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Week 21 Waiver Wire: Black Jack & The Wall

Week 21 Waiver Wire
Wally Gobetz

As I am sat down to write the Week 21 Waiver Wire, I started to thinking of the number 21 and two things immediately come to mind.

First is the card game BlackJack. This is my favorite card game and while it is easy to play there are multiple strategies to be successful, just like Fantasy Baseball.

Secondly, the next thing I think about when I hear the number 21 is the former Pittsburgh Pirate Roberto Clemente. While I didn’t get a chance to see him play that much, I do remember watching him a little when I was a kid and hearing about how great of a player he was.

Clemente was the first and only Hall of Fame member for whom the mandatory five-year waiting period was waived. He was elected posthumously in 1973. He became the first Latin American player to collect 3,000 career hits before his tragic death in a plane crash while attempting to deliver goods to Nicaragua in 1972.

When Pittsburgh’s PNC Park was being built, there were talks of naming it after Clemente. But the naming rights went to local PNC Financial Services. PNC Park’s right field wall, known as Clemente Wall, stands 21-feet high in commemoration of Roberto Clemente. The wall is in honor of his normal fielding position and uniform number. The wall also displays the out of town scoreboard–the first in baseball to feature the score, inning, count, number of outs, and base runners for every other game being played around the league.

Well, that’s enough of my admiration of Roberto Clemente. Let’s look at players that I like that are available in less than 50 percent of leagues and should help your Fantasy team as we are gearing for the playoffs.

Week 21 Waiver Wire


James McCann, Detroit Tigers

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James McCann was splitting catcher duties with Alex Avila.  At the Trade Deadline, Avila was traded to the Chicago Cubs which opened the starting catcher’s job to James McCann.

Tigers catcher James McCann is batting .365 (31-for-85), since July 16, the best mark in baseball among catcher during that span. Overall, McCann is slashing .261/.327/.444 to go with 11 homers and 37 RBI this season.

McCann is now getting regular playing time since the trade and has produced as a Top 1o catcher. If you are tired of waiting on your catcher, give a McCann a look. He should already be owned in AL-Only formats and two-catcher formats. He should at least be rostered in mixed leagues. In addition, he is the most added catcher in ESPN leagues, you should jump in as well.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Manny Pina, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Welington Castillo, Baltimore Orioles

First Base

C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels

C.J. Cron came into the 2017 season as a possible deep sleeper at the 1B/MI slot. He struggled to start the season when he hit only .233 with no homers and three RBI in April. Cron then proceeded to foul a ball off his foot and went on the disabled list. In order to guarantee at-bats, he was optioned to Triple-A.

Cron returned to the majors just before the All-Star break. Since the break, he has caught fire. Cron slashed a .324/.367/.649 line with seven homers and 30 R+RBI in 22 games. Three of those homers have come in his last six games, and he has already produced six multi-hit games in August.

Cron had been in a platoon situation with Luis Valbuena for most of the season, but the Angels are sticking with hot bat of Cron, especially since Valbuena is hitting a dismal .191 this season.

Fantasy owners looking for some pop or in need of MI help should target Cron. He has become a viable asset as his hot bat continues to warrant consideration.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
  • Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates

Second Base

Corey Spangenberg, San Diego Padres

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Corey Spangenberg is a versatile infielder/outfielder who has raised his batting average nearly 30 points over the past month. He accomplished that feat on the strength of 12 multi-hit games since the All-Star break.

Spangenberg is in the midst of a torrid hot streak, as he now has four consecutive multi-hit games with four homers and eight RBI during that span. He has posted a .761 OPS alongside his modest speed contributions through 331 at-bats.

Spangenberg barely worked his way into the starting lineup late in April and eventually took over the third-base job from Ryan Schimpf. He now holds the hot corner full-time, BUT also qualifies at second base and outfield. Spangenberg was supposed to be the everyday second baseman last season until an injury cost him nearly all of the 2016 season.

Spangenberg can provide a good average and score a fair amount of runs, in addition to supplying modest power. Most of his fantasy appeal comes from his positional flexibility. He is the type of player that fantasy owners should look to add as we enter the stretch run.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Neil Walker, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Howie Kendrick, Washington Nationals


Third Base

Brandon Phillips, Atlanta Braves

Brandon Phillips at Third Base?  Yes, if you have not heard Brandon Phillips agreed to move to third base after manager Brian Snitker asked Phillips to move to third to accommodate Ozzie Albies. Albies is the Braves’ uber-prospect. The kid has it all and it was just a matter of time before he was playing his games in the ATL. The Braves made it clear to Phillips, you move to third or you don’t play.

The 36-year-old  is still playing well as evidenced by his .287 average with 123 hits including 11 homers and 46 RBI.

Admittedly, the Braves were looking to move him at the Trade Deadline. In addition, Phillips cleared waivers and is now eligible to be traded anywhere. The Braves talked to a few teams about Phillips, and his overall stats and his history as a second-half stud (.309 batting average and .759 OPS in the second half the past three seasons compared to .269 and .683 in the first) could make him interesting in a tough market for hitters.

I firmly believe that Phillips will not finish this season as an Atlanta Brave. A playoff team should welcome a veteran such a Phillips who could still hit and play great defense. His fantasy value is relative to what situation he ultimately arrives in. Look for player updates on Phillips and if he is in a prime situation to start, grab him immediately.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Nicky Delmonico, Chicago White Sox
  • Corey Spangenberg, San Diego Padres



Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox

Tim Anderson has struggled through large chunks in his second season in the big leagues. The White Sox management believes that he has been affected by off-field issues, which included the shooting death of a close friend.

After a rough first half, Anderson is putting together a nice month of August at the plate. He has hit safely in 14 of the last 15 games, slashing .328/.348/.688/1.036 with five homers, four double, two triples, 12 RBI and 10 runs scored during that span.

Furthermore, he has shown to have huge lefty/righty splits. He is hitting over .300 against southpaws this year compared to .222 against righties.

The power/speed combo at a thin position is enticing, but he must improve his consistency at the plate so he can truly capitalize on his talent. Currently, Tim Anderson should be started in AL-Only leagues and used only in deep mixed leagues due to his inconsistency and streaming stat production.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves



Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins

Eddie Rosario is enjoying a breakout season offensively. Over his past 200 plate appearances and 52 games, starting on June 13, Rosario is hitting .344 with a .390 on-base percentage and .617 slugging mark.

In addition to that impressive production, he has hit 11 home runs, 17 doubles and knocked in 31 runs across that stretch. Just as importantly, his strikeout/walk rate is just 35/15.

The left fielder is also putting up a 1.002 OPS since the All-Star break and smacked six of his 16 home runs.

Eddie Rosario is owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues. I am highly skeptical that there are Fantasy owners, who could not use this type of production on their teams. He should be owned be a starting outfielder in all Fantasy leagues.

David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks

After an injury-marred 2016 campaign, David Peralta has enjoyed an impressive bounce-back season.

Peralta has been on fire in August. He has a .327/.404/.592 slash line through 13 games this month with three homers, eight RBI and 12 runs with those homers coming in his last five games.

Overall, he is slashing .307/.361/.478 with 13 homers, 42 RBI, seven steals, and 67 runs scored over 105 games this season.  He is on pace for 18 home runs, 54 extra-base hits, 100 runs scored, and 10 steals on the season.

David Peralta should be picked up in all standard mixed leagues especially when he hitting like this.

Mike Mahtook, Detroit Tigers

Mike Mahtook has cemented his role as the Tigers’ everyday center fielder by patrolling the outfield and swinging a hot bat.

To start the season, Mahtook really struggled hitting only .194 in April and then following that up with a more dismal .179 in May. However, as the calendar flipped to summer, he really started to deliver at the plate.

Since the All-Star break, he is hitting .333/.408/.553/.961 with five homers and 13 RBI.

Mahtook should be started in AL-Only leagues and rostered in deep mixed leagues and ride him while he is hot.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Dexter Fowler, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Curtis Granderson, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins


Starting Pitcher

Edwin Jackson, Washington Nationals

The 33-year-old journeyman has pitched for 12 different teams in 15 seasons, however, he has found new life with the Washington Nationals.

Jackson is 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA and a 29/8 K/BB ratio through six starts across 37 innings. He has allowed just two homers in his past four games after giving up five in his first two with the club.

The right-hander has been surprisingly dependable in his six starts this season. He has allowed two or fewer runs in five of them.  In July, Jackson kept opponents to a .203 batting average in his three starts.

Edwin Jackson will help you wins as he plays for the NL East division-leading Nationals. In essence, he is your perfect streaming option in all Fantasy formats.

Parker Bridwell, Los Angeles Angels

Parker Bridwell started the season in the minors. An opportunity came for Bridwell with a fresh start after multiple frustrating seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles dealt him to the Los Angeles for cash on April 17.

The rookie right-hander is 7-1 with a 2.88 ERA overall and has won five decisions in a row. He has gone at least six innings in seven of his nine starts, and six have been quality starts.

With the abundance of injuries to the Angels’ rotation, Bridwell has turned into the ace of the staff. He is 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his past seven outings and the Angels have won 10 of his 11 starts this season.

Parker Bridwell is owned just under 50 percent of ESPN leagues. Based on his success, Bridwell should be owned in AL-Only leagues and started in shallow leagues while Fantasy owners in mixed leagues should look to ride the hot hand and place him in all lineups.

Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres

The rookie right-hander has been very good over the past month. He has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last five starts. Lamet has given up nine hits in his last four starts and has 92 strikeouts in 75.1 innings with the Padres this season.

Lamet is undefeated (4-0) with a 2.37 ERA over his last five starts, recording 30 strikeouts and 10 walks and 30.1 innings during that span.

Additionally, he has allowed just one homer during his last five starts. Home runs were his biggest problem earlier this season, as the rookie allowed 11 of them in his first nine starts.

With his live arm showcased by his strikeout potential and now that he is limiting home runs, Lamet as now become a pitcher to add in all NL-Only formats. Also, he should be at least streamed in deep mixed formats.

Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks

Patrick Corbin has been very inconsistent this season. He has produced a 10-11 record with a 4.25 ERA and 140/41 K/BB ratio over 144 innings.

However, the southpaw has been pitching much better lately. He has now recorded 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings. In addition, he has also allowed three or fewer runs in 12 of his past 13 outings. He now owns an 8.75 K/9 rate with a healthy 11.6 percent swinging-strike rate last season.

Fantasy owners should really pay attention to the home/road splits with Corbin. He has been someone to dial-up at home (2.87/1.39) and avoid on the road (5.89/1.57).

Patrick Corbin should be someone that could be started in NL-Only leagues. Ideally, he is best suited for streaming in all formats, especially while pitching at home.

R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays

The 42-year-old knuckleballer is the latest pitcher to have seven straight 100-strikeout seasons at 36 or older joining an impressive group of veteran pitchers.

Dickey has pitched a team-high 141 innings with a 3.98 ERA in 24 starts after signing with the Braves this past off-season. The right-hander has pitched at least 200 innings on five occasions.

Dickey is a better real-life pitcher than a Fantasy pitcher. His numbers have not been spectacular but he does eat up plenty of innings.

Another pitcher who Fantasy owners need to be careful with on their home/road splits. Dickey has recorded a 3.50 ERA at home compared to a 4.59 mark on the road this season.

R.A. Dickey should only be used as a streaming option on home starts. Hopefully, you can get a two-start week at home from Dickey during the playoff chase for your Fantasy team.

Warming Up (Pitchers to consider)

  • Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
  • Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Chad Bettis, Colorado Rockies
  • Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees
  • Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox


Relief Pitcher

Cam Bedrosian, Los Angeles Angels

Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia seems to prefer a true closer-by-committee approach as evidenced by his continued desire to play musical chairs in the ninth inning.

It seems like every reliever in the Angels’ bullpen has had an opportunity to close this season. The Angels are currently in the middle of the playoff picture, so how they will handle their closer situation will be a vital part of a successful playoff team.

Their latest closer, Cam Bedrosian started the season as the team’s closer, but got injured and was placed on the disabled list. Then the music started playing…

Bedrosian has seemed to reclaim the position of the preferred ninth-inning option in Anaheim, converting three save chances in the past seven days. The right-hander is not only the short-term play but also the move for the future. He represents the closer for the future and looks like a valuable commodity for the stretch run.

Cam Bedrosian hasn’t allowed a earned run since late July and sports an 11.6 K/9 ratio. Fantasy owners should view him as the team’s closer moving forward and pick him up in all Fantasy formats.

Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves

Arodys Vizcaino has reclaimed the Braves’ closers role after Braves manager Brian Snitker moved him into the role after veteran Jim Johnson posted a 5.32 ERA with six blown saves in 19 chances during a 24-appearance stretch.

He has a 2.28 ERA in 47 appearances and since moving into the closer role this month, Vizcaino has been dominant, converting five of five opportunities while allowing just one hit and one walk with five strikeouts in 5.2 scoreless appearances over six appearances.

While the Braves are still in rebuild mode, Vizcaino’s opportunities might be limited. However, he has been dominant in all of his chances and looks to have a firm grasp on the closers’ role and someone that will help Fantasy owners with saves and strikeouts.

Warming Up (Pitchers to Consider)

  • Brad Ziegler, Miami Marlins
  • Sam Dyson, San Francisco Giants

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