Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 16
Sometimes, early success doesn't guarantee long-term success.
New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto knows this all too well, given his outstanding rookie season last year and his struggles in 2016. In 194 plate appearances last year, Conforto was a difference-maker for the Mets, and it's a certainty New York wouldn't have made the playoffs without him. He hit .270/.335/.506 with 9 home runs, had a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 134 and an fWAR of 2.1.
Here he was hitting two home runs in Game 4 of the World Series last year, which is kind of a big deal.
So, naturally, everyone assumed the 23-year-old would take the next step forward in 2016, his first full season in the Majors. He was expected to be an anchor in the middle of the Mets offense. But baseball once again showed that, like a good piece of chicken, young players often need more seasoning.
In 65 games for New York (243 plate appearances), Conforto hit .222/.296/.431 with 10 homers and had a wRC+ of 95. His strikeout rate jumped from 20.1% to 25.9%. And so the Mets sent him down to AAA to get himself right.
Apparently it worked, because in 16 games there, he batted .344/.420/.623 with a wRC+ of 174 and 3 dingers, 4 doubles, 2 triples and 15 RBIs. And with that, the Mets have called their young slugger back up to the Majors.
There are many owners in your league who probably dropped Conforto when he was sent down a couple weeks ago, owned in just 16.3% of ESPN fantasy leagues. He'll probably do much better this time up, in the center of a New York offense that should provide him plenty of opportunity to be a solid run producer.
Here are the rest of this week's adds to your season-long fantasy squad.
Yangervis Solarte - San Diego (1B, 2B, 3B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 46.4%
At a certain point, you just have to admit that a player may just be what his statistics say he is. And if you look at San Diego infielder Yangervis Solarte, you have to say that he is a fantasy-relevant, productive infielder who can play multiple positions and is certainly worthy of being on your roster.
The guy just continues to hit. In 208 plate appearances this year, Solarte is batting .290/.365/.516 with 9 homers, 38 RBIs and a wRC+ of 140. This is coming off a success season last year in which he batted .270/.320/.428 with a wRC+ of 109, with 14 homers in 571 plate appearances.
He already has 1.9 fWAR after two straight seasons of 1.6 fWAR, and can also make the occasional highlight reel play defensively as well.
Position flexibility also makes him a valuable waiver wire pickup. It's time to add Solarte to your roster, if you haven't already.
Didi Gregorius - New York Yankees (SS)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 35.6%
So there are still slightly less than two-thirds of ESPN fantasy leagues in which Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius is available for to be added. I'm not sure what those leagues are waiting for anymore.
Gregorius has been a fantasy relevant player all season, and he's kept it up, batting .299/.330/.471 for the Bronx Bombers, with 11 homers, 41 RBIs, 39 runs scored and a wRC+ of 112. Among qualified shortstops, that 112 wRC+ is tied for 9th-best in the Majors, ahead of Trevor Story, Marcus Semien and Danny Espinosa.
You can never have enough quality-hitting shortstops on your roster and, right now, Gregorius is one of the 10 best hitting shortstops in the Majors.
Matt Moore - Tampa Bay Rays (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 31.7%
If Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore wants to get traded to a contender in the next couple of weeks, he's making a solid case for himself.
On the season, the former top prospect in baseball is 5-7 with a 4.33 ERA and a 4.60 fielding independent pitching (FIP), striking out 7.58 batters per nine and walking 2.63. But over his last seven starts, he's been even better, with a 2.51 ERA and a 4.01 FIP.
If he goes to a contender, you may get a few more pitchers wins out of him as well.
Will Smith - Milwaukee Brewers (RP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 5.6%
Since returning from the disabled list in early June, Smith has been excellent, posting a 2.12 ERA, albeit with a high FIP of 4.16. The left-hander was supposed to share the closer's duties with Jeffress at the start of the season, but a bizarre clubhouse injury delayed his timetable by two months.
But he's back and throwing well and, whether he's traded or Jeffress is, he's likely to end up closing games at some point this season. Add the left-hander now before he becomes a very popular relief pitcher.