AL Waiver Wire: report card

Halfway through the season and we have 11 weeks worth of AL Waiver Wires published on the site. The first eight were by Josh Shepardson, now of Baseball Prospectus, and the last three weeks I’ve stepped in and tried to keep up the great work done by him.

Sometimes there’s been good advice; other times our picks have fallen flat. Let’s look at the best and worst picks by each of us.

Pitching gems

Felipe Paulino (recommended Week 5, when his ownership was 3 percent Yahoo, 0.3 percent ESPN)

Unfortunately, Paulino has been on the DL the past month with a groin strain that’s caused his fantasy owners to miss a month’s worth of quality pitching. While he was injured it was discovered he also needed Tommy John surgery, so Paulino’s season is done. Before the injury, though, the hard-throwing righty had a 1.67 ERA through seven starts and looked poised to be a valuable asset the rest of the season. I give Josh credit for making this rec after just Paulino’s first start even though it won’t play out.

A.J. Griffin (recommended Week 10, when it was practically impossible to add him)

Griffin is no top prospect, so he’s not someone you’ll hear much about in prospect reports that typically just cover the top guys, whether it’s good news or bad. Therefore Griffin was surely underwritten about given his impressive minor league stats (and curveball) and proximity to the majors when I shared my thoughts on him.

About a week later he received the call and now, three starts later, he’s yet to give up more than two runs in any of them. Unfortunately he’s also yet to factor into a decision, but he’s certainly been worth the add to anyone who was brave enough to start him against the Rangers and Red Sox (probably no one). At least his next start is against hapless Seattle.

Pitching duds

Luke Hochevar (recommended Weeks 1 and 3, when his ownership was 9 percent Yahoo, 1.9 percent ESPN)

Josh pushed hard for people to add the former first overall pick, highlighting him in the offseason and two of the first three Waiver Wires. While Hochevar has a couple of gems to his name this season, overall he’s pitched poorly. After yesterday’s injury-shortened start, his ERA sits at 5.14, his WHIP is 1.39, and his strikeout rate is an uninspiring 6.52 per nine. With numbers like those, very few people should have added him to their teams.

Justin Grimm (recommended Week 11, when his ownership was 0 percent Yahoo, 1.9 percent ESPN)

I embarrassingly gave a reserved vote of confidence in Grimm after his solid debut, only to see him last all of one inning in his next turn, against the Tigers. By the time three outs were recorded, nine batters reached base and six of them came around to score. Grimm was rightfully sent back to the minors after one more appearance, and I was left wondering why I didn’t profile Franklin Morales that week instead. I hope you listened to my colleague Brad Johnson and avoided Grimm’s start as he advised.

Hitting gems

Josh Reddick (recommended Week 2, when his ownership was 4 percent Yahoo, 2 percent ESPN)

More than just an All-Star snub this year, Reddick was also snubbed in most fantasy drafts and left in free agency to start the season. A few weeks in and Reddick’s stats weren’t too impressive, but Josh (Shepardson) saw a player playing every day, batting third, and with a decent skill-set worthy of an add. Those who listened have so far gotten a great return on their investment and Reddick shows little signs of slowing down in the second half.

Brandon Moss (recommended Week 9 when his ownership was 0 percent Yahoo and ESPN)

The swap at first base between Kila Ka’aihue and Moss was initially ignored by most people, until he went off and blasted five homers in four days. A few days before that homer binge—when Moss had all of one home run to his name—I did a write-up of him, noting Oliver saw potential in this post-hype sleeper’s bat. Of course I didn’t see 10 homers in 24 games, but I’ll take some credit for being one of the first to write about him,

Hitting duds

Luke Scott (recommended Week 2, when his ownership was 14 percent Yahoo, 5 percent ESPN)

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

As of Josh’s writing that Scott was a solid bet for the rest of the season, he was batting .333 with an OPS over 1,000. Since that peak, though, his average has been in a near-constant free fall down to its current .194 mark. In a feat of ineptitude and extreme bad luck, Scott has managed to go a Rays franchise record 39 at-bats without a single hit. He’s known as a streaky hitter, but this is beyond anyone’s normal ebb and flow of production. How he will perform the rest of the season is one giant mystery.

Michael Saunders (recommended Week 9, when his ownership was 17 percent Yahoo, 13.7 percent ESPN)

When I confidently proclaimed that Saunders should have universal ownership, he was in the middle of a tremendous hot streak. Over a stretch of 10 games, he had multi-hit performances in five of them. In nearly a month’s worth of play since, he has just two. Saunders still possesses impressive tools, making him someone to always keep an eye on, but based on his play of late, he was a clear sell-high at the time.

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11 years ago

This is a bit off topic but I’m desperate for some advice.  I have Santiago Casilla but Casey Janssen is available on the wire in my 16-team league. Would you make the move and drop Casilla for Janssen? We have to have our bids in by Saturday morning. I’m concerned someone else will pick up Janssen and that Casilla will be removed from the closer role and there’s a bit of a time crunch that I’m dealing with. Otherwise, I’d wait and see but I don’t have that luxury here.

Donald Trump
11 years ago

Dropping Casilla for Janssen is a no-brainer.  The question is why do you play in a league where Janssen is a free agent?  Got to a more competitive league…

Paul Singman
11 years ago

Even though you may feel you’d be making the right long term play by keeping Casilla over Janssen, I agree with my good friend Donald that you have to go with Janssen here. Santos is no lock to immediately get his job back given how well Janssen has pitched. Also, Casilla is on the verge of losing his job or joining a time-share with probably Romo and Affeldt.