NL Waiver Wire: Week 6

Anthony Bass | Padres | SP | 17 percent Yahoo ownership | 6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 2.87 ERA / 1.13 WHIP / 8.6 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.10 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 6.3 K/9

Bass is the latest bullpen-to-rotation convert in San Diego (in the same vein as a one Cory Luebke) whose profile raises questions of why he wasn’t in the rotation in the first place. While his strikeout ratio is likely unsustainable, Bass is finding mostly sustainable success with a groundball rate above 50 percent. His ERA is 2.87 with a normal strand rate and three plus pitches—his 3.20 xFIP means regression will be minimal.

Soon, hitters will start making more contact with Bass—his rate is well below average. That isn’t to say he won’t continue to thrive in a massive home park with an above average defense.
Recommendation: Worthy of an add in all formats.

Gregor Blanco | Giants | OF | 4 percent Yahoo ownership | 7.9 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .283 / .371 / .400
Oliver ROS: .245 / .336 / .340

The near-30 journeyman found success at the major league level last year, where he was essentially league average at 2.28 WAR/162 games, and this year, his offense has jumped with an increased walk rate. It’d be easy to dismiss it as unsustainable if he hadn’t have posted spiked rates in his brief Triple-A service time last year, but it looks legitimate. With a .400 on base percentage (sure to fall, but still impressive), Blanco should steal more than 6.5 bases per 100 at-bats.

He should handle leadoff duties for the Giants most of the time with his ideal mix of speed and patience, and should be a boon to fantasy rosters for the remainder of the year.
Recommendation: Worthy of an add in deeper mixed leagues and NL-only formats.

Bobby Abreu | Dodgers | OF | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .255 / .300 / .382
Oliver ROS: .261 / .359 / .408

Abreu has stolen 20 bases in each of the past 13 years yet hasn’t swiped a single base in his 60 plate appearances this year. That’ll change, and his plate discipline should return to incredibly consistent career norms, too. I’d wager that the playing time jam in Los Angeles led to some pressing on the part of old Bobby, but with Matt Kemp on the DL, he should find a comfort zone at least temporarily in Chavez Ravine. Buy him now, worry later.
Recommendation: Worthy of an add in all formats.

John Mayberry Jr. | Phillies | OF | 5 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.8 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .234 / .255 / .319
Oliver ROS: .254 / .304 / .436

Laynce Nix hit the DL the day of my Week 5 column, which leaves a vacuum of playing time that Mayberry is likely to fill. I say likely because Mayberry was promised a full-time gig at the beginning of the season by manager Charlie Manuel, yet has found himself on the lineup bill for only 20 games.

In the past seven days, he’s hit a homer, driven in three runs, and hit six times in 23 at-bats, which constitutes as improvement across the board. Power will come, as his lifetime .216 isolated power can vouch for.
Recommendation: Worthy of an add in deeper mixed leagues and on NL-only rosters.

Everth Cabrera | Padres | SS | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: No stats accrued
Oliver ROS: .233 / .302 / .307

Cabrera was once the hyped prospect who stole 73 bases in Single-A ball and was on the fast track to the majors. But a speedster who doesn’t hit or field with much success rarely survives at the major league level, especially when his success rate with steals hovers around 70 percent and was at 63 percent in his most recent major league stint. While it doesn’t seem like he’s figured out how to hit sustainably and consistently—he’s thriving off of batted ball luck in Triple-A currently—he is nonetheless putting up video game numbers, and can provide steals if and when the Padres clean house.
Recommendation: Worthy of a stash on all rosters that crave speed.

Anthony Rizzo | Cubs | 1B | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.8 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: No stats accrued
Oliver ROS: .255 / .324 / .474

New year, same story with Anthony Rizzo. He’s mashing at Triple-A, yet has made no apparent progress that might carry over the major leagues. Perhaps new seasoning, a new mindset, or competition in the form of Bryan LaHair will push Rizzo to new, replacement-level heights. He’s striking out slightly less than last year, and walking slightly less as well—and while his power will play better in Chicago, expectations should be held in check. He’ll get some burn though; LaHair can be pushed to the outfield and the Cubs have a typical Cubs record. Rizzo will hit a few homers when he’s up, for sure.
Recommendation: Worthy of a stash in all deeper mixed formats and NL-only leagues.

Trevor Bauer | D-Backs | SP | 6 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: No stats accrued
Oliver ROS: 4.97 ERA / 1.43 WHIP / 8.4 K/9

Bauer’s made an appearance on this column before, but his promotion seems around the corner, and thus he should be picked up if he’s still on your league’s wire. While his 4.8 walks per nine innings leaves a lot to be desired, he made a clear adjustment in his May 11 start and walked a season-low one in seven sterling innings. He also struck out nine, and has given up only seven hits and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts, totaling 14 innings.

With Patrick Corbin only mildly impressive in his four starts and with Joe Saunders predictably slipping, room may open up quickly for Bauer if he keeps pushing improvement like he has. Triple-A, here he comes.
Recommendation: Worthy of a stash in all formats.

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Comments

  1. John said...

    How about a top 10 list of players no longer worth hanging on to in 12 team mixed leagues?  Like maybe Colby Rasmus… would you drop Colby for Gregor or Dayan?

  2. Nick Fleder said...

    At this point, you’d have to consider it. Dayan for power, Blanco for speed, but be sure to test the value of Rasmus’ name on the trade market first. I’ll work on that column for next week; good idea.

    By the way: Cabrera was called up yesterday. Run (get it?) and pick him up if you need steals, particularly from a middle infield spot.

  3. Snarf said...

    I don’t trust Abreu
    He’s striking out more and walking less. He’s got an unsustainable 31% LD Rate. 
    He’ll finish as a .250 hitter with <10 HR who only has an outside chance at stealing 20 bases again.

  4. Mark Himmelstein said...

    I doubt we see Rizzo before late June. The thing that we all tend to forget with these situations is the service time concerns.

    Rizzo already has 68 days of service time. 172 days of service equals one year for the purposes of arbitration and free agency. There’s about 140 days of potential service time left this year (most seasons span more than 172 days, but players can only be credited with a maximum of 172 days in a year).

    If the Cubs call up Rizzo today, next week, or even a month from now, and he never goes back to the minors, he can be a free agent prior to the 2018 season.

    If they wait until there’s no more than 103 days of potential service time left this year, Rizzo cannot become a free agent until prior to the 2019 season. There will be 103 days remaining of possible service time in 2012 on June 23rd.

    If the Cubs have designs on calling Rizzo up ASAP, I’d put the target date at June 25, when they begin a homestand against my Mets.

    The flipside to all this is the same issue I discussed with LaHair in last week’s Trader’s Corner. Rizzo may still be in the PCL, but he may as well have moved up a level in terms of hitting environmnets.

    In home ballparks alone, the Iowa Cubs home is a much more difficult left-handed hitting environment (85 HR factor, 96 wOBA) than the Tuscon Sidewinder’s (96 HR, 104 wOBA), and the same difference is true of most of the American Divisions (where the Cubs play) when compared to the Pacific Divisions (where the Sidewinders play).

    This is NOT the part of the PCL notorious for making scrubs look like all-stars, and in fact is a somewhat difficult hitting environment for a left handed slugger like LaHair. The numbers may be similar, but in context indicate he’s doing more than tread water. 

    Look at the difference in his Oliver MLEs. Last year it was .243/.328 /.460 (though granted that included his numbers in SD) and this year it’s .323/.379/.625. The change in environmental context suggests there’s more improvement here than the raw numbers would indicate.

  5. Nick Fleder said...

    Excellent analysis, Marky Mark. I agree with a lot of what you said, though there’s a shot in hell the Cubs ignore the FA implications and itch to get Rizzo the extra month. I concede that such a smartly run office is unlikely to do that…

    Those counting stats are worth a lot coming from the wire, Snarf.

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