Waiver Wire: NL, Week 20

Jhoulys Chacin | Colorado | SP | 4 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 4.33 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 9.58 K/9, 2.16 K/BB, 44.7 GB
Oliver ROS: 3.96 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 1.8 K/BB

Despite control issues at times (4.43 BB/9), Jhoulys Chacin interests me greatly. Chacin was a relatively well thought of prospect in the Rockies organization, and thus far he’s done nothing to hurt the rosy outlook scouts had of him, in fact he’s likely helped further his future outlook thanks to an improved strikeout rate. He has been a bit unlucky with a 3.84 xFIP that sits below his 4.33 ERA on the season.

Chacin’s 11.1 percent swinging strike percentage (swstr%) is 2.7 percent better than the 8.4 percent league average. Also helping Chacin’s strikeout rate is a glowing 72.6 percent contact percentage (contact%) in comparison to a 80.9 percent league average. Those looking for cheap strikeouts with some wiggle room in ERA and WHIP, should look to add Chacin to their roster. While he may have some ugly outtings, in large part due to bouts of wildness, he also has the talent to string together some solid starts while striking out better than one batter per inning. Those in dynasty leagues should be thrilled to roster him, as he’s got a chance to be a fantastic starter with some refining of his control and command.

Recommendation: Should be owned in some 14-team mixed leagues or larger leagues, or by owners with innings to burn and strikeouts to gain ground in, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Wilton Lopez | Houston | RP | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 3.06 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 6.75 K/9, 7.8 K/BB, 51.7 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.47 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 5.0 K/9, 4.5 K/BB

Matt Lindstrom has headed to the DL after a string of implosions in the ninth inning for the Houston Astros, leaving the closer role open. The first save in the wake of Lindstrom being removed temporarily from the closer role (prior to being placed on the DL Thursday), was nailed down by Wilton Lopez, in spite of reports of Brandon Lyon being the interim closer. Initial reports following the game were that Lyon was simply unavailable that evening. Regardless, it is clear who the next in line is should Lyon falter as the temporary closer.

It is reasonable to speculate that Lopez is the best candidate for the job, and while he doesn’t have the always valuable closer experience (sarcasm intended), he may end up recording the most saves for the Astros between now and the end of the season. Lopez doesn’t post the typical high strikeout closer profile, but his K/BB has been sparkling, thanks to a decent strikeout rate, and an elite walk rate (0.90 BB/9). A 3.14 xFIP illustrates that Lopez’s current season ERA isn’t a fluke. In addition to his elite K/BB rate, Lopez’s GB rate is fantastic, which will limit his home run damage. At this point of the season, every win in H-2-H leagues count, and every point in the standings is a battle, time to speculate and throw some hail-marys.

Recommendation: Should be owned by owners in desperate need of saves in any size league, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Brandon Lyon | Houston | RP | 17 percent Yahoo! ownership
3.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 6.27 K/9, 1.50 K/BB, 37.6 GB
Oliver ROS: 3.98 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, 2.0 K/BB

As mentioned above, Lyon is almost certainly going to be handed the closer role while Lindstrom is shelved. Even with the first crack, I find it hard to endorse a pitcher with a 4.92 xFIP, a mediocre strikeout rate, and a less than league average walk rate (4.18 BB/9 as opposed to a league average of 3.30 BB/9). Toss in that Lyon allows batters to air the ball out, and he has the potential to put the blow torch to your team ERA and WHIP. Owners with significant cushions in ERA and WHIP, and a penchant for walking on the wild side, may want to ride the spectacular Lyon roller coaster of doom (something you’d expect to see in a crappy Final Destination-esque horror movie). Ffor those with a weak heart, I suggest passing.

Recommendation: Should be owned by owners desperate for saves with room to take a hit in ERA, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Homer Bailey | Cincinnati | SP | 5 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 4.92 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7.15 K/9, 2.14 K/BB, 40.0 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.94 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 1.78 K/BB

Homer Bailey will one day make me look great for continued faith in his raw abilities, or will make me look like a fool in the same vein as Daniel Cabrera once did. He has done very little this season to justify my continued belief in him being a player of value, but he has posted a slightly better than league average strikeout rate (7.04 K/9 is league average) and only slightly worse than league average walk rate (3.30 BB/9 is league average, Bailey’s is 3.34 BB/9) all with the potential for more.

Bailey has shown all he needs to in the high minors. The question now is will he simply be a league average pitcher, as he is now, or will he succeed to the degree he has in the high minors? Those in need of significant help in pitching categories should strongly consider the high upside of Bailey and take the gamble. Those in a comfortable spot in their league standings in pitching categories may be better suited riding out a slightly lower upside player with a higher floor, and watching as others gamble. Those in dynasty leagues should hold out hope on Bailey, as the alternatives on the waiver wire almost certainly don’t offer the same potential Bailey does.

Recommendation: Should be owned in some 14-team mixed leagues or larger leagues, or by owners with innings to burn and strikeouts to gain ground in, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Eric Young Jr. | Colorado | 2B/OF | 2 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .265/.357/.347
Oliver ROS: .254/.320/.346

MLB’s Diversity Fellowship Is a Step in the Right Direction
It is not a perfect program, but it certainly counts as progress.

Need steals? Eric Young Jr. is your guy. Currently seeing an extended audition in the leadoff spot for the Rockies, while splitting time playing second base and outfield, Young has the potential to string together stolen bases in bunches. Small sample size issues abound, but a 12.5 percent walk rate and a .357 OBP bode well for Young being on base and having opportunities to steal bags. Also helping Young is a great success rate, with seven stolen bases in eight chances.

I again caution about sample sizes, but Young’s batted ball data suggest that he understands his skill set as he’s slapping line drives (23.3 LD rate) and putting the ball on the ground (53.5 GB rate). Arguments can, and have been made, that even speed merchants should look to air the ball out some because of the extra bases that come with fly balls falling for hits, but fantasy owners shouldn’t concern themselves with that in Young’s case, as singles help his stolen base cause much more than extra base hits.

Hitting atop the Rockies lineup, and posting a solid OBP means that Young should be more than a one trick pony, and should also contribute in runs scored. With an x of .310, and an actual BABIP of .302, only a 12.2 strikeout rate, and the aforementioned batted ball distribution, it’s likely he can positively, or at least not negatively, contribute to fantasy owners’ batting average as well. As if owning Young didn’t offer enough perks, the possibility of slotting him in the outfield, at second base, and at middle infielder also offers the benefit of roster flexibility.

Recommendation: Should be owned in most 12-team mixed leagues or larger using a MI, should be owned in all leagues by owners in need of stolen bases, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Pat Burrell | San Francisco | OF | 12 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .257/.347/.479
Oliver ROS: .232/.339/.410

The revival of Pat Burrell since his move back to the National League continues as he’s still raking, yet he’s still unowned in 88-percent of Yahoo! leagues. In 300 plate appearances Burrell has hit 14 home runs thanks to airing the ball out (50.8 FB) and a 14.6 HR/FB. Likely due to small sample size issues, Burrell has a UZR that doesn’t resemble what a statue might post in the outfield (a respectable for Burrell -0.8 UZR).

Since being dealt back to the National League, Burrell has two months of batting averages north of .300 (June and August) sandwiching an ugly sub .200 batting average in July, largely driven by a poor BABIP (.237) which can be attributed to a sky high fly ball rate (61.5 percent) coupled with an insanely low for him 4.2 percent HR/FB rate with a 7.7 percent line drive rate sprinkled in for good measure. Because of his fly ball centric ways, and his high strikeout rate, Burrell’s batting average will hinge largely on his HR/FB rate, so if Burrell is hot, he’s a good player to ride out due to home runs in bunches and a solid batting average with it. Unfortunately, a Burrell ice cold streak similar to his July can come at any time, so the time is now to hop on the Burrell bandwagon if he’s available in your league.

Recommendation: Should be owned in most 12-team mixed leagues using five outfielders, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Nyjer Morgan | Washington | OF | 33 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .261/.322/.322
Oliver ROS: .277/.330/.345

Nyjer Morgan returned from the DL on Thursday night, and has a chance to pay immediate stolen base dividends to those who have stashed him on their fantasy DL and are now activating him themselves, or those who choose to scoop him off the waiver wire. The biggest black cloud hovering over Morgan’s stolen base opportunities is a putrid stolen base rate (29 stolen bases with 14 caught stealing). What should be comforting for fantasy owners is that in spite of constantly getting gunned out, Morgan has still been allowed to attempt to steal a base 43 times.

Morgan is the epitome of a one-trick pony, as his poor OBP will limit his runs scored, his batting average is mediocre, and he offers zero power. Look Morgan’s way in fantasy only if you are in need of stolen bases. Those in dynasty leagues need to hope to see Morgan cut back on a poor strikeout rate (16.8 percent) and improve on his low walk rate (6.8 percent) if he’s going to hold any value over the next few seasons.

Recommendation: Should be owned in most 12-team mixed leagues or larger using five outfielders, should in all leagues by owners in desperate need of stolen bases, should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Jose Guillen | San Francisco | OF | 27 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .260/.316/.439
Oliver ROS: .248/.299/.400

Jose Guillen was acquired at the end of last week by the San Francisco Giants when they claimed him off waivers from the Kansas City Royals. The move is largely irrelevant, as Guillen is a mediocre power source (12.6 HR/FB rate on 41.3 percent FB rate) with a poor walk rate (6.0 percent) and the fielding skills of a designated hitter (which he served almost exclusively as with the Royals) in a league that doesn’t use the designated hitter. Unlike Burrell, who is also a designated hitter masquerading as an outfielder, Guillen’s stick isn’t likely going to prove good enough to warrant the type of regular playing time Burrell has been seeing. Expect to see Guillen settle in as a fourth outfielder/pinch hitter for the Giants, which makes him all but worthless. Those in medium or deep NL-only leagues may want to consider giving him a look and hoping he gets off to a hot start, but those are the only leagues worth owning Guillen in.

Recommendation: Should only be owned in medium to large NL-only leagues.

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Jeffrey Gross
Jeffrey Gross

I’ve had lopez for 10 days now. Good numbers, but only one save. Damned astros, just pick a closer. Dont pull a Diamondbacks. Speaking of which, who the heck is closing for them????