5-13-16 Waiver Wire Report

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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 other options. For the 5-13-16 Waiver Wire Report, our focus will be on the NL East.

Jayson Werth, OF, Washington Nationals 15.8%

Werth is off to a slow start this season as he his hitting .196 and has a 73 wRC+. However, there are some reasons to believe that he is capable of being more productive going forward. First of all, his BABIP has been extremely low (.213) indicating that the early results seen have been a product of bad luck. It is likely that a rebound in BABIP will help improve his batting average, the only question is to what degree this will occur. While Werth had a BABIP of .358 in 2013 and .343 in 2014, his BABIP went down to .253 last season.

Even if the BABIP rebound is very limited, the worst case scenario involves him being an upgrade in the power department. Despite his overall struggles, he has managed to hit 6 HR in 124 PA. In looking at the underlying numbers his HR/FB rate is only slightly above his career totals and the percentage of hard contact being made is on pace to be the highest it’s been since 2013.

Matt Wisler, SP, Atlanta Braves 10.2%

With the product the Braves had put in the field, it can be difficult to find anyone with much fantasy value. On the surface, Wisler could be one of those few bright spots (well at least if you don’t look much beyond the surface). While he has managed to win a game and he does have a 3.27 ERA, he is also a primary candidate for regression. His K/9 rate, of 5.44 leaves a lot to be desired and he has been extremely lucky as evidenced by a .183 opposing BABIP. Once regression comes in on this, his ERA is likely to be either at or higher than the 4.47 FIP that is currently being sported.

Hector Neris, RP, Philadelphia Phillies 15.8%

While Neris is secondary on the Phillies closer depth chart to Jeanmar Gomez, he has still played a contributing part to the Phillies playing better than expected this season. While he only has one save, he has been racking up the strikeouts (11.86 K/9). While his track record indicates that his K/9 should remain relatively strong (10.09 K/9 is his career total), it would be very shocking that he holds his 1.64 ERA for the rest of the season. While he has shown signs of improvement from last year to this (4.72 FIP to 3.32 FIP), his opponents has a .163 BABIP, a total that is likely to increase and lead to an increased ERA in the process.

Bartolo Colon, SP, New York Mets 37.2%

Over the last few days, Colon has the social media sensation that has been sweeping the nation. What has been lost in the shuffle is that he makes his paycheck pitching, not hitting and he has been doing this very well this season (despite a rough start against the Dodgers) as he has a 3.53 ERA/3.51 FIP. One thing that is encouraging is that this has not been a BABIP influenced trend (opposing batters BABIP is actually 13 points above his career total) and that his K/9 and BB/9 rates have improved this season. While the last couple seasons had him putting up mediocre numbers, he was excellent as recently as 2013 when he went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA.

Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins 42.6%

Ozuna has been up and down over the last few years as he hit .269 with 23 HR and a 115 wRC+ but taking a step back last season when he hit .259 with 10 HR and a 89 wRC+. This season, Ozuna has moved back in the right direction as he is hitting .295 with 6 HR and a 125 wRC+.

The one question to ask is if this is a short term boost or a sign of things to come? While his BABIP is at .353, he has been one of those players who have consistently had an above average BABIP. While there is likely to be some regression in his .295 AVG, he should still be respectable (somewhere near his .267 career total) in the long-term. While he has gotten some good luck in the power department (17.1% HR/FB rate is higher than his 12% career total), it is also pretty close to the 16.8% rate he put up in 2014. The bottom line is that while Ozuna has had some good fortune this season, the amount of this luck has not been extreme and there is enough evidence in the numbers that he is capable of putting up numbers similar to what he did in 2014.

Ownership Rate Numbers Based on ESPN.com and as of 5/13/16

Stats found on Fangraphs.com and through 5/12/16

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