NL Waiver Wire: Week 9

Alex Presely | Pirates | OF | 4 percent Yahoo ownership | 2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .235 / .257 /.356
Oliver ROS: .282 / .325 / .433

Coming into the season, Presley was billed as a high-average, speedy guy who could be had for next to nothing in Senior Circuit leagues especially. While nothing went according to plan, per se—as evidenced by Presley’s demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis—he’s back in the big leagues with a new-found confidence and a chip on his shoulder.

All he did in the minors was mash: He put up a 1.016 OPS in only 18 games and hit five homers in fewer than 80 plate appearances. Presley can be a boon to fantasy rosters because he’s a plus runner; he has a 6.6 Speed Rating for his career, which puts him as faster this year than Dee Gordon, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Reyes, and Ryan Braun, for example. I wouldn’t believe wholeheartedly in the batting average that was hyped, but I certainly can’t see him hurting most rosters in that department, either.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.

Ryan Theriot | Giants | 2B, SS | 5 percent Yahoo ownership | 4.4 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .284 / .339 / .343
Oliver ROS: .273 / .322 / .337

Good for much of what Alex Presley is good for, Theriot, a speedster and slap-hitter with a history of helping fantasy rosters, is heating up. Over the last 15 days, Theriot has gone 19-for-46 with eight runs scores, six runs batted in, and three stolen bases. He’s also, it seems, hit his way toward a full-time gig at second base.

Theriot was a fantasy mainstay (at least in NL-only leagues) from 2007-2010, when he stole 20 bases or more every years and hit anywhere from .266-.307. The year before, he had slapped his way to a .328 average in his brief stint with the Cubs, and though he’s been a below-average offensive player since 2006, his defense should keep him in the Giants’ lineup, and his steals should keep him in yours.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.

Norichika Aoki | Brewers | OF | 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.4 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .303 / .357 /.487
Oliver ROS: .296 / .358 / .396

This isn’t the first time I’ve recommended Aoki in this column, but it may well be the last. It’s no coincidence that Aoki finds his name here after a three-hit, two home run game yesterday against the Chicago Cubs, his second straight three-hit performance and fifth multi-hit game in his last 15.

Many expected a high average out of the Japanese import, what with his detailed history of hitting for the highest average in town, but few expected a taste of power and speed as well. And while 13.4 homers and 8.9 stolen bases per 600 plate appearances isn’t startling, it’s impressive nonetheless when accompanies by a .300 average and developed on-base skills. His platoon splits indicate that he’s better in dealing with lefties but is above average against both hands, so Aoki should find himself in the lineup much more in the near future. Buy him now.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.

Shawn Camp | Cubs | RP | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 2.37 ERA / 1.15 WHIP / 7.7 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.09 ERA / 1.36 WHIP / 5.6 K/9

Let’s go with a little tale of the tape: Shawn Camp has a career 4.09 FIP, a career 3.97 xFIP, 10 saves, and a 2.37 strikeout to walk ratio over his career. James Russell, on the other hand, has a 4.79 FIP, a 4.44 xFIP, one save, and a similar 2.94 strikeout to walk ratio.

Though the Cubs have only one save in the last 14 days—and though it’s gone to James Russell—Shawn Camp is the superior pitcher of the two and should, at one point, “wrestle” the “job” from Russell. The quotes are to say, of course, that Russell, in my mind, doesn’t even have the job—it’s as unclear and fluid a ninth-inning situation as I’ve seen in years. Buy Camp for speculative saves, and sell Russell and his sub-replacement level skill set.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.

Andrew Cashner | Padres | RP | 4 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.8 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.81 ERA / 1.50 WHIP / 10.04 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.70 ERA / 1.31 WHIP / 7.9 K/9

I never thought much of Cashner as a relief pitcher this year, as he reminded me of an Aroldis Chapman—owner of an overpowering young arm who tries to throw 115 miles per hour every time he takes the mound. And sure enough, he sacrificed control for what was viewed as overpowering stuff.

The Padres did what the Reds (perhaps intelligently) didn’t do—which is to say that they begun the process of moving Cashner to the rotation full-time. His ascent through the minors as a starting pitcher was impressive—it included a 10.5 K/9 in Double-A and a 2.31 FIP, as well as an 8.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 21 Triple-A innings. While Cashner will be watched with many careful eyes and paced slowly, he’s worth stashing for when he makes it to the majors. He has powerful stuff and a wicked good home park.
Recommendation: Worthy of adding in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.

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Good head’s up on Aoki.  I may give him a go.  Are we looking at a player similar to De Aza? I hope so…

Nick Fleder
Nick Fleder

Xaiz, I wish Aoki had the same upside as De Aza, but he doesn’t. His average will likely be higher but his stolen base totals won’t come close nor will his runs scored, I’d guess. De Aza is probably closer to a 20 home run guy, too – at least in the future.


Regarding Presley’s speed:
Pre-season rankings had him swiping 20 tops.  I’m desperate for steals, are you saying that his speed predictions were low-balled?  Am I better going after Revere?