Another instalment of #FantasyBaseballFriday as we look ahead to the final week of April and week four of fantasy baseball.
Let’s dive in.
Waiver Wire Adds
Joey Wendle 2B, 3B, SS TB
Wendle just looks like he was born to hit a baseball. He has triple eligibility so he can fill a number of needs for your team. His wOBA of .429 and hard hit rate of 42.3% are what really stand out to me.
Jazz Chisholm 2B MIA
This is probably a week too late to write about Jazz, however he’s still only rostered in less than 70% of ESPN leagues. He plays just about everyday for the Marlins and bats at the top of the lineup. You might say he’s bound to come back to earth a little as he’s currently hitting .320, and yes that is probably right. However, he steals bases and plays second base which fills a double scarcity need. And most of his underlying numbers look good, particularly his .450 wOBA and .441 xwOBA.
Plus, I mean, how cool is he:
Joey Votto 1B CIN
Did we prematurely call the demise of Mr. Votto? Even though he’s now 37 years old, he is still a hitting machine. When you look back at his career he has never had a wRC+ below 100, which is the scaled league average, even in his past couple seasons where it has felt he’s fallen off a bit. He’s still hitting the ball hard, with a 47.4% hard-hit rate, and his xwOBA of .424 suggests his wOBA of .315 has some room to run up a bit. In deeper leagues where you need a corner infielder, I’d be looking at Votto.
Tucker Barnhart C CIN
In two-catcher leagues Barnhart’s .466 wOBA entices me.
Stephen Piscotty OF OAK
He just came back from the paternity list, hits the ball hard, and has been a mostly solid hitter his whole career.
Jordan Luplow OF CLE
He’s currently only playing in about 50% of games, but in his chances he has performed well at the plate. In super deep leagues he’s worth an add with hopes his playing time increases due to his performance.
Alex Kirilloff is expected to be called up by the Twins today, so he’s worth a speculative add for his upside.
Trevor Rogers MIA
I’ll say it again this week – add Trevor Rogers. He should be at least 80% owned.
Brady Singer KC
His 32.8% called strike plus whiff rate is near-elite and his 3.72 SIERA supports his 3.77 ERA. He is still only 24 years old so the future may be bright for the Singer.
Alex Cobb LAA
In deeper leagues Cobb is worth an add if you need starting pitching help. On the surface his 6.28 ERA might not look good, but pretty much every peripheral stat looks well above-average. I think he’s primed for some better days ahead.
Emmanuel Clase CLE
He still looks good in the closer role for Cleveland despite his now one blown save.
Yimi Garcia MIA
The job appears to be firmly his now in Miami.
Cesar Valdez BAL
The clear guy in Baltimore. Despite them not projecting to win that many games, he looks really good out there in the closer role.
Ian Kennedy TEX
The dust is settling in the Texas bullpen and it’s the 36-year-old former starting pitcher who’s emerged. His underlying peripherals actually look really good as well.
The following guys get blessed from the scheduling gods (as of now) and are slated to get two starts next week and thus get a bump up in their value for the week. Think about starting or adding them where available.
Sean Manaea (@TB, BAL)
Manaea has looked good in his last three starts. If you throw out his first start of the year against the Astros he has a 1.42 ERA and just under one strikeout per inning. His season-long 3.80 SIERA is a good indicator of where to expect Manaea to settle in going forward. Facing the Orioles is always a plus too.
Corey Kluber (@BAL, DET)
Kluber has certainly not looked like his old self through his first four starts and I would most likely not be considering starting or adding him, but he becomes slightly more attractive with twice the opportunity next week. Maybe with his starts against the Orioles and Tigers, Kluber can at least provide a moderately positive week for you. The Orioles rank dead last in team wOBA and the Tigers just above them ranking 28th.
Jose Urquidy (SEA, @TB)
His only truly bad start of the year came in his last outing in Colorado. I tend to give pitchers a pass pitching in Coors Field. Otherwise, Urquidy has been mostly “meh,” going about five innings per game with just under one strikeout per nine and some walks mixed in. Don’t expect either one of his starts to be stellar, but the total of the two might give you an edge.
Zach Davies (@ATL, @CIN)
I’m putting all the disclaimers in the world on Zach Davies here. He does have two starts lined up for next week, but I’d only go seeking him if I was truly desperate in a deeper league. Atlanta and Cincinnati are two top-ten teams in terms of wOBA and Davies’ underlying numbers look pretty dreadful.
Adam Wainwright (PHI, @PIT)
Don’t count the near forty-year-old out quite yet. His ERA is inflated from his awful opening start, but his SIERA of 3.38 suggests there might be some positive regression coming his way and he’s been generating above-average swinging strikes and caught-looking strikes. Getting Pittsburgh for one of his starts next week is another bonus.
Rich Hill (OAK, HOU)
Okay so how about the forty-one year-old?! Hill is another deep league only add to take advantage of his two starts. He hasn’t looked particularly effective thus far and gets two tough match ups.
Jordan Lyles (LAA, BOS)
Austin Gomber (@SF, @ARI)
Gomber has been sneakily effective for the Rockies thus far despite facing some tough lineups. He gets both starts away from Coors Field next week against middle-of-the-road to sub-par offenses.
If there are interesting guys available on the waiver wire, I’d be fine dropping any of the below. It’s still too early to give up on any of your early round draft picks though in my opinion.
I think I’m done with my two year Mitch Garver experiment. He had a great 2019, but a dreadful 2020 and start to 2021 has me ready to move on. If you can get someone like Wilson Ramos off waivers I’d be more than happy to do that.
I had high hopes for Dickerson in five outfielder leagues, but nothing about his profile thus far looks that great and I think he may just be a JAG (just another guy). So I’m fine looking for a higher upside outfielder in the free agent pool.
Coming into the year Soler and Franmil Reyes were a couple of lower-end DH-only guys who I thought were being undervalued because of their position eligibility. However three weeks into the season Reyes looks far superior to Soler. I dropped Soler for Reyes in one of my leagues and would probably drop him for a number of free-agent hitters at this point.
This might be a bit of a hot take as he’s currently above 90% owned in ESPN leagues, however in a shallow league (i.e. 10 team league), I’d be fine moving on from Biggio. He gets a boost in ownership because of prospect pedigree and name value but if you remove the name and look at his numbers you might ask yourself why you own him. He’s a career .233 hitter who doesn’t project to be an above-average contributor in any category and he doesn’t hit the ball hard. For reference in one of my leagues, I’m considering dropping him for Joey Wendle, Josh Donaldson, Luis Arraez, or J.D. Davis. Sometimes aggression pays off in shallower leagues.
It appears that Price has been fully demoted to a bullpen role for now. If he’s not starting games and not closing games he really doesn’t retain much fantasy value, so you’re fine to move on from him. The Dodgers have a plethora of arms for their starting rotation so unless there’s an injury Price might not move back into the starting rotation anytime soon.
Similar story with Williams, there is not much value to be had in middle relievers in fantasy unless you’re in a super deep categories league where you’re chasing ratios with a chance for a few saves here and there. Unfortunately for Williams, his ratios are also not good this year. He’s still owned in about 60% of ESPN leagues for whatever reason, but I think it’s safe to move on.
We’re now about 10% into the season, so while samples are still relatively small for players, we’re nearing the point where we can start to be smart about potential turnarounds in players, whether those be positive or negative. I’ve used some peripherals and more predictive advanced stats to show some hitters and pitchers who may have either over or underperformed thus far.
ERA and batting average are usually the first two things the average person will look at when seeing how a player has performed, but thanks to sites like Fangraphs and the advanced analytics community at large, we can look past that to understand true performance and how that might change going forward.
Negative regression hitters:
Positive regression hitters:
Negative regression pitchers:
Positive regression pitchers:
Photo by Ron Schwane