Taking a closer look at the waiver wire for week 11 of the 2017 MLB season to help you win your season long fantasy baseball leagues.
We at Fantasy Cruncher play fantasy sports of all shapes and sizes, and season long MLB is no exception. From time to time, we’ll pause on DFS and reflect on the season long side of things. That’s exactly what this column is all about.
Let’s take a look at some of the top players to consider picking up for your season long fantasy baseball teams this week.
Week 11 Waiver Wire Targets
Last week I spoke about Eric Skoglund, Brad Peacock, Tommy Pham and Lucas Duda (amongst others) as top pickups. They are still very much in play for season long (as well as DFS), and need to be scooped up if available.
Once again, it hasn’t been the most “eventful” week in Major League Baseball to drive significant waiver wire implications. That said, I wills till touch on the names that have made a bit of noise and deserve some attention.
I think it’s time we take Buck Farmer seriously, folks. And here’s why.
He’s done a great job making adjustments from where he finished off in 2016, reducing his walk rate from 6.1 down to 2.1 (albeit only through 2 starts) and has changed his approach. He is no longer relying on a four seam fastball – he’s moved that to the 2-seamer as his primary pitch and is mixing in the change-up far more regularly.
Pitch usage is as follows through his first 2 starts of 2017:
- 2-seam fastball: 35%
- Change-up: 29%
- 4-seam fastball: 27%
- Slider: 7%
Nothing too fancy here, just being a smart pitcher and rolling with what has been effective. He’s sitting with a 17% whiff rate for his 2 seam fastball and a 20.3% whiff rate for the change-up. The chase rate for the change has been a whopping 37.5% as well, which is just about as elite as it gets.
Now, I am not saying he is going to be the next Cy Young by any means. However, there are indicators of the success being fairly legitimate in my eyes, and I think he’s the kind of guy you want to grab as your league mates will likely pass and not realize he has the potential to be a 8.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and mid-3s ERA guy the rest of the way. His profile at this point feels a lot like Matt Shoemaker last year, who changed his approach to pitch “backwards” and relied on changing speeds to be effective, which is the kind of thing I absolutely love to exploit in fantasy. If that appeals to you, and you have an available spot on your roster, hop on board with me.
Even though there are a couple minor league names below to keep an eye on (Newcomb and Adams), Faria is the most intriguing of the bunch to me. In his 11 starts at the AAA level this year, he was sporting a 12.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 2.54 xFIP in 58.2 IP. Those are pretty eye-popping strikeout numbers for a minor league arm at the highest level of competition.
In his first major league start, he used all 4 of his pitches in a pretty good order – relying on his fastball most of all but getting a 17% whiff rate in the process (elite). I love his change-up usage, which almost always transfers well at the MLB level for young pitchers that have solid control.
I’m a big fan of what he brings to the table for season-long owners and feel he’s a must-own in keeper and dynasty leagues as well. Scoop him up now before he becomes a household name.
Over the last couple weeks, Young has been getting quite a bit of playing time (the injury to Mike Trout has helped), but the veteran has been producing at a nice clip. In 33 at bats, he has 11 hits, 10 runs scored, 3 steals and has chipped in with a home run for good measure. His solid contact skills give him a nice floor whenever he is in the lineup and getting at least 60-80% of the at bats for a given week, and he makes for a nice speedster to consider in deep leagues if you need the help. He won’t be a big ownership/trends guy in season-long, so you can probably snap him up for a buck or two of FAAB as he isn’t a major “noise” guy.
He continues to strike out at an alarming rate (39.6% on the year) but balances that out (to a certain degree) with a .174 ISO and decent 7.5% walk rate as well. Over the last couple weeks, he’s started to heat up with 3 HR, 14 RBI and 14 hits in 38 at bats. However, the 16 Ks in that span highlight exactly what I mention above with the near 40% K rate.
The recent hot stretch will make him a popular pickup in many leagues where you start 2 catchers, but I wouldn’t race out there to add him and expect this to be the new norm. He’s a fairly classic .220-.240 average, 12-17 HR type of hitter that will have his ups and downs this year.
Down on the farm…
It’s been announced that Newcomb is set to make his MLB debut on Saturday against the Mets, and NL leaguers in particular should take notice. He has displayed above average strikeout skills in his time across the minor leagues, but has been a high walk guy as well. This year in AAA (57.2 IP) he is sporting a 11.6 K/9 but a 5.2 BB/9 as well, making it hard to get overly excited about his ability to come up and dominate right out of the gate.
What I do like about Newcomb is the stature (6’5”) and fact he is a lefty as well, pitching for a very good organization (ATL) that has developed numerous starters from within. The youth moment will be in full force for the Braves in fairly short order, so I like the upside for Newcomb to get 7-10 starts the rest of the way.
Outside of NL Only formats, I wouldn’t rush out to grab him. He’s the kind of guy that will make for a more intriguing spot start play in DFS as a SP2 on DraftKings or as a punt GPP option on FanDuel when the situation is right. That comes as soon as tomorrow when the Mets take on a LHP who they have been very mediocre against on the year.
The Yankees prospect is highly intriguing to me, and he has been scooped up by many owners in deeper leagues already. His 2 best pitches are his mid-90s fastball and solid slider, and he continues to need some work with his change-up and curveball to be effective over the long run at the major league level – particularly in the AL East.
He has a 10.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 51% ground ball rate in his 29 AAA innings so far in 2017, and is likely to be a call-up later this year when (and if) the Yankees need a spot starter or injury replacement. He’s a better bet in keeper and dynasty formats if you ask me, but should absolutely be owned in deeper formats at this point.
Best of luck, folks!