NL Waiver Wire: Week 10

Tyler Colvin | Rockies | OF | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .304 / .336 / .589
Oliver ROS: .246 / .287 / .450

It’s about time Colvin shows up here, right, what with his four home runs in his last 10 at-bats, and seven in his first 112? Colvin’s always possessed a superior power stroke, all the way from Low A (11 homers in 64 games) to his 2010 “breakout” with the Cubs, where he stroked 20 long-balls in fewer than 400 plate appearances. He fell out of favor in Chicago last year, though, mostly due to his inability to hit the ball. Colvin, on the heels of what looked like a rise to stardom, fell nearly 75 percent below league average offensively. It got ugly.

He landed in the right situation, though: that is, a home park that functions as a launching pad. And while the three occupants of Colorado’s outfield range from solid everyday player (Dexter Fowler) to underrated masher (Michael Cuddyer) to MVP-caliber star (Carlos Gonzalez), Colvin’s managing to carve out some much-deserved playing time. Cuddyer, luckily, is eligible just about everywhere, and everyone requires a day off every once in a while—particularly the unimpressive (D.J. LeMahieu, 2B) and the elderly (Todd Helton, 1B). Suffice it to say that I think Colvin will get three-to-five days a week of burn, and he’ll be particularly useful in Coors, where his OPS is 1.177 and he’s 91 percent above average. Buy!
Recommendation: Worth adding in all leagues.

Jason Marquis | Padres | SP | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 7.65 ERA / 1.90 WHIP / 4.05 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.48 ERA / 1.35 WHIP / 4.9 K/9

Maybe this is taking the whole “PETCO makes fantasy-relevant pitchers like a factory” thing too far, but Marquis could thrive like many have before in the home-run killing haven. Over his long, bumpy road, Marquis has been as good as a 4.0 fWAR pitcher and as bad a 6.02 ERA, and while control issues have been the biggest plague for Marquis, his home run rate has never been friendly.

His career home-run to fly-ball ratio of 12.1 percent is above league average, and has predictably fell when he’s been in friendly confines: see, most recently, his 20 start stint in Washington just last year, where he had an eight percent mark and a 3.95/3.78/3.96 triple-slash for ERA/FIP/xFIP. It’s not a stretch to think that, like last year, he’ll have strikingly opposite home/road splits, and, like last year, he’ll have stretches of fantasy relevance when pitching at home.
Recommendation: Worth adding and starting in deeper NL-Only leagues when at PETCO.

Everth Cabrera | Padres | SS | 4 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .278 / .352 / .468
Oliver ROS: .236 / .305 / .318

One month ago, things weren’t sitting so pretty for Cabrera: he had domestic violence charges against him, he was stuck in Triple-A Tuscon after a post-hype burnout, and he was a largely forgotten name in the baseball world as a whole. Fast forward to today, where the charges have been dismissed, he’s nearly a win above replacement in 23 games, and he seems to be a gem amidst the rubble in Padre-land.

I, for one, can’t figure out why he isn’t on more fantasy rosters. Sure, his .278 average might drop when his .357 BABIP goes down, but he’ll have more than two infield hits for every nine slap singles. And his strikeouts are a concern, but his walk rate is high enough to mitigate some of the ugliness. The speed is without question (he has yet to be caught in his eight attempts), and a 7.6 speed rating puts him only behind the following qualified hitters: Cameron Maybin, Dexter Fowler, and Jason Kipnis. What do those names all have in common? They have 30+ steal potential.
Recommendation: Worth adding in all leagues.

Brett Wallace | Astros | 1B | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.6 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .400 / .500 / .760
Oliver ROS: .255 / .323 / .401

For a team as bad as the Astros, it seemed silly to me that Brett Wallace, a (potential) talent, was sitting at Triple-A. Why not let him develop, despite his unimpressive career beginning? Why not try to salvage some value? I see now that the goal all along has been to let Carlos Lee play in hopes that he can be sold at the deadline, but the past shouldn’t be dwelled on: a Lee injury has Wallace manning the first bag for the Astros, and doing a fine job of it so far.

Nothing about his eight game performance is sustainable, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive: he has two homers where had five in 115 games last year, and he’s been the Astros sixth best player in terms of WAR in a matter of two weeks. What can you expect from him from hereon out? He’s a sort of James Loney-lite, which certainly doesn’t sound appealing but carries it’s value in a single-league format. He’ll hit for an okay average with okay power (see last year’s .259 average and five homers in two-thirds of a season), and should be the Astros full-time man at first base if/when Carlos Lee is traded at the deadline.
Recommendation: Worth adding in deeper NL-Only formats.

Chris Young | Mets | SP | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.36 ERA / 1.68 WHIP / 5.0 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.61 ERA / 1.43 WHIP / 6.0 K/9

Young, I would think, is what he’s always been: a fly-baller who would fizzle in the wrong home park but could thrive despite shoddy control. His career ERA, for illustration’s sake, is nearly a run below his career xFIP, which is to say that he’s made a living off of keeping the ball in the fences. Not much should change in Flushing, where Citi Field has remained a pitcher’s park despite the shortened fences and where Young had four successful (0.96 WHIP, 1.88 ERA) starts last year.

What is sure to remain attached to Young, rightfully, is a reputation for being brittle (at best). From 2005-2007, he started 30+ games to much success, but since then, he’s been a headache, a backache, and a sore rotator cuff for the Padres and Mets. He’s started 40 games in the last four years, and you’d be wrong to expect even eight more starts this year. He’ll probably be helpful to your roster, and at the very least he’ll be a useful streamer at home (where his career ERA is .66 better than his career ERA on the road).
Recommendation: Worth adding in deeper NL-Only formats.

Wilton Lopez | Astros | RP | 4 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 2.51 ERA / 0.96 WHIP / 7.2 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.44 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 6.5 K/9

If this year’s taught us anything so far, it’s that talent wins eventually in most bullpen situations (see Kenley Jansen, Shawn Camp, and Tyler Clippard, for example). With that nugget of wisdom, make a speculative add of Wilton Lopez if you can, with the knowledge that: 1) he’s the best pitcher in Houston’s bullpen right now, and 2) Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon, the two apparent heads ahead of him for saves, will likely be moving come deadline time.

What does Lopez sport that makes him a potentially valuable closer? His groundball rates are elite (hovering around 55-60 percent over the last four years), his strikeout to walk ratio is otherworldly at 6.50, and he has a three-pitch mix that’s worked before (fastball, slider, changeup). So speculate with me a little, why don’t you, and buy Wilton Lopez while you still can.
Recommendation: Worth adding in most formats.

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Tabata or Colvin?

Nick Fleder
Nick Fleder

If you need any kind of speed, I suppose you should stick with Tabata (if you can stomach the low batting average). I’d rather start Colvin half the time (only at Coors) than Tabata everyday (or even split), to be honest.