6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16
Although your lineups may be locked for this week, it's never too early to plan for the next go-round. Let's get to the guys who can lend you a hand once that arrives.
Because things haven't changed a ton since last week, I'd also encourage you to check out the waiver recommendations from before the break. Some of them have seen their ownership go up, so I'd get now while the getting's good.
As always, these suggestions are restricted to the players owned in around 30 percent or fewer of ESPN leagues. That said, if you're in a league in which Kyle Schwarber is still available, you should scoop him right on up. Otherwise, here are some others who may pique your interest.
Ender Inciarte, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Ender Inciarte is far from the most exciting player on the board. He is, however, batting at the top of the order for a team with a great park factor and a good offense. That'll play.
Inciarte can contribute to your team if you are looking for batting average, runs, or stolen bases. For all of you frustrated Dexter Fowler owners, this would be a great change if you're ready to give up (though I am not quite yet).
It should be noted that this recommendation takes a huge hit if you're in a roto league that goes based off of on-base or slugging percentage. He doesn't draw walks, and extra-base hits are few and far between with his .086 isolated slugging. But the runs and stolen bases he'll add in both classic roto leagues and points leagues are enough to warrant a pick-up now that he's healthy.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
It's safe to say that Francisco Lindor struggled in his first couple of weeks in the Majors. That's to be expected for a 21-year-old pup who just got the call. However, things have upticked as of late.
This is a major small sample size warning, but since May 29th, Lindor has decreased his soft-hit rate to 15.4 percent while seeing his hard-hit rate jump to 28.9. These aren't great numbers, but his shortstop eligibility and second spot in the batting order make him a viable option so long as he is average in his individual production.
If you're looking for a shortstop, I would still rather have Jung-ho Kang, but he's already been featured on this column a couple of times. Additionally, Lindor can serve as a wait-and-see guy. Right now, his ownership is trending downward. That means you should be able to confirm that his recent production is sustained before adding him. So if it's a need-now situation, I'd go Kang. Otherwise, hold off and keep an eye on Lindor to see how things progress.
Randal Grichuk, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
I was hesitant to hop on the Randal Grichuk train because of the uncertainty about what would happen once Matt Holliday returned. But Grichuk has been in the lineup every day after the break (including batting second yesterday!), so let's do this thang.
If you plan on relying on Grichuk to pump up your batting average in a roto league, that's a difficult proposition. His batting average is at .286, aided heavily by a .379 BABIP. His BABIP usually hovered much closer to .300 in the higher levels of the minors and in his stint in the majors last year. We're targeting him for his power, not his .286 average.
The counter point to those concerns is quite a juicy one. That would be his 39.8 percent hard-hit rate. That would be the 12th-highest mark in the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify, right ahead of Todd Frazier. If he continues hitting eighth on most nights, I'd bump him down a bit simply because eighth on a National League team is the worst position in all of baseball. I could easily see him warranting a jolt in the lineup if he keeps mashing the way he has been this year.
Aaron Hicks, OF, Minnesota Twins
I added Aaron Hicks a few weeks ago in one of my leagues. But that was in a dynasty league. With 14 teams. And 40-man rosters. I did not expect him to be a viable option in season-long this year, but that is exactly what he has become recently.
Hicks is the perfect example of the post-hype breakout guy. He was absolutely wretched his first two years in the league after entering as a top-level prospect. This year, though, has been different, especially since his most recent trip to the disabled list. If we include the 15 games before he went on the DL, Hicks is hitting .277/.371/.446 since May 27th. If we limit that to just since he returned to the lineup on July 3rd, those numbers bump up to .289/.404/.553 with eight walks and four strikeouts.
Hicks doesn't come without some playing time concerns. That Twins outfield is going to be rather crowded once Byron Buxton comes off the disabled list, and they've also got Oswaldo Arcia just destroying baseballs in Triple-A. But if Hicks can maintain a pace anywhere near where he's at right now, I'd assume that would squeeze Eddie Rosario -- not Hicks -- out of the everyday order.
Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
It's about time something good happened to Phillies fans. After suffering through the baseball they have been subjected to the past three years, they deserve something about which they can be excited. Aaron Nola qualifies for that.
Any time a guy makes it to the Major Leagues within 14 months of being drafted, they're going to be intriguing. Nola earned his quick rise through the minors by posting a 2.82 FIP in Double-A this year before clocking in at 3.18 in Triple-A. He didn't rack up a ton of strikeouts overall, but he did have above-average strikeout percentages in both High-A and Triple-A.
This should go without saying, but Nola isn't going to rack up the wins for you poor souls in leagues that still go on wins (I'm not bitter that this includes all of my leagues or anything). Additionally, he's inheriting the worst defense in the league, so his ERA will most likely be higher than his FIP. It's not a great situation, but Nola, based on raw skill, is better than most pitchers you will find on the waiver wire at this point in the season.
Ken Giles, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
It's the Philadelphia Phillies edition of the waiver wire, brought to you by the MLB trade deadline and some form of mild sedative to make the pain go away. If Jonathan Papelbon gets dealt, Ken Giles should get the chance to close out the plethora of games the Phillies win in the final two months.
As long as Giles gets non-save opportunities, he can still provide value to your team. He's not going to have the same ERA as Wade Davis, but he will bring the strikeouts. If he can lower his walk totals (he has now had six straight appearances without one), then his value in leagues with WHIP will continue to go up.
Here's the fun thing about Giles: he's still getting better. At the end of May, Giles was averaging 8.86 strikeouts per nine innings with 4.22 walks, adding up for a 4.20 xFIP. He has since improved each category, posting 13.97 strikeouts and 3.26 walks per nine with a a 2.21 xFIP. This version of Giles can help you out to the point where Papbelbon's departure isn't necessary, but rather a cherry on top.