Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 11

In Commentary And Analysis by GW

Starting Pitchers

Andrew Heaney

Heaney has almost everything I look for in a pitching callup. He’s a premium prospect. He has a track record of high strikeouts, low walks, and reasonable groundball rates. If and when he gets the call for the Marlins, he’ll be pitching for a National League team in a good park for pitchers. The only hesitation I have is that he only has four Triple-A starts under his belt, but those have been excellent. Given the team’s decent performance and history of aggressive promotions, Heaney should be owned.

Jimmy Nelson

Marco Estrada has been hit hard recently, leading to some speculation that Nelson could replace him. It seems like normal fluctuations for Estrada, who is always going to give up his share of homers trying to make batters miss with his high-80s heat, but if Nelson gets the call, he’s worth a look. His main problem has always been control (10% walks in the minors). That number has improved this year, but walk-rate gains over the short term can prove illusory. I wouldn’t drop a reliable starter for him.

Alex Wood

Wood was sent to the bullpen several weeks ago, and is currently in Gwinnett stretching out again. There is not a clear path back to the rotation, as both Aaron Harang and Gavin Floyd continue to pitch reasonably well, but I expect Wood to slot in one way or another in the near future. Wood’s ownership percentage remains stubbornly high in Yahoo formats (~60%), but he has dropped to the 20%-level in ESPN.

Brandon Workman

His name is apt. I would like to own him in single leagues and deeper mixed formats, but would pass in 10-teamers.

Tyler Matzek

Matzek’s history with the base on balls is even worse than Nelson’s. Add in Coors Field, and I’m passing in mixed leagues, even though he’s actually in the majors, unlike some of the others on this list.

Position Players

Shane Victorino

Victorino is currently out on a rehab assignment for a hamstring problem that has plagued him all season. His ownership is around 50% in Yahoo and ESPN leagues, which is higher than I usually allow for in these posts, but he’s worth checking on in your particular league.

Drew Stubbs

Carlos Gonzalez is out at least five weeks after having a fatty mass removed from his index finger. Michael Cuddyer is out 6-8 with a fractured shoulder. All of that adds up to Corey Dickerson time in Colorado, but I have touted him in this space so often that some variety is called for. So, Drew Stubbs! We all know the drill with him by now, too many strikeouts, but lots of speed and enough power. In Coors, where batted balls drop in for hits with regularity, that will play.

Nick Swisher

Swisher’s ownership percentages have dropped precipitously in the wake of terrible performance to date combined with injury. Still, he has power and outfield eligibility. He’s not that much worse than Josh Willingham, whose ownership is up over 90% in ESPN leagues on the strength of recent performance.


Jake McGee/Joel Peralta

Last Monday, Joe Maddon announced that he was removing Grant Balfour from the closer role. On Wednesday, Balfour secured a seven-out save. The committee in Tampa Bay may not take on a clear shape for a while. Jake McGee is the best choice, but unlike Sean Doolittle, he is entering his arbitration years without a team-friendly contract extension. With the Rays unlikely to contend this season, that may make Peralta a better bet. As I’m writing, McGee just picked up the latest chance, so he has to be the first choice for now.

Neil Ramirez

The Cubs have indicated that Hector Rondon’s elbow problem is minor, and he should be back pitching this week. Rondon has had Tommy John in the past, though, so Ramirez is a decent bet in case Rondon’s condition is worse than advertised. Ramirez’s control is not particularly good, but he’s striking everyone out at the moment, so he should help even if Rondon comes back and resecures the job.

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