Todd Helton: Waiver Wire

Back on May 6th Zachary Sanders wrote a waiver wire post about Todd Helton. At the time he was owned in only 12% of Yahoo! leagues and 19% of ESPN leagues. Some of you heeded Mr. Sanders’ advice as Helton’s ownership in ESPN leagues is up to 98.8%. Kudos to you, Mr. Owner. But those of you in Yahoo! leagues…what gives? Why do you hate Todd Helton? His ownership is just 61%.

All Helton has done is hit .324/.407/.502. No matter what type of league you’re in a slash line like that has value, even if its just as a bench bat. No, the 11 home runs and 50 RBI aren’t the type of power numbers you’d usually want from your first basemen, but Helton’s .177 ISO is actually higher than it’s been since 2006. The month of July has been especially good to Helton. He’s hit .396/.507/.604 in 69 plate appearances with seven extra base hits and 16 RBI. Expecting a 1.111 OPS to continue is a pipe dream, but there’s no reason he can’t maintain a figure in the high .800’s or low .900’s thanks to his fantastic on base percentage. His OBP has climbed each month going from .359 to .385 to .396 to .507 in July. Of the 17 first basemen Yahoo! has ranked in the top 100 Helton is the only one with an ownership percentage of 82.

Granted, you’re not likely to start Helton over players like Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Paul Konerko, etc, but Carlos Pena and Billy Butler are owned in more leagues despite being lower in the rankings. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Helton keeps his average above .320 for the season. Only seven players in baseball hit above .320 last year. More players hit 30+ home runs. That presents real value.

Check your rosters. That last bench player you have that you rarely use? Drop whoever it is in favor of Helton. He’s better than the alternative.

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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

22 Responses to “Todd Helton: Waiver Wire”

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  1. brett moore says:

    it seems to me that a large percentage of yahoo leagues must be inactive. there are just way too may quality guys with super low ownership rates in yahoo leagues. or maybe people play in 4 man leagues with only 8 position players & 5 pitchers. the league i play in is a 12 man league with standard scoring. our waiver wire almost never has guys brought up in these kinds of articles. its more like 4th & 5th starters, middle relievers, platoon players & bench players. if you hve a pulse & an everyday job chances are you are on somebody’s team.

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  2. Falesi says:

    I had Helton earlier as Teixiera insurance, and he paid dividends for the little I played him. I had my eye on him again about a month ago but he was snatched up by a competitor. Freeman is my favorite waiver wanderer right now, but I have Gardner in my last slot because I need SB more than HR.

    Also had Howard from autodraft and traded him for CarGo. Right wrist notwithstanding, great trade so far.

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  3. lexomatic says:

    My experience is that public yahoo leagues die after the all-star break. 1-2 owners will remain active, and they’ll be in it until the end. Everyone else has disappeared by then. It explains why I have never finished lower than 2nd

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  4. Feeding the Abscess says:

    He hit .256 with 8 HR in 473 PA last season. That’s still fresh in the mind of many people.

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    • YP says:

      Yet he was hurt and the year before he hit around 320 with near 20 homers. Last year was the outlier.

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      • Feeding the Abscess says:

        15 HR, and he’s turning 38 years old next month. Add in his injured/bad 2008 season and back issues, and you can forgive people for not having expected him to have his best season since 2005.

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  5. James P says:

    How Billy Butler is still owned in 10-team leagues is beyond my comprehension.

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  6. jim says:

    yahoo leagues are weird… in both i participate in, i’m the only person who owns helton, and even i didnt pick him up until almost june. there’s also a boatload of relievers ranked in the 100s overall that i wish i had space for, and guys like burnett and hughes have been owned all season.


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  7. Shaun Catron says:

    Mike Adams being owned in only 35% of Y! leagues pretty much says it all.

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  8. kid says:

    Helton’s been a nice surprise. I picked him up early on, and traded him maybe a month ago for Matt Garza… we’re both getting value out of that deal.

    His rate stats look great but the “Counting” numbers are a bit low for a 1B. But I have a feeling that everybody here appreciates that .390 wOBA.

    What a great hitter – career 25% LD rate, and a 88% contact rate that is phenomenal for a guy who hit for so much power early on. He should teach a clinic on hitting.

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  9. Blue says:

    Because people don’t understand how BA really works in Roto–it IS a counting stat, of hits and ABs–I think they tend to diminish the value of high batting averages.

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  10. Greg says:

    I drafted Helton in the 23rd round of a 14 team points league at Fantrax. No one wanted him in March, but I have gotten several trade offers for him in the last week or so. I wish I would have had him active for his recent hot streak but I have been using Danny Espinosa in my utility spot. Not any more! Helton is active starting today.

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  11. rehtul says:

    In my 20 team dynasty I’ve been spot starting helton/giambi all year. They gotta be close to top 5-6 1b combined… decent CI

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  12. The_Beard says:

    Todd Helton by month BA/HR/RBI:

    April- .300/3/10
    May- .313/3/12
    June- .310/3/12
    July- .382/2/17

    And his R/L and home/away splits are all pretty even. Dude is a 37 year old hit factory.

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  13. Marcus says:

    i’m in an 8-man 5×5 yahoo league, and it’s pretty much me and 2 other guys who actually do diligent research and check the free agents often. there are 2 or 3 others kind of check up pretty often, but they’ve been known to flake on a few occasions (like not rotating one of their best pitchers in to start, or leaving a DL player as a starter for a couple days). the last 2 are basically a waste of space.

    i actually just saw helton was a free agent in our league last night and wondered why that was the case. i thought about dropping danny espinosa for him, but for the season, espinosa has actually been better than helton in everything except AVG (plus it would throw off my roster balance).

    i can’t speak for the players behind me in the standings (i’m in 2nd), although i’d be willing to bet they could use helton’s stats. i’m not going to go tell them, though… :P

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    • Shaun Catron says:

      Espinosa also has the position scarcity thing going on. 2B > 1B any day of the week for other counting stats in terms of waiver wire

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      • Marcus says:

        very true. i didn’t even consider the position difference. in such a shallow league, though, the only positions i’ve had a tough time with have been SS and C, but even then i still managed to pick up alexei ramirez when jose reyes went on the DL and carlos santana and miguel montero were both waiver acquisitions.

        it actually is tough to determine which players are droppable, since they would be considered good in most leagues.

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  14. Brian says:

    The fact that Helton is still a free agent in any league makes me seriously wonder what kind of leagues people play in. I guess 8 teamers are popular these days.

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  15. Charles says:

    Freeman, Helton, Pena, Belt. Right order for value rest of year? Thoughts?

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