As we all know, some FAAB weeks are chock full of exciting options, and some weeks, well, not so much. This week falls in the second bucket, but that does not mean there aren’t a few players sitting on the waiver wire who are worth bidding on. In weeks like this, where the free agent pool is admittedly thin, it’s not a bad idea to pull the trigger on some spec plays, if you have an open roster spot and can afford to take a low-risk gamble.
While there are some repeat appearances of names this week (in combination with the Free Agent Watch article that runs every Monday), at least the information provided here each Friday is somewhat on the mark since I have not had to recycle many player capsules after the first three weeks. Again, the audience here knows the challenges of finding serviceable fantasy options week in and week out on the waiver wire, so I feel confident you will not chuckle to heartily at the names I am throwing out below.
For better or worse, here are what we deep league players have to look forward to this week.
Raburn has been getting semi-regular time in the Indians outfield of late, and has made the most of the opportunity, slashing .364/.375/.727 on the year. Raburn has multiple double-digit earning AL-only seasons under his belt, and earned $12 in just 87 games with the Indians in 2013 when he smacked 16 bombs while posting a respectable .272 AVG. Even in limited time, Raburn has proven to offer value in AL-only leagues, making him somewhat attractive if you have an open outfield spot.
I wrote about Robinson in Monday’s Free Agent Watch piece, but he is still available this week in Tout Wars, so I am mentioning him again. Jordan Schafer’s early-season struggles at the plate have led to Robinson seeing extended playing time, and he’s now 7-for-12, so Paul Molitor appears to be going with the hot hand in the OF. Robinson is what he is, but could be a source of speed off the waiver wire this week, if that is what you are seeking.
Jimmy Paredes, 3B, Orioles
With the injuries in the Orioles infield, Paredes was called up this past weekend and has been starting at DH. He is hitting .438/.471/.750 since his callup, he homered on Wednesday night, and he qualifies at CO based on last year’s position eligibility. Paredes has some skills—.289/.323/.429 with 187 steals in his career in the minors—and he is still only 26. If Paredes can continue to produce, he just might be able to stick around.
All Bedrosian did in Salt Lake to begin the season was put up a 13-to-0 K:BB ratio in eight scoreless innings before earning a spot in the Angels bullpen. With his pedigree, you will want to roll the dice if you have a spot, especially if you are in a keeper league.
The news of Daniel Norris going through a "dead arm" period after his start on Sunday immediately made me think Estrada could jump into the Jays rotation. If you haven’t noticed, Estrada has been pretty efficient out of Toronto’s pen, and boasts and 8-to-1 K:BB in his four appearances. Estrada was a serviceable NL-only starter with the Brewers in 2012 and 2013, and even cracked double digits in earnings those years. A career K/9 of 8.5 gives him value in 5×5 leagues, so even if Estrada remains in his current role for the time being, he is worth considering.
Sorry, but I wrote about Sipp last week and I am subjecting you to my typical “AL-Only play” sermon again. Sipp posted an 11.2 K/9 last year along with an 0.89 WHIP over 50 2/3 innings earning $8 in AL-Only scoring formats. He is picking up where he left off last year, and since last week’s article he has posted a win and lowered his WHIP to 0.65. The first three weeks of this season have him on pace to surpass last year’s earnings. Sipp still remains a safe fill in if you have an injury on your pitching staff and need a safe bet who will not hurt your peripherals and might vulture some more wins.
The news that Jonathan Lucroy will miss 4-6 weeks with a fractured toe was devastating for the Brewers and Lucroy’s fantasy owners. Maldanado will step in as the Brewers primary backstop for the next month or so, and he should be owned in standard NL-only leagues that roster two catchers. Maldonado has 17 HR in 541 career AB, so he provides a little pop—just be prepared for a bit of an AVG drain.
The Scooter Gennett DL stint will lead to more time for Herrera and Gomez. Herrera hit a grand slam and drove in five runs on Tuesday night, and has a little better track record of success in the majors, so he might have the edge in terms of playing time. In terms of fantasy skills, they are pretty similar, so both are really just fill-in options.
Barmes is still floating around as a free agent in most leagues, but he might be finding more homes soon in deeper leagues. The veteran SS was getting ABs in the early season because of his defense, but is hitting.333/.385/.542 and getting more action at shortstop of late. Productive ABs at MI in NL-only leagues are quite valuable, so Barmes right now is a viable option if you are in need of an MI plug.
Like Shane Robinson, I profiled Butler in Monday’s Free Agent Watch, and since he is also still available this week in Tout Wars, I am including him in this week’s Deep League Report. His performance against the Dodgers on Sunday opened my eyes to his fantasy potential this year, which is why I am recommending him. Butler gets the Giants for the second time this season this weekend, and another solid outing will only reinforce my recent campaign to buy Colorado pitchers (i.e. Tyler Matzek and Jordan Lyles).
This is one of those sneaky plays, one that can potentially turn a tidy profit the rest of the season. There is not much fanfare from a fantasy perspective for a middle reliever on the Phillies, which explains why Garcia is still available in pretty much all leagues. However, Garcia has quietly put up some impressive numbers the past year-and-a-half, minus a three-innings-over-two-games stretch last May. Garcia had his 13-game scoreless streak snapped on Wednesday night, but still has appeared to have passed Jake Diekman in terms of pecking order in the Phillies bullpen. We have seen in the early season that Ken Giles is not the same Giles we saw last year, and Papelbon’s time in Philadelphia is still unknown. Garcia saved 22 games in Triple-A last season with a 0.96 ERA and 10.0 K/9. Hey, this is the type of pitcher we “Only” league players love to roll the dice on.
Diaz had a couple of rough outings in back to back appearances last week vs. the Cardinals and Cubs, but has bounced back in his last two appearances. Diaz’s story is well documented, and after twelve seasons in the minors, Diaz has been given the opportunity by the Reds to show what he can do in high leverage situations. He throws gas and his 9.6 K/9 rate last year is legit, and he has eight punchouts in his 6 1/3 innings this season. He saved 105 games in his minor-league career, so if anything happens to Aroldis Chapman, Diaz could be next in line for saves.