwarber in left field just to get his bat in the lineup. With Chicago currently holding the second Wild Card spot, it's hard to believe they'll commit to developing him as a catcher right now. His re-promotion shouldn't be far off.
With Schwarber, the potential production is worth the wait. He wrapped up his first cup of coffee with a .410 wOBA in 23 plate appearances. The Majors are the fifth level at which he has played in his professional career. His lowest wOBA outside of the majors was .423 at High-A last year. Prior to his promotion from Double-A, Schwarber was chilling at .461, which is straight ign'ant. He's worth the stash if he's still available in your league.
Luis Valbuena, 2B/3B, Houston Astros
It is not often that a guy who has 17 home runs in June is available in almost 70 percent of all ESPN leagues. I get that Luis Valbuena will murk your average category in roto leagues, but it's 17 dongs, y'all. This ain't your momma's .186 hitter.
Valbuena is probably due for some regression as his home run to fly-ball ratio has doubled to 18.9 percent from 9.2 percent last year. At the same time, he's also due for some positive regression as his .165 BABIP is low even for a guy who hits exclusively fly balls. numberFire expects him to post a .223 batting average from here on out. Though that's not great, it's also not enough to have a grotesquely negative effect on your average category while providing long balls and curtain calls in the process.
Colby Rasmus, OF, Houston Astros
Rasmus has been scalding the ball the entire year when he has had the opportunity to do so. He has the 19th highest hard-hit rate in the league among guys with at least 190 plate appearances, right ahead of Josh Donaldson and Lucas Duda. This has resulted in a .254/.325/.514 slash which is quite the line for a guy on waivers in 93 percent of all ESPN leagues.
What's even better about Rasmus is that you shouldn't have to worry about any type of platoon. Rasmus possesses a slugging percentage above .500 against both lefties and righties this year. He's also been moved up to fifth in the batting order over the past two games, which provides additional value. Until Marisnick comes back, Rasmus deserves a fantasy roster spot without question.
Brock Holt, 3B/OF, Boston Red Sox
Let me just get this out of the way quickly: Brock Holt is not going to finish the season with his current .318/.407/.486. Uh, naw. This recommendation is more because of his recent change in the batting order than his hot streak.
The main reason for skepticism on Holt is his .402 BABIP. That may be just a teensy bit inflated. numberFire projects him to slash .265/.345/.381 the rest of the season, which is probably right where the baseline expectation should be for Holt. So why an endorsement here?
There are actually two reasons for this recommendation. First, his hard-hit rate has gone up this year. It has increased to 32.6 percent from 28.1 last year. The league average is 28.6 percent, so this is a positive development that could help Holt potentially exceed his projections. Second, as I mentioned, he's hitting near the top of the order now. If he stays there, he'll score and drive in runs simply out of sheer volume of chances. That's enough for me to add someone with dual positional eligibility.
Kendall Graveman, SP, Oakland Athletics
What a difference a month makes. In his first stint in the rotation, nothing went right for Kendall Graveman. In four starts, Graveman walked more batters than he struck out on his way to an 8.27 ERA, 6.84 FIP and a 5.99 xFIP. This earned him a trip to Triple-A, where he spent exactly four weeks. Since then, we've seen a radically different pitcher.
In six starts since his recall, Graveman has a 2.27 ERA, 3.99 FIP and 3.54 xFIP. This is coupled with a still unspectacular yet acceptable 6.81 strikeouts and 2.04 walks per nine. His 50.4 ground-ball rate makes those two numbers more acceptable and makes Graveman a viable option for those looking for a fantasy starter.
If we want to narrow the focus even more, Graveman has been lights out his past three times on the mound. He has gone at least seven innings each time, and all four runs that have scored have been via the long-ball. If he were to see some regression on that home run to fly-ball ratio, things would be pretty sweet, as indicated by his 2.99 xFIP. I think it's safe to roll with this add now.
Matt Wisler, SP, Atlanta Braves
It wasn't a bad week for the Atlanta Braves and young pitching. Not only did they acquire Touki Toussaint from the Diamondbacks for pretty much nothing, but Matt Wisler lit the world on fire in his Major League debut. I think they'll be satisfied with that.
Sure, Wisler was facing the Mets, who have been donkey doo against righties this year, but he was still pretty sick. He didn't walk anyone over eight innings and allowed one run on six hits. Not too shabby, young pup.
Even with this, Wisler is very much a fringe waiver add. As he showed in his debut with two strikeouts over eight innings, he doesn't exactly roll in the punchouts. Additionally, he wasn't quite tearing things up in Triple-A. Over 34 starts between the Padres' and Braves' affiliates, Wisler had a 4.76 ERA with 7.4 strikeouts per nine. I'm not saying you shouldn't add him, but just know that he does carry a bit of risk in the fantasy realm for this year.