Kevan Smith showed a spark for the White Sox over the last five days after being called up from the minors. Smith has seven hits in 16 at-bats with three runs and two RBI. Over 30 game at AAA in 2018, he hit .268 with four HRs and 16 RBI in 112 at-bats. His best overall season in the minors came in 2013 at A ball where he hit .286 with 12 HRs and 73 RBI over 389 at-bats. Chicago lost their top catcher for 80 games giving Smith a great window for at-bats if his bat stays hot. Possible double digit power with 400+ at-bats with a neutral batting average.
Christian Vazquez hasn’t developed into the hitter Boston hoped after a nice season at High A in 2011 (.283 with 18 HRs and 84 RBI over 392 at-bats). His batting average (.290) was an asset in 2017 while barely having a pulse in power (five HRs and 32 RBI over 324 at-bats). Just when it appeared Christian was about to lose his starting gig, his bat started to shine in his last three games (5-for-11 with two runs, one HR, and two RBI). A beaten down player who may have his better days ahead. Only worth a dance as a second catcher in deep leagues.
Tampa cleared the way for Jake Bauers to begin his major league career after releasing Brad Miller. Bauers is a .268 hitter over 683 career at-bats at AAA with 110 runs, 18 HRs, 87 RBI, and 30 SBs. He’ll qualify at 1B and OF with seven more games played at first base in leagues with ten game minimums, which gives a Fantasy owner flexibility by rostering him. By playing him at corner infield or DH, a Fantasy owner should be able to make up some ground in stolen bases while being a neutral player in the other four categories going forward. The Rays pushed him to second in the batting order, which points to a better chance in runs if he hits well enough to keep that spot in the batting order. His walk rate (11.2) has been strong in his minor league career. Must pick up in 15-team leagues.
Max Muncy isn’t going away for the owners who own struggling Dodgers’ players. Muncy started five of the last six games for LA leading to a six-game hitting streak (9-for-21) with six runs, four HRs, seven RBI, and one stolen base. Since May 10th, Max hit .309 over 81 at-bats with 13 runs, nine HRs, 21 RBI, and one SB. Ride him when he’s hot type player, but the Dodgers would be smart to switch him to second base to replace the floundering Logan Forsythe (.202 over 109 at-bats with one home run and nine RBI). Muncy played 21 games in the majors at second base in 2016 ad nine games in the minors in 2017.
Cory Spangenberg worked his way into a starting job after swinging a hot bat over his last six games (7-for-21 with five runs, two HRs, five RBI, and one stolen base. Last season Spangenberg had a nice run over 159 at-bats from June 9th to August 4th where he hit .302 with 26 runs, seven HRs, 24 RBI, and three SBs. His downfall when slumping is a rise in strikeouts. Cory has underlying upside in speed. More of an injury cover than a long-term starter.
Alen Hanson doesn’t have a starting job for the Giants with Joe Panik back from the DL, but his bat says he needs to play close to every day. Hanson has a six-game hitting streak (7-for-12) with six runs, one HR, and five RBI. He earned his way into back-to-back start over the last two days after getting a pinch-hit in four straight games to start his hitting streak. Over 21 games in 2018, Alen has some impressive stats in his 60 at-bats (.350 with 14 runs, five HRs, 17 RBI, and three SBs). He’s overplayed his minor league skill set in 2018, but he does have plenty of speed on his minor league resume (211 SBs over 2,906 at-bats. Only a bench player for now until he works his way into a starting job.
Brian Anderson can’t buy his way off the waiver wire in 12-team leagues despite a starting job and a high level of success over his last 107 at-bats (.364 with 15 runs, one HR, and 12 RBI). Anderson has a seven-game hitting streak (14-for-28) with three runs, one HR, and six RBI). His minor league resume shows power (22 HRs and 81 RBI over 429 at-bats in 2017), which tells me his power run is going to happen shortly.
When Brandon Belt landed on the DL with his issue with his appendix, I knew Pablo Sandoval would be a good cover. I didn’t own Belt in any of my high-stakes leagues, so I never needed to make that move. Over the last nine days with eight starts, Sandoval has 11 hits in 30 at-bats with five runs, two HRs, and five RBI. Sandoval played well enough in 2018 (.287 with four HRs and 19 RBI) to command more at-bats plus Belt has made eight starts in the outfield this year. Pablo only has another week or so to prove his worth. Possible bench flier in deep leagues if Sandoval can work his way into a better opportunity.
The Royals traded Jon Jay this week while pushing Whit Merrifield to centerfield. I thought this was a clear indication that Adalberto Mondesi would be called up. Over his last 14 games at AAA, Mondesi hit .286 with 14 runs, three HRs, 14 RBI, and five stolen bases. He sure looks major league ready, and Kansas City has wheeled out the lowly bat of Ryan Goins (.237 over 93 at-bats with no HRs and six RBI) over the last week at second base. The Royals need to wake up and push Alcides Escobar to second base while bringing up their future star shortstop. For the record, Adalberto will only qualify at second base in Fantasy games until he plays ten games at short in ten game minimum leagues. Mondesi has a chance to be difference maker speed out with developing power.
Tampa Bay suggested that may turn to Willy Adames in the near future at short. He already has 709 at-bats at AAA at age 22 leading to a .279 batting average with 101 runs, 14 HRs, 92 RBI, and 14 SBs. His K rate (23.4) is a bit high at AAA, which may lead to a learning curve early in the majors. Possible 15/15 skill set with the Rays with some batting average risk in 2018.
Jesse Winker pushed his way back into the Reds’ starting lineup in a big way over his last six games. He has 11 hits in his last 24 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, and six RBI. His surge in power is the most important part of his game for Fantasy owner as it makes him Fantasy relevant. Winker has a high batting average swing, which tends to be tough to find on the waiver wire. Worth a buy in all formats to see if his power will continue to add value to his game.
The jury is still out Jason Heyward as starting option in Fantasy games in 2018. Over his last ten games, Heyward has 17 hits in 44 at-bats with five runs, one HR, and six RBI leading to the Cubs moving him to second in the batting order. He even hit a game-winning grand slam over the last week. I like the direction of his bat, but he needs to deliver power and speed to help Fantasy teams. More of an injury cover due to his at-bats and improved slot in the batting order while possible developing into a viable piece of a Fantasy team.
It hard to believe that Charlie Culberson gets a mention on the waiver wire report, but he’s been great as the replacement for Ronald Acuna over the last two weeks. Over his last 41 at-bats, Culberson has 15 hist with eight runs, two HRs, ten RBI, and one steal. Charlie flashed upside in 2013 at AAA when he hit .310 over 397 at-bats with 14 HRs, 64 RBI, and 13 SBs. Culberson has sneaky speed (119 SBs over 3,557 at-bats in the minors). If I lost Acuna, I might ride Charlie until he returns from the DL.
My boy Joc Pederson started to shine over the last week. Pederson has ten hits in his last 22 at-bats with nine runs, six HRs, and eight RBI. Best of all, he only has two Ks over this span with a huge step forward in his K rate (14.5) in 2018. LA hit him in the league off spot in the batting order against righties over the last week or so. Joc is a tough start in shallow leagues if he is facing lefties as the Dodgers continues to bench him on those days. There’s more here than meets the eye.
If you failed to pick up Shelby Miller last week, your window will close quickly when he’s called up to the majors. Miller will make one possibly two more starts in the minors before regaining his role in the Diamondbacks starting rotation. Over his two starters in the minor in 2018, Shelby allowed two runs and eight hits over 9.2 innings with 14 Ks. From 2013 to 2015 in the majors over 95 starts, Miller had a 3.27 ERA and 467 Ks over 561.2 innings.
The Washington Nationals will turn to Erick Fedde this week after Stephen Strasburg landed on the DL. His path at AAA in 2018 has been erratic leading to 4.76 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 56.2 innings with 61 Ks. Fedde has 25 Ks over his last 21 innings in the minors while allowing three runs or fewer in his last four starts. In 2017 over 90.1 innings between AA and AAA, Fedde had a 3.69 ERA and 79 Ks. On the waiver wire this week, Erick will look like a player with risk. He does pitch for a team with scoring ability, and Fedde may actually pitch better in the majors. More of a start to start play.
The Yankees lost Masahiro Tanaka this week with a hamstring injury. He could be out at least a month possibly more. I expect A.J. Cole to earn the first shot at the starting job after pitching well over his last 11 innings in the bullpen. Cole allowed one over this span with six hits and 12 Ks. His 2018 stats look disgusting after taking a ten run beating over his first 3.2 innings of the year vs. the Braves. Since that point, A.J. has 3.06 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 18 Ks over 17.2 innings. He’ll need to clean up his walks (12 over 21.1 innings) to have success in the starting rotation.
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