One of the more difficult areas in making waiver wire selections is considering if one should pick up a player that has very good minor league stats but has limited or no stats in the majors. This becomes even more important when you are in a league in which you need to use your FAAB resources to claim a player.
For example, let’s take a look at a sample write up of a player that many had questions about adding to their rosters when the season started. Take a guess to see if you figure out what player is being discussed here: “A top-40 performer among all minor leaguers heading into last season, according to Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com, ____ appeared in 93 games at Triple-A with a .270/.366/.489 slash line. He also had 19 homers and drove in 65 runs. Alas, he struck out 98 times to give him 172 punch outs and a mere .252 batting average in 154 games at Triple-A. The guy can mash. He’s also a whiff machine. Some possible outcomes. (1) He could end up on the bench in two months. (2) He could end up in the minors in two months. (3) He could be successful with a Brandon Moss type season. The upside just isn’t anywhere near as high as folks seem to think. He’s a seventh outfield option in mixed leagues.”
A few people that I shared this with on social media had no idea that this was being written about Aaron Judge. One of my colleagues pointed out that the waiver wire is much like playing a slot machine: Sometimes you hit the jackpot, sometimes you come up with nothing. Let’s take a look at this week’s recommendations and hope that some of these players cash in for your team. Players on this list are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues and stats are as of July 14.
Clint Frazier, OF, New York Yankees
Many will hope that Frazier can come close to the numbers put up by fellow rookie Aaron Judge. Before his promotion to the majors, Frazier was having a strong season in Triple-A with a .816 OPS in 320 plate appearances. He is coming off a huge series prior to the All-Star break, in which he went 5-for-11 with two home runs and six RBI against Milwaukee. The difficulty with this pick up is whether or not Frazier will stay with the big club when Aaron Hicks returns from the disabled list, but that might not happen for a couple of weeks and gives you time to monitor this situation.
R.A. Dickey, SP, Atlanta Braves
The former Cy Young Award winner has given the Braves quality starts in each of his last five outings, posting a solid 1.09 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 27/8 K/BB in 33 innings. After struggling for quite a while, Dickey has shown promise with his ability to induce contact on the ground (48.5 percent) and limit hard-hit balls (28.1 percent). He is a very intriguing pickup while he is pitching this well.
Paul DeJong, SS/2B, St. Louis Cardinals
Dejong becomes another in a list of Cardinal players to add from the waiver wire, as he is batting .313 with nine homers and 20 RBI in 36 games since his debut on May 28. DeJong will need to improve his plate discipline to keep from regressing, as he has walked just 5.9 percent of the time while striking out at a 28.6 percent rate. However, the potential is there, as he hit .294 with 11 homers and 31 RBI in 46 games with Memphis this spring.
— Barstool Birds (@BarstoolILLSt) July 9, 2017
Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins
After having a very poor June, Kepler has had a much better July, hitting .467 and with seven extra base hits out of his 14 hits total. The German-born player has been able to ride his hot streak by hitting more line drives and fly balls to go along with a small reduction in strikeouts. The former star from the Buchbinder Legionäre Regensburg of Bundesliga is on pace for 20 home runs and 70 RBI.
— Mad Reaper (@lunacyanddeath) July 13, 2017
Brad Miller, 1B/2B/SS, Tampa Bay Rays
After hitting a career-high 30 home runs last year in Tampa with a .243 batting average, Miller has struggled this year thanks in part to a nagging groin injury that led to a stint on the disabled list in June. Miller hit well during his minor league rehabilitation games and has had six hits with a home run and four RBI in the four games since returning to the Rays. His position versatility makes him a solid addition to a fantasy roster.