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Fantasy Baseball: Waiver Wire Friday

With the lighter schedule of games Thursday, we’re going to take advantage every Friday and give a look at the top talent available on the waiver wire. At each position we’ll give you the top players available in >60% of Yahoo standard leagues and for those of you in deeper games, we’ll throw out a name available in more than 85% of those formats.

We are going to try and keep things fresh here and hit on some players that we didn’t get to in last week’s edition of Waiver Wire Friday but we’ll re-list some players from time to time when their ownership rate and performance still warrants a mention.

Working the Wire

Catcher

Jason Castro (HOU) 22% owned: Castro collected two hits on Thursday with a pair of runs scored, as he continues to simply tear the cover off of the ball. Castro is batting .484 (16-for-33) over his last 10 games with nine runs scored, six RBI and three home runs. His recent run at the dish has gotten gotten him moved up into the three spot in the Houston order, prime position to both pile up runs scored and drive in a fair amount of RBI as well. Castro’s six home runs in 46 games already match his total over 87 contents last year but at age 26, it’s fair to expect a modest power boost. Until he cools off, give the Astro’s catchera spin.

Yan Gomes (CLE) 14% owned:  The Legend of Yan Gomes continues to grow as he continues to produce while given limited opportunities. The Indians’ backup backstop has slugged five home runs while batting .319 over his first 69 at-bats this season. He’s collected 13 runs scored and 13 RBI in a part time role and with a three hit effort on Thursday, Gomes continues to press Manager Terry Francona for more playing time. If you have some bench space and daily roster moves, Gomes can be an asset in a platoon behind the virtual plate.

First Base

Brandon Moss (OAK) 29% owned: Moss has slumped in may after a strong start to the season, batting just .157 in April following a .295/.398/.477 performance in May. Still, he has three long balls this month, bringing his total to seven on the season. Degrading plate discipline–14 BB in April vs. 7 BB in May–is surely  to blame for the regression, but overall, Moss is in line to have a productive season, if he gets the average back into the .270 range. Moss remains on pace to provide 21 homers with 75 runs scored and 75 RBI, solid numbers from a corner infield spot in mixed leagues.

Adam Lind (TOR) 9% owned: Lind continues to put up a surprisingly effecitve season. He’s batted .344 over his past 10 games as the Jays do their best to limit his exposure to left-handed pitching. Lind has just six at-bats against southpaws all season, and it would be fantastic if Toronto  would keep it that way. Lind can do plenty of damage in a platoon role and brings some nice power to the table in a part time role.

Middle Infield

Didi Gregorius (ARI) 27% owned: Billed as an “all glove” prospect, Gregorius is shaking that label with a superb start to his career in Arizona. In addition to his fine work in the field, Didi has been chipping in at the dish as well with a nice .328/.386/.534 slash line over 129 plate appearances. His six home runs between the majors and minors this season are just one shy his career bast of  seven, which he reached in two separate minor league season. It is a bit of a shock to see a guy do so well at the major league level after putting up a fairly mediocre .273/.324/.381 slash line over 1,766 minor league at-bats, but his ISO slugging percentage did take a significant jump last year with the Reds’ Triple-A  affiliate, giving us reason to think that some of this improvement is sustainable. Of course, expecting the guy to hit .330 with 20 home runs would not be wise, but like Brandon Crawford earlier in the season, sometimes you just have to ride the hot bat. Gregorius is just 23-years-old and is playing in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league. Keep the long-term expectations in check, but take advantage of Didi’s solid work at the dish of late.

Emilio Bonifacio (TOR) 18% owned: Bonifacio made his way onto a number of my teams heading out of the draft. Despite his overall lack of talent both in the field and at the plate, Bonifacio’s speed makes him a game changer. He can “play” any position on the diamond and anyone capable of swiping 30 bases in just 62 games, as Emilio did in 2012, is a player to monitor in fantasy. The injury to Brett Lawrie (ankle) will continue to provide a path to at-bats for Boni and while he has yeat to make any sort of impact on the basepaths with a disappointing 5 steals in 45 games, he did go 2-for-4 with a stolen base on Wednesday and has 7 hits in his last 25 at-bats (.280) so maybe we are seeing his bat finally wake up from a season-long slumber. It’s a bit of a leap of faith that he won’t crush your batting average, but I remain confident in 35+ steals from Bonifacio this season in Toronto and if you have a need for speed, now is as good a time as any to roll the dice on Emilio.

Jeff Keppinger (CHW) 8% owned: Despite an almost offensive lack of patience at the plate–just 2 walks in 183 trips to the dish–Keppinger’s high contact approach has finally been translating into some hits over the past couple of weeks. Kepp is batting .347 over his last 14 contests with a home runs and eight RBI. There’s not a lot of power or speed potential here, but when Keppinger is running hot, he’s a bankable for a solid batting average (.283 career hitter) that can fill-in at a number of positions in your fantasy lineup.

Third Base

Chris Johnson (ATL) 29% owned: Johnson’s bat remains sizzling down in Hot-lanta and after batting .414 over his past 10 games, the veteran third baseman finds himself with an every day role now that Juan Francisco has been designated for assignment. Johnson lacks the punch in his bat that Francisco brought to the table, but offers far more consistency both in the field and at the dish. Despite limited power potential, Chris Johnson has been a very consistent bat over the past three season when on the field, averaging a solid .279-58-16-82-5 5×5 line per 162 games. With a solid floor, it’s safe to expect a slightly jucier line this season in Atlanta as the Braves bats begin to come alive over the summer.

Alberto Callaspo (LAA) 4% owned: We could sit here all day and list the multitude of skills that Alberto Callaspo does not bring to the table offensively… but we like to stay positive in this piece and focus on upside; it is Friday after all! From 2009-2011 with the Royals and Angels, Callaspo provided a solid .285 batting average solid run totals. He boasts a strong 1:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio over those three season and despite slipping back in batting average last season, his high-contact approach at the plate remained consistent. Alberto puts the ball in play, and if the Angels lineup ever transitions into the juggernaut that we were expecting prior to the season, that approach could sustain a usable corner option in a deeper mixed league. Admittedly, we’re at the bottom of the barrel here, but at the very least, Callaspo won’t hurt  you while provide some mildly productive at-bats.

Outfield

Ben Revere (PHI) 35% owned: Revere’s start in Philadelphia has left quite a lot to be desired. He batted just .200 in April with a disgusting .234 on-base percentage while playing shaky defense in center field. He was  perfect 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts during the season first month, giving owners at least a little something for their draft-day investment. Revere has performed  much better in May and put together  a useful .324/.367/.365 slash line in 74 at-bats with another five swipes. The wheels are real and we’d expect a batting average closer to the .294 he put up over 511 at-bats last season than the .256 number he’s currently at over the balance of the season.

A.J. Pollock (ARI) 6% owned: With news that Adam Eaton will miss an extensive amount of time with his elbow injury, A.J. Pollock become the main benefactor of the potential playing time in the Arizona outfield. Pollock has hit consistently well n the minors and though he does not offer all that much pop, he has posted pretty solid steals totals over the past couple of season in Arizona’s farm system.  Pollock is batting .321 over his past 16 games while jumping all around the DBacks lineup. He should continue to provide modest power with solid speed numbers for as long as he can stay in the regular lineup.

Pitcher

Jarrod Parker (OAK) 40% owned: After a brutal start to the year, Parker’s ownership has slipped down enough to land on our list here. After a strong performance on Tuesday, Parker has racked up four straight quality starts and has a 14:4 K-to-BB ratio in his last three turns. We cautioned that Parker was more of a start-at-home matchups play than an every start ace coming into the year, and he continues to look that way with 3.42 ERA/1.125 WHIP at home compared to a 4.45 ERA/1.40 WHIP on the road. Still, with waiver wire pitchers, it is often most logical to take things start-by-start and with an upcoming matchup at home against the White Sox on Sunday– a team Parker beat in his only career start against them–he makes for a solid pickup in the short term.

Dillon Gee (NYM) 6% owned: Gee struck out 12 Yankees in on Thursday while picking up his third win of the season. The outing represented his first quality start since April 4 and Gee’s season-long numbers (5.68 ERA/1.60 WHIP) leave much to be desired. Still this is a player who notched a 4.10 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 17 starts last season with a strong 8.0 K/9. His performance last year could have been even better as Gee racked up a .371 FIP and 3.54 xFIP, signs that his mediocre ERA was at least partially to blame on some poor luck. Gee is little more than a spot-starter in standard mixed formats, but there is value to be had for NL-only owners and so long as Gee continue to post solid strikeout numbers and a low walk rate, he cna be a solid back-end starter.

 

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