I’ve been playing Fantasy baseball for a long time. The trade deadline was always interesting when I played exclusively in an AL only league as the prospect of a high-profile player could be the difference of winning or losing a league title. This week on the waiver wire could be very interesting as there has been a ton of changes never mind a couple of potential upside of the young players call up to the majors over the last week.
It’s almost a given that the San Diego Padres trade Derek Norris. This will create an opportunity for Austin Hedges. Over 193 at-bats at AAA, Hedges hit .352 with 17 HRs and 62 RBI. His success is above his career resume (.270 with 40 HRs and 219 RBI over 1354 at-bats) while still be a solid upgrade to a Fantasy team due to the weak options available in the free agent pool in most leagues.
The Angels called Carlos Perez back up over the last week after a two-week trip back to the minors. He’s started five of the last seven games headed into Saturday night leading to seven hits in 17 at-bats with three runs, a HR, and three RBI. His bat also had value over 31 at-bats at AAA (.355 with seven runs, two HRs, and nine RBI). Carlos has enough talent to be a solid C2 in deep leagues over the last two months of the season.
Mitch Moreland found his rhythm over the last 11 games (11-for-34), which led to four runs, five HRs, and nine RBI. The starting lineup for the Rangers has been fluid all season so the hot bat of Moreland should move up in the batting order quickly with continued success. He also loses the threat of Jurickson Profar stealing at-bats with Prince Fielder out for the season.
Tyler White will get his second chance in the majors after falling short of expectations over the first two and half months of the season (.211 with seven HRs and 20 RBI in 169 at-bats). His swing regained its form at AAA (.288 with 11 HRs and 26 RBI in 132 at-bats). His opportunity was created by Luis Valbuena going on the DL plus Marwin Gonzalez is battling a hand issue. Houston needs someone to step up and grab the first base job, and White will have the next opportunity.
Scooter Gennett has an eight-game hitting streak (10-for-30) with four runs, one HR, six RBI, and two SBs to become Fantasy relevant at the second base position. His skill set projected over 550 at-bats based on 2016 would deliver 15+ HRs and 10+ SBs.
The Phillies moved Cesar Hernandez to the leadoff spot in the batting order over the last couple of days. Hernandez has 12 hits in his last 36 at-bats with four runs, five RBI, and three SBs. Over the last month, Cesar hit .365 with 11 runs, 10 RBI, and seven SBs. If your team needs a one-dimensional speed player, Hernandez has impact speed if he continues to run.
Herman Perez is still in the free agent pool in a 12 team league I’m using for a reference, which seems like a mistake due to his value in speed. Over his last 23 at-bats (halfway through his game on Saturday night), Herman only has five hits. Two of those hits left the ballpark while scoring six runs with six RBI and four SBs. His success in 2016 projected over 550 at-bats would be 21 HRs and 48 SBs. His minor league resume (.264 with 31 HRs, 285 RBI, and 114 SBs over 2917 at-bats) doesn’t support long-term success. Sometimes a Fantasy has to ride the hot hand, and Perez is hitting HRs and stealing bases, so he’s worth a short-term ride.
Alex Bregman will be one of the hottest pickups this week. Over 314 at-bats between AA and AAA in 2016, Bregman hit .306 with 20 HRs, 61 RBI, and seven SBs while showcasing a solid approach at the plate (47 walks and 38 strikeouts). He looks ready for a long career in the majors, but Alex doesn’t have a hit in his first 15 major league at-bats with two walks and three Ks. In a way, his lack of success may lead to a lower price point.
The Twins moved Eduardo Nunez to the Giants this week, which will give Eduardo Escobar a shot at regaining his starting job. In 2015, Escobar flashed more upside in power (12 HRs in 409 at-bats). This season health has been an issue, and Nunez stole his opportunity out of the gate. His batting average doesn’t have any upside along with his speed, so he needs to improve his power swing.
The Nationals have given Trea Turner semi-regular at-bats over the last two weeks. His bat is beginning to show life in his last five games (8-for-18) with four runs, four RBI, and three stolen bases. Turner hit .302 at AAA in 2016 over 331 at-bats with six HRs, 33 RBI, and 25 SBs. He could be a difference maker in speed down the stretch.
The Rockies called up David Dahl on Monday with Colorado scheduled to play three games in an American League park. He played well in AA and AAA in 2016 (.314 with 18 HRs, 61 RBI, and 17 SBs over 350 at-bats). He did strikeout 96 times in 400 plate appearances (24 percent). His success over his first week in the majors (8-for-21) with two HRs and three RBI will draw the attention of many Fantasy owners. He will be an intriguing pickup this week as long as the Rockies continue to give him full time at-bats. His success invites a winning opportunity.
The Giants activated Hunter Pence off the DL on Saturday night. His name can be found in free agent pool in many shallow leagues. Hunter has a long resume of success, and he should hit in a premium part of the batting order. He has a solid 20/80 skill set with underlying speed, but I don’t trust him to run due to his recent battle with his hamstring issue.
Alex Dickerson was awarded full time at-bats when the Padres shipped Melvin Upton out of town. He responded with a HR in four straight games before suffering a hip injury as a result of a collision with center fielder Travis Jankowski. This issue appears to be minor so he should be back in the starting lineup in the next couple of days. Over his last 23 at-bats, Alex has nine hits with six runs, four HRs, and seven RBI. Dickerson hit .309 in his minor league career with 58 HRs, 325 RBI, and 26 SBs over 1926 at-bats. He should have a middle of the lineup opportunity going forward.
The Padres should call up Hunter Renfroe to replace Matt Kemp on the roster. Over 417 at-bats at AAA, Hunter hit .321 with 25 HRs, 87 RBI, and four SBs. Renfroe is career .283 in the minors with 72 HRs, 265 RBI, and 22 SBs over 1600 at-bats. He tends to be a free swinger with a 20/80 skill set when he gains some major league experience.
As I mentioned last week, the Angels did indeed call up Tyler Skaggs last week. He threw the ball great in his first game back in the majors (seven shutout innings with three hits allowed and five Ks). Over nine starts in the minors in 2016, Skaggs had a 1.60 ERA with 53 Ks in 39 innings. His arm should be a nice addition to all Fantasy teams going forward.
There is a chance that the Phillies call up Jake Thompson next week if they end up trading a starter. Thompson has a 2.57 ERA over 122.2 innings at AAA with 85 Ks. Jake does have some risk in his command (37 walks) possibly leading to disaster risk early in his career.
The Yankees called up Luis Severino to pitch in relief last week until they open up a starting spot in the rotation via a trade. In his first appearance back in the majors, Luis tossed two shutout innings with three Ks. In his ten starts at AAA in 2106, Severino had a 3.25 ERA with 57 Ks in 63.2 innings highlighted by his last start on July 20th when he allowed two runs in six innings with 11 Ks.