Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for MLB Week 4
A new week, another batch of waiver-wire additions just the way you like 'em: hot and fresh out of the oven.
Some players mentioned last week—including Steven Souza Jr., Denard Span, Rajai Davis, Stephen Vogt, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Morrow and Kevin Plawecki—are already owned in many leagues, but they remain quality pickups if they're 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 4.
Yimi Garcia, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers (19.5 Percent Owned)
Yonder Alonso, 1B, San Diego Padres (13.8 Percent Owned)
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Miami Marlins (23.6 Percent Owned)
Juan Lagares, OF, New York Mets (6.1 Percent Owned)
David Freese, 3B, Los Angeles Angels (10.4 Percent Owned)
Chris Young, OF, New York Yankees (40.5 Percent Owned)
Ike Davis, 1B, Oakland Athletics (3.0 Percent Owned)
Aaron Harang, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (41.3 Percent Owned)
Michael Saunders, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (1.4 Percent Owned)
Tim Beckham, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays (1.1 Percent Owned)
Rubby De La Rosa, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (1.7 Percent Owned)
Justin Maxwell, OF, San Francisco Giants (5.8 Percent Owned)
No. 10: Marco Gonzales, SP/RP, St. Louis Cardinals (0.2 Percent Owned)
While it would be nice to have Marco Gonzales ready to jump into the St. Louis Cardinals rotation immediately in the wake of Adam Wainwright's apparent season-ending Achilles injury, the fact of the matter is that Gonzales just went on the minor league disabled list himself.
The team's top pick in 2013, Gonzales is dealing with a minor pectoral problem, and the decision to put him on the shelf for now is somewhat precautionary, according to Brian Walton of Scout.com.
On one hand, then, you won't necessarily want to pick the 23-year-old up this instant. But on the other, if he comes through OK, he looks like the best bet to be Waino's long-term replacement going forward in 2015. As Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, "a healthy Gonzales is the clear choice."
While Gonzales' profile isn't super fantasy-friendly because he's not a big strikeout arm, he does have good control and command, and he gets to pitch in the NL, so his ERA and WHIP could be worth owning. Plus, he's a Cardinals pitcher, and those guys are, like, always relevant in fantasy.
No. 9: Jimmy Paredes, 3B, Baltimore Orioles (12.0 Percent Owned)
More than likely, what Jimmy Paredes is doing is just a passing hot streak, but boy, is it some hot streak.
Since being activated from the DL in mid-April, at the same time second baseman Jonathan Schoop went on it, the 26-year-old has gone 15-for-35 (.429) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and a stolen base in eight games. Paredes also has scored nine runs.
This can't last—not when the switch-hitter came into 2015 with a career slash line of .242/.279/.330 and just five homers in 145 big league games. Right?
Then again, each year brings a handful of barely-heard-of-them-before breakout players, and the Baltimore Orioles have a tendency to get the most out of scrapheapers. Besides, with Paredes being a former Astros prospect finding sudden success elsewhere, there is at least something of a quick comparison to J.D. Martinez. We're not there yet, and they're different kinds of players, but you never know.
No. 8: Josh Reddick, OF, Oakland Athletics (13.9 Percent Owned)
Josh Reddick has posted two disappointing campaigns in a row after his 32-homer, 85-RBI effort in 2012. Part of the problem, however, has been health, as the 28-year-old made it into just 223 games across 2013-14. Heck, he even opened 2015 on the DL.
Now back, Reddick has been hitting. Over his past eight contests, the lefty swinger has gone 12-for-26 (.462) with a homer and six RBI.
Most intriguing? Reddick, who has struggled with strikeouts throughout his pro career, has whiffed just four times in 51 total plate appearances while walking five times. The reason, it seems, is that the Oakland Athletics have done a good job of keeping him away from southpaws (just five at-bats).
Don't expect him to be the kind of hitter you keep rostered all year long outside of AL-only leagues, but while he's going well, Reddick is a useful enough reserve outfielder who can fill in when one of your starters has an off day or gets hurt.
No. 7: Wei-Yin Chen, SP, Baltimore Orioles (7.1 Percent Owned)
We happen to write up Wei-Yin Chen at least a couple of times each season, mainly because he's seemingly never owned in enough leagues because he's an unsexy fantasy option. And yet, the Orioles left-hander actually is about as safe as a readily available starter can be.
The 29-year-old sported a 3.54 ERA and 1.23 WHIP last year, and he even won 16 games. All that, however, came with a measly 6.6 strikeouts-per-nine rate, which explains the unsexy factor.
Well, Chen is at it again this season, having just limited the potent Boston Red Sox lineup to two runs on four hits in eight strong frames over the weekend, bringing his season ERA and WHIP to 2.78 and 1.06. If you don't care much about strikeouts—he has 16 of 'em in 22.2 innings—then you could do a whole lot worse.
Heads up: Chen's next start is scheduled for Friday against the light-hitting Tampa Bay Rays at home, making him a solid spot start—one you may want to hang onto for a while.
No. 6: Mike Leake, SP, Cincinnati Reds (11.3 Percent Owned)
Mike Leake pretty much is the Wei-Yin Chen of the National League: totally free of fantasy flash and yet entirely ownable as a reliable option you won't regret keeping around and deploying in the right matchups.
Leake, 27, has followed up last year's solid season (3.70 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) with a 3.90 ERA and 1.01 WHIP through his first four starts of 2015.
Like Chen, Leake leaves something to be desired in the whiff category, but every now and then, the Cincinnati Reds right-hander will throw in an outing where he racks up nine strikeouts, as he did against the Chicago Cubs Friday.
Plus, Leake is a free-agent-to-be, so he's pitching for a payday, if you buy into that sort of thing. At the very least, pick him up for his Wednesday turn against the woeful Milwaukee Brewers. Please.
No. 5: Jake Marisnick, OF, Houston Astros (20.6 Percent Owned)
Not long ago, Jake Marisnick was a top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays and then the Miami Marlins systems, so there may be something to his big beginning this year.
Then again, he also was traded twice before turning 24 years old, which is rather rare for a young player, unless the teams employing him see him more as expendable than keepable. Oh, and a good deal of Marisnick's fantasy value so far comes from his .364 average, which is propped up by an unsustainable .389 BABIP.
Of course, he also has a pair of home runs and six stolen bases, so there is a potentially productive fantasy season in here, if Marisnick can make some gains in his plate approach. For now, he should be owned in leagues that are 12 teams or deeper, and folks in 10-teamers could go the cautiously optimistic route and add him to see what happens.
No. 4: Clay Buchholz, SP, Boston Red Sox (46.3 Percent Owned)
Admittedly, just about everyone's first reaction when it comes to Clay Buchholz is: Do. Not. Trust.
That's fair, considering the roller-coaster career the Boston Red Sox right-hander has had. Hey, it's fair even considering the 2015 he's had to date. To wit, the 30-year-old owns a 4.84 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in his four starts, and that's just not enticing in any way.
But look closer, and you'll see that oh-so-much of the damage was done in that brutally bad outing against the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball on April 12 in which he surrendered nine earned on nine hits in 3.1 innings.
Buchholz actually sports a 2.71 FIP, which is rather promising, as is his 29-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 22.1 frames.
If you have the room to add and stash, that's the right approach to take here, as Buchholz has it in him to be an SP3 for fantasy, which you don't want falling into the hands of one of your league-mates. And if he blows up in his next outing—a tough one against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday—then just cut him loose again.
No. 3: A.J. Burnett, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (47.6 Percent Owned)
Clearly, being a Philadelphia Phillie didn't agree with A.J. Burnett. (And really, who could blame him?)
After two quality campaigns with the Pittsburgh pirates in 2012-13—he won 26 games with a 3.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.9 K/9—Burnett was a disaster in giving up the most runs in baseball last season.
A return to Pittsburgh, where he gets to re-team with pitching coach Ray Searage and enjoy the fruits of the Pirates' strong defense, portended a bounce back. And Burnett has obliged. The 38-year-old has a 1.80 ERA and 1.24 WHIP to go with 20 whiffs in 25 innings over his first four outings, the past three of which have been quality starts.
Burnett's next time out, he gets the St. Louis Cardinals on the road Friday, so you may want to stay, as the Cards have scored 25 runs in 25 innings at home against Burnett since the new Busch Stadium opened. But Burnett is back to being a capable fourth or fifth fantasy starter, thanks to being back in the Steel City.
No. 2: Wilmer Flores, SS, New York Mets (8.0 Percent Owned)
Things started slowly for Wilmer Flores in his first season as a full-time big league starter. The 23-year-old was hitting just .182 through his initial 10 games of 2015, and he looked shaky on defense too, raising some questions about his viability as the New York Mets' everyday shortstop.
Although the defensive concerns will continue to follow Flores, he has shown he at least can cover the position, and more importantly for fantasy purposes, he has started to make good on his offensive potential.
Even with an 0-for-3 Sunday night, Flores has gone 10-for-25 (.400) over his past seven games since that slow start, and he also scored and drove in five runs apiece while smacking a pair out of the park.
Given how shallow the shortstop position is, it's a wonder that Flores, who is hitting .291 with nine runs, three homers and eight RBI in total, isn't owned in more leagues. Sure, he offers no speed at all, but the bat might be enough to make him a borderline top-10 player at the position if everything goes just right.
No. 1: Alex Guerrero, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (24.8 Percent Owned)
Just about everyone has been calling for the Los Angeles Dodgers to find more playing time for Alex Guerrero. That's understandable: The Cuban import is only hitting an even .500 with five homers and 13 RBI through 11 games.
"Alex Guerrero has started just four games and logged just 22 at-bats, and yet he has five home runs already for the Dodgers," as Anthony Castrovince writes for Sports on Earth. "Much love and respect for Juan Uribe, but Don Mattingly has to get this kid into the lineup more consistently at third base."
While Guerrero has played only sparingly and only at third base, where the veteran Uribe has struggled (.610 OPS), Mattingly indicated that the 28-year-old could see some runs in left field. "There's a good chance you're going to see him out there," the skipper told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
This is intriguing because Guerrero could have two paths to PT. Like Uribe, regular left fielder Carl Crawford also has been sluggish (.599 OPS).
For now, the likelihood that Guerrero gains a starting job seems small, but the opportunity could present itself if he continues to hit or injury/ineffectiveness befalls Uribe or Crawford.
At least in the short term, there's a possibility Guerrero could see an uptick in action, especially while he's this hot and Yasiel Puig is on the disabled list with a bum hamstring. The club wouldn't mind the offense, one imagines.
All ownership percentages courtesy of ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Players owned in more than 50 percent of leagues were not considered.
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