NL Waiver Wire: Week 4

Garrett Jones | Pirates | 1B | 4 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .268 / .276 /.482
Oliver Rest of season projection: .263 / .325 / .460

Chances are that if you play in an NL-only league, Garrett Jones will not be available. If he is by some small miracle, though, there should be no hesitation to scoop him up. He’s an above-average hitter with impressive enough (read: 20 home run) power who won’t hurt in the batting average department by nature of his platoon situation.

Dual eligibility is an added plus; he should reach outfield eligibility in leagues with five-game thresholds within the next few weeks. Don’t forget that Jones, despite being relegated to part-time duties this year, has been a top-150 player in Roto standard leagues for the past three years.

Recommendation: Worthy of adding in all leagues.

Joe Wieland | Padres | SP | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 4.91 ERA / 1.32 WHIP / 8.2 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.09 ERA / 1.27 WHIP / 6.3 K/9

Never possessing overwhelming stuff in the minors, Wieland nevertheless put together gleaming ERAs from High-A ball onward, and one might be smart to bet on that trend continuing in the majors. Yes, his home run rate looks ugly through four major league starts, but xFIP has him adjusted to a 3.91 ERA when his home run rate falls.

When it falls?! you cry. How do you know it’ll fall?! Three of Wieland’s five homers allowed have had “just enough” to clear the fences, and one was labeled as “lucky.” They would’ve been homers in three parks at most, certainly not PETCO. While a PETCO pitcher isn’t an automatic endorsement (see: Dustin Moseley and Clayton Richard, among others), it should suppress the homers. The rest of the positive ERA regression ought to, and will be, left in his control: his strikeout to walk ratio never sneaked below 3.00 in his minor league career. So far it’s been 2.50. Buy him now—at the very least he’ll be a home-start streamer.

Recommendation: Worthy of adding in deeper mixed and NL-only leagues.

Starling Marte | Pirates | OF | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .000 / .000 / .000
Oliver ROS: .284 / .324 / .417

If you’re feeling a little speculative, why not take a shot on the young Starling? He’s bringing his trademark power-speed (emphasis on the speed) to Triple-A, where he’s playing nearly 50 percent above league average with a .276/.351/.483 triple-slash line. Not otherworldly by any stretch, but impressive. Also impressive: Marte is exhibiting a newfound sense of patience at the dish, where his 7.1 percent walk rate trumps his previous high of 4.9 percent. He’s making the necessary adjustments and excelling on the base paths (his nine stolen bases in 84 plate appearance are hardly impressive when seen in the context of his insane 9.8 speed rating).

As for that playing time… Jose Tabata functions as the possible castoff after a miserable start. Tabata’s flashed some potential, especially in his 2.1 WAR, 102 game-introduction in 2010, but he’s suffering at the dish because of his dwindling plate discipline. Some proper batted-ball luck might get Tabata back to the replacement level, but when Marte starts pushing for .300 at Triple-A, he might want to look out.

Recommendation: Worthy of stashing in most NL-only leagues.

A.J. Ellis | Dodgers | C | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.7 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .365 / .449 / .468
Oliver ROS: .256 / .368 /.340

Ellis, too, will likely be owned, as he should, in all two-catcher formats, and he’s probably starting in most NL-only leagues as well. He’s playing practically every day behind the dish on the surprising Dodgers, and is sporting an impressive 11 non-intentional walks in 19 games. The keen eye at the plate helps support Ellis’ plus batting average, which should hover around .275 when all is said and done.

The Dodgers will keep running the relatively unknown Ellis out there—he sports an impressive 1.1 WAR so far this year, third among catchers (behind the elite Yadier Molina and Matt Wietes tandem). And as such, you’ll get a non-black hole catcher; someone who trots out there four to five times a week and puts up few 0-fers.

Recommendation: Worthy of adding in all two-catcher and NL-only leagues.

Kris Medlen | Braves |/RP | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.00 ERA / 1.00 WHIP / 3.0 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.36 ERA / 1.20 WHIP / 7.9 K/9

A comparative study on an unwritten rule of baseball.

While top prospect Randall Delgado has impressive pedigree, it’s a wonder the Braves have stuck with him over Kris Medlen in what’ll be a tight, to-the-wire divisional race. Delgado has control issues and is giving up a hefty number of line drives, while Medlen is handling swingman duties despite past success as a starter.

He may be recently removed from Tommy John surgery, but Medlen’s fastball is moving faster than it did pre-surgery, and his curveball and change-up are both getting positive reviews from pitch values. His career ERA (3.66), FIP (3.53), and xFIP (3.56) all trump marks from Delgado (albeit with a small sample size from the youngster), and if he doesn’t steal the rotation spot from Randall, he’ll certainly fill-in when the first injury hits the Braves’ starting rotation.

No, Julio Teheran isn’t a concern, despite what you’re thinking. His 1.30 strikeout to walk ratio in Triple-A just ain’t gonna cut it.

Recommendation: Worthy of a stash in deeper mixed and NL-only leagues, and worthy of adding in all leagues that value middle relievers.

Speculative saves of the week

Bryan Shaw | Diamondbacks | RP | 11 percent Yahoo ownership | 4.5 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 1.64 ERA / 0.91 WHIP / 9.0 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.65 ERA / 1.42 WHIP / 5.8 K/9

Chances are that Shaw’s owned in most every competitive, saves-starving league, but in case he’s not, he’ll get the title of “Guy most likely to end up with 10 or more saves,” for this week. He’s throwing a more effective slider this year more often, and is generating whiffs on the pitch 18 percent of the time (according to Brooks Baseball). His cutters—the staple of his repertoire—are getting an average rate of whiffs and are often turning into ground balls when put in play (61 percent).

Shaw may have leapfrogged normal J.J. Putz injury fill-in David Hernandez, and though his similar pitcher readings consist of a list that includes Mike Leake, Jeff Karstens, and Casey Janssen (not exactly closer material among that crew), he’s proving that his controlled ways can work wonders in the late innings, too.

Recommendation: Worthy of an add in all leagues, particularly those that value middle relievers.

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Is Keppinger going to play everyday for TB?  If so he would be a pesky Add.

Eric Dykstra
Eric Dykstra

What do you think of Kirk Nieuwenhuis in deeper leagues? His success thus far looks quite BABIP-fueled, but he’s got decent pop, can steal a few bases, and does a decent job walking, despite a fairly high strikeout rate.

Nick Fleder
Nick Fleder

Sort of expendable in fantasy at this point. He’s a good enough player that he’ll get some burn in a crowded outfield, but he should hit more like .250 and he won’t hit too many homers – maybe 10 by year’s end? He’s speedy enough to reach double digit steals, too, but I think you’d be buying a lot of his crappy production if you bought now.

Nick Fleder
Nick Fleder

He’s a nice hitter, certainly, and it’s valuable to have guys who can hit .280-.300 as stopgap fill-ins. Don’t expect more than 3-5 more homers.