With the heavy influx of minor league talent being called up, there are likely a number of players on the waiver wire that are being overlooked because they just don’t have that “new player smell” anymore. Not just veterans, but some youngsters as well who have been around for a couple of months or so that didn’t quite catch fire when they first arrived, but have recently caught fire. Here are two outfielders that just might fit the bill as their roles have recently increased.
Jarrod Dyson, KC |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 3.6% Yahoo – 3.0%
As a first half replacement for the injured Lorenzo Cain, Dyson struggled most of the time. He was getting some decent playing time, but hit just .247 for the first three months of the season. What was worse was that he was unable get on-base regularly enough to put his best asset, his speed, to work for the Royals. He stole just 13 bases from April through the end of June and posted a very unappealing .304 on-base percentage. By the end of June, the Royals were turning back to Jason Bourgeois which seemed to signal the end of Dyson’s time in the majors. But rather than sink into obscurity, Dyson took control of his game. He caught fire just before the All Star break and when it was time to make a roster move with Cain coming back, the club ditched Bourgeois in favor of the youngster. And he hasn’t disappointed since. As a part-timer, he batted .314 with a .385 OBP for the month of July and swiped four bases. He’s played his way into a platoon with struggling outfielder Jeff Francoeur and is seeing a significant amount of playing time again. He is currently riding a six-game hit streak, batting .523 with five runs scored and five stolen bases. He still isn’t walking as much as he should, but he’s also not striking out very often. If you’re in a position to move up in stolen bases, you should probably give Dyson a look.
Justin Maxwell, HOU |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 3.0% Yahoo – 2.0%
There have been plenty of struggles for Maxwell this season as he tries to carve a niche out for himself with the Astros. He showed decent speed with some mid-level pop in the minors, but has killed himself with the strikeouts on virtually every level he’s played. The first half of his season in the bigs was no different as evidenced by his alarming 41.3-percent strikeout rate and inability to hit right-handers successfully. But just after the All Star break, things began to turn around for him. Due to injuries in the Astros outfield, Maxwell began to receive regular playing time. He struggled at first, but finished the month hitting safely in eight of the final 10 games and even cut down on the Ks. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Maxwell was batting .351 with three home runs, two doubles, two triples and two stolen bases over his last 37 at-bats, so you know the talent is there. He also struck out just nine times (Nine times? Niiiiine times) in that span. Sure, that’s still a 24.3-percent strikeout rate, but that’s light years better than where he was a few months ago. If you don’t get penalized for strikeouts and could use a little help in the outfield, think about Maxwell, even if it’s just for the short-run while he’s hot. Jordan Schafer just hit the DL, so it looks like his playing time will stay strong.