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 5-27-16 Waiver Wire Report, our focus will be on the NL West.
5-27-16 Waiver Wire Report
Trayce Thompson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers 19.3%
Thompson, who came into this season better known for being the brother of Klay Thompson has started to make a name for himself this season as he has hit .282/.345/.544 with 7 HR in 113 PA. The one question to ask is how much of this is sustainable over a longer sample of time. On the power side, a 15-20 HR season is not out of the question as he consistently hit for at least this much power in the minor leagues and he had shown some power hitting ability at the major league level last season (5 HR in 135 PA for the Chicago White Sox).
While his .282 AVG has a solid chance of holding up (his .310 BABIP does not indicate that this part is a fluke), the Home Runs are likely to slow down (slow down not stop being the key word) as his HR/FB rate is an absurd 29.2% right now. With that being said, he should be a solid fantasy option assuming he gets playing time and even more so if he starts stealing bases at the major league level (he has 1 career SB in 248 PA but has shown 20+ SB speed in the minors.
Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco Giants 7%
It has been a few years since Cain was a viable fantasy baseball option which raises the question of whether he will ever be one again. The good news is that he has had three quality starts in a row after a disastrous start against the Rockies on the 5th. Even with a strong stretch of play recently he still sports a 5.37 ERA/4.49 FIP. While he’s a stretch even for deeper leagues, one encouraging thing to note is that his K/9 and BB/9 rates have improved compared to last season.
Melvin Upton Jr., OF, San Diego Padres 28.2%
After a disastrous stretch with the Atlanta Braves, the fantasy value for Upton Jr. had bottomed out despite reasonable HR/SB totals. However, he has bounced back this year hitting .253 with 6 HR and 9 SB. While the solid power & speed totals should continue to hold, the odds of him maintaining what is already a modest .253 batting average is questionable at best. While his BABIP this season (.316) is only 1 point above his career total, the last time prior to last year (when he only had 228 PA) that his BABIP was above .300 was in 2010. Bottom line, stay for the power & speed but keep a close eye on the batting averages.
Chris Herrmann, C, Arizona Diamondbacks 20.6%
In parts of four seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Herrmann was a liability on offense. However, this season has been a much different story so far as he is hitting .297/.354/.595 with 5 HR in 83 PA. So far, there are compelling arguments for and against him having value the rest of the season. The argument for is that the percentage of hard contact made has increased substantially however he also has a BABIP that is 93 points above his career total.
While the long term value for him is up in the air, the short-term has been good as he has hit .400 with 3 HR in 14 games this month. If you need help at catcher and/or in a deeper league, he is worth taking a flier on but you’ll need to be on high alert if his bat starts to cool off.
Chad Bettis, SP, Colorado Rockies 11.1%
Bettis has been up and down all season and is coming off one of his worst starts this season where he gave up 7 ER against the Boston Red Sox. His season has been very up and down to date. While his ERA is at 4.90, his FIP has been significantly lower coming in at 4.02. While his K/9 and BB/9 show mixed trends with K/9 trending in the wrong direction but plenty of progress in the BB/9 category, he has been inducing a high amount of ground balls (50.3 GB%), a skill that at least gives him a fighting chance pitching at Coors Field. Oddly enough, he has actually pitched better at Coors Field this year than he has on the road. While he should only be used for the deepest of leagues at this point, his ground ball inducing skills may make him more valuable at some point in the future.
All ownership numbers based on espn.com and as of 5/27/16
All stats through 5/26/16 and found on fangraphs