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 6-3-16 Waiver Wire Report, our focus will be on the AL East.
6-3-16 Waiver Wire Report
Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox 6.7%
Swihart had a decent rookie season hitting .274 with 5 HR and 4 SB. He started the season in AAA but has started to get more playing time recently. In his first 17 games, he has hit .246 and has a 88 wRC+ with no Home Runs or Stolen Bases. While he has been only slightly worse as a hitter than he was last year, his fantasy value at this point is questionable at best.
His track record in both the majors and minors indicates that his power ceiling is rather modest (and that isn’t even getting into the fact that he is only hitting .246, even with a .333 BABIP). In short, while the increased playing time helps, Swihart has yet to demonstrate much in terms of fantasy value.
Devon Travis, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays 35.3%
Travis had an extremely promising rookie year, hitting .304 with 8 HR in 62 games before seeing his season shortened due to injury. While he has made it back, his first 7 games have not gone very well as he is hitting .259 but with only 3 RBI and a 67 wRC+. The bad surface stats over 7 games isn’t the concerning part as luck can easily fluctuate this. The major concern is that the quality of contact made so far has left a lot to be desired. In addition to his hard contact% taking a dive thus far, the percentage of ground balls he has hit has skyrocketed. While the allure of his numbers from last year do sound tempting, he will need to demonstrate an ability to replicate those before being a viable fantasy option.
Hyun Soo Kim, OF, Baltimore Orioles 4.4%
Kim has not had a large sample size of performance data so far this season but has done well so far hitting .367 with 1 HR and a 160 wRC+. While those numbers sound really good, some of the more advanced numbers indicate he has been more lucky than good. To start off with, he has a .412 BABIP and a very high Ground Ball% (57.7%) indicating that his inevitable batting average regression could be pretty harsh. The one redeeming thing long-term is that it is likely he will eventually start hitting some home runs. While is hard% (32.7), isn’t elite, it is at least respectable enough to indicate he could provide double digit power. For context, the two players with enough PA to qualify with the same Hard% thorugh Thursday are George Springer & Starling Marte.
Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees 8.1%
This season, Gregorius is on track to have a season similar to what he did last year (i.e. hit around .260 and maybe hit 10 HR if things break right). Going forward, there is potential he could improve on his .261 average as his BABIP is 11 points below his career total however there are signs that he could be regressing, even at the age of 26. To start with, his BB% of 3.4 is significantly lower than his career total. The other thing is that his Hard% of 14.2 is on pace to decrease for the second consecutive season. The only silver lining showing up is that he has been valuable when he plays at home (.310 AVG 4 HR) but has only hit .207 with 0 HR on the road.
Logan Morrison, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays 10.3%
This season, Morrison has been a replacement-level player overall hitting .241 with 3 HR & 4 SB. However, his numbers are pulled down from an awful April (.100 AVG in 18 games) as he played much better during the month of May (.351 AVG, 3 HR in 24 games). The one question is which version of Morrison is the one we’re most likely to see in the long term and the answer (as usual) is a combination of both. It is likely that his batting average is likely to be an albatross as he has a BABIP which is 48 points above his career total even though he is only hitting .241. The one redeeming factor is likely to be power related as he has hit double digit HR totals the last four seasons. This season, his HR/FB rate is in line with his career totals indicating this should happen again provided he gets the playing time. Even in this area, there is a red flag as his GB% is on pace to go above 50% for the first time in his career.
All numbers from Fangraphs and through 6/2/16
Ownership rates from ESPN.com and as of 6/3/16