Halfway through the season and we have 11 weeks worth of AL Waiver Wires published on the site. The first eight were by Josh Shepardson, now of Baseball Prospectus, and the last three weeks I’ve stepped in and tried to keep up the great work done by him.
Sometimes there’s been good advice; other times our picks have fallen flat. Let’s look at the best and worst picks by each of us.
Unfortunately, Paulino has been on the DL the past month with a groin strain that’s caused his fantasy owners to miss a month’s worth of quality pitching. While he was injured it was discovered he also needed Tommy John surgery, so Paulino’s season is done. Before the injury, though, the hard-throwing righty had a 1.67 ERA through seven starts and looked poised to be a valuable asset the rest of the season. I give Josh credit for making this rec after just Paulino’s first start even though it won’t play out.
Griffin is no top prospect, so he’s not someone you’ll hear much about in prospect reports that typically just cover the top guys, whether it’s good news or bad. Therefore Griffin was surely underwritten about given his impressive minor league stats (and curveball) and proximity to the majors when I shared my thoughts on him.
About a week later he received the call and now, three starts later, he’s yet to give up more than two runs in any of them. Unfortunately he’s also yet to factor into a decision, but he’s certainly been worth the add to anyone who was brave enough to start him against the Rangers and Red Sox (probably no one). At least his next start is against hapless Seattle.
Josh pushed hard for people to add the former first overall pick, highlighting him in the offseason and two of the first three Waiver Wires. While Hochevar has a couple of gems to his name this season, overall he’s pitched poorly. After yesterday’s injury-shortened start, his ERA sits at 5.14, his WHIP is 1.39, and his strikeout rate is an uninspiring 6.52 per nine. With numbers like those, very few people should have added him to their teams.
I embarrassingly gave a reserved vote of confidence in Grimm after his solid debut, only to see him last all of one inning in his next turn, against the Tigers. By the time three outs were recorded, nine batters reached base and six of them came around to score. Grimm was rightfully sent back to the minors after one more appearance, and I was left wondering why I didn’t profile Franklin Morales that week instead. I hope you listened to my colleague Brad Johnson and avoided Grimm’s start as he advised.
More than just an All-Star snub this year, Reddick was also snubbed in most fantasy drafts and left in free agency to start the season. A few weeks in and Reddick’s stats weren’t too impressive, but Josh (Shepardson) saw a player playing every day, batting third, and with a decent skill-set worthy of an add. Those who listened have so far gotten a great return on their investment and Reddick shows little signs of slowing down in the second half.
The swap at first base between Kila Ka’aihue and Moss was initially ignored by most people, until he went off and blasted five homers in four days. A few days before that homer binge—when Moss had all of one home run to his name—I did a write-up of him, noting Oliver saw potential in this post-hype sleeper’s bat. Of course I didn’t see 10 homers in 24 games, but I’ll take some credit for being one of the first to write about him,
As of Josh’s writing that Scott was a solid bet for the rest of the season, he was batting .333 with an OPS over 1,000. Since that peak, though, his average has been in a near-constant free fall down to its current .194 mark. In a feat of ineptitude and extreme bad luck, Scott has managed to go a Rays franchise record 39 at-bats without a single hit. He’s known as a streaky hitter, but this is beyond anyone’s normal ebb and flow of production. How he will perform the rest of the season is one giant mystery.
When I confidently proclaimed that Saunders should have universal ownership, he was in the middle of a tremendous hot streak. Over a stretch of 10 games, he had multi-hit performances in five of them. In nearly a month’s worth of play since, he has just two. Saunders still possesses impressive tools, making him someone to always keep an eye on, but based on his play of late, he was a clear sell-high at the time.