Somehow we are at the middle of June! It seems like just yesterday we were speculating at who would be having great seasons, and who would be disappointing fantasy players. And even though we are now ten weeks into the season, it is still important to be working the fantasy baseball waiver wire in order to try to keep your team on track for a championship.
In my season long quest not to repeat players in this article, I would be remiss not to mention some names here that have already appeared in this article. Pirates rookie Jameson Taillon collected his first win on June 14th and is owned in just 26% of leagues, and Rays top prospect Blake Snell will make his first start on June 16th and he is still available in roughly 75% of leagues. These guys need to be added right away. If you are in a league where they are owned, continue below to more players who can help you win now.
On the pitching side this week we have a couple of new closers in the National League. We also feature a fireballing hurler in the Pacific Northwest who is lighting up the radar gun and also exciting fantasy baseball players from coast to coast. Finally, we have a pitcher who has long teased fantasy players with his potential, but has always come up short when it mattered most.
Our three hitters this week are all younger guys. The senior of the group is a heavy hitting catcher who is trying to help rescue fantasy owners who have been the victim of a rough season of production from behind the plate. We also have a power hitting first baseman who has replaced a long standing power stalwart who is finally succumbing to Father Time. Finally we have a speedy shortstop who is trying to come to the Majors and help one team in each fantasy league who is struggling with stolen bases.
We are getting closer to the halfway point of the season, which is absolutely mind boggling but it is true. Please continue to work the fantasy baseball waiver wire to improve your team and keep you on track for that elusive win. As always you can follow me on Twitter @fightingchance.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Week 11
Tommy Joseph, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
We all know that Ryan Howard is just a shell of his former self, but for some reason the Phillies continued to play him and his .220 average. Perhaps it was his contract, perhaps it was lack of a better option. Well, that lack of a better option has been filled and manager Pete Mackanin has made it official that Tommy Joseph is now the starting first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies. Howard will get the occasional start and be a pinch hitter, but the 24 year old has taken the main gig.
Ever since I identified Joseph as a player that I would use in this article, he has gone ice cold! On June 10th he had a two homer game, and ever since then he has collected just one hit with six strikeouts. Even with the recent struggles, he is still a guy who is on my radar if you need help at first base. Joseph has some serious power, even if he has a lack of plate discipline. In a 12 team league I might take more of a wait and see approach, but if you league is any deeper than that I would likely make a move on Joseph and hope he gets this strikeout problem behind him.
Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox
I didn’t expect #White Sox to move Tim Anderson into the leadoff spot so quickly, but with the problems they’ve had at No. 2, it makes sense
— Steve Gardner (@SteveAGardner) June 14, 2016
If you read a lot about fantasy baseball on the internet (and I know you do), you’ll agree with me that one of the major points of 2016 is the lack of stolen bases. Only four batters have more than 15 stolen bases ten weeks into the season, and many of the guys who have more than ten steals aren’t exactly household names. For those of you struggling to find stolen bases, the Chicago White Sox are here to help your season.
After just three games in the Major Leagues, Anderson was moved to the leadoff spot for the White Sox. In five games so far he has two multi-hit games, and while he hasn’t stolen a base yet, it is nice to see that Chicago has enough faith in the kid to put him into a high pressure part of the batting order. If you have any need for production at the shortstop position or are in dire need of steals on your team, please proceed to the fantasy baseball waiver wire immediately and grab this budding star.
Derek Norris, C, San Diego Padres
Another piece of rhetoric of the 2016 fantasy baseball season is the absolute disaster that is the catcher position. Outside of a couple exceptions, you are either getting decent power or decent batting average out of your option at catcher, but in very few instances are you getting both. Even the great Buster Posey is hitting in the .250s. There are a great deal of fantasy players who are looking for help at the position and they can find it in San Diego.
Norris has three multi-hit games in the last week and has raised his batting average from a horrific level to a little less putrid level. He always has had good power numbers for a catcher, but he is well on pace to break his career high in home runs as he has seven already through the first ten weeks. If you have any questions about your catcher and their ability to give you solid production for the rest of the 2016 season, you need to decide if Norris is the better option, chances are he may be.
Danny Duffy, SP, Kansas City Royals
I have long been a fan of Danny Duffy, which has led me to often being teased and then let down by Danny Duffy. At times he has shown flashes of brilliance, and at other times he has been an uncontrollable tire fire! He has bounced back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen throughout his career, and it was just this season that I decided that I would cut ties with Duffy, and never let him near my heart again!
Allow me to bring you back to Week 10 of the fantasy baseball schedule when I was playing against the guy who owned Duffy and he had a two start week. The guy allowed just two earned runs over 12.1 innings and struck out a ridiculous 19 batters! Thankfully I was able to win this matchup despite Duffy’s brilliance, but it brought me back to the Danny Duffy Fan Club. He’s not going to keep up this ridiculous pace, but Duffy should continue to be a source of good stats and someone who should be owned in more than a quarter of fantasy leagues.
James Paxton, SP, Seattle Mariners
Right now Paxton is the hot name going among pitchers owned at less than 50 percent as he is touching triple digits on the radar gun, and mowing down batters left and right. He has had three partial season in the Majors, and while none have been terrible, he has been wildly inconsistent. Not to mention for a guy who can light up the radar gun, his strikeout rate is lower than you would expect.
I’m not quite as high on Paxton as some of my Fantasy Baseball brethren, but I do have to admit the way he is pitching right now he is worth an add just in case I am wrong (which actually does happen!). The Seattle defense has been brutal behind him, but in the end his stats haven’t been bad at all.
He has allowed just four earned runs in three starts, and seems to be getting better with each time out to the mound. He also has an eye popping 24 strikeouts in just 16 innings, so he is a hot fantasy commodity at the moment. I am skeptical that he is a long term addition, but you might as well ride him while he is hot to some great whiff numbers and perhaps a win or two as well.
Carlos Estevez, RP, Colorado Rockies and Shawn Kelley, RP, Washington Nationals
The closer carousel has spun in two cities in the last week or so, and for those of you looking for saves, you have two options.
The one that will likely last longer is in Washington. Jonathan Papelbon was diagnosed with an intercostals strain, an injury that usually takes a while to heal, and is easy to reaggravate. Manager Dusty Baker, forever a thorn in the side of fantasy baseball players, has said the possibility exists to use a closer by committee approach to the ninth inning. This is nonsense! Kelley is the best option by a mile, and if Baker wants the Nats to stay in first place he will continue to use him. He isn’t a dominating pitcher, but is in line for the ninth inning for a good month or maybe two.
A bit more dicey situation is in Colorado. Closer Jake McGee has a sprained MCL, and while there hasn’t been a timetable for his return, that should be a month or more. He had been closing games, but his ERA and WHIP were disgraceful.
Your first thought would be that the Rockies would turn to Jason Motte who has closing experience in the past, but the name to know on the fantasy baseball waiver wire is Carlos Estevez. He is just 23 years old, has great strikeout stuff, and was turned to in the ninth inning in the first game after McGee went down. Motte is old and injury prone and although the Rockies won’t garner a ton of save opportunities, Estevez is the guy.