Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pick-Ups: 8/20/14

A quick look at some trendy pick-ups today:

Carl Crawford:

Currently owned in 46% of leagues and seeing increasing interest after having a pretty awesome day in yesterday's win over the Padres.

The question is whether or not he is worth all this additional interest. The one thing that has to be on the back of everyone's mind is the excess of Dodgers outfielders which does make fitting everyone in for playing time to be a challenge.

He has had a very strong August (.344 batting average) which has helped improve his overall numbers. Even with that, his BABIP this year (.300) is below his .326 career total. Even though his average is at .268 currently, I could see that getting into the .290 range. While he isn't going to provide much power (12 homers projected over a full season), he is still a viable option to help in the Runs & Stolen Bases category and is still capable of being a top-100 player and a likely upgrade to many teams.

Jedd Gyorko:

Currently owned in 49% of leagues and his stock is also the beneficiary of a very strong performance in last night's Dodgers-Padres game (though his team was on the losing end).

His early season struggles were highly related to un-naturally low BABIP, which is starting to course correct itself, his batting average for the year has even gotten above the Mendoza Line! He's also made some positive moves in my rankings as he's gone from 206th to 154th. He's never going to be a major asset at batting average (projected to be .253) but he is a good buy-low option because he's better than what his .203 batting average indicates and he has the scarce asset of power at the second base position (he's capable of hitting 25 homers over a full season). While his value is lower than Crawford's, he is capable of providing a boost in home run category for fantasy owners.

Matt Shoemaker:

Currently owned in 31% of leagues. Initially, I was a bit skeptical of his value as he has an 11-4 record despite the ERA- & FIP- numbers of fangraphs indicating that he's been an average pitcher.

While he does have some value for win inflation due to being on a strong Angels team, there is some substance. He's been better than what is 3.84 ERA indicates and I think he's closer to 3.5 in this area (42nd out of 112 pitchers), he's a good source of strikeouts (8.72 per 9 this year and ranked 18th in strikeouts for my rankings and he's shown the ability to limit walks. Going forward, he appears to be more set up for success than I was expecting before looking at the numbers.

Brandon McCarthy:

Currently owned in 42% of leagues and coming off three consecutive starts of giving up 2 earned runs or less and striking out at least seven hitters. This has helped him improve his spot in my rankings as he went from 53rd to 42nd.

Even with his recent strong play, his overall numbers are still obscuring how strong he is overall which still qualifies him as a strong under the radar pickup. His ERA for the year is still at 4.24, primarily inflated by high BABIP & HR/FB rates. The projection has his ERA closer to 3.37.

Oswaldo Arcia:

Currently owned in 7% of leagues. Despite homering  in his last three games, i'm not quite sold on his value as I have him ranked 211th among batters. While I do think he's capable of hitting 25-30 homers per season, i'm not convinced he'll be of help in the batting average category (his .230 average is close to the projection of .236), he rarely steals any bases and playing on a weak offensive team like the Twins in a pitcher-friendly ballpark of Target Field deflates his ceiling for RBIs. If you need extra home runs but are otherwise strong, he may be a decent option, otherwise I would look elsewhere.