Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 27, Vol. I

And then we came to the end. My final waiver picks have been in the books for a few weeks now, and there’s just one piece of waiver-related business to finish up.

It’s time to pay the piper. Yep, it’s time to tally up my wins and losses this season, as it were. After nine weeks, I checked in with a record of 28-16 and have only a handful of changes to make.

Wins flipping to losses: J.A. Happ, Seth Smith, John Jaso, Chris Johnson, Scott Kazmir, Jerome Williams.
Losses flipping to wins: Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, Juan Francisco, Welington Castillo, Yan Gomes, Yasmani Grandal.
Adjusted Week 1-9 record: 28-16.

Not bad. Without further adieu, let’s recap Weeks 10-15. Later this week, we’ll wrap up the remaining selections.

WEEK 10:

Yasiel Puig | L.A. Dodgers | OF
YTD at time of writing: 1-4 in four plate appearances
Now: .322/.393/.538 in 428 plate appearances

I wrote about Puig twice, including this Week 10 cautioning against diving head-first into Puig Mania and in Week 16 after it appeared some of his luck was evening out. Since this is the column where I pump my own tires about being right and admit where I was wrong, let’s begin with the bad news.

I was wrong. Puig was excellent. Very, very excellent. At the time of my second writing, his .476 BABIP and 30.8 percent HR/FB rate both seemed (and were) absurdly high. They both crashed down closer to Earth (.384 and 21.8 percent, respectively), but Puig’s overall numbers remained other-worldly. So what happened?

Well, he nearly doubled his walk rate, for one thing. It rose from just 4.4 percent in Week 16 to 8.2 percent by season’s end. He also maintained a very strong rate of home runs per fly ball, even withstanding a drop to more human levels.

So while I anticipated correctly that his BABIP and HR/FB would fall, I did not account for a doubling in his major league walk rate, nor an ability (so it seems) to maintain a better-than-average home run rate. I was pretty smug in touting in this space my ability to trade Puig for Buster Posey, and that blew up in my face.


Other Subjects: Brandon McCarthy, Jacob Turner

Update: McCarthy did not return quite as quickly as I had hoped, but he was able to make it back for all of August and September, and he closely resembled the solid pitcher he’s been over the previous few years.

I said Turner was worth a look, and he was. One look at his strikeout and walk rates, and he should be nowhere near your roster! (Try the veal.) But seriously, he walked almost as many batters as he struck out and was only saved fantasy-wise by what appears to be a fairly lucky ERA. Swing and a miss.

Week 10 record: 1-2

WEEK 11:

Todd Helton | Colorado Rockies | 1B
YTD at time of writing: .254/.319/.429 in 141 plate appearances
Now: .252/.316/.429 in 433 plate appearances

Goodbye, 17.

I touted Helton in Week 11 as a historically good player, from whom we knew what we could expect. He finished the season as largely the same guy and will go down as the best Rockie of all-time. At least until Troy Tulowitzki plays long enough (and remains healthy enough) to usurp him.

I wonder what Colorado will get Tulo when he hangs em up?

Other Subjects: Logan Morrison, Ryan Raburn

Update: Morrison’s power wasn’t quite where I had hoped, but his health is more important going forward, anyway. If he’s healthy, he might be a sneaky post-hype buy next spring.

Raburn was a part-time player for the Tribe, but man did he rake. His numbers were far better against lefties (1.030 OPS), but they were hardly bad against righties (.811 OPS). For fantasy purposes, the lack of playing time hinders his value, but he could make an intriguing buy if he can land a full-time job somewhere next season.

Week 11 record: 2-1

WEEK 12:

Marlon Byrd | New York Mets | OF
YTD at time of writing: .253/.311/.494 in 181 plate appearances
Now: .288/.333/.504 in 575 plate appearances

One of the stranger files in the 2013 waiver chronicles.

Byrd seemed all but done after he played his way out of Chicago and then got slapped with a PED suspension. He entered this season at 35 years old and seemingly in a battle even to make the Mets roster, let alone play a prominent role.

He flipped that script early, though, and kept flipping it all season to the tune of an improbably strong .364 wOBA—the 27th-highest mark among qualified hitters. It was an amazing, unforseen turnaround for the Met-turned-Pirate at this year’s trade deadline.

There’s literally no telling what to expect from Byrd next year. He hit for power, got on base, hit for a decent average, and there didn’t appear to be a ton of luck driving his stats. He is as good as his numbers look this year. But whether or not he can maintain that performance next year, in his age-36 season, after some of the previous stinkers he’s tossed up? He’s likely little more than a lottery ticket.

Other Subjects: Wil Myers, Mike Carp

Update: Myers finally got the call to the big leagues, and he looked the part. Carp continued hitting well all season, albeit in a part-time role. My advice to pass because too much of Carp’s value was tied to other player’s injuries was on the mark.

Week 12 record: 3-0

WEEK 13:

Jordy Mercer | Pittsburgh Pirates | SS
YTD at time of writing: .297/.345/.495 in 122 plate appearances
Now: .280/.331/.416 in 361 plate appearances

Mercer came from relative obscurity to snag a semi-regular spot in the Pirates lineup. This is what I wrote during Week 13:

Still, his triple-slash during that time of .273/.339/.436 is not bad, and that is particularly true for such a shallow position. There’s value here in deep leagues.

The Pirates have no incentive to keep dangling Barmes out at shortstop, since his bat is now less than passable, and Mercer’s defense has been strong, as well. Given consistent playing time on a very good team and possibly hitting as high as second in the lineup, Mercer might be worth something.

The thing is, the Pirates did indeed continue to dangle Barmes at short on a regular basis despite his wet noodle-esque triple slash of .211/.249/.309. His defense was superb again, but offensive shortcomings made Barmes essentially a replacement-level player. With comparable playing time, Mercer racked up more WAR (1.2 vs. 0.7) and could be an even bigger find for fantasy league owners next year if he can manage a full slate of plate appearances.

Other Subjects: Marc Krauss, Zoilo Almonte

Update: Krauss did not do much in Houston, although since I sold him as a poor man’s Seth Smith, it could be argued that I called that perfectly. Almonte predictably returned closer to expected (terrible) levels of production.

Week 13 record: 2-1

WEEK 14:

Will Middlebrooks | Boston Red Sox | 3B
YTD at time of writing: .192/.228/.389 in 216 plate appearances
Now: .233/.277/.437 in 365 plate appearances

I made two points in my assesment of Middlebrooks.

1. He probably wasn’t quite as good as it seemed during the 2012 season.
2. His poor 2013 numbers were lower than they deserved to be, based on a deflated batting average on balls in play.

When Middlebrooks returned to the big leagues, his numbers were superb, to the tune of a .322/.363/.556 triple slash. Now, is he that good? Probably not. But it seems fairly clear that his demotion was not the result of anything he was doing, but rather the result of plain old poor luck. I’d buy back hard on him again next season.

Other Subjects: Johnny Giavotella, Juan Francisco, Logan Forsythe, Aaron Harang

Update: Giavotella was major league garbage. Francisco managed to provide a cheap source of power. Forsythe was major league garbage. Harang was … you get the picture, this was a bad week for my picks.

Week 14 record: 2-3

WEEK 15:

Raul Ibanez | Seattle Mariners | OF
YTD at time of writing: .260/.306/.563 in 271 plate appearances
Now: .246/.309/.494 in 488 plate appearances

I was a big wet blanket in Week 15, raining on the historic parade that was Ibanez’s over-the-hill hitting prowess. The pace at which he was popping bombs slowed, as it seemed obvious that it would, but he still managed an incredible 29 home run, .244/.309/.491 post-40 campaign playing in a pitchers’ park, no less.

That is certainly nothing to sneeze at, my Week 15 grumpiness notwithstanding.

Other Subjects: Gordon Beckham, A.J. Ellis

Update: The chances of Beckham looking like the guy he appeared to be as a rookie get slimmer by the day. Ellis did not turn out to be a world-beating catcher, but he wasn’t sold here as one, either.

Week 15 record: 3-0

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  1. Dennis said...

    The Jordy Mercer recommendation was a great one. In my NL Only league it filled that glaring hole Danny Espinosa left in my lineup. I was all set to run away with the league! Then Ryan Braun. Sigh.

    Thanks for a fun season.


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