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Week 14 Waiver Wire: Let The Fireworks Begin

Week 14 Waiver Wire: Let The Fireworks Begin
Photo Credit:  Erik Drost

Baseball and July 4th go hand in hand. Baseball has long been considered the national pastime. What’s more national than the Fourth of July?

To celebrate our nation’s birthday, we will have cookout and picnics, and feed ourselves with hot dogs, burgers, and all kinds of good things to drink and we will count our blessings for all that we have. We will also watch baseball.

There is a good chance that somewhere, in a major or minor league park, unforgettable memories will again be made.

Let’s take a look at which players can create fireworks for your Fantasy team in the Week 14 Waiver Wire.

Week 14 Waiver Wire


Robinson Chirinos, Texas Rangers

You are probably asking yourself, who? Why would I want to add a backup catcher?

Despite being behind Jonathan Lucroy on the catcher depth chart, Robinson Chirinos has forced his way into the Texas Rangers’ lineups on a more regular basis. He has done a superb job in a reserve role, slashing .240/.331/.615 with 10 homers and 25 RBI.

Chirinos has gone deep in four straight games and seven times in his past 10 contests, and the Rangers are making an effort to keep his bat in the lineup as a result. He could continue to nab starts at designated hitter at the expense of Mike Napoli until his power binge comes to an end.

I certainly don’t except Chirinos to continue at this rate, but he should continue to play more than most backup catchers. In addition, Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister turned to occasionally using both catchers in his lineup, with one as a DH, to boost their offense.

Chirinos’ bat is making it difficult to keep him on the bench. He remains a quality option in two-catcher and AL-Only leagues. He should top 20 homers at a weak position for Fantasy owners.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners
  • Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays


First Base

Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox

The first baseman has been a rock-solid lineup presence in his first year with the Red Sox, posting a .275/.363/.490 slash line with 12 homers, 41 RBI, and 39 runs scored. Moreland is putting up numbers like Hanley Ramirez is supposed to be putting up but most definitely is not.

He is a streaky hitter but has done a solid job overall, and has been a steadying force for the Red Sox lineup.

Moreland offers a respectable floor because of his consistent at-bats hitting in the heart of Boston’s outstanding lineup. He usually sits against left-handed starters, but he’s still a quality CI option in deep mixed leagues.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros

Second Base

Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs

Ian Happ is still just owned in 44.9 percent of ESPN leagues. The rookie is slashing .264/.331/.566 with 12 homers and 27 RBI in 45 games played this season.

He has hit safely in 15 out of his last 17 games and is eligible at second base and outfield.

Ian Happ should be owned in all formats!!!

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Brandon Phillips, Atlanta Braves
  • Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds


Third Base

Yangervis Solarte, San Diego Padres

Yangervis Solarte was placed on the disabled list on June 20 due to a strained oblique.  Solarte just started to heat up before he got hurt. He was slashing .370/.463/.783 with six homers over his last 13 games.

Overall, he was hitting .268/.349/.425 with 10 homers, 40 RBI, 28 runs scored and he chipped in two stolen bases.

Padres manager Andy Green said Sunday that he’s hopeful Solarte will be able to return from the disabled list for the team’s first game out of the All-Star break.

If Solarte was dropped in your league, my recommendation would be to make a claim on Solarte. He is a Fantasy asset that is eligible at second base as well. He is the perfect hitter to have on your bench as a fill-in for when a starter is hurt or slumping.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Matt Davidson, Chicago White Sox
  • Hernan Perez, Milwaukee Brewers


Orlando Arcia, Milwaukee Brewers

It looks like his bat is beginning to catch up to his glove. While defensive prowess does not relate to Fantasy owners, it does translate into playing time. Orlando Arcia is a defensive whiz and a highlight waiting to happen. That is the only reason he was in the Brewers’ lineup. Until now!

Arcia is hitting .288/.329/.435 with eight homers, 27 RBI and 32 runs scored this season. He has already doubled his home run total from last season when he hit four homers as a rookie while hitting only .219.

Although his run-production chances have been limited by batting in the bottom third of the Brewers’ lineup, Arcia contributes enough in the power, speed (five steals) and average departments that he should be started in NL-Only leagues and 14-teams or more mixed leagues.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Eduardo Escobar, Minnesota Twins
  • Franklin Barreto, Oakland A’s


Randal Grichuk, St. Louis Cardinals

After smacking 24 homers last season, Randal Grichuk served as the Cardinals’ Opening Day left fielder. He struggled with a .222/.276/.377 batting line in the first 46 games this season. The Cardinals wanted him to work on his strike zone discipline in the minors and he was sent down on May 29.

Grichuk started knocking the cover off the ball for Triple-A Memphis. He sported an eight-game hitting streak and homered in six of his last 10 games. He was recalled from the minors on June 25 and swung a hot bat after his return.

The young outfielder is now hitting .258 (8-for-31) with three homers and nine RBI since his stint in the minors. His power is undeniable but his plate discipline has often been a problem.

Randal Grichuk is worth owning for Fantasy owners desperate for power. If he can overcome his contact skills, he can become a consistent contributor.

Michael Taylor, Washington Nationals

At the start of the 2017 season, Michael Taylor did not get to play every day as the highly regarded prospect has failed to force his way into the lineup. With injuries to Adam Eaton (knee) and now Trea Turner (wrist), manager Dusty Baker is giving Taylor an extended look.

Michael Taylor has been moved up to the leadoff spot after the Trea Turner injury. He has been red-hot over the past two weeks, posting an even .400 average with 13 extra-base hits, 15 runs, and 13 RBI in his most recent 13 games. The speedster has also chipped in five steals during that stretch.

He is currently hitting .279/.316/.511 with 11 homers, 33 RBI and nine stolen bases along with a .826 OPS this season. His contributions should increase now with his move to the leadoff role. Hitting in front of Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper will do that.

The multi-dimensional Taylor has shown flashes of power and speed during his career but he needs to improve on his plate discipline. He has a lifetime 6.1 percent walk rate and 32.1 percent strikeout rate.

Michael Taylor is a four-category player and his blend of power and speed makes him a Fantasy asset in all leagues. He is only owned in 36.4 percent of ESPN leagues and while his past inconsistent play makes owners weary, they should ride the hot streak and add and start him at this point.

Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

Unless you are a Starling Marte Fantasy owner, you probably forgot about him. If you were burned by him, you definitely can not forget the lost stats that his suspension cost your Fantasy team.

Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is now nearing the end of his 80-game suspension. He will begin a rehab assignment this Sunday and eligible to rejoin the Pirates on July 18. He was hitting .241/.288/.370 with two homers, seven RBI and two steals in 13 games before the suspension.

His return should provide a nice boost for Fantasy owners. He carries a lifetime .288 average and stole a career-high 47 bases last season. Marte should contribute solid numbers in all five standard Fantasy categories. If he is somehow available in your league,  I would pick him immediately.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Keon Broxton, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Clint Frazier, New York Yankees

Starting Pitcher

Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies

Jon Gray made an impressive return from the disabled list after he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in April. He allowed just two runs on seven hits and a walk and struck out 10 over six innings in the victory Friday against Arizona.

Gray has a power arm and set a Rockies’ rookie record with 185 strikeouts in just 168 innings last season, and posted an elite 26 percent strikeout rate and allowed a .290 wOBA at home and .322 on the road.

The righty’s 4.61 ERA in 2016 wasn’t impressive and was racking up an ERA of 4.38 in his just three appearances before the foot injury. He showed the nasty stuff he exhibited in 2016 and his Fantasy stock will be well worth watching going forward.

Pitching in Coors Field could be somewhat of a disadvantage. However, Gray had a better home ERA (4.30) compared to his road ERA (4.91) last season.

Jon Gray will be prone to a few blow-ups but his upside is tremendous. He is owned in approximately 43 percent of ESPN leagues, which seems low for the Rockies’ Opening Day starter. I would recommend that if Jon Gray is available in your league, it seems fairly obvious that he should be picked up in all formats.

Mike Montgomery, Chicago Cubs

The southpaw will always have a special place in Cubs’ fans hearts as the pitcher who saved Game #7 of the 2016 World Series.

Mike Montgomery is filling in for Kyle Hendricks, who was placed on the disabled list with right-hand tendinitis back on June 8. The latest update is suggesting that Hendricks will not be back until sometime after the All-Star Break.

Montgomery is only 1-5 but has a 2.80 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP and has only allowed more than three earned runs in one of his five starts. He is adept at inducing ground balls (65.1 percent as a starter), which is what makes him successful. Unfortunately, he doesn’t strike out enough batters (7.27 K/9) to salvage his game should he not be able to keep the ball on the ground.

Although the walks are concerning, as he coughs up 4.20 BB/9, he has only given up three home runs this season. In addition, his eligibility as a reliever is a sneaky bonus in some Fantasy formats.

With the Cubs now sporting a .500 record, they are candidates to beef up their rotation before the trade deadline. His run in the rotation might be coming to an end and is obviously something to monitor as we approach the July 31 Trade Deadline. Montgomery has been a pleasant surprise and can be trusted in NL-Only and deeper mixed leagues.

Sean Newcomb, Atlanta Braves

The rookie’s 1-2 record disguises the fact that he’s tossed a quality start in each of his four outings so far. He’s also addressed any concerns about his control (5.15 BB/9 at Triple-A) with just two walks over his past two starts.

Sean Newcomb was recalled from Triple-A because of injuries to the Braves rotation. He had a 2.97 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 57.2 innings in his 11 starts at Triple-A before his call-up to the bigs.

In his major league debut versus the Mets, Newcomb went 6.1 innings, gave up four hits, one unearned run and struck out seven while walking only two batters.

The left-hander was the premium return when the Braves traded shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Angels two years ago.

He has erratic control, but the potential is evident. His iffy command makes the southpaw a risky Fantasy streaming option in all formats.

Jose Urena, Miami Marlins

Jose Urena has been a nice addition to the Marlins’ rotation. He was moved from the bullpen to the rotation in early May and has a 6-3 record with a 3.42 ERA so far this season. He has logged six innings for four consecutive starts and had won his last five decisions prior to taking the loss on Thursday.

While his ERA remains strong, his peripherals point to regression. He is a hard thrower who struggles to generate strikeouts. Urena has a modest 5.66 K/9 and a slightly high 3.18 BB/9 and his FIP (5.17) is notably higher than his ERA.

The young right-hander can be a sneaky deep-league streaming option but in my opinion, he is nothing more than an NL-Only option and not recommended to add. I would sell! sell! sell!

Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays

Alex Cobb continues to try to round into form after missing nearly two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has logged four straight quality starts and owns a 1.63 ERA during that span.

The right-handed pitcher will be a free agent after the year. This makes him a perfect candidate to leave should the front office decide that they do not like their playoff odds this year. Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports reports that the starting pitcher could be on the move to another team. A source at the Rays has said that the team has gauged interest in Cobb.

When healthy, Cobb has the potential to be one of the better starting pitchers in the game. Now, the question is whether teams are willing to roll the dice on him, given his repeated health issues. It seems as if the Tampa Bay Rays are interested in finding an answer should their season turn for the worst.

Alex Cobb has reestablished himself as a solid middle of the rotation starter. His underwhelming strikeout totals continue to limit his Fantasy upside. He is worth starting in deeper mixed leagues and should be utilized against favorable opponents going forward.

Warming Up (Pitchers to consider)

  • Doug Fister, Boston Red Sox
  • Jason Hammel, Kansas City Royals
  • Luis Perdomo, San Diego Padres
  • Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox
  • Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds

Relief Pitcher

Sam Dyson, San Francisco Giants

Sam Dyson flamed out as the Rangers’ closer earlier this season. He was eventually sent to the minors and then designated for assignment. Since joining the Giants in a trade from the Rangers on June 6, Dyson has surrendered four earned runs on eight hits in 10 appearances (9 1/3 innings). He is 2-for-2 in save chances with his new team. He should continue to see closing opportunities so long as Mark Melancon (elbow) is out.

The Giants are taking a shot on Dyson with hopes that the former closer can rediscover his 2016 form that netted him a 2.43 ERA and 38 saves with the Rangers.

If he continues to pick up save opportunities while Mark Melancon is on the disabled list, he could have some sneaky Fantasy value. Sam Dyson is a great short-term add.

Warming Up (Pitchers to Consider)

  • Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves
  • Keone Kela, Texas Rangers

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