Josh Reddick and Alex Gonzalez: Waiver Wire Help

With a full month of baseball in the books, you’d have to think that your league’s waiver wire has been picked clean.  However, between the recent rash of injuries and rookie call-ups, there are certainly a few names that have slipped through the cracks.  Here are two guys you might want to consider depending on the holes in your roster.

Josh Reddick, OAK  |OF|  Ownership:  ESPN – 5.2%  Yahoo – 9.0%

Given the fact that Reddick has a full-time job and is producing well right now, it’s surprising to see how little he is owned in fantasy leagues.  Striking while the iron is hot is key in fantasy baseball, especially if you’re playing the waiver wire to fill in that last spot in your outfield, and a player batting .277 with four home runs, nine RBI and a pair of stolen bases ain’t too shabby.  And the fact that he’s done most of the heavy lifting in the past two weeks means that that iron is scorching hot right now.

He’s definitely got some flaws in his game such as a weak OBP that is being dragged down by a miniscule 2.1% walk rate, but he also has some things to appreciate such as a better-than-average strikeout rate and a .200-plus ISO.  Eno Sarris, a known supporter, wrote a very honest assessment of Reddick back in January, and having read that and seen what he’s done through this first month of the season, I’m starting to believe more and more.

If that walk rate can even climb above 5.0% while keeping the strikeout rate somewhere around last season’s 18.0%, then you’ll see a nice jump in his on-base percentage.  How that increase in walk rate will jibe with his current aggressiveness at the plate will be the key.  He’s swinging at a lot of pitches, but not wildly hacking, and making excellent contact.  He’ll need to learn to lay off some of the stuff outside the zone to draw a few extra free passes.  If he can make that work for him and sustain his current level of power, then his value will go beyond that of just a fourth outfielder/plug-and-play type guy.

Alex Gonzalez, MIL  |SS|  Ownership:  ESPN – 21.5%  Yahoo – 16.0%

Gonzalez might be a tough sell for a lot of you, but given his power production and the current state of the shortstop position, he might be worth a look to a lot of you right now.  If you’re sitting on a Yunel Escobar, Alexei Ramirez or even a Zack Cozart, your return from the position is definitely lacking and can be easily improved, even if for a short time.  There’s nothing wrong with grabbing an inferior player who is hot right now while you sit and wait for the guy you drafted to get going.

And Gonzalez, right now, is definitely hot.  You can trace the streak back to the birth of his third son in mid-April — over the last 15 days, he is batting .317 with three home runs, eight RBI and a stolen base.  If you look at what he’s done in just the past week, it’s even better looking.  Small sample size?  Absolutely.  But again, if you’re in need of a temporary fix, then why not take advantage of him until he slows down?  If you can squeeze out a few more home runs and his batting average doesn’t kill you, then all you’re doing is helping your cause.




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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, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com


13 Responses to “Josh Reddick and Alex Gonzalez: Waiver Wire Help”

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  1. joe bananas says:

    alex gonzalez over aybar? aybar hasn’t done much of anything and i’m rolling with aviles.

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    • Howard Bender says:

      I would definitely use Gonzalez over Aybar, but in truth, I’d probably stick with Aviles right now.

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      • joe bananas says:

        lowrie over alex gonzalez? both are on my waiver wire

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      • Howard Bender says:

        I would probably go Lowrie over Gonzalez for now. Not losing that much in power for the short run and you’ll get help with avg. If Gonzalez is on your waiver wire now, I’m sure you’ll be able to grab in in a couple of weeks if Lowrie doesn’t pan out.

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  2. dragnalus says:

    Would it be foolish to outright drop Alexei? I know he’s prone to slow starts but this is getting ridiculous. Gonzalez is available in my league but I’ve also got my eye on Jed Lowrie, Erick Aybar (who was just dropped), Ian Desmond, or Robert Andino (his positional eligibility is enticing). My other SS is Cozart so I’m desperate right now.

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    • Howard Bender says:

      That’s a tough decision. If it’s a fairly shallow league, then you might be able to drop him and pick him up later. Always hard to do, especially since he is a notorious slow starter and has turned it up later on. But if the league is shallow enough, then you might be able to get away with it. Cozart will eventually get it, but out of the guys you mentioned, in order of preference, I would go Lowrie, Gonzalez, Andino, Desmond and then Aybar.

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      • dragnalus says:

        12 team 5×5 H2H league, so pretty standard. Lowrie may be a good option. My only 3B right now is Beltre and with his string of day-to-day injuries it’d be good to have a backup option. I may send out some offers to see if anybody will bite on Ramirez, but if not that’ll tell me he’s safe to drop.

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  3. wobatus says:

    Does going after a guy because he is hot right now really work? I would think the fangraphs crowd had debunked this. If Alex Gonzalez has a huge body of work that says his line should be [fill in zips rest of way projection] and because over 2 weeks since the birth of his son he’s gone .320/.500/.650, does that mean I should grab him because he’s hot, if just for the next 2-4 weeks?

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    • dragnalus says:

      Hence the caveat “Small sample size? Absolutely. But again, if you’re in need of a temporary fix, then why not take advantage of him until he slows down? If you can squeeze out a few more home runs and his batting average doesn’t kill you, then all you’re doing is helping your cause.”

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    • I think chasing the hot starter of the week is one of the biggest mistakes fantasy owners make. You have it right. I would not completely ignore a player’s career body of work and put all this weight on the last week or two. So personally I would not grab Gonzalez right now solely because he has happened to hit well the last couple of weeks.

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      • Howard Bender says:

        Well, first off, never did I say to ignore a player’s career body of work and “put all this weight on the last week or two.” It’s not like I’m sitting here telling you to bench Pujols or Hosmer in favor of Overbay because he’s hitting well and eating into Goldschmidt’s at-bats.

        I’m saying that if you have an unproven rookie like Cozart or a guy like Yunel Escobar, whose career body of work we’ve already seen and know what he is and isn’t capable of doing, and that player is hurt or struggling, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a guy that is swinging a hot bat and use him as a temporary replacement. I’m not saying that you’re going to roll with Gonzalez the rest of the way because this hot streak is going to last all year…I’m saying that, if you have the bench space or the waiver flexibility, then it’s not a bad strategy to employ.

        I’ve swapped out struggling role players in a number of leagues for a week or two and then dropped the replacement back into the player pool, fully expecting that they would cool off, and it has worked out just fine for me.

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  4. crum says:

    Reddick over Rasmus?

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    • Howard Bender says:

      Perfect example. While I wouldn’t drop Rasmus in favor of Reddick, I wouldn’t be adverse to benching Rasmus for a week or two and use Reddick while he’s hot. Rasmus hasn’t proven anything on this level, but we’ve seen a flash of his power potential. Is his ceiling higher than Reddick’s? Maybe. But I’m not going to sit and soak up a week and a half of 0-for’s from Rasmus if I can enjoy Reddick hitting .300 in that time. If/when Rasmus comes around or Reddick comes back to earth, then I swap them back.

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