Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 17
We're coming up on the final month of the season for season-long fantasy baseball. In most leagues, the playoffs begin in August, and with just a few days left in July, teams should be gearing up for the stretch run.
And while there aren't any budding superstars left to be picked up (at least we don't think there are), there are a few upside guys who could help your team out during the heat of a pennant race.
Howie Kendrick - Los Angeles Dodgers (2B-OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 39.4%
Things had not been going terribly well for Howie Kendrick to start the season. The second baseman had been displaced by the hot-hitting Chase Utley, and he was struggling when he did get a chance to play, batting .254/.311/.359 in the first half. However, since the All Star break, Kendrick has been on fire, with a .400/.488/.543 slash line and a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 188.
Counting Sunday night's game against the Cardinals, Kendrick has a 16-game hitting streak, and now also provides you with a little more positional flexibility, eligible at both second base and the outfield.
He's not going to give you much power (just six home runs on the season) but is getting a ton of base hits and walking quite a bit as well.
Ryan Schimpf - San Diego Padres (2B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 2.5%
San Diego rookie Ryan Schimpf isn't a household name, but he has been one of the better rookies in the National League since joining the Padres last month. After going 3-for-5 with a home run on Sunday against the Washington Nationals, the second baseman is batting .250/.368/.648 in 106 plate appearances, and he owns an fWAR of 1.1 that is already sixth-best among NL rookies.
Ryan Schimpf's (@Padres) 8th-inning HR was calculated at 430 feet. It was the 9th HR of his career, all which have come in July, most in MLB
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 24, 2016
Those nine long balls are more than any other player in the month of July, by the way.
The player with the most homers in July?
Would you believe it’s @Padres INF Ryan Schimpf? https://t.co/PxEi6OwDgc pic.twitter.com/nyyTZaAZps
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) July 24, 2016
Schimpf is toting around a wRC+ of 167 and appears to have a decent idea of what he's doing up at the plate, with a healthy 13.2% walk rate thus far. He's a 28-year-old rookie, so get in now while the getting is good.
Greg Garcia - St. Louis Cardinals (2B/SS/3B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 0.5%
Quick, can you name the player who currently ranks fourth on the St. Louis Cardinals in fWAR?
Of course you can, because I asked the question right under his name. I'm pretty easy. Greg Garcia has taken over the leadoff role for the Cardinals in the wake of Matt Carpenter's injury, and as usually happens with the Cardinals, they haven't missed a beat.
Heading into Sunday night, Garcia was batting .303/.442/.438 in 47 games (113 PAs), with a wRC+ of 144. He doesn't hit much for extra bases, just six doubles and two homers, but he walks more than he strikes out (17.7%-to-16.8%) and is continually on base ahead of the middle of the St. Louis order.
He's worth an add in NL-only and deeper leagues.
Matt Shoemaker - Los Angeles Angels (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 46.6%
The word is nearly out on Matt Shoemaker. Next week, I expect the Angels hurler will be past the 50% ownership mark on ESPN leagues, especially after being named AL Pitcher of the Week last week.
For the season, Shoemaker is 5-10 in 19 starts (112 2/3 IP) with an ERA of 3.99 but a much better fielding independent pitching (FIP) of 3.29. He is striking out 9.19 batters per nine, a career high, and is walking 1.84, tying him for sixth among all qualified MLB pitchers in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.00 K/BB). Here's what he did last week.
And in "fun with arbitrary start points," since May 11, he has an ERA of 2.84 and a FIP of 2.50, striking out 9.68 batters per nine innings.
Zach Eflin - Philadelphia Phillies (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 15.9%
For a team that can look as bad as the Phillies do on a regular basis, they have had remarkable success churning out interesting young pitching prospects this year. The latest, acquired two years ago in the Jimmy Rollins deal, is rookie Zach Eflin, who threw his first career shutout Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was his second complete game of the season.
.@zeflin12 is the only rookie in MLB this season to throw a complete game.
He's done it twice. pic.twitter.com/uXDkhoWGLc
— Phillies (@Phillies) July 23, 2016
He now has a 3.40 ERA and a 4.19 FIP in his eight starts, but that includes his disastrous Major League debut in which he gave up 8 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings to the Toronto Blue Jays. Since that debut, he has a 2.08 ERA and a 3.33 FIP, with 24 strikeouts and just 3 walks.
Opponents are batting .205 against him, and he’s posted a WHIP of 0.86. He's the only rookie in baseball to throw a complete game this year, and he's thrown two.
Eflin doesn't strike a lot of guys out, 4.65 per nine, but has impeccable control and has lived on weak contact so far.
Edwin Diaz - Seattle Mariners (RP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 9.6%
Folks, there appears to be yet another dazzling young relief pitcher we're all going to have to get familiar with, Seattle's Edwin Diaz.
.@EdiDiaz44 was at it again today.
He leads Major League relievers with 42 strikeouts since his debut on June 6th. pic.twitter.com/ZVmF06D8wa
— Mariners (@Mariners) July 21, 2016
In 21 2/3 innings since being called up, Diaz is averaging 18.28 strikeouts per nine innings. That's an average of more than two strikeouts per inning, gang. And one could argue he's actually pitched into some bad luck, with a batting average on balls in play against of .447. That's the only reason his ERA is 2.08 and his FIP is 1.99.
He throws hard, with a fastball averaging 96.8 miles per hour, according to FanGraphs, as well as a nasty slider. I mean, just look at this heat to get out of a jam against the Orioles earlier this year.
He's not a closer yet, but will be one day soon and in the meantime will pile up the saves without adding to your walk totals as an unhittable middle reliever.