I can’t lie, I’ve been 99% devoted to this Scott Fish Bowl draft that started yesterday. If you are unfamiliar with this event, you should search for #SFB8 on Twitter and head to fantasycares.net to learn how you can donate to a good cause. You can also sign up for the #SFB9 already! This massive event has become the unofficial kickoff to the fantasy football season, and any league with a charitable component is just awesome.
That said, I still had to find time to discuss fantasy baseball waivers. There are some epic names on the list, as evidenced by the fact that we get to start off with an ALL-STAR.
Mitch Moreland, Red Sox (50% owned)
Moreland is an All-Star for the first time in his career, like a boss. I guess you all should have read “The Case for Mitch Moreland” back in January. Make sure you check the poll at the end, too—32% of people missed out on a free corner infield hitter. A hitter that half of you can still add from waivers. Moreland is on pace for a career mark in batting average and should finish with 20 or more home runs. He is giving you the sort of season people thought they were getting when they paid up for Eric Hosmer this year.
Brian Anderson, Marlins (47% owned)
This whole effort is basically a fanboy post. I wrote up Brian Anderson about a week ago, and still contend that he is a legitimate NL ROY candidate. Please read the post to get an idea, but the point is that he’s a vastly underrated in fantasy circles due to not hitting a ton of home runs (but crushing it everywhere else). And oh by the way, the home runs are now starting to come (three over the last 10 days). Anderson has the look of a second-half monster. Don’t miss the boat.
Brandon Nimmo, Mets (44% owned)
I suppose the injury and the ineptitude of the Mets are holding back his percentage. The Mets don’t have much to be happy about in 2018, but Nimmo is certainly a bright spot. Nimmo ranks 10th in OBP and 11th in ISO among qualified outfielders, and those numbers include the current cold-ish spell. The healthy 12.2% walk rate helps offset some of the strikeouts (28.5%) and he’s already up to 12 home runs and seven swipes. I love Nimmo’s recognition of the zone, too—his 21.9% chase rate is far better than the 30.6% MLB average and ranks 13th in all of baseball. That plate discipline and ability to draw a walk give him a safe floor, and we’ve already seen glimpses of his upside. I’m still all-in with Nimmo.
Ryon Healy, Mariners (38% owned)
I did this rudimentary exercise where I sorted my Yahoo player pool by home run leaders. Then I did this other rudimentary exercise where I looked at the ownership percentages next to those people’s names. Besides Healy, the lowest name on the list is Ian Desmond, who checks in at 73% owned. Healy, though? Sitting pretty with 18 home runs, tied with Gattis/Albies/Rosario for 20th in the Majors...is 38% owned. Healy doesn’t walk much (3.7%) but that .223 ISO will play in any format. He’s a career .272 hitter, too, so there’s room for that .245 average to positively regress given his career low BABIP of .259. Cheap power, friends!
Addison Russell, Cubs (45% owned)
Mark Reynolds, Josh Reddick, and Denard Span were other names I considered...but Russell doesn’t get enough love in fantasy circles. Russell has become a better hitter in 2018, setting career marks in walk rate (9.5%) and strikeout rate (19.9%). He’s slashing .279/.351/.404 with a .329 wOBA. We haven’t seen as much home run power this year, but Russell is going to shatter his career mark for doubles (29 in 142 games in 2015). He’s up to 17 doubles over 80 games so far. For a guy hitting more doubles, it’s no surprise that his line drive rate is the best it’s ever been, a healthy 25.6% mark. Also of note, Russell has lowered his chase rate (28.8%) and swinging strike rate (11.5%) this year...and is making the most contact he ever has in the zone (85.6%). That’s a league average contact rate, but I like everything under the hood here and don’t think it’s insane to see Russell’s power start to show up more in the second half.
Andrew Heaney, Angels (43% owned)
In his last effort, Heaney went seven innings against the Dodgers, nabbing the win and striking out 10 hitters. Were it not for one mistake (a three-run homer) that turn would have been utterly dominant. As is, his season line is now up to: five wins, 3.84 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts. Where else are you finding that on waivers?
Sergio Romo, Rays (39% owned)
He is the lead man for saves in Tampa and gives you the added bonus of pitching multiple innings on occasion. The 4.08 ERA and 1.29 WHIP aren’t killers, and he helps out with strikeouts. As a third closer on your fake team, he’s a quality addition anywhere.
Nathan Eovaldi, Rays (40% owned)
Okay, so you can find a line like Heaney’s by grabbing Eovaldi. The waiver wire list really is stacked this week. Over the last two weeks he is the No. 3 pitcher in the fake game, behind only Aaron Nola and Tyler Anderson. I love his ground ball rate (48.8%) and his low walk rate (3.3%). In fact, he has 44 strikeouts against only six walks over his 48 1⁄3 innings this year. He’s a prime candidate to be traded, so keep eyes on that...but there’s no denying what he has accomplished thus far in his return. He’s pounding the zone with a career-best 65.2% first strike percentage, and he’s generating a career mark in swinging strike rate (10.4%). Loads of soft contact (23.1%) and a low line drive rate (14.0%)...there’s a lot to like under the hood.
Tyler Anderson, Rockies (39% owned)
The No. 2 pitcher in the game over the last two weeks. Told y’all this edition was loaded. His home ERA is a bit inflated at 4.37, but on the road he’s shining with a 3.48 ERA. And I think you can still start him at home against weaker teams. You’ll have to add him fast, as that percentage has leapt up 16% over the last day. For pitching-starved squads, this is a rare Coors pitcher that you can trust.
A.J. Minter, Braves (23% owned)
Lou Trivino, Kirby Yates, Jared Hughes, Will Smith, and Joe Jimenez were all considered as well. But I’m high on Minter’s role for Atlanta rest of season and he’s currently saving games (unlike most of the aforementioned). Arodys Vizcaino actually pitched in the eighth inning three days ago, not the ninth. I’m no seer and can’t predict the future, but I do know I prefer Minter’s skill set and current levels of trust in the closer’s role—he’s yet to blow a save this season. I’m chasing upside here. If you’re able, you should too.