Let’s kick off this week’s round of waiver wire posts off with a look at two NL outfielders who are starting to come around…
Angel Pagan | OF | Mets | Ownership: 41% Yahoo!, 65.6% ESPN
Pagan caught the oblique strain bug earlier this year, missing ~30 games. His season line sits at a disappointing .229/.293/.303, but that’s mostly due to a slow start before the injury. Since coming off the disabled list, the Mets’ centerfielder has hit .350/.357/.400 with just two strikeouts in 42 plate appearances, though we all know that’s not really his true talent level. Pagan’s value comes from stealing bases, and although he’s just 2-for-4 since returning, ZiPS projects 13 steals the rest of the way, along with an acceptable .269 AVG. A healthy Pagan could always shoot past those projections as well; he did hit .290 and steal 37 bases in 151 games last year, and a similar pace would see him swipe about 25 bags the rest of this season. It’s third or fourth outfielder production in fantasy, which is typically what you’re looking for when you’re sifting through the waiver wire.
Ryan Ludwick | OF | Padres | Ownership: 40% Yahoo!, 68.5% ESPN
The Padres have not gotten what they expected out of Ludwick when they acquired him at the trade deadline last year, receiving just a .233/.314/.368 batting line in almost 500 plate appearances (478 to be exact). Like teammate Brad Hawpe, Ludwick started the year in the dumps, hitting just .135/.262/.212 though the teams’ first 16 games before turning things around. Since then, an admittedly arbitrary endpoint, Ludwick is hitting a rock solid .294/.350/.469 with seven homers and 31 RBI in 182 plate appearances. Only nine batters have driven in more runs during that time, and they’re basically the nine best hitters in baseball.
Petco Park is scary and a fantasy value killer (for batters), but it’s not so bad on right-handed power hitter (92 HR park factor according to Stat Corner). Ludwick’s performance over the last seven weeks or so is in line with his 2007-2009 output (.280/.350/.512), so it’s not like this is coming from nowhere. The rest of season ZiPS projection is okay, not great (.257/.331/.438 with 13 HR), but it’s certainly useful, especially in NL-only or deeper mixed leagues.