My RotoGraphs Deep League Waiver Wire Draft

Happy 4th of July weekend to you all…

So some of the boys and I decided to test out our waiver wire skills and ran a quick little Deep League Waiver Wire draft.  We had to pick those that we thought would be the most productive for fantasy teams THIS season but had less than a 10% ownership mark using ESPN Fantasy as a guideline.  Since the pick’ns were pretty slim, we left the positions as follows:  C, CI, MI, OF, SP, RP.  I had the first pick of the four of us, so here’s what I did…

Round 1 (1st pick):  Cody Ross, OF

Maybe it was a cop out pick to take the guy with the highest ownership percentage from which we had to choose, but Ross is a pretty solid guy to have given the rest of the player pool.  He plays every day, is sporting a slash line of .267/.353/.424, has a decent 10.9 BB% and has an ISO mark of .157.  If his ZiPS ROS are close to accurate, then he’ll provide some nice second half production, barring injury or a trade to a team that wants to use him strictly as a bat off the bench.  Nothing eye-popping, but enough to leave him in this lineup regularly.

Round 2 (8th pick):  Chris Johnson, CI

People seem to have cast Johnson aside after his brutal .185 April.  But since that weak start he has gradually improved each month, hitting .250 for May and .298 for June.  The improvements continue as you look through the stats — gradually decreasing K%, increasing OBP, increasing SLG.  His LD% has been over 27% the last two months and while his GB% spiked in June, the balls seemed to find the holes as evidenced by his favorable .370 June BABIP.  Again, nothing outlandish, but he will be in the lineup every day and has some decent pop in his bat.

Round 3 (9th pick):  Chris Getz, MI

The other guys grabbed some speed in the first and second round so I snagged Getz with my wraparound pick.  Props from Jeff Zimmerman here who was hoping Getz would drop to him and a suggestion that he [Getz] was Ned Yost’s adopted son — the only legitimate explanation for him hitting second in the Royals lineup.  Middling average, weak OBP, but speed on the bases as evidenced by his 14 swipes to date.  With the demotion of Mike Aviles, the second base job belongs solely to him and he’s proving himself with a nice bounceback campaign.  He’s got the potential to keep me in the top half of the steals category in this grueling 4-team league.

Round 4 (16th pick):  Nick Hundley, C

I got caught up in a catcher run here and was afraid I was going to get left out in the cold, so I panicked and grabbed Hundley.  This was before the recent fluid buildup in the elbow, but what can you do?  I can’t really sell you on this pick because I’m not a huge believer in him, but despite missing a bunch of time with the oblique injury, he’s still the primary backstop in San Diego.  Perhaps he’ll drop that 48% GB rate and go on a little bit of a tear at some point in the second half.

Round 5 (17th pick):  Koji Uehara, RP

With starting pitching looking fairly deep and seeing Eno grab Javy Guerra, his closer-in-waiting, I figured I waited long enough to take my relief pitcher.  Not only do I have no faith in Kevin Gregg to last the entire season as the Oriole’s closer, but Uehara has been rock solid to this point and could be in line to get even better as the season progresses.  The fact that he’s a fly ball pitcher (58.8 FB%) that calls Camden Yards home and has a 12.8% HR/FB rate makes me a little nervous, but a 11.50 K/9 helps me sleep a little better at night.  He’s also got a 17.1 SwStr% and hitters have just a .195 BABIP against him.  I see things in Baltimore unfolding much the way they did last season with Uehara finishing up the year as the team’s ninth inning specialist.

Round 6 (24th pick):  Barry Zito, SP

I went completely against the FanGraphs/RotoGraphs grain and took Zito here with complete disregard for numbers.  Sometimes you just have to put some faith in the intangibles and go with your gut.  Zito claims to have had one of those cathartic moments you see in sports movies where the over-priced, under-performing superstar finds himself walking alone and stumbles across a bunch of kids playing ball and begins to remember what it was like just to play for the fun and love of the game.  For Barry, it was the eagerness of his minor league teammates during rehab that did it for him.  Cheesy?  Absolutely.  But Zito’s last start completed the reel as he tossed 7 innings of two run ball for his first big league win since September 19, 2010.  Call me crazy, but I think he’s going to have a quality second half.

That’s it.  That’s my team.  Some power, decent speed, solid pitching.  The other guys will be unveiling their choices as the week goes on, so get ready to place your bets.  I got my money on me!

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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

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Looks like you were spot-on about Zito. I don’t think he can keep it up though. He had this type of moment early last season and it didn’t last.