Welcome to this week’s version of the waiver wire report. This is a weekly report that spotlights players that are still widely available in most leagues (defined as being owned in less than 50% of leagues) but have recently gained momentum in ownership. We will take a close look at the numbers to investigate whether they are worth picking up in your league or whether you should look into closer options. For the 4-29-16 Waiver Wire Report, our focus will be on the AL Central.
Eduardo Nunez, SS, Minnesota Twins (14.8%)
Nunez has been off to a blistering start this season (.392 AVG, 9 R, 8 RBI & 5 SB in 16 games). While he has a history of putting up a decent performance in smaller sample sizes (107 wRC+ in 204 PA last season), the big question is whether he can play well enough to be one of the few bright spots on what is already looking to be a disappointing season for the Twins.
They say that sometimes it is better to be lucky than good but this can only be taken to too far of an extreme. The most obvious regression sign is that his BABIP is at .465. While it is granted that the BABIP is going to regress, there are other concerns indicating that his ceiling is still that of someone who can give you stolen bases if he ever gets the chance to play full time. While his batting average is strong, he has not hit for much power as his ISO (.078) is actually below his career total and his BB% of 3.5 is below his career totals. This indicates that the best case scenario is him keeping this hot streak going for a couple of weeks before moving back to fantasy irrelevance.
Justin Wilson, RP, Detroit Tigers (8.1%)
This season, the Tigers regular closer Francisco Rodriguez has struggled (5.87 ERA/6.76 FIP) which may open the door to save opportunities for relievers such as Wilson at some point.
While he does not have any saves to his credit in his career, the numbers he has put up indicate that he could excel if given an opportunity in this role. Over the last two seasons, his K/9 rate has been above 9. In addition, he is off to a very strong start this season as he has not allowed an Earned Run in 10 appearances while having a K/9 rate of 12.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Kansas City Royals (20.3%)
In his time in the majors, Dyson has done two things very well (steal bases & play strong defense). However, only one of those is relevant in Fantasy Baseball. In 1,236 PA, he has hit .257 with very little power. If only he could give you something at the plate, he could be more fantasy relevant.
While the power trend has carried over into this year, he has hit a respectable .333 over his first nine games with only a modest fluctuation in BABIP (.333 which comes in 19 points above his career total. While the early results from this year are encouraging, he would need to play well over a larger period of time before being considered a serious fantasy option.
Rajai Davis, OF, Cleveland Indians (12.5%)
While Davis has shown slightly more power/better batting average than Dyson, he has also traditionally been a one-category wonder. This season he is hitting .286 with 2 HR and 6 SB in 17 games. Unlike Dyson, Davis has been the beneficiary of a BABIP that is 51 points above his career total. While he is walking more this season, one long-term concern is that his K% of 26.7 is well above his career total and would make it even more difficult to keep his batting average up once the BABIP-related regression begins. The one encouraging thing is that his hard contact rate is well above his career total but even that will need to be tempered by the fact that he’s 35 and he has an established track record of not hitting for power.
Nate Jones, RP, Chicago White Sox (9.9%)
While Jones, does not provide much fantasy value traditionally from a saves standpoint in the long-term, he is another pitcher who is capable of excelling in this role whenever the opportunity arises. In 179 1/3 career innings he has a K/9 rate of 9.54 and has pitched especially well this season as he has a 0.84 ERA/2.54 FIP. The White Sox regular closer David Robertson is on the Bereavement List which could open up a short term opportunity for Jones to get some saves in the short-term.
Ownership Rates based on ESPN.com and as of 4/29/16
Numbers mentioned based on Fangraphs and for games through 4/28/16