NL Waiver Wire: Week 16

Recap: Last week’s recommendation of Patrick Corbin as a matchup-dependent stream option is solidified after striking out seven Buccos in a quality start… Wade LeBlanc, on the other hand, didn’t get a chance to show off his chops in Marlins Park, and struggled with his WHIP at Citi Field… Joshua Vitters got the call and drove in a couple of runs, and he’s certainly worth keeping around for his mix of power, third-base eligibility, and opportunity… Best of all is that Nate Schierholtz, free at last, started a clean five-out-of-five Phillies games at this writing. Let’s touch on next week’s helpers.

Jean Segura | Brewers| 2B| 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .267 / .304 / .364
Oliver ROS: .264 / .299 / .384

A big part of the Zack Greinke haul, Segura is a speedster who hardly set the world ablaze in the Texas League (Double-A) but warranted a promotion anyways with his .294/.341/.404 line for the Angels affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers. Think of Segura as a Jose Altuve spin-off: they aren’t entirely alike, as Altuve’s much shorter and will hit for a much higher average, but both jumped from Double-A straight to the majors and both project for about 10 homers (despite small frames) and 30 steals over the course of a full season. Another difference—as if it matters for fantasy—is that Segura is skilled with the leather at shortstop, where he was converted last year. A soon-eligible shortstop with small pop and quick speed who won’t drain your batting average? Count me in, even through the growing pains.

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Speedy Segura scurries for a soft single. Say that five times fast. (US Presswire)

Recommendation: Worth an add by any team that can’t stomach a low batting average and has a need for speed and a little bit of power.

Tyler Greene | Astros | 2B, SS| 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.4 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .218 / .272 / .358
Oliver ROS: .249 / .320 / .388

Because of his hacking ways and lacking pitch recognition, Greene will forever be a flawed hitter who can’t manage a high average. At this point in the season, though, a couple of months of a .220 batting average will hardly kill you, especially when it comes with a dozen or so steals. Greene is speedy and efficient, going a hot 25-for-27 over his 495 major-league at-bats, and now resides in Houston, who scooped him up when the Cardinals decided they’d had just about enough. The Astros attempt more steals and have a hole at shortstop with Jed Lowire nursing a leg injury for the indefinite future. Greene might not make the playoffs, but he’ll surely enjoy some free reign in Houston.
Recommendation: Worth an add by any team that can stomach a low batting average and has a need for speed.

Eric Young Jr.| Rockies| OF | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .218 / .272 / .358
Oliver ROS: .249 / .320 / .388

How about an alternative to Greene if you truly can’t stomach the batting average? Young is among the fastest major leaguers—far speedier than Greene—but doesn’t have the playing time assurances. That hardly mattered last year, though, as Junior scurried to nearly 30 steals in just 77 games. I’d be surprised if he’s not already owned in single league formats, but this month’s Tony Campana deserves a roster spot.
Recommendation: Worth an add by any team that can’t stomach a low batting average and has a need for speed.

Brett Jackson | Cubs| OF | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.8 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .221 / .293 / .397
Oliver ROS: .240 / .317 / .415

Jackson’s even less likely to be available and is even more flawed, in this author’s opinion, than the two above names. Long a staple on top prospect lists, Jackson’s underwhelmingly risen through the Cubs system despite his ugly plate discipline (promoted with a 24.9 percent strikeout rate in Double-A!), and graduated this year despite a 33.8 percent strikeout rate in Iowa. I can hardly argue against a power-speed outfielder in fantasy, but comparisons to Drew Stubbs are greatly premature; Stubbs’ strikeout rate never touched 25 percent in the minors. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson’s strikeout rate hovers near 40 percent, and I wouldn’t expect a batting average high above the Mendoza Line, but he’ll provide the power half of the punch that Young, and to some extent Greene, can’t.
Recommendation: Worth an add by any team that can stomach a low batting average and has a need for speed and power.

Rudy Owens | Astros | SP | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 4.94 ERA / 1.36 WHIP / 5.3 K/9
Oliver ROS: N/A

Admittedly, this is a stretch, but so is the case with searching for starting pitching in the post-deadline days of August. Owens was moved to Houston in the Wandy Rodriguez swap, and was obviously better suited for PNC Park (who isn’t?) with his fly-ball tendencies and underwhelming strikeout totals. To add to the list of cons, he’s struggled mightily since his introduction to the Pacific Coast League, where he’s flashed uncharacteristically poor control and surrendered four long balls in three starts. So, why the hell is he among suggested waiver wire pickups for the rest of the year? Opportunity is a big reason why: assuming he finds his groove over the next handful of starts in Oklahoma City, Houston has no reason not to test Owens’ chops against big-league competition (logic dictates that if Dallas Keuchel gets a chance, the more talented Owens will, too). Scarcity is another: you’d be hard pressed to find even one viable starter on the Waiver Wire, and Owens managed a 3.14 ERA in his second go-round of Triple-A, showing marked improvement and pinpoint control. He won’t blow you away, but he’s worth a shot as someone who can likely give you major league innings in a couple of weeks. Ah, a stretch, but sometimes those gambles can land you a little guap.
Recommendation: Worth an add by any team desperate for innings, strikeouts, and wins without concern for ERA and WHIP.

John Lannan | Nationals | SP | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 6.12 ERA / 1.72 WHIP / 4.7 K/9 (Triple-A)
Oliver ROS: N/A

A Lannan pickup would be a gamble in its own right: he’s never put up the prettiest ratios at the major league level and he’s absolutely laying a turd at Triple-A. That said, he’ll be a major league starter on a pretty good team in September (remember Stephen Strasburg’s innings limit?), and that means wins. If you ignore the ratio stats (because how much will five starts or so swing your totals in the ultimate month?), you’ll have a good bet at wins (Lannan’s won his two spot starts this year at the major league level). Go ahead, we won’t judge you.
Recommendation: Worth a speculative add by any team desperate for wins in the stretch run.

Javier Lopez | Giants | RP | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.48 ERA / 1.72 WHIP / 8.1 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.72 ERA / 1.25 WHIP / 6.6 K/9

So you missed out on the Steve Cishek, Wilton Lopez, Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt sweepstakes, respectively, and you’re desperate for saves. You’ll likely fish a few out with Javier Lopez, who is one of six whose finished a close game successfully for the Giants this year. He’s the dark horse for saves in the newly formed committee, and though the opportunities he’ll get will be far and few (as both the least talented and least deployable member of said committee), this lefty specialist will likely tally a few. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
Recommendation: If you really need saves…

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