Denard Span and Jonathan Villar: Late-Season Waiver Wire

While it seems like time is rapidly running out, there are still roughly three weeks to go in the regular season and that’s still enough time to make a move in a few of the categories involving counting stats. Runs scored and stolen bases are still available on your waiver wire and while it might take the full three weeks to see some results, an impact can still be made…hopefully. With such little time left, you’ve got to pull out all the stops and every bit of help counts. Here are two guys who can probably help in those categories.

Denard Span, WAS |OF| Ownership:  ESPN – 39.4%  Yahoo – 21.0%

Given the fact that he’s sporting a .281/.330/.380 slash line as the leadoff hitter for the Nationals, it’s a little surprising to see his ownership rates so low at this point in the season. His stolen base total is a bit low and he probably will only net you a small handful the rest of the way, but he’s batting .404 with 10 runs scored and a pair of steals (one home run and three RBI too) over the last two weeks and should continue to start atop the Nats order for the duration of the season. He’s not some hidden gem that people are stumbling upon; he’s just a simple, everyday player who seems to be getting overlooked. He’s got a slightly below average walk rate, but he doesn’t strike out too often and is sustaininghis average right now with strong contact rates. Maybe his numbers throughout the year haven’t been something upon which fantasy dreams are built, but since the All Star break, he’s batting .319 with four home runs, 15 RBI and 23 runs scored. He’s also kicked in three stolen bases in that time frame. It’s better than a poke in the eye, right?

Jonathan Villar, HOU |SS| Ownership: ESPN – 10.9% Yahoo – 6.0%

If you’ve overlooked Villar on your waiver wire, then in just these last two weeks you’ve missed out on 51 at-bats of a .300 average with 10 runs scored and five stolen bases. It also doesn’t hurt that he kicked in one home run and four RBI too. Sitting atop the Houston lineup may not seem all that appealing but with a .350 OBP and a 9.8-percent walk rate, your chances of contributing in the runs scored category are pretty good. And if you’ve got some decent speed — as Villar has exhibited not just in these past two weeks, but throughout his time in the minors as well, swiping 30-plus bases in each year since 2010. Quality help at this time of year, particularly in the middle infield, can be tough to come by, so if you’re waiting on someone to turn it around, you should be waiting for him while he’s on your bench. Villar can help you right now. Don’t worry about his strikeout rate and don’t worry about his average right now; even in head to head play. The boost he’ll give you in runs and steals will easily outweigh and negatives in average.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

13 Responses to “Denard Span and Jonathan Villar: Late-Season Waiver Wire”

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  1. S. Urista says:

    Villar is such a headcase. Bunch of steals his first two weeks, then went like three weeks with exactly one swipe. Now back to swiping again. Color me confused.

    I wonder if Jarred Dyson might not be a better source of cheap steals. Yes, he’s only played 75 games all season, but looking at any 10-game stretch he did play, he’s averaged at least 4 SBs for any 10-game period. Plus, the Royals clearly aren’t afraid to run (both full season and since the all-star break, the Royals have the most stolen bases and second-highest Stolen Base percentage in the majors).

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    • Mister says:

      How does any of that make him a “headcase?” It’s not at all uncommon for steals to come in bunches, for all prolific base stealers. Look at Leonys Martin this year, for example.

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    • Howard Bender says:

      I do actually like Dyson for steals more than Villar. I wrote him up last week actually.

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    • elguapo says:

      Villar stopped stealing after he hurt his wrist (he stole one base after and then re-aggravated the injury and didn’t steal for 3 weeks after that, with only 2 failed attempts.) Might be he’s better now and not as worried about hurting his wrist in a slide. During that time he was also moved from leading off to batting 9th, but is now leading off again with Grossman injured. That may also be relevant.

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  2. S. Urista says:

    Well, I meant he’s a headcase for his owners, not that he’s a headcase.

    There appears to be a clear correlation in when his steals come – where he bats in the lineup. He’s appeared in 41 games for Houston this year. He batted lead-off in 12 of the first 15 games, and had 10 SBs. The next 19 games he batted mostly 9th, with an 8th or 7th here and there, and only 2 SBs.

    He has 4 SBs in the last 7 games – all batting lead-off again.

    *shrug*. SSS coincidence no doubt, but that three-week stretch of empty production (2 SBs, 5 runs, 2 RBIs, all while batting .285) just killed your lineup; might be evidence of just how little value he provides when batting at the bottom of a poor lineup. If he’s going to stick at the top of the lineup I’d be much more willing to take a chance on him for the last 20 games of the season.

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    • Mister says:

      Ah, I gotcha. Yes, he has been frustrating and very unpredictable. I’m hanging on to him though just because he’s about the best I can do at SS in my deep AL-only league. The thing is that he really doesn’t have to do all that much to be rosterable at SS.

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    • Giovani says:

      I don’t think “headcase” means what you think it means.

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    • Terence says:

      That empty production came right after he injured his thumb sliding into second base. They sat him several games and demoted him in the order when he did play so that he wouldn’t have to steal and would have time to let his thumb heal. The coaching staff isn’t worried about his thumb anymore, they put him back at the top of the order, gave him the green light and his production is back. For the rest of the season, if he’s on base he will be running.

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    • majnun says:

      If three weeks of poor production from a middle infielder you picked up for free “killed” your lineup it deserved to be put out of its misery

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      • S. Urista says:

        OK, I slightly exaggerated….but my core point stands: Villar is essentially a one-category contributor. If he’s not running he’s not producing anything for your lineup, and any player not making your team better is making your team worse.

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  3. Scott says:

    Villar was hurt, it’s not that confusing.

    He’s been a fantastic replacement for Starlin Castro. Talk about head cases.

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