Something is stirring in South Florida. The Marlins have tossed aside conventional wisdom this season, calling up top-prospect Jose Fernandez following a couple of untimely injuries as they broke camp in late-spring. Next, they advanced a couple of raw talents in Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich only to see them flash talent but ultimately flop in the bigs.
Turn the page to July and the darling of spring training, Christian Yelich, along with his partner-in-crime Jake Marisnick got a (hopefully) one-way ticket to Miami to join Giancarlo Stanton in that large and colorful outfield. Yelich and Marisnick provided one of the most talented outfields in Double-A this season and now they are taking their talents to South Beach.
We’ll touch on Marisnick first as he may be the name that fantasy owners are less familiar with. He brings some power/speed upside to the Marlins system and has provided 12 home runs and 11 steals to go along with a solid .289 average in 70 games in the minors this season. The former Blue Jays’ prospect strikes out a bunch, approximately once a game, and that leave us questions about his batting average. Still, he offers some nice pop and is worth a look in deeper leagues.
Yelich is the name that fantasy owners are flocking to and the sweet swinging lefty is already making an impact, drilling four hits in his first 12 at-bats with a pair of RBI. The caution here, however, is the type of impact Yelich will have on your fantasy team. He struggles to hit left-handed pitching and was batting just .194 against southpaws in his time in the minors this season. Beyond that, his seven home runs–which match-up pretty well with his career-best season of 15 HR in 461 at-bats in 2011–don’t signal an elite power prospect. in fact, Yelich has been more of a speed threat than anything during his minor league career, swiping 32 bases in 2011. That total drooped to 20 last year. In 2013, not only is Yelich running less, with just five steals, but he has also been caught five times. Expecting more than 5-7 home runs and 5 or so steals from Yelich the rest of the way is a bit overly optimistic for our tastes and for that reason, he really isn’t going to be a late-season savior for those of you in mixed leagues.
Keeper owners who are falling out of the race or have some extra bench space should certainly spend a waiver claim or some FAAB budget on the talented youngster, but really, his ability to make an impact in 2013 for redraft owners is limited. Interestingly, I’d rather add Marisnick in a redraft league if tooling up for a stretch run but I don’t necessarily think either is a must-own outside of keeper/dynasty formats.
But that’s not to say you can’t find some talent on the wire that can help you right now! And with that, we move into our typical Waiver Wire Friday activities. We’ll do our best to give you some names available in >60% of standard Yahoo! leagues and also point out some who are a bit more lightly owned to help out those of you in deeper and league-only formats. Unfortunately, there will be no Yelich on this bus!
Working the Wire
Wilson Ramos (WSH) 9% owned: Since returning form the disabled list on July 4, Ramos has put up a sizzling .327/.365/.551 slash line and despite the fact that he’s 4-for-11 with a home run over his past three games, Ramos’ ownership rate has dipped 2%in the past week. The Nats’ offense is terrible right now, but a catcher who is hitting for average and power deserves to be owned in the majority of leagues.
Nick Hundley (SD) 2% owned: Yasmani Grandal is out and the backup backstop is taking advantage of the opportunity for extended playing time, batting .340 over the past 30 days for the Friars.
Justin Smoak (SEA) 12% owned: Remarkably, Smoak has resurrected his career over the past several weeks. The post-hype-sleeper-turned-bust-redemption-story has taken a turn in a positive way with a .307 batting average, six home runs and 15 RBI in 28 games since rejoining the team on June 18. He continues to strike out too much, but the walks have also ticked up and there is reason to believe that Smoak may have taken some strides at the dish.
Darin Ruf (PHI) 5% owned: Though he’s splitting time with John Mayberry while Ryan Howard is disabled, Ruf has shown a steady bat in his limited opportunity. The Phillies’ rookie has posted an .871 OPS with a pair of home runs and 10 runs scored in 47 at-bats so far this season.
Jedd Gyorko (SD) 37% owned: After missing time with a going injury Gyorko has scuffled at the dish, registering just four hits in nine July games. He’s watched his batting average dip by over 20 points in that span, but fantasy owners need not worry about his recent struggles. He was similarly sluggish at the start of the season, and appears to be a player who just needs to find a groove when hitting before things really start to click. Expect that time to come soon and take advantage of his recent issues to pounce on waivers or buy him on the cheap.
Junior Lake (CHC) 24% owned: Lake has made a splash (sorry, couldn’t resit) since joining the Cubbies, batting .484 (15-for-31) with a pair of home runs in his first seven games. He was swinging well in the minors, but profiles as more of a low-power, decent speed type of bat. If he maxes out his talent, he’s capable of bringing a Brett Lawrie type of line, but prospective owners really just need to take it day-to-day with the 23-year-old. The fact is, he’;s swinging well right now and warrants attention.
Trevor Plouffe (MIN) 18% owned:Let me start by saying that I’d much rather own Plouffe than Lake despite the fact that the latter is unquestionably the hotter hitter right now. Plouffe has been struggling in July, but this is a streaky bat that can get hot at a moments notice. If you have bench space, give Plouffe a spot there so you don’t have to race to the wire once his power stroke clicks.
Brett Wallace (HOU) 3% owned: We’re digging deep to find one of our preseason sleepers who is finally back to getting regular hacks with the ‘Stros. The season-long .204/.255/.417 slash certainly doesn’t scream ADD ME! but the latest version of Wallace is batting .253 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 23 games since being recalled in late June. he showed improvement down the stretch in 2012 and if Wallace has finally closed some of the holes in his swing, he can be a nice little plug-and-play the rest of the way.
Adeiny Hechavarria (MIA) 7% owned: A temporary fill-in for sure, Hechavarria has knocked his was to the top of the Marlins lineup on the strength of a .388 average in July. Hech has hit in 18 of 20 games this month while posting 11 multi-hit effort over that span. He won’t provide any pop but his four steals this month speak to a glimmer of speed upside.
Donovan Solano (MIA) 1% owned: Really Bretsky? Two Marlins? That’s right, Derek Deitrich got the boot last week and the Opening Day starter has retaken his role with a bang. After an 0-for-4 effort in his first game after being re-installed at the keystone position in South Beach, Solano has smacked six hits in his past three games including a solo home run on Thursday. Though power hungry owners should look elsewhere, the 25-year-old posted useful .295/.342/.375 line in 93 games last season and we see little reason why he can’t duplicate that performance.
Carlos Quentin (SD) 26% owned: CQ is always on our radar when he is healthy and he has been just that over the past month, batting .283 with five home runs and 19 RBI. He’s a steady veteran bat and when on the field, offer plus power for owners.
Michael Saunders (SEA) 9% owned: Ah the fickle mind of a fantasy owner. After falling just shy of a 20/20 season in 2012, Saunders made his way onto a number of sleeper lists this spring. He was disappointing over the first couple of months, to say the least, bttoming out with a .198 average on June 12. Since that date, however, Saunders has flipped a switch, slashing at a solid .275/.352/.440 rate while scoring 19 runs and driving in 14 RBI in 30 games. The power/speed numbers have yet to really come around, but we know what this guy is capable of. If you are searching for a Ryan Braun replacement out on the wire, Saunders is probably the most enticing five-category bat on the market.
Corey Kluber (CLE) 29% owned: Kluber still is not getting the respect he deserve despite his continue solid performance. Coming off of back to back scoreless outings, we expect Corey to keep the train rolling into the fall.
Rick Porcello (DET) 9% owned: That’s right, we’re back in! Porkchop has posted a 2.08 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over the past 30 days while snaring three straight wins. His last four turns have been quality and really, remove the back-to-back poor outing in mid June and you have one of the most surprising performances of any pitcher all season. Clearly the blowups will come but, more often than not, Ricky provides you with solid numbers.
Roy Halladay (PHI) 36% owned: Halladay is progressing well following shoulder surgery and has already begun to play long-toss. This is more of a hail-mary than anything, but if you have an extra DL space, Halladay has some upside to help you down the stretch. Scoop and stash now… what harm can it do?
J.J. Putz (ARI) 55%owned: Brad Ziegler is currently occupying the closer role, but Putz remains a factor in the back end of the pen. He had an impressive three-strikeout inning on Thursday night and if Ziegler falters in the coming days, Putz could very well take his job back.