NL Waiver Wire: Week 8

Scott Hairston | Mets | OF | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .274 / .317 / .558
Oliver ROS: .251 / .314 / .437

Lefty-mashing Hairston is back to his old ways after two straight off years in which he posted a combined .217 average in only 427 at-bats. Now, he’s drawing starts against lefties in Flushing, and has an OPS of 1.042 against them, as well as five long balls in just 59 at-bats.

While he won’t find 600 at-bats against lefties, for illustration’s sake, his extrapolated total of 600 at-bats is an impressive 51. Even in the dog days of Hairston’s career, which we’re loosely defining as 2009-2011, he compiled a .272/.332/.444 triple-slash against southpaws, and his record of power and brawn against the often-deceptive lefty will assure him more playing time even when Jason Bay returns from injury. He’s certainly worth adding in daily leagues, and if you platoon him with a righty-killer/lefty-niller like Will Venable, the combination will be a five-category stud of sorts. If the Mets can do it, so can you.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.

Todd Frazier | Reds | 3B | 4 percent Yahoo ownership | 2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .268 / .318 / .598
Oliver ROS: .247 / .307 / .452

I recommended Frazier in this space last week, and he promptly went 6-for-18 over the next week with a homer, six runs batted in, and three runs scored. I’m just making sure you listened—if he’s still out there, he’s a more than respectable fill-in while Scott Rolen’s out, and may, dare I say, take over for the old man if and when he returns.

Over the last 15 days, Frazier’s been a top 15 third baseman, and while his average may dip, his power should boom even more in the hotbox that is Great American Ballpark, which has the highest home-run factor by a wide margin in 2012. To that point: The difference between Great American and Chase Field, the park with the second highest home run factor, is nearly equal to the park factor of PETCO Park. Frazier’s worth owning in all leagues, so grab him before you no longer have the luxury to.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in all leagues.

Alex Castellanos | Dodgers | OF/3B | Not available in Yahoo leagues | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .379 / .476 / .759 (Triple-A)
Oliver ROS: No projections.

How about this for a find? Castellanos, who was called up when Matt Kemp hit the disabled list again yesterday, has been an offensive force in the minors for several years now. He hit .317 in his time with the Cardinals in his 2011 Double-A campaign and continued the mashing with the Dodgers late last year, when he hit .322 in 33 games with Chattanooga.

He throws in quite a bit of power and suspect stolen bases (in that he’s very inefficient on the base paths)—so, in other words, he has the chance to develop into quite the fantasy asset. His Triple-A major league equivalent is good enough to turn heads—Oliver has him at a .313/.407/.592 triple-slash with six steals and three dingers. While the Dodgers’ No. 19 prospect coming into this season probably won’t find so much success due to his high strikeout totals, he’s worth a speculative add because of the playing time vacuum in Los Angeles.
Recommendation: Worthy of a speculative add in deeper NL-only formats.

Nathan Eovaldi| Dodgers | SP | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.8 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 2.57 ERA / 0.71 WHIP / 5.1 K/9 (one start)
Oliver ROS: 4.51 ERA / 1.50 WHIP / 5.7 K/9

Eovaldi has the chance to be average while filling in for Ted Lilly, and average is all you can hope for in the shallow and bleak landscape of NL pitching. Eovaldi put up back-to-back solid showings in Double-A and a respectable (3.63 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) 35 innings at the major league level last year. He’s been predictably better at Dodger Stadium than elsewhere in his brief major league career—his FIP is almost exactly a point lower at home than on the road. He’ll be, at the very least, a respectable spot-starter at home, and could be worth starting consistently over the next few weeks.
Recommendation: Worthy of an add in most NL-only leagues.

Andrelton Simmons | Braves | SS | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.8 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .292 / .372 / .421 (Double-A)
Oliver ROS: .268 / .301 / .358

Simmons, Tyler Pastornicky’s replacement, is a defense-first, Gold Glove-caliber shortstop who can slap the ball around and run a little bit. So Simmons is likely not the kind of prospect who’s likely worth sticking around for during the growing pains that’ll surely come from a Double-A to major league jump. That said, the projections systems like him for a respectable batting average in the .270 to .280 range with inefficient stolen bases sprinkled on.

You could do worse with a middle infield option off the waiver wire; plus, if you grab him, it’ll give you an excuse to watch what is considered excellent, excellent defense (to wit: Oliver has him at anywhere between 22.2 and 23.7 runs saved over the next five years).
Recommendation: Worthy of an add in deeper NL-only leagues.

Michael Fiers | Brewers | SP | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 4.42 ERA / 1.22 WHIP / 8.0 K/9 (Double-A)
Oliver ROS: 4.47 ERA / 1.28 WHIP / 7.1 K/9

Marco Estrada started the Fier when he landed on the 15-day disabled list, and Anonymous Mike got the call with Wily Peralta imploding at Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers 12th rated prospect by Baseball America after the 2011 season (and rated as having the best control in the organization), Fiers entered the year as a slow-rising, fairly old prospect who had one excellent year under his belt: 2011, of course. He started 18 games between Double-A and Triple-A, winning eight, saving another six, and striking out 99 in 93 innings.

He got a cup of coffee on the big club in September on the heels of his impressive Triple-A campaign, and though some of the success faded in 2012—his strikeout rate dipped a bit and his home run rate spiked—he should limit base runners fairly well in Milwaukee and may survive on his anonymity and increased deceptiveness in what seems destined to be a short stint. He’s worth checking out for a few spot starts, though.
Recommendation: Worth adding for a couple of spot starts.

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Matthew Bultitude
Matthew Bultitude

Alex Castellanos is fascinating.  His low prospect ranking (19th in the Dodgers system) doesn’t seem to match either his great stats in AA and AAA or the consensus that he’s probably a league-average hitter right now.  Why are scouts so down on him?  I have heard the high K rate mentioned, but 22% in AA and 20% in AAA don’t seem _that_ debilitating.  What’s going on here?

Nick Fleder
Nick Fleder

Hmm… I think the K rate’s a bit worse than we gave it credit for, because you can surely add a couple of points for a AAA-to-MLB conversion and more for a AA-to-MLB conversion (perhaps 27 and 24? I’m throwing out arbitrary numbers of course, but you get my point)… Another hunch is that his listed position is 3B, so perhaps they’re just moving him around for his bat and hoping to hide his defense. Either way – for fantasy, all that matters is talent and opportunity, and he seemingly has both at least for a (fleeting?) moment.

Nick Fleder
Nick Fleder

From Kevin Goldestein of Baseball Prospectus, by the way: “Immediate Big League Future: Castellanos should get significant time at second base for at least the next 6-8 weeks or more, until Mark Ellis returns from a gruesome leg injury. He’ll likely get the majority of the time there as long as Kemp is out, with Elian Herrera moving to center field. Don’t be surprised to see Castellanos struggle to hit for average, but he has the secondary skills to make up for it.”