Here are Some Lower-Owned Waiver Pickups to Boost your Fantasy Outlooks
It’s hard to believe that Memorial Day is only just over two weeks away. In the Northeast, it’s only been a couple of weeks since people put their snowblowers away. This is typically the first checkpoint in baseball, where MLB and Fantasy teams need to assess where they’re at.
This is also the time of year in Fantasy when meaningful, impact players are almost impossible to find. Injuries are piling up, so rosters are expanding, leaving fewer and fewer players to help your team; even in the short term.
Here are a handful who should be available in your leagues:
Daniel Palka, OF-White Sox (2%): This 26 year-old rookie may have found a spot to get consistent at-bats. He’s hit at every level up to this point, so there’s reason to believe his warm start is no fluke. In his five year minor league career he’s hit as many as 34 home runs in a single season. He also sports some speed, having stolen 24 bases in 2015. So far this season he’s averaging a home run every 13 at-bats, and if given consistent playing time, he could be a sneaky source for power.
He just ripped an RBI double today.
— Ted Schwerzler (@tlschwerz) May 11, 2018
Richard Bleier, RP-Orioles (2%): This journeyman career minor leaguer is having a nice start to the season for the Orioles. Every year, a small handful of relievers find their groove and dominate, accumulating wins, getting the random save, some Ks, and helping with ratios. This season, Bleier is one of those pitchers. Other than his strikeouts, which are appallingly low for a reliever, (less than five per nine innings), he’s doing everything else. In 17 appearances he has three wins, and an ERA of 0.40, to go along with a 0.93 WHIP. He’s on pace to pitch 100 innings and get 13 wins, and although I’d be surprised to see that many victories, I can see him getting another half dozen, while keeping a sub 2.00 ERA with a WHIP less than 1.00. I’d like him even more if he were on a better team.
Pedro Alvarez, 1B-Orioles (3%): Alvarez has been around for a long time. He’s always had intriguing power, having hit 30-plus home runs in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. But he’s definitely on the back nine of his career. He’s now 31 and coming off a year which saw him only play in 14 games in the Majors. The majority of his games were played with the Norfolk Tides. He did bang out 26 bombs, so he did exhibit enough power to get him back in The Show. If this is his last chance, he’s making the most of it. So far this season he has seven bombs in only 80 at-bats, and is on pace to have another 30 home run season. If you need power, he could prove to be a nice source. If anything, snag him and see if his power surge continues and pawn him off to someone in a trade.
Joe Kelly, RP-Red Sox (3%): Kelly’s stuff has never been in question. He’s just never really put it together. For years he was trying to find his place, bouncing around between being a starter and pitching out of the bullpen. At last he seems like he’s found his role with the Red Sox, as one of their prime set-up men, responsible for getting out of high leverage situations. He has two wins and a save, as well as striking out over a batter per inning, while maintaining a solid ERA and WHIP. He’s pitching on a good team that should provide him with many opportunities in the later innings of close games. And if Craig Kimbrel ever gets hurt, he’ll be in line for save opportunities.
Jaime Barria. SP-Angels (7%): The Angels have four potential starters on the DL, which has opened up a spot for Barria. He’s making the most of his opportunity. In four starts he’s sporting a 3-1 record to go along with a 2.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Realistically, as the team’s M*A*S*H unit starts to get healthy, the 21 year-old will get sent down. But in the meantime, while he’s pitching so well, you may as well take advantage of this hot stretch. And who knows, if he keeps up his torrid pace, maybe he’ll stick around for awhile.
Alex Gordon, OF-Royals (14%): It’s good to see the old veteran playing well again. It’s amazing he’s 34 years old. He hasn’t really had a good year since 2014. His three-year averages are atrocious: 51 runs, 13 home runs, 44 RBI, 6 SBs, and a .231 AVG. And his OPS is under .700 in those years. He started the year off poorly, the same as his most recent seasons, and then hit the DL on April 9th. Maybe he found the Fountain of Youth during his stint on the DL, because since he’s been back, he’s been on fire. Since April 24th he’s brought his average up from .174 to .298, and his slugging percentage from .217 to .440. And he’s hit three home runs in that time. Who knows if his magic elixir will wear off any time soon, but while it’s working, you should be the beneficiary. With only 14% of owners in leagues rostering Gordon, there’s a great chance he’s available in your league. Obviously the majority of owners haven’t caught up yet.
As the season is heading into its third month, it will be harder to make up ground, so analyze your team and make sure you’re not too far behind in any categories. A good way to see if you’re drifting further behind is to look at your league standings after Week Four, and again after Week Eight. If you were behind by 23 strikeouts after Week Four, and are now down 77 strikeouts, you know you’re losing considerable ground. However, if you were down by 11 home runs after week four, but only seven home runs after Week Eight, you’ve made up ground and may be alright. Do this in every category and make the necessary adjustments. Hopefully some of these under-the-radar players can help bridge the gap for you.
Daniel Palka Featured Image: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogas
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