6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds for Week 22
In my season-long leagues, I am usually the dude who takes the most cautious approach possible, looking to avoid risk at every opportunity. But with the season winding down, it's time to just take a deep breath and embrace the unknown.
If you're within striking distance of the lead, risk should be your friend. Sure, it could end up biting you in the bum, but at least you gave it a shot. Some of the guys below can help you find that upside. They could also totally suck. That's a ringing endorsement if I've ever heard one.
As always, I'll be keeping these recommendations to guys whose ownership is around 33 percent or less in ESPN leagues. I'd also like to give a bump to numberFire's Austan Kas, who wrote a sweet little piece about prospects who could contribute in fantasy last week. I'll be running through one of those guys below, but the rest are all great options, too. Now, here are some players that have caught my interest on the waiver wire.
Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers
Last week, I had to make a 20-hour drive across the country. This gave me plenty of time to ponder a variety of topics -- when I wasn't trying to nail a self-censored version of Hopsin's verse in the song, "Am I a Psycho," that is. Among the topics I was trying to think of was what Nick Castellanos's average draft position should be in re-draft next year. Why? I can assure you I have no idea. But while I may need to wait until March to take a trip on the Castellanos Death Train far too early in my drafts, it's not too late to stake my claim to him this season, as he is only owned in 17.3 percent of ESPN leagues.
Now, why would I be getting this excited about a third baseman who has below-average numbers on the season? Castellanos has always been a batted-ball darling, and now that is starting to show up in his results. He has a 36.7 percent hard-hit rate and 11.2 percent soft-hit rate in the second half, leading to a .261/.335/.536 slash with nine home runs. Considering the quality of the hitters in front of him in the order, those numbers are going to lead to a whole bunch of runs batted in down the stretch.
The big concern with Castellanos is still the strikeouts. His chase rate is up from last year while his contact percentage is down, and his plate discipline stats are honestly a bit frightening. But Castellanos's batted-ball data suggests he can be a productive hitter even if he does continue to strikeout at a gross rate. It's enough for me to add him this year, and I can guarantee you we'll be revisiting this little pup over the winter.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins
If there is any baseball player who has fully embraced the, "Bleep it, I'm going deep!" mentality, it's Marcell Ozuna. In 60 plate appearances since coming back from Triple-A, Ozuna has 14 strikeouts compared to one walk. However, that's coupled with eight extra-base hits, so let's just close our eyes and hope for the best.
Ozuna is someone I was bullish about at the beginning of the season, and it absolutely ended up burning me. However, even when you include his wretched start to the season, he still has a 34.1 percent hard-hit rate. He tore it up in Triple-A, so why not give him a shot?
Ozuna is a clear risk for the rest of the season because he could have a pretty terrible batting average if his all-or-nothing ways continue. But there aren't a bunch of guys currently on the waiver wire who can provide the power he can. It's a good flier idea if you, too, want to embrace the "just dingers" lifestyle to go for it in September.
Domingo Santana, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Speaking of guys who strike out a bunch and have mashed in Triple-A, Domingo Santana is available in more than 97 percent of all leagues. He may strikeout in 40 percent of his plate appearances the rest of the season, but when he makes contact, it's a sweet sight to behold.
In 411 plate appearances at Triple-A this year between the Brewers' and the Houston Astros' systems, Santana has 18 home runs and a .333/.426/.573 slash. Sure, he has struck out 26.3 percent of the time, but he adds a 13.1 walk percentage to keep his on-base percentage elevated. Now that he's seeing fairly consistent playing time in the Majors, we can roll the dice with him in fantasy.
Santana has only 73 plate appearances in the Majors this year (a good chunk of which came in June with the Astros), but that power has translated well. He has a .227/.301/.500 slash with five home runs and three doubles. Obviously, you'd want the average to be higher. But the Brewers' order still has some respectable bats in front of him. This could end up being a total flame of a recommendation, but I like the upside it presents.
Jose Berrios, SP, Minnesota Twins
This is the guy who Austan mentioned in the article I referenced above. Jose Berrios is rull good, and if he gets a shot in the rotation in September, he could be equally good to your roster.
No matter how long I stay on this Earth, I will never comprehend why the Twins insist on starting Mike Pelfrey over Berrios. While Pelfrey has a 4.60 SIERA, Berrios is down in Triple-A schoolin' fools to the tune of 10.16 strikeouts and 1.81 walks per nine innings over 64 2/3 frames. His FIP in 10 starts in Triple-A (2.79) is actually lower than it was in his 15 at Double-A (3.09).
The best part about Berrios is that he's just getting better. Over his last four starts at Triple-A, he has 40 strikeouts to just 2 walks in 27 innings. Whew. There has been talk that he could just end up in the bullpen to save his arm, but if he slots into the rotation, it's time to get giddy, y'all.
Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs
Over his past seven starts, Kyle Hendricks has allowed fewer than three earned runs only once. He has had two starts in which he has allowed five of those babies. So, duh, he's a great waiver wire candidate.
Those starts are fairly reflective of Hendricks' season. Despite holding an excellent 3.39 xFIP, his ERA is up at 4.11. He couples an average 20.9 strikeout percentage with a below-average 5.7 walk percentage, but it's his 50.8 ground-ball percentage that makes him so intriguing. He has become a really solid hurler whose traditional stats haven't yet reflected that.
An additional perk of Hendricks is that he's a two-start guy this week. When it's crunch time, you'll want some volume out of your starters. With the offense the Cubs have, Hendricks is a win candidate every time he's on the mound. He may not be spectacular, but he's more than good enough to deserve a look.
Wade Miley, SP, Boston Red Sox
If you look at the leaders in xFIP since the All-Star break, you'll see a smattering of the best pitchers in the league. Most of the names are not surprising. However, sitting down there at number 24 is a guy who I used to want my hitters to face in daily fantasy: Wade Miley. No more. He has turned a corner.
Back on July 2nd, Miley got absolutely rocked by the (shocker) Toronto Blue Jays. It was not pretty. Since then, though, he has a 3.33 xFIP over 11 starts. What has caused the improvement? His strikeouts and ground-ball rate are up while his walks are down. That's the golden trifecta of pitcher juiciness.
Looking at the schedule, Miley's next start will come against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have actually been respectable against lefties, ranking 17th with a .309 wOBA. By starting then, though, he successfully avoid the Jays in Boston's next series with them. He does have a meeting with the Tampa Bay Rays right around the corner and a potential date with the Jays later on, but things really could be a lot worse for Miley down the stretch. He may not have the upside as the other guys on this list, but his floor seems respectable over his final few outings.