6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 15
There's no All-Star break for fantasy owners, y'all. We got some work to do.
As we start to get into July, we should start seeing players' situations change as trades take place. Until that time, we're stuck in a bit of a rut where very few situations are changing, and that takes a toll on the waiver wire.
Fret not, compadres. Though they may not be as studly as some of our adds earlier in the year, the guys below can still help fill a niche on your roster if you are in need.
As a note, I try to keep these recommendations to only players owned in 33 percent or less of all ESPN leagues. Just like last week, Miguel Sano does not meet that requirement. However, he's slashing .378/.489/.649 through his first 45 plate appearances with a 65.0 percent hard-hit rate (that's well more than double the league average, in case you're curious). If you're in one of the 40 percent of leagues in which he is available, stop reading, add him, then come back and join us with our first recommendation.
John Jaso, C, Tampa Bay Rays
John Jaso is a (fantasy-eligible) catcher who hits at or near the top of the order. He is the majestic unicorn of the baseball world, and you shall respect his status as such.
Catcher is undoubtedly the worst position in all of fantasy baseball. They lack the volume to contribute to your roster consistently because of the games that they miss. However, with Jaso not really catching while also hitting at the top of the order, he provides you with a crazy uptick in volume over your average backstop.
Jaso's run potential isn't as high as most guys at the top of the order, simply because the offense in which he plays isn't great. But if he can stay healthy -- a significant "if" on a team as familiar with the trainer as this one -- Jaso should provide you enough productive volume to warrant a catcher roster spot if you are in the market.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Kansas City Royals
Is Jarrod Dyson in the All-Star game yet? No? That seems like a serious red flag. We'll chalk it up as an oversight by the Royals faithful and roll with a recommendation anyway.
Dyson is a fairly unique guy who can -- as a mid-season acquisition -- provide you with stolen bases without destroying your batting average category. If you're in a league that rolls with slugging percentage as opposed to batting average, a) you are probably in a great league, but b) you might not want to hop on Dyson.
Dyson, like most Royals, does a nice job of avoiding strikeouts. He has struck out in just 16.5 percent of his plate appearances this season, compared to the league average which is around 20.0. This means he's putting the ball in play. With his speed, that's huge. However, that doesn't mean you should expect similarly huge production here. He has the second highest soft-hit rate in the Majors among batters with at least 120 plate appearances. But his speed will do enough to keep his batting average afloat, get you stolen bases, and notch a few runs scored as a result.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
Hello to those of you looking for the antithesis of Mr. Dyson. That would be C.J. Cron, who hates walks almost as much as he hates ground balls.
Cron got off to a wretched start this year, prompting his demotion to the minors. Yet even if you include said wretchedness, he still compares well to a guy who has a much higher fantasy ownership.
|Blind Resume||AVG||OBP||SLUG||BB%||K%||ESPN Ownership|
Shocker, Cron is Player A. Player B is Mark Trumbo. That may be a bigger indictment of owning Trumbo, whose outfield eligibility has to help, than it is an endorsement of adding Cron, but it still represents a wide ownership discrepancy that shouldn't exist. Cron is a better Mark Trumbo than Mark Trumbo is.
Since his call-up on June 29th, Cron is hitting .459/.462/.865 with four bombs -- and just one walk, of course. His hard-hit rate was at 36.0 percent entering yesterday, so this isn't all due to a crazy BABIP (though that does play a significant role). If you're looking for power, he may be able to provide some pop to your squad.
Kelly Johnson, 1B/3B/OF, Atlanta Braves
As long as we're DGAF'ing on-base percentage, why not bump with Kelly Johnson? These guys aren't the greatest in terms of real baseball, but they can provide you value in the fake kind.
Even though he has dealt with injuries the whole season, Johnson has still managed to post a 33.8 percent hard-hit rate. That and his 15.0 percent soft-hit rate are both his best since his glimmering 2010 season, which is encouraging. He's hitting plenty of fly balls and line drives, which are conducive to a high slugging percentage, so his .456 slugging percentage looks a bit less outrageous and flukey.
Pump the brakes there, Jimbo. numberFire's projections have Johnson down for a .232/.299/.397 slash the rest of the way. Are you sure you want that on your roster?
Well, conscience, you present a good point. And that should be a legitimate concern for anyone adding Johnson as the projections are far smarter than I am (and they probably don't have open conversations with their conscience). At the same time, those are drawing largely off of his past few years, which have been gross. With the improvements in his hard-hit rate, I could see him exceeding those numbers.
Jim Johnson, RP, Atlanta Braves
If it ends up that Johnson isn't the guy tabbed to replace Grilli, then this recommendation is null. He doesn't have that Wade Davis-level nastiness to make him ownable without slotting a few into the saves column. That said, he is at least good enough to warrant a roster spot if the closing duties are his with his deflated walk rate and high ground-ball rate.
If you're set with your relievers, I'd let Johnson slide elsewhere. Right now, Atlanta sits 27th in numberFire's Power Rankings with a projected final win-loss of 77-85. That doesn't appear to be a plethora of save opportunities. But if you were a Grilli owner, missed out on Roberto Osuna or just generally need an upgrade, Johnson may be your best option.
Erasmo Ramirez, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays
The waiver market for starting pitchers is not great right now. I still like Kyle Gibson and Kendall Graveman (who are both available in about 75 percent of leagues) a lot, but we've covered them here previously. Beyond them, both Tommy Milone and Erasmo Ramirez intrigue me. Ramirez, in my mind, possesses the much higher upside, so let's roll with it.
Back on May 30th, Ramirez had himself a dandy of a start. He went seven innings and allowed no runs on three hits with (most importantly) seven strikeouts. He has followed suit since then, posting a 1.23 ERA and a 3.55 xFIP in his past eight starts (including that one). His peripheral stats over that span help bolster his resume.
Now, Ramirez's 7.57 strikeouts per nine innings over that span aren't going to knock you on your tushy. Those strikeouts, however, are coupled with a 13.5 percent swinging-strike rate and just a 73.0 contact rate. Both of those would rank in the top 10 in the league if they had occurred over the course of an entire season as opposed to an eight-game sample. That would seem to imply that his strikeout numbers should increase after the All-Star break, making Ramirez a possible quality stretch-run addition.