Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top-10 Pickups for Week 15
A new week, another batch of waiver-wire additions, just the way you like 'em: hot and fresh out of the oven.
From now until the end of the fantasy season, you'll find a rundown of the top waiver-wire pickups right here every Monday as you get set to face another week of lineup decisions and roster additions.
Some players mentioned last week—including Taijuan Walker, Mookie Betts, Kole Calhoun, Jose Quintana, Marcus Stroman, Jake McGee, Jesse Hahn and Odrisamer Despaigne—are already owned in many leagues by now, but they remain quality pickups if they're still available.
In the interest of keeping the names new, though, let's avoid any repeats. Here are the top 10 waiver-wire pickups for Week 15.
Drew Hutchison, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (9.2 Percent Owned)
David Phelps, SP/RP, New York Yankees (2.2 Percent Owned)
Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners (22.5 Percent Owned)
Matt Joyce, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (18.1 Percent Owned)
Michael Saunders, OF, Seattle Mariners (2.1 Percent Owned)
Juan Uribe, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers (10.4 Percent Owned)
Brandon McCarthy, SP, New York Yankees (0.4 Percent Owned)
Tom Koehler, SP, Miami Marlins (6.4 Percent Owned)
Cody Asche, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (0.6 Percent Owned)
Justin Ruggiano, OF, Chicago Cubs (1.2 Percent Owned)
Because there's so much ninth-inning volatility, the new/overlooked/replacement/interim/potential closers who are available in the majority of leagues are ranked on this slide as follows:
- Jake McGee, RP, Tampa Bay Rays (38.8 Percent Owned)
- Santiago Casilla, RP, San Francisco Giants (32.3 Percent Owned)
- Jenrry Mejia, SP/RP, New York Mets (41.8 Percent Owned)
- Jake Petricka, RP, Chicago White Sox (11.5 Percent Owned)
- Neil Ramirez, RP, Chicago Cubs (12.4 Percent Owned)
- Jeremy Affeldt, RP, San Francisco Giants (3.5 Percent Owned)
- Joba Chamberlain, RP, Detroit Tigers (0.5 Percent Owned)
- Kevin Jepsen, RP, Los Angeles Angels (0.2 Percent Owned)
- Jean Machi, RP, San Francisco Giants (6.0 Percent Owned)
- Javy Guerra, RP, Chicago White Sox (1.1 Percent Owned)
- Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox (3.1 Percent Owned)
- Daniel Webb, RP, Chicago White Sox (0.0 Percent Owned)
- Jeurys Familia, RP, New York Mets (0.2 Percent Owned)
- Brad Ziegler, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (2.0 Percent Owned)
- Ernesto Frieri, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates (35.1 Percent Owned)
- Juan Carlos Oviedo, RP, Tampa Bay Rays (0.3 Percent Owned)
- Joel Peralta, RP, Tampa Bay Rays (0.6 Percent Owned)
- Darren O'Day, RP, Baltimore Orioles (2.9 Percent Owned)
- Bryan Shaw, RP, Cleveland Indians (1.4 Percent Owned)
- Adam Ottavino, RP, Colorado Rockies (0.0 Percent Owned)
- Rex Brothers, RP, Colorado Rockies (21.7 Percent Owned)
- Brad Boxberger, RP, Tampa Bay Rays (2.5 Percent Owned)
- Vic Black, RP, New York Mets (0.0 Percent Owned)
- Pedro Strop, RP, Chicago Cubs (1.4 Percent Owned)
- Joel Hanrahan, RP, Detroit Tigers (0.2 Percent Owned)
No. 10: John Danks, SP, Chicago White Sox (2.7 Percent Owned)
Once upon a time early in his career, John Danks wasn't a half-bad fantasy starter, but shoulder surgery wiped out most of his 2012 (nine starts) and muted his effectiveness in 2013 (4.75 ERA).
The 29-year-old still hasn't been great this year, with a 4.12 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 6.3 K/9 overall, but he has been over his last eight starts. Since May 24, the southpaw is sporting a 2.65 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. While a lot of that is driven by a .244 BABIP in that time, because Danks is whiffing just 5.6 per nine, he did register a season-high 10 strikeouts against the Los Angeles Angels his last time out, thanks to plenty of changeups (see video).
If you grab Danks, he's likely to give you some quality starts—13 of 17 so far—especially if you use him at home, where he has a 2.72 ERA compared to 5.89 on the road. That makes his Tuesday start vs. the Boston Red Sox a bit less enticing, although the Red Sox remain one of the 10 worst offenses in runs scored.
No. 9: Jeff Locke, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (12.0 Percent Owned)
With the All-Star Game only a week away and the teams having just been announced, here's a reminder that Jeff Locke actually made Midsummer Classic just last year. You're excused if you'd forgotten as much, seeing how badly his performance tailed off after earning that honor.
To wit, the 26-year-old lefty followed up a 2.15 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in the first half by posting a ghastly 6.12 and 1.87 after the break. He even got demoted to Triple-A at one point, and he remained there until recently, when the Pittsburgh Pirates began losing starting pitchers left (Francisco Liriano) and right (Gerrit Cole) in early June.
Locke, though, has been pretty great upon a return to a five-man that desperately needed him to be, throwing six straight quality starts, including eight innings of three-hit, two-run ball against the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday. Beware of another looming correction (.221 BABIP), but his 2.23 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and, most importantly, 25-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio from June 8 on are worth adding if you have room for a hot arm.
No. 8: Dillon Gee, SP, New York Mets (14.8 Percent Owned)
To paraphrase Simple Minds: "Don't you forget about Gee."
Dillon Gee, that is, the New York Mets right-hander who has been out since mid-May with a strained lat but is expected to be activated in time to start Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
"He felt great," Collins said of Gee, who completed a rehab assignment and threw a bullpen session Sunday. "He's all fired up about it, so we're excited to get him out there."
Fantasy owners might not be quite as amped up, but the 28-year-old was very good over his first eight turns before suffering the injury. He'll head into Wednesday's game with a 2.73 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 5.6 K/9.
With a command-and-control righty like Gee, playing it safe by keeping him on the bench his first time out might be best. But if he looks healthy, he'll at least be a useful streaming and/or matchups play going forward.
No. 7: Corey Hart, 1B/OF, Seattle Mariners (20.2 Percent Owned)
A hamstring injury caused Corey Hart to miss about six weeks of the season from mid-May until his return on Independence Day. Plus, he wasn't doing much even before that (.209 BA, 5 HR, 17 RBI), so there's a good chance he's available on the waiver wire in your league.
While you don't need to rush there to pick him up, Hart does offer the potential to hit 12-15 home runs over the second half now that he's healthy and figures to see everyday action as the designated hitter for the Seattle Mariners.
The timing of the 32-year-old's return could help too, since he'll get in about 10 games to find his form before enjoying some rest over the All-Star break.
No. 6: Wilson Ramos, C, Washington Nationals (47.5 Percent Owned)
Wilson Ramos has already made two trips to the DL—one for a broken hamate bone in early April, the other for a bum hammy in June—so here's hoping he's done with that for the season.
Since the end of last month, the injury-prone 26-year-old has resumed starting catcher duties for the Washington Nationals, who are finally healthy as a team, thanks to the returns of Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper to the lineup. Getting those big bats back can't hurt Ramos' production (poor choice of words).
Ramos has at least one hit in each of his eight games since coming back and has gone 11-for-29 (.379) in that time. Having hit 12 homers and driving in 42 run over the second half of 2013, he has it in him to be a top-10 fantasy catcher (or better) from here on out—if he can just stay healthy.
No. 5: Carlos Martinez, SP/RP, St. Louis Cardinals (3.6 Percent Owned)
Initially, the same-day DLings of Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia in the middle of June were more about the loss of one great fantasy arm and another useful matchups one. As time goes on, though, it's becoming a bit more about the success of Carlos Martinez, who has been given a chance to start in the wake of the injuries.
In other words, the 22-year-old Martinez could be in the rotation for the long haul. So far, the hard-throwing right-hander has pitched well considering he spent the first two-plus months in the bullpen. His last start on Thursday was particularly impressive, as he held the San Francisco Giants to just one run on five hits in five frames while striking out six and walking only one.
There are likely to be struggles here and there while Martinez, a former top prospect who came up as a starter, regains his every-five-days rhythm, but the upside is why any owner should consider adding him.
No. 4: Charlie Morton, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (8.2 Percent Owned)
In case you haven't noticed—and judging by his ownership percentage, you haven't—Charlie Morton has done this since missing the first six weeks of 2013 with injury: 3.28 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 7.0 K/9 in 222.1 innings in 37 starts.
The 30-year-old right-hander is very steady and occasionally spectacular, and he displayed both in his past two outings by throwing six innings of one-run ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks last week after piling up 11 strikeouts versus the Tampa Bay Rays in his final start in June (highlights of which are above).
A ground-baller by trade—his 55.0 ground-ball percentage is eighth-best in baseball—Morton owns a career-high 7.5 K/9 this season, and he gets the St. Louis Cardinals Monday. Add, start and hang on to him while you're at it.
No. 3: Tyler Skaggs, SP, Los Angeles Angels (4.2 Percent Owned)
Yet another injury returnee in this week's column, Tyler Skaggs lost a month with a hamstring ailment, but he looked good as new in his first game back last week.
The soon-to-be 23-year-old southpaw hurled 7.2 innings and allowed just five hits and two earned runs against the Chicago White Sox on the road in hitter-friendly Cellular Field. Skaggs struck out six and walked two.
For the season, the one-time top prospect has a so-so 4.16 ERA but a solid 1.20 WHIP and an intriguing 3.48 FIP. In short, he's pitching better than his results have shown so far.
Plus, the time off actually might have helped Skaggs, who is in his first season as a full-time starter and may not need to be shut down going forward, with only 84.1 innings on his arm so far. The best may very well be yet to come here.
No. 2: C.J. Cron, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (33.2 Percent Owned)
C.J. Cron, like his Los Angeles Angels teammate Skaggs, has been covered already in this space, but we can't let another week pass without re-recommending him.
The 24-year-old rookie slugger continues to get regular run as the club's top option at DH, and after another long ball over the weekend, he is up to nine on the season and has 27 RBI in only 160 plate appearances. Those numbers also come along with a .288 batting average.
Given Cron's power—when he hits 'em, they go, as the footage up top shows—and placement in the potent Angels lineup, he needs to be owned in all leagues and started while he's hot.
No. 1: Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (18.6 Percent Owned)
Look, you probably are sick of Oscar Taveras by now, right? Hey, you've been hearing about the dude as an elite prospect for years now, and he finally gets his shot at the very end of May and actually hits a homer for his first big league knock—and then promptly does nada for two weeks before getting demoted again.
Well, the just-turned-22-year-old was recalled last week. Sure, he hasn't been playing every day because the St. Louis Cardinals don't have an easy way to fit him into the field without forcing one of Matt Adams, Allen Craig or Jon Jay to the bench. And yes, he's only 3-for-18 since coming back up, which drops his average to .182 in limited action (59 plate appearances).
But c'mon, folks, Taveras needs to be owned, even if you don't start him while he tries to figure things out and the Cards try to figure out how to utilize him. Remember when everyone jumped off the George Springer bandwagon after his first month in the majors was an epic failure? Mistake! When it comes to Taveras, be like the owner who smartly picked Springer up and has since enjoyed his massive production.
There's lightning-in-a-bottle potential with Taveras, and that's too much to pass up, even if he gets sent back to Triple-A tomorrow.
To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11
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