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.