This week’s waiver wire includes two players who are complete opposites. One has just been called up and will get his first taste of the Majors, while the other has been playing for the past 20 years. Whether it’s speed or power you need, there’s a player for you to be had.
Anthony Gose | TOR OF | CBS 10% Owned
With Jose Bautista Dl’ed with a left wrist injury, the Jays called up top prospect Anthony Gose. Ranked in the pre-season as the 77th best fantasy prospect and the top Jays prospect, Gose should be in there against all right-handed starters at the very least, but as a lefty, might sit against all southpaws or tougher ones initially. Gose’s game is all about speed as he has posted an Spd score of at least 7.8 at every minor league stop. He had stolen 29 bases at the Triple-A level this year, good for a prorated pace of 46 swipes over 600 at-bats. Unfortunately, he isn’t exactly a polished base stealer, as he was also caught 10 times for a mediocre 74% success rate. He stole a whopping 76 bases at two minor league stops last year at a much better 82% success rate, though.
Aside from the expected contribution in steals, he has some pop as well. His ISO has sat in the mid-to-high .100 range since 2010 with the Jays’ High-A club and he would likely flirt with low-teen home run totals over a full season. He has also shown some good plate patience, posting walk rates around 10% in that same timeframe. His one weakness is in making contact. For a hitter with only mediocre power, he should really be posting better strikeout rates. Overall, his skill set reminds me a whole lot of Desmond Jennings, though Jennings showed much better contact in the minors which hasn’t yet translated. Gose is unlikely to help in batting average, but should provide plenty of steals and the occasional homer. For as long as Bautista is out, he should provide value in even 12-team mixed leagues.
Jim Thome | BAL DH | 9% Owned
He’s still alive! The 41-year old is back to getting near full-time at-bats, pulling in DH playing time now with the O’s. He’ll probably sit against left-handed starters, but Thome still has excellent power. His .196 ISO is still plenty good, but ZiPS actually expects a slight increase through the rest of the season to get himover the .200 hump. That 38.5% HR/FB ratio will obviously come down, but it does tell us that even at his old age, he still has no problem muscling balls over the wall. One red flag to monitor, however, is a sudden penchant for ground balls. Having always posted rates in the low 40% range, along with a fly ball rate in the high 30% range, Thome is suddenly approaching at-bats like Juan Pierre, slapping balls into the ground at an inflated 56% rate. Odds are the fly ball rate jumps, while the HR/FB ratio declines, offsetting each other and resulting in a HR/AB ratio that doesn’t change much. With a spot in the middle of the order, he can be a decent contributor in two categories, but that’s really it. So he is really just for the power hungry owners who aren’t in as much need of the remaining categories. Lastly, his DH-only eligibility does have the ability to handcuff owners and as an owner of Billy Butler, I know how annoying it can be.