Taking a closer look at the waiver wire for week 12 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 12 Waiver Wire Targets
Last week I spoke about Buck Farmer, Jacob Faria, Eric Young and Sean Newcomb (amongst others) as top pickups. Farmer had an off game and has likely lost a lot of the quick trust he built after his first couple strong starts, but Faria, Young and Newcomb have all had productive weeks.
Let’s have a look at who is making noise on the wire for week 12 of the MLB season. There are quite a few people to touch on this week (which is exciting), so let’s get down to business.
Derek Fisher – Perhaps the “sexiest” pickup of the week, Fisher was called upon to take over for the playing time vacated by an injury to Josh Reddick. That said, we also have a mediocre Nori Aoki occupying a roster spot and typically getting time in the bottom third of the order (and outfield), so there is a chance that Fisher could stick. The 23 year old OF is 6’3″, 205 (per Fangraphs) and brings a tremendous blend of power/speed to the table. His K% in the minors of approx 20% is passable, and he hasn’t been afraid to take the walk either. In AAA this year, he was sporting a .273 ISO and 19.3% K rate, hitting .335 with 16 HR and 13 SB in only 60 games (a pretty darn good pace over a full season’s worth of ABs). He’s a must-own in all leagues while he’s getting playing time, and could unseat Aoki over the long run as a fixture in the Astros outfield. This Houston team is really starting to look scary for the next 3-5 years (if not longer), folks.
Aaron Hicks – If he’s not already owned, he certainly needs to be. In the midst of what I would characterize as his true breakout season (10 HR, 7 SB, .306 AVG), and typically hitting in the #2 slot for the powerful Yankees squad, he still doesn’t have full ownership across the board. He’s on his way to a 20-20 type of season and making good on the promises he showed in the minors as an up and coming prospect for years in the Minnesota organization. He has excellent BB% and K% comparables and is sporting an elite ISO so far this year of .250. I could keep going and going, but the truth is that he’s a must-own and must-start at this point, folks. If for some reason he’s lying around – pick him up ASAP.
Jeff Hoffman – One of the marquee pieces of the Rockies/Jays trade recently is starting to make noise for the Rockies and is quickly showing the upside the Jays saw in him when they drafted him in 2014. He has a 10.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 2.25 ERA through his first 32 innings, which are very intriguing for a Colorado arm. He’s still got the downside of being a fly ball pitcher, but his raw stuff is excellent and he could very well be the real deal. The safest thing to do at this point, if you roster him, is to spot start him on the road. That said, like we saw in Coors vs the Giants, there are times where he can be played in Colorado as well. There is a lot to like here, and he’s arguably the top pitcher pickup of the week.
Tom Murphy – He was a pre-season darling of a late round catcher selection, only to go down with injury before the season and miss almost 2.5 full months of time. The good news is that he’s still the same powerful catcher playing 50% of his games in Colorado, and neither Tony Wolters or Ryan Hanigan took a firm hold of the job. He should see regular ABs and is a prime pickup in leagues where a) he’s available and b) you don’t have a top 5 option currently occupying your slot(s).
Mallex Smith – Since coming up to the big club this year (16 games), he’s been performing admirably. As an offseason acquisition for the Rays, it was really just a matter of time before he came up and started hitting. He has a .340 average, 1 HR, 7 SBs and 11 Runs scored so far in 56 PA – walking at a very nice 10.7% rate and a decent 21.4% K rate as well. He’s going to do exactly what we expect when he plays. Use his wheels to get on base and run, run, run. If you need runs and/or steals, as well as some average support, he’s a guy you will want to spend a high % of FAAB on this week (assuming he’s out there in your league).
Next Up / On the Horizon
Seth Lugo – Lots of excitement for Lugo who went 7 innings in his first start of 2017, and was throwing very well in the minors before getting the call. The good news with Lugo is that injuries in their rotation (i.e. Matt Harvey) opens up a spot for him to hold for at least the next little while, and we should remember the awesome analysis done by the folks at Fangraphs in 2016 when they highlighted his historically elite spin rate on the curveball. His advanced metrics like xFIP and SIERA indicate he may be more of a mid-4s ERA guy than a sub-3.5 arm, but it won’t surprise me if he’s one of those perennial out-performers – particularly throwing in Citi Field and with solid stuff/pitchability. He’s a solid add in deeper formats this week.
Matt Chapman – He was officially promoted from the minors this week, and should get an opportunity to play nearly regularly while Trevor Plouffe is stinking things up in Oakland. They need to give their young players time at the MLB level, and much like Ryon Healy last year, he could hit well enough to stick around and play 80%+ the rest of the way. He has very good power with a MiLB ISO of .276 or above at each stop in the minors from 2015 to 2017 and could be a source of cheap power that not many people in your league will know about. He’s a sneaky play in DFS for the time being as well.
Nick Pivetta – I watched his first couple starts at the major league level and was impressed with what I saw. Very good stuff and the potential to be an effective MLB pitcher if he can figure out how to command his primary and secondary pitches better than he currently does. He just performed admirably in his start yesterday against the Red Sox, which is admirable considering he went 7 innings allowing only 4 hits, no runs and striking out 9. He will have his ups and downs the rest of the way, but has the ability to strike guys out (8.9 K/9 through 7 starts this year). Better-suited for spot-starting in DFS at this point, though.
Josh Hader – He’s worth a prospective pick-up in deep formats (and keeper/dynasty leagues – assuming he isn’t already owned) for when he gets a shot to start. He will be used situationally out of the pen for now, but has excellent pedigree and a tremendous ceiling once things click.
Austin Slater – Keeping this one short and sweet. Slater has been an under-the-radar prospect the last couple years, and is getting his chance with the big club. He’s hit LHP particularly well this far and is playing quite regularly right now for the Giants. He doesn’t profile as a high-ISO / HR guy, especially playing in San Francisco, but is a NL-only relevant OF4/OF5 kind of player at this point.
Homer Bailey – Just someone to have on your radar when he is ultimately activated, which is likely to be within the next 15-20 days barring a setback. He has electric stuff (or did, anyways, prior to his injury troubles) and can be a dominant pitcher in the NL and for fantasy when he’s right. In deep and NL-only leagues, he’s a key guy to keep an eye on.
Best of luck, folks!