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I thought last week we had some big news with Joey Gallo entering the scene finally and then over the weekend the Astros call up their prized shortstop, Carlos Correa. Now I know in my leagues he was owned over a month ago, so I was not able to get him. If you were lucky enough to find him on your waiver wire, congrats and enjoy the ride.

Correa has started well so far too, getting at least one hit in all three of his games. He has also already gotten his first major league home run and steal. I think it is safe to say you can expect seven to eight home runs and 15, perhaps even 20 steals, the rest of the season. Not too bad for a 20 year old.

Of course Carlos Correa is not in the title that brought you here. What got you here was the talk of closers. We once again have seen a couple different closers get into hot water and it looks like we may have some changes on the horizon. It is just more proof of why I will never draft closers early in my leagues.

Think about this. If you don’t count the changes due to injuries, you still have seven teams that have changed their closer on the season already. That is an astounding 23% of teams. It is of course higher than that if you count the injuries. I didn’t even count Andrew Miller taking the job over Dellin Betances after the spring, so you can say eight non-injury changes easily, since a lot of owners drafted Betances expecting him to get the save opportunities.

Two more teams look like they are on their way to changing their closer and I will discuss them below. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Waiver Wire Targets

All players I am suggesting are owned in 30% or less of ESPN leagues. Of course if there are better players available in your league that are owned in more than 30% of leagues, by all means get them first.

Carson Smith, RP, Seattle Mariners Owned in 8.6% of ESPN Leagues

The first of the two closer changes I think has either already happened or will very soon.

Smith got the call this past Saturday for his first save of the season and the excuse was Fernando Rodney was simply getting a day off. Then Tuesday night Smith got the save opportunity again, and it seems obvious to me that they are going to give Rodney some time off from closing, if not permanently.

Fact is Rodney has been pretty awful this season sporting a 6.94 ERA, 1.76 WHIP and has already blown three saves. Something is off with Rodney. He has always played with fire, walking his fare share of guys, but he was always able to get out of the jam with a high strikeout rate. This year that strike out rate has dipped from over 10 all the way to 7.71 per nine. Until he figures things out, I don’t see him getting the job back.

Pedro Strop, RP, Chicago Cubs 11.8%

Joe Madden pulled Hector Rondon this past Saturday after allowing a lead off walk in the ninth. It was an odd move as overall Rondon has had a pretty good season.

I kinda didn’t think much of it until the next day when another save situation arose, Madden went to Jason Motte, saying Strop was not available and said that they would assess the situation before deciding who would receive the next save chance.

I’m not much of a gambler, mainly cause my luck is terrible, but if you asked me I’d pick Strop as the guy they will turn to more often than not.

Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies 28.0%

Maikel Franco Photo Credit: Paul Hadsall

Maikel Franco Photo Credit: Paul Hadsall

His ownership percentage is really close to 30%, so it is very possible by the time this is published it is over that mark, but I’m listing him anyway.

Franco was anemic at the plate in May, batting a miserable .194. Now that the calendar has flipped to june, so has Franco. He currently has a nine game hit streak, along with four home runs and eight RBI.

I completely understood dropping him in every league after the start he had. It looked like he was over-matched at the plate, but now his average is up to a respectable .286 and he is making himself worth picking up again.

Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners 29.4%

After a horrible start to the season, Walker was dropped in a lot of leagues and was being ignored.

In his last three starts, ever since he started using a new grip for his change up, he has been fairly dominant, allowing just four runs total in 22 innings. Probably the biggest reason for his success is that he has allowed just 18 total base runners in that time (just three walks). Combine that with a 8.56 K/9 and you have close to a dominant pitcher over the last two weeks.

I think we all know the talent is there, since he dominated in the spring, it just wasn’t translating to the major league level during the season. It appears things have finally clicked with him, so now is the time to buy. I know I have him in two of my leagues, so I just hope I haven’t jinxed him.

Joey Butler, OF, Tampa Bay Rays 17.4%

Butler has been one of the better hitters in baseball over the last two weeks hitting .353 with two home runs, six RBI and scoring seven times.

I don’t think this will continue as their are huge signs that regression is coming since his BABIP is a ridiculous .441. Also he is walking at just a 1.8% clip while striking out 29.4% of his at-bats. For now though he is hot, and he should be owned in deeper mixed and AL-only leagues.

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