Fantasy Baseball Waiver Advice: May 29
Dan Malin is here to look around the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire to point out some intriguing players to grab off waivers!
10 Team Leagues
Nick Pivetta SP PHI; FAAB Bid: 12-15% - This bid may seem unreasonably high for a guy who was just brought back up from the minors and has given up seven home runs in just 23.1 innings of work this year. But like most of the fantasy pundits in the baseball realm, I’ll preach that he boasts upside with his strikeouts. It hasn’t been there as much in the big leagues this year, but he did collect six in five innings last night against the Cardinals. In 2018 he had a K/9 of 10.32 preceded by a 9.47 rate in 2017. He gets a tough matchup to wrap up the week against the Dodgers and if you aren’t ready to pull the trigger on him, that’s understandable. But keep this guy on your radar at the very least.
Austin Riley 3B, OF ATL; FAAB Bid: 25% - This seems egregiously obvious, but he’s still available in about a quarter of Yahoo leagues and almost half of ESPN leagues. I’ve kept him out of the waiver column the last few times because I figured his ownership would spike, but Riley is a must add in all formats. He takes a hit in points leagues where he touts a horrendous 34.5% strikeout rate, but he should still be rostered. He’s making up for the strikeouts in so many ways. In 13 games he’s slashing .365/.400/.750 with six home runs, 16 RBI, and 19 total hits. He’ll likely regress a little bit and you’d like to see him run a little more, but strike while the iron’s hot and grab this guy because he’s criminally under owned.
Andrew Heaney SP LAA; FAAB Bid: 12% - Heaney made his 2019 debut for the Angels on Sunday and looked pretty good all things considered. Against the Rangers he tossed 85 pitches in five innings, striking out eight. Even in short work he still generated 15 swinging strikes and allowed just two hits although they were both home runs. I’m still somewhat cautious with Heaney because of an elbow issue in his throwing arm, but he looked solid in his season debut. He gets a great road matchup on Friday against the struggling Seattle Mariners and he’s currently lined up for a start against the Athletics next week.
Daniel Vogelbach 1B SEA; FAAB Bid: 13% - Vogelbach doesn’t get enough love for a guy who seems like a lock for 30 home runs if he stays healthy. I have more faith in Vogelbach reaching that number than Derek Dietrich (see below) because of Vogey’s raw power. Has Vogelbach ever come close to hitting 30 in the majors? No, but that’s because he’s never had this kind of opportunity and playing time. With 105 games to go for Seattle, I think he could reach that mark. He has a .980 OPS on the season and a 17.3% walk rate so he’s even viable in points leagues.
12 Team Leagues
Derek Dietrich 1B, 2B, OF CIN; FAAB Bid: 10-15% - Well Dietrich’s back in the waiver column and appropriately so. He clubbed three home runs last night against the Pirates after going yard on Memorial Day. He’s only hitting .254 but he has a 1.084 OPS. He screams regression, but he’s really hot right now. He now has 17 home runs on the year, 12 of which have come since May 3rd. He’s already set a career high in home runs and he’s never showcased this kind of power before. But at this rate even if he cools off, 30 home runs for Dietrich aren’t out of the realm of possibility and Great American Ball Park does turn into a hitter’s haven as the weather warms up in Southwest Ohio.
Ryan Pressly RP HOU; FAAB Bid: 6% - Pressly’s an interesting addition if you can afford to roster a player for the sake of improving your ratio categories. He has a 0.36 ERA, a 0.59 WHIP and he has 29 strikeouts, to just two walks in 25.1 innings of work. An injury to Roberto Osuna would likely put him at the front of the line for saves, but that’s a pretty tall order. But his ownership is slightly on the rise and he does help pretty much everywhere relief pitchers lend support, except for saves.
Oscar Mercado OF CLE; FAAB Bid: 5% - Mercado was mentioned not too long ago, but he seems to be hitting his stride. Over his last four games he has six hits, five runs scored, and two stolen bases. As long as he gets on base he’s a viable steals threat. In 30 games this season in the minors he amassed 14 and between 2017 and 2018 in the minors he totaled 75 steals across Double-and-Triple-A. He’s not a sexy household name, but he’s worth picking up if you need a little more outfield depth with stolen base upside.
Jorge Alfaro C MIA; FAAB Bid: 7% - If you’ve been unable to pick up Jonathan Lucroy or Christian Vázquez then maybe Alfaro’s your cup of tea. Alfaro was once a top prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies, but was traded to Miami in the offseason in the J.T. Realmuto deal. In general it’s been an okay season for the young catcher, but since May 15th he has a .997 OPS with three home runs. He may not be as valuable in points leagues because of how much he strikes out, but for a position as thin as catcher you could do a whole lot worse.
15+ Team Leagues
Gio González SP MIL; FAAB Bid: 3-5% - I don’t think anyone is rushing to the waiver wire to add Gonzalez, mostly because of the win potential with a heavy Brewers offense. But he’s been decent since he made his debut about a month ago. He had his first rough start of the season on Monday against the Twins. But don’t hold that against him, everybody’s getting rocked by the Twins nowadays. On the season Gonzalez has a 3.19 ERA and he’s allowed just two home runs in 31 innings of work. Has he logged a quality start yet? No, which is pretty shocking since his ERA is decent. But it’s because Milwaukee hasn’t let him pitch past the sixth inning yet. Be patient, deeper work will come in time for him if you do play in a quality starts league. It looks like his next two starts spanning this week and next will come against the Pittsburgh Pirates so he’s not a horrible streaming option.
Mallex Smith OF SEA; FAAB Bid: 6% - Perhaps some time in the minors did Mallex Smith some good. Since being recalled from the minor leagues almost two weeks ago Smith has managed to string together some solid games especially in his last two contests. On Monday he collected two hits and stole four bases and he followed that up with three hits on Tuesday night. Small sample size? Sure. However, he has a dozen steals to his name and as long as he’s getting on base he’s a threat on the base path.
Yordan Alvarez 1B, OF HOU; FAAB Bid: 10-12% - At some point, he’ll get the call up. And why not start stashing him now? His ownership is on the climb and while there’s no clear time frame for him, the Astros will bring him up at some point. He could be up sometime after the Super 2 cutoff in mid-to-late June but the Astros have played their cards close to the chest with Alvarez. In 48 games so far in the Pacific Coast League he’s slashing .363/.445/.780 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. He’s averaging 1.31 RBI per game. Houston wants to make sure that when he’s brought up he gets frequent playing time. The injury to George Springer wasn’t enough for the organization to bring up Alvarez because of the short window for playing time, which merely infuriated Houston fans and fantasy owners alike.
Howie Kendrick 1B, 2B, 3B, OF WSH; FAAB Bid: 1-5% - You don’t need to spend too much on Kendrick, but he’s been incredibly useful (and valuable) lately. He went yard on Sunday and again on Tuesday, which bring his total to nine on the season with 23 runs scored and 29 RBI. He touts a surprising .945 OPS and with Washington still remaining committed to Brian Dozier at second base, they’ve started playing Kendrick more at first and they still use him in the middle of the lineup. It’s been a down year for the Nationals as they currently sit in fourth place in their division. But for Kendrick, it’s been a decent year so far and he could be on the brink of a hot streak.