Last week’s waivers report featured plenty of quality commodities, but none better than Jed Lowrie, who is currently the No. 4 hitter in the fake game behind Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, and Mike Trout. Hopefully we can find someone as useful this week. Doubtful, but here goes nothin’.
Francisco Cervelli, Pirates (52% owned)
Cervelli’s owned percentage on Yahoo has risen 18% over the last 24 hours. He ranks fourth among catchers with 12 RBIs and has a pair of home runs to go with a .262 batting average. The surprising Pirates rank ninth in runs (102) and ninth in slugging (.411). As a team, the Buccos are bashing left-handed pitching, sporting a .221 ISO (2nd), .287 batting average (1st), and a 137 wRC+ (tied for 1st). Ride the wave, ladies and gents.
Tucker Barnhart, Reds (17% owned)
Barnhart is a guy known for his defensive ability, but his stick has gradually come around. He ranks ninth in plate appearances among catchers (65) and is faring well with the opportunity. His 13.8 BB% is third among starting backstops and his .182 ISO is a top 10 mark among starters. His performance is backed by a 123 wRC+ and .354 wOBA. Barnhart isn’t going to light it on fire, but the home park is nice and all that opportunity will add up to something decent by year’s end. I like him more in weekly leagues, where at-bats are important.
Brandon Belt, Giants (37% owned)
Belt is in the midst of a three-game “heater,” as he has a home run in three straight games. He is slashing .259/.369/.519 with four home runs and a stolen base this year. He has always had very good on-base skills (career .358 OBP) and solid power (career .195 ISO). True to form, three of his four home runs have come away from the spaciousness of AT&T Park. That comes with the territory if we are digging this deep for a first baseman.
Yuli Gurriel, Astros (36% owned)
I keep looking for guys whose ownership percentage surprises me. Gurriel is one such, but he just came off the disabled list on April 13th so that makes sense. He hit a home run in his first game back and has at least one hit in each of his last four games. Last year he was a quality corner infield bat, slashing .299/.332/.486 with 18 home runs over 139 games. Last year’s effort was highlighted by a minuscule 11.0 K% and .187 ISO. Gurriel doesn’t walk much (career 3.8 BB%) but he doesn’t strike out much and plays in a loaded Astros lineup. Don’t overthink this one. I like him more than Belt.
Cesar Hernandez, Phillies (62% owned)
Cesar made my second base DFS overview in the offseason. He was one of five keystone players to swipe 15+ bags and be a plus in the BB% department last year. Coming into 2018 there were concerns that Hernandez might be the odd man out due to the presence of Scott Kingery. All Hernandez has done is slash .278/.409/.403 with a pair of home runs and five stolen bases already. He looks to be headed for a career year atop that Phillies lineup, as his on-base skills and speed are legitimate. The time to act is now, though, as he’s been a buzzy name this week.
Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks (8% owned)
Heading into Sunday’s games, Marte’s 87 plate appearances were tied for seventh among all second basemen. I like him because he’s a plus in the strikeout department (career 16.8 K%) and has bettered himself in that regard recently (below 15% in ‘18 and ‘17). If you’re a believer in some positive regression for the Diamondbacks offense as a whole (I am) then I think you have to consider Marte one of the beneficiaries due to his on-base skills and his speed potential. Marte is making hard contact 45.2% of the time against lefties, so now all he needs to do is hit fewer ground balls—something he worked on last year. I’m a believer in his potential as a switch-hitting option in that Arizona offense. Also, second base waivers are pretty horrid from what I can see, and I didn’t want to choose Starlin Castro.
Gleyber Torres, Yankees (55% owned)
Do I need to list a second option? It’s crazy that Torres is over 50% owned and he hasn’t done a thing at the MLB level yet. But that tells you how amped everyone is for his arrival. Torres was slashing .370/.415/.543 with a home run, 11 RBIs, three doubles, and a triple over 13 games at Triple-A entering Saturday’s game (that he was pulled from when he got called up). Let GleyberMania officially begin.
Daniel Robertson, Rays (2% owned)
You should add Marcus Semien (40% owned) before you consider Robertson (Semien made last week’s wire report). Anyway, Robertson is 3-for-3 on Sunday at the time of this writing, and seems to be cementing his place in the Rays lineup. Over the past two weeks he has scored 10 runs (fourth-best among shortstops), cranked two home runs, and swiped a base. He has split time batting 8th, 9th, and 5th, but should mostly hit fifth if he can keep it up. Much like second base, mining for depth in the middle infield is a perilous endeavor—you may as well take the guy who is hot.
Christian Villanueva, Padres (65% owned)
He has smoked six home runs already, and he’s the No. 2 option at the hot corner after Manny Machado. Fun, if the Machado owner plays his at shortstop, that makes Villanueva No. 1, right? Anyway, Villanueva is making hay against southpaws, making loads of hard contact (46.7%) and hitting lots of fly balls (53.3%). He is holding his own against right-handed pitching, too, with a .167 ISO and .365 wOBA. I’m adding now and asking questions later.
Jeimer Candelario, Tigers (11% owned)
Candelario is on a whale of a six-game hitting streak, as he is the No. 5 third baseman in the game over that time. A pair of bombs and a .444 batting average will do that for you. He’s batting second in the order for the Tigers. You could do worse.
Shin-soo Choo, Rangers (47% owned)
Choo was born to be a leadoff hitter. Keep him in Texas, trade him to a contender, I don’t care. Just let the man hit leadoff. Currently the 20th-ranked outfielder in the game, Choo isn’t owned in nearly enough leagues. The only other lightly-owned guy in the vicinity who would surprise you is Kevin Pillar, but some of that are his three steals that all came in the same game. Long-term, I’d rather have Choo.
David Dahl, Rockies (15% owned)
The Rockies called Dahl up on Sunday due to CarGo’s injury (hamstring) and Gerardo Parra’s absence (four-game suspension). He hit sixth in the lineup upon his return, and should be snagged in all 12-team leagues. With guys like this (that possess upside) you have to get ahead of the curve. If Dahl starts to rake on this team and in this Coors environment, I see no reason why CarGo or Parra would steal at-bats from him.
Jack Flaherty, Cardinals (26% owned)
With Adam Wainwright (elbow) on the shelf, Flaherty is getting the call back to St. Louis. Flaherty dominated in his lone MLB start this year (5.0 IP, 9 Ks, 1.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) and crushed it at Triple-A (2.25 ERA and 22 Ks over 20 innings). Perhaps Wainwright can pull a Matt Harvey, do us all a solid, and work out of the bullpen upon his return, eh?
Tyson Ross, Padres (25% owned)
It’s crazy he just chased a no-hitter and he’s only owned in a quarter of leagues. Other than a tough draw against the Astros in his second turn, Ross has been pretty stellar in 2018 (2.81 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts over 25.2 innings). He’s always been able to keep the ball on the ground and he’s doing that again this year, as the 50.7 GB% shows. He isn’t allowing balls in the air (24.6 FB%) and that’s a recipe for success in the confines of Petco Park. Fun fact, Ross is using his slider 47.2% of the time. If that mark holds steady this will be the first year on record that Ross hasn’t thrown his fastball the most (currently 45.3%). Good thing too, as hitters have a career .270 batting average against his four-seamer and a .192 average against the slider. Apparently throwing the better pitch more is a good idea.
Bud Norris, Cardinals (64% owned)
Norris is the surprise closer for the Cardinals due to the struggles of Greg Holland. Norris has already tallied five saves, good for seventh-most in the majors. He got mentioned in this week’s Closing Remarks, so you should go check that out. Greg Holland is a concern, but I’m playing for right now.
Matt Albers, Brewers (19% owned)
All of Albers, Hader, and Barnes have collected saves since Corey Knebel hit the shelf, but I still think they’d like to zero in on one guy. If you’re digging deep, you could do worse than Albers or even Jacob Barnes. Both are pretty available, as Barnes is at 23% on Yahoo. Ugly situation, but if you’re hard up (like I am in the TGFBI) you’ve gotta do something. I didn’t want to be boring and list Devenski, okay?
That’s it for me for this week. We’ll aim to get this one out on Saturday for Week 4. Until then, happy trails out there!