AL Waiver Wire:  Week 8

Upon the encouragement of colleague and Waiver Wire partner Jeffrey Gross, we’ll each be featuring one player we suggest buying, as well as one we suggest selling in addition to our standard coverage of under-owned fantasy commodities.

Juan Rivera| Toronto| 1B/OF| 5 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .235/.322/.340
Oliver ROS: .274/.328/.448

The season line for Juan Rivera is ugly, but he finds himself riding a hitting streak that has seen his slash increase from .203/.295/.266 on May 16 to its current mark. Not a flashy player, Rivera offers cheap power with the potential for an average falling in the .270s or .280s (career .278 hitter). While it’s easy to blame his current poor line on a below league average BABIP, it’s important to note his career BABIP is just .282 and he is popping balls up at an alarming rate. Even with his shortcomings in mind, Rivera is a viable option for owners in need of a hitter capable of slugging 20-to-25 home runs, and one worth rostering while he’s squaring the ball up. Monitor his playing time situation when Adam Lind returns from the disabled list, but expect to see him get regular at-bats by playing first base, the corner outfield and designated hitter.

Recommendation: Should be owned most large mixed-leagues and all AL-only formats.

David DeJesus| Oakland| OF| 18 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .252/.326/.403
Oliver ROS: .287/.349/.436

A fantasy glue guy, David DeJesus is a jack-of-most trades (not much of a threat to steal bases), master of none. A career Royal, DeJesus’ introduction to the Athletics this season has lacked fireworks, more closely resembled the waving of a sparkler. Much of his lackluster season can be blamed on good ol’ fashioned bad luck on batted balls (.319 BABIP for his career, .263 BABIP in 2011). Since flipping the calendar to May, he has begun to heat up. Part of a lineup that lacks star hitters, DeJesus is likely to continue to be the beneficiary of hitting in the top third of the order.

Owners in need of modest across the board contributions should strongly consider rostering DeJesus. Those in leagues with daily lineup changes can further benefit from him by taking advantage of his huge platoon split. He is a career .296/.370/.452 hitter versus right-handed pitchers while hitting just .269/.333/.367 versus left-handed pitchers.

Recommendation: Should be owned some medium sized mixed-leagues, all large mixed-leagues. and all AL-only leagues.

Andrew Oliver| Detroit| SP| 0 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 3.31 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.54 K/9, 3.48 BB/9 (Triple-A)
Oliver ROS: 5.41 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 6.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9

Oliver gets the turn in the Tigers rotation Saturday to replace the injured Phil Coke against the Red Sox. A hard-throwing southpaw, Oliver will need to use his secondary offerings effectively if he’s to be successful in his second stint in the majors. He has been fairly successful in the minors this year, but still could stand to improve his walk rate and induce a few more ground balls. Not a recommended start in any league size right out of the chute, he is an intriguing prospect worth monitoring.

Recommendation: Should be monitored in re-draft leagues, and potentially stashed in dynasty leagues in the event of a strong return to the majors.

Brandon Webb| Texas| SP| 13 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: Injured
Oliver ROS: 3.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9

Brandon Webb hasn’t thrown a pitch in a professional baseball game since 2009. It is safe to say, with that in mind, there are many questions that need to be answered before determining whether he can be a viable starter at the major league level. He will begin answering those questions Monday, when he starts for Frisco in Double-A. Those in deep-mixed leagues and AL-only leagues with an opening on their disabled list wouldn’t be crazy to stash him, as there is value in using every available roster spot. Otherwise, he should just be monitored on his rehab assignment for the time being.

Recommendation: Should be monitored.

Gavin Floyd| Chicago (American League)| SP| 62 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 3.61 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 7.49 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, 45.6 percent GB
Oliver ROS: 3.82 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9

A favorite of mine, Gavin Floyd is a player I’d strongly suggest acquiring. Owned in inexplicably too few Yahoo! leagues, it appears he still doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Regardless of preferred method of analyzing a pitcher, Floyd has performed tremendously this season. With the increased exposure of advanced statistics, buy-lows have largely become a thing of the past. Perhaps the next in-vogue trade practice will be identifying undervalued players whose surface stats match their underlying numbers. Floyd would fit that bill as he’s posting a 3.29 x, 3.44 FIP, and a 3.91 tERA, all of which would support his solid 3.61 ERA. The owner of a sparkling walk rate, a strong groundball slant in batted balls, and a solid strikeout rate, Floyd does everything that’s relatively in his control well. Currently the No. 31-ranked starter in Yahoo! standard formats, Floyd is a No. 3 fantasy starter who doesn’t seem to be valued like one.

Recommendation: Should be universally owned!

Zach Britton| Baltimore| SP| 71 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 2.35 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 4.85 K/9, 2.91 BB/9, 55.7 percent GB
Oliver ROS: 4.04 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 5.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9

While buy-lows may largely be a thing of the past, selling high is still somewhat prevalent should a player be the owner of a couple of notable characteristics. One of those is youth, the second is prospect status. Lo and behold, Zach Britton qualifies as being both. A glance at the surface stats would suggest Britton has arrived and is a fantasy asset. However, it is hard to envision a starting pitcher maintaining such sparkling ratios with such a low strikeout rate and just a modest walk rate in the non-deadball era even if he is inducing an eye-popping number of groundballs.

Owned in more leagues than Floyd, Britton serves as “Exhibit A” of the shiny new toy syndrome that has seemed to afflict a large percentage of the fantasy community. I won’t suggest that those who own Britton should outright cut him, as he has performed well, but he should be shopped vigorously. The dynamics change a bit for those in dynasty and keeper leagues, but in terms of standard re-draft leagues, it’s unlikely his value will be any higher.

Recommendation: Should be owned in some medium sized mixed-leagues, all larger mixed-leagues as well as all AL-only leagues.

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  1. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ KC Question

    I’ve actually written about Danny Duffy twice in the last few weeks, and was tempted to do so again, haha.  I’ve yet to get to watch a full start of his because I’ve been at work (man I wish I had DVR).  He’s a player that I think is capable of being universally ownable if he’s a quick learner.  His first two starts haven’t been overly impressive from a numbers standpoint, namely because he’s walking more guys than he has in the minors.  His strikeout numbers have translated though, and he’s been able to minimize the damage of putting a lot of guys on base. Obviously part of that being good luck, but the other part being skill that he hasn’t completely unraveled and can work out of jams.  His track record of success has me interested and willing to give him time to iron out the control issues.  Considering how much better his second start was than his first, I think he’s on the right track.  He should be owned in all deep mixed leagues and AL-only formats, and I’d say in most medium sized mixed leagues where owners have bench flexibility.

  2. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Drew

    Three personal favorites of mine actually.  I own both Floyd and Bailey in multiple leagues and like Minor a lot as well.  Minor brings up the rear for me because of the uncertainty surrounding his ability to stick in the Braves rotation.  I do like him a great deal though should he be able to retain a rotation spot.

    The top spot comes down to Floyd and Bailey for me, and I’d take Floyd of the bunch.  He has a longer track record of success, and a better groundball rate.  I am a firm believer in the advances Bailey has made.  I’ve watched him pitch some this year, and he passes the eyeball test in addition to his strong numbers.  Less than satisfying start against the Phillies, but may provide an opportunity to buy from an owner who’s waivering as to whether he’s turned the corner or is the same old Bailey… as I write this and head to FanGraphs to take a look at his numbers, it appears he has a sprained shoulder and may be headed to the DL.  Yuck, what a shame.  Monitor the situation with him, if he’s healthy I like him.  I’d also keep tabs on how effective his splitter is.  He only began throwing it in 2009, and it has been clobbered to date, but it’s currently posting a positive run value.  If it proves to be another weapon he can turn to, it may help each of his other pitches play up, including his fastball.

  3. Mike Tyson said...

    Guy offers me Pineda, Colby Lewis, Brantley and Beckham for Zobrist, Farnsworth and Abreu


  4. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Mike Tyson,

    Interesting offer.  I’d say it largely comes down to team makeup and league scoring format.  I’d guess the guy offering Pineda, Lewis has a glut of pitching to be able to offer that combination up.

  5. Josh Shepardson said...


    Funny you should ask about him.  I actually spent sometime on Google trying to find any rumor/speculation and haven’t found anything.  I tweeted at Rob Steingall and he said he’s read early-mid June, which makes sense.  Definitely should be on radars, and probably a good stash option if you’ve got bench wiggle room.

  6. Matt said...

    Thanks! I may have grabbed him a bit early as I could have used the bench spot, but I’m in a 14 team mixed keeper league with 26-man rosters and fellow owners who are very aggressive with prospects. Belt, Rizzo, Lawrie, and Moustakas have all been owned for weeks so I figured I had to act early on Chisenhall.

    So, yeah, just getting a little anxious about his callup. Need to get some use out of that bench spot. I’d think they’d call him up as soon as the Super 2 cutoff passes, since they are obviously shooting for the playoffs and need to upgrade from Hannahan as soon as possible. Early June makes sense.

    One other question: Chisenhall or Kipnis? I figure Chisenhall is a bit more impressive due to age, and has a clearer path to a callup.

  7. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Matt

    No need to limit yourself to just one more question!  I think in a league that large, making the stash move now is probably prudent.  I also think you are choosing the correct player to stash.  Kipnis figures to have a bright future, but he’s also got some kinks to work out at second base, namely the footwork aspect of things from what I’ve read.  As you stated, Chisenhall’s path is clearer as well, with Hannahan in his way as opposed to Orlando Cabrera (who mind you hasn’t been an offensive force of late).

    I’d suggest checking out Brad’s piece on Anthony Rizzo ( as he brings up why it may be in the Padres best interest to promote Kyle Blanks to play first base as opposed to Rizzo.  Blanks could be a sneaky speculative power play if they ultimately decide to do that in San Diego.

  8. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ carter

    Thanks for the kind words.  I’m not personally a Maya fan.  I haven’t gotten to watch him this year, but scouting reports coming into the year essentially described him as a back end of the rotation workhorse type.  The pitcher to get excited about for the Nationals organization is Brad Peacock, he’s toying with hitters in Double-A.  I wrote about him over at the fantasybaseballcafe ( John Sickels pegged Peacock as a breakout candidate coming into the season, and Adam Foster of project prospect tweeted yesterday that his stuff this year supports his lights out numbers.  Hope this was of some help.

  9. carter said...

    ok, Josh, I possibly have shots at two useful waiver players, Uggla and Johnny Gomes, at $24 and $10, respectively. Similar type players, no? I guess the nice thing about Uggla is the best is yet to come, one hopes. At Gomes’ price he also represents a better trade chip. Thanks a lot for your thoughts.

  10. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ carter

    I don’t like all the ground balls from Uggla, but he has had some pretty crappy luck on balls in play and his HR/FB is down substantially, so yes the best should be yet to come.  I’d pass on Johnny Gomes.  He’s a defensive liability who’s reliant entirely on his bat to see playing time.  Considering he’s struggling with the stick, PT could be hard to come by.  The Reds could easily opt to turn to Fred Lewis/Chris Heisey in the short term, and potentially Yonder Alonso or Dave Sappelt over the summer.

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