Waiver Wire: May 31st

Here are three players with low ownership rates who could pay immediate dividends in fantasy leagues:

R.A. Dickey, New York Mets (owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues)

One of the last cuts during Spring Training, Dickey went to Triple-A Buffalo waiting for his turn to come up. While manager Jerry Manuel was hesitant to use Dickey, the knuckleball pitcher is doing his best to make sure he stays in the rotation. In three starts with the Mets, Dickey is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA. While his FIP and xFIP are higher than his ERA, this is not an unusual think for a knuckleball pitcher. Phil Niekro had a higher FIP than ERA in 19 of his 23 full seasons in the majors. In the eight seasons prior to 2010 for which we have xFIP data, Tim Wakefield has posted a lower ERA than xFIP each year. In addition to the knuckler, Dickey can still throw his fastball in the mid-80s, not too surprising for a guy who was originally drafted in the first-round of the 1996 Draft. John Strubel had some nice Spring Training stuff on Dickey that you can read here and listen here.

Chris Narveson, Milwaukee Brewers (owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues)

The overall numbers for Narveson are ugly. He has a 5.53 ERA and a 1.667 WHIP. But since moving into the starting rotation, he has put up some better numbers and appears capable of filling in at the back of a rotation or as a pitcher to use with the right matchups in NL-only or deep mixed leagues. In six games as a starter, Narveson has 3 Wins with 30 Ks and 12 BB in 32.1 IP. The ERA (5.01) and WHIP (1.454) are still nothing to get excited about but at least they are moving in the right direction. Narveson has a .365 BABIP so he still has some room for improvement in his ERA and WHIP.

Justin Smoak, Texas Rangers (owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues)

When a high first-round pick makes the majors two years after he is drafted, he carries some high expectations. Smoak has yet to meet those with a .175 AVG in 114 ABs. But he is still someone to be excited about because even though he is struggling, Smoak does not appear overmatched. His K% of 21.1 is respectable and his BB% of 14.2 is very good. Additionally, Smoak carries a 25.3 LD%, which does not jibe with his .184 BABIP. The Dutton-Carty calculator thinks Smoak should have a .297 BABIP with his current stat line. Smoak is hitting in some bad luck. Grab him now and have him on your roster when the hits start falling in.

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8 Responses to “Waiver Wire: May 31st”

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  1. Ryan says:

    Drop Conor Jackson for Smoak?

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  2. Shaggychild says:

    Knuckleballers are indeed an unusual think.

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  3. tommybones says:

    Re: Smoak

    He’s had a very strange start. He’s consistently had bad luck. His rates seem to stay the same week after week. Same line drive rate, same BABIP. My worry is that this is his “hot streak” and he’s gonna actually slump soon!

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  4. Stu says:

    Narveson does have upside–thats an astute call by you. But he’ll be available for a while, so theres no rush to grab him

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  5. JayCee says:

    What about PJ Walters? 2 starts at home for StL this week.

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  6. Seth says:

    I think the concern for Smoak is that he is going to get sent down soon. Chris Davis is killing it in the minors–the rangers may switch them again.

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    • D-Rock says:

      I wouldn’t quantify Chris Davis’ 4 HRs as “killing it”. He’s still striking out at a 25% rate there (which is around his mark in the minors) and he’s not walking at all (6.7%). His slugging pct is also way below his minor league mark.

      I’d be more concerned with the fact that Smoak seems to be hitting so many weak balls. But I really believe the Rangers brought Smoak up to stay. They’re putting overtime in working with him.

      I’d be less concerned with Davis than the Rangers putting together a package to grab Konerko and Pierzynski if Smoak continues to struggle, especially with the Angels now showing heavy interest in Konerko. You just can’t have a guy in your lineup who’s hitting .167 not matter what his BABIP tells you.

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  7. Detroit Michael says:

    On Smoak, keep in mind that LD% tends to run high in Texas. That’s a minor point but worth mentioning. Instead of 25%, think of it as a couple ticks lower but still respectable.

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