Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 12
Let's do a little blind comparison.
You tell me which player is owned in 100% of leagues and who is owned in just 58.4% of leagues.
"Wait -- one of those guys may not be owned in my league?" is what you should be asking yourself. Yes, Player A is available in just over 40% of ESPN leagues. Player B is not sitting on your league's waiver wire.
Somehow, Saunders' ownership rate is still this low, and that's with a 22.6% increase over the last seven days as people snatched him up after he had himself a little home run derby last Friday.
Have yourself a night, Michael Saunders! #OurMomenthttps://t.co/sf3kWwNv3Z
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 18, 2016
Saunders is in the midst of a monster season for the Toronto Blue Jays, with the three-homer onslaught finally thrusting him into the limelight. Not many people saw this breakout campaign coming, but his batted-ball profile checks out.
With a 41.9% fly ball rate, Saunders is hitting considerably more fly balls than he has in recent years, and he's hitting them harder than he ever has, posting a career-best 37.3% hard-hit rate. In the interest of full disclosure, Saunders' .384 BABIP is a career-high, but with those sweet batted-ball numbers, he should keep doing damage. As an added boost, Saunders is locked into the top half of one of baseball's best lineups, so he should be a counting-stats monster the rest of the way.
Here are this week's other waiver wire additions.
Jameson Taillon - Pittsburgh Pirates (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 48.4%
The No. 2 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, Jameson Taillon was taken between two guys you've probably caught wind of -- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the first and third selections, respectively. Taillon has a lot of ground to make up to catch those two stars, but he's finally getting his big-league journey started after sitting out two-plus years with serious arm injuries.
Taillon, 24, did some outrageous things in the minors this season before getting called up. In 61 2/3 innings in Triple-A Indianapolis, he posted a 25.9% strikeout rate and 2.5% walk rate on his way to a 1.95 FIP. Taillon has done fairly well through three starts (18 innings) in the bigs. He has a 3.72 xFIP -- even after allowing three bombs in four innings to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night -- but is punching out just 6.52 hitters per nine innings.
This just in: pitching in the big leagues is hard.
With Pittsburgh starters Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano riding the struggle bus, Taillon should be up for good. Pittsburgh will likely keep him on a strict pitch count the rest of the way, but Taillon should be a solid producer, especially when deployed in favorable matchups.
Shawn Kelley - Washington Nationals (RP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 22.9%
Looking at the numbers, the two aren't even close.
Papelbon has been an unmitigated disaster while Kelley has been excellent. A contending team like Washington can't afford to keep trotting out Papelbon to preserve ninth-inning leads, one would think. Kelley is a perfect 2-for-2 in save chances since Papelbon hit the shelf, including a five-out save against the Cubs in which he fanned four guys.
If you're in need of saves, Kelley is worth a look.
Jayson Werth - Washington Nationals (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 35.9%
In his age-37 season, the old man is still getting it done. In his prime, he was a patient hitter who worked the count and provided good pop. Now, he strikes out a little more (22.7%), walks a little less (9.2%) but still has some decent power (.328 wOBA and 10 bombs).
Werth is especially potent against left-handed pitching. When facing a southpaw this season, he owns a monster .489 wOBA, so, at a minimum, he's a solid bench piece who you can utilize in his matchups with left-handed hurlers.