Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Ethier, Chavez among top pickup options
Need some help in your fantasy league? We all do at some point during the season. Lead fantasy sports writer Michael Beller provides his best waiver wire additions this week. All players are available in at least 60 percent of leagues.
Jesse Chavez, A's (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $12): Chavez has been great as a starter this year, compiling a 2.80 ERA, 3.02 FIP and 36 strikeouts in 45 innings. He should definitely be owned in mixed leagues with 14 teams or more, even if you don’t start him in every matchup.
Chase Anderson, Diamondbacks (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $10): Anderson’s low ownership rates don’t make any sense when you consider what he has done on the mound this season. He’s not going to provide much in the way of strikeouts, but he keeps the ball on the ground and doesn’t walk anybody. Like Chavez, he should be owned in deeper leagues, though he is not matchup-proof.
Kyle Hendricks, Cubs (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $11): Hendricks has allowed one run and nine hits while striking out 11 in his last 16 innings, a span covering two starts. He has a 3.76 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 1.14 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings this season. He, too, is a pitcher you can roster in deeper mixed leagues.
Addison Reed, Diamondbacks (Mixed: $5, NL-only: $12): There are rumblings out of Arizona that Reed will soon move back into the closer’s chair after a demotion earlier this month. He has had three consecutive clean appearances, but he did allow two runs in just 1/3 of an inning in a loss to the Cubs before this most recent stretch. Still, if he’s closing games he’ll have fantasy value.
Brad Ziegler, Diamondbacks (Mixed: $2, NL-only: $6): Even if Reed does take over as the closer again, Ziegler will likely have some value in most mixed leagues for the next week, so long as he’s closing games. He has allowed runs in each of his last two appearances, but he has converted three of his four save chances on the season.
Ken Giles, Phillies (Mixed: $2, NL-only: $6): Giles is a high-strikeout reliever who could soon inherit the closer’s job in Philadelphia. There’s no doubt that the Phillies would like to find a taker for Jonathan Papelbon, and contenders are always looking for bullpen help. If and when Papelbon gets dealt, Giles would assume closer’s duties for the Phillies.
Alex Guerrero, Dodgers (Mixed: $8, NL-only: $22): With Juan Uribe now in Atlanta, there’s another spot available on the field to get Guerrero’s bat in the lineup. He still isn’t playing every day, but he is getting enough consistent starts to roster him in deeper mixed leagues. He’s hitting .300/.333/.678 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 96 plate appearances.
Chris Colabello, Blue Jays (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $10): Colabello put together a solid month for the Blue Jays, slashing .374/.424/.582 with four homers and 14 RBIs. He was previously a member of the Chris Shelton All-Stars (hot April, terrible remainder of the season), so we’ve seen this sort of short-term performance from him before only to watch him fall off, but he’s relevant in deeper mixed leagues.
Trevor Plouffe, Twins (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $10): Plouffe is hitting for more power than he did in either of the last two seasons, and his rates are higher than they’ve ever been. Remember, this is a guy who hit 24 homers in 119 games back in 2012. There’s legitimate pop here, and, for the time being, he’s not killing his owners in batting average or OBP. Grab him if you need some power.
Yunel Escobar, Nationals (Mixed: $6, NL-only: $17): Escobar has proved to be one of the best under-the-radar acquisitions this season. He’s hitting .318 with a .373 OBP, and occupies the third spot in the Nationals order. With those rates in front of Bryce Harper, he has already scored 27 runs this season. He’s also eligible to play third in fantasy leagues. He should be much more widely owned.
Jung-ho Kang, Pirates (Mixed: $6, NL-only: $17): Kang’s now playing almost every day, he hits for a little power and good average and he swipes bags. How he hasn’t been scooped in more leagues is beyond me. If you need help up the middle, don’t let him sit on the wire any longer. He’s slashing .302/.375/.453 with three homers and four steals this season.
Brandon Phillips, Reds (Mixed: $4, NL-only: $12): Phillips dealt with a bout of turf toe last week, but he was able to return over the weekend during Cincinnati’s series with Washington. After seeing his production tail off over the last few years, Phillips is putting together his best season since 2012. He’s hitting .288/.324/.344 with six steals.
Andre Ethier, Dodgers (Mixed: $9, NL-only: $27): Ethier is still playing mostly every day with Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford on the DL. The veteran is having his best season in years, hitting .305/.392/.523 with six homers in 148 plate appearances. He’ll have fantasy value as long as he has a job in the Dodgers’ regular lineup.
Delino DeShields, Jr., Rangers (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $12): DeShields has run—literally and figuratively—with his opportunity to start in Texas’s outfield. He already has 11 stolen bases in 107 plate appearances and, thanks to a walk rate that sits at 14.4 percent, his .383 OBP is giving him plenty of chances to show his speed.
Billy Burns, A's (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $12): Burns should remain a fixture in Oakland’s lineup for the rest of the season, and that’ll make him mixed-league worthy, regardless of league size. He’s hitting .311/.360/.425 with two homers and seven steals on the year.