Daily Intel – 4/29/2018 (Waiver Wire Part 2 + Full News Update)

In yesterday’s Intel, we took a look at all of next week’s scheduled two-start pitchers, as well as some recommended waiver wire pitchers for the “first half” of the league in alphabetical order, stopping at Oakland. Today, we’ll look at other recommended waiver wire pitchers from the other half of the league, waiver wire hitters from the entire league and, as always, the latest news from all 30 teams in the last 24 hours.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OF David Peralta went 3-for-4 with two solo home runs, and while he’s still hitting the ball on the ground 55 percent of the time like he did in 2017, his hard-hit rate is hanging around 40 percent, a nine percent boost from last year that makes us feel a little better about the season-long viability of retaining a career-high slugging percentage.

Atlanta Braves

  • SP Mike Foltynewicz delivered his best start of the season on Saturday, primarily due to efficiency – after three straight starts of more than 100 pitches that resulted in innings totals of five, six, and 4 2/3, Folty only needed 91 pitches to deliver six-innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and two walks, and picking up six strikeouts.
  • OF Ender Inciarte stole two more bases, giving him 12 on the season.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: OF Nick Markakis (60% owned) isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, whether it is from the lineup or the cleanup spot he currently inhabits. Markakis’ fantasy value has always been inexorably tied to his ability to stay healthy and play every day, but with a lineup that gained a ton of depth and value this week with OF Ronald Acuna Jr., Markakis is now in a position to challenge his career highs in RBI and runs scored.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Andrew Cashner got beat up by a previously-cold Detroit lineup, allowing 10 baserunners six earned runs in four innings. His velocity was down between .5 and 1 mph on all his pitches, and even though he was getting ahead in a lot of counts, he made too many mistakes and the Tigers took advantage. The A’s lineup awaits him next in Oakland, and that’s a coin flip start if you have Cashner in a deep mixed league. We’d bench him.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: We said this earlier in the week, but OF Mark Trumbo (50% owned) is due back this week and is a smart add for any owner short on power right now. Trumbo will play every day and you should be able to judge within three or four weeks whether he’s going to be worth keeping on your roster for the balance of the season.

Boston Red Sox

  • 3B Rafael Devers delivered his fourth home run of the season, giving him 20 RBI. While it may seem like Devers hasn’t done much so far this year, he’s on pace to finish with 25 homers and 125 RBI, along with 37 doubles. He’s a good trade target if an owner is unhappy with him, perhaps because yesterday’s homer was his first extra-base hit in 28 plate appearances.

Chicago Cubs

  • Consecutive games with encouraging starts from struggling starting pitchers – on Friday, it was SP Yu Darvish, and yesterday, it was SP Jose Quintana, who went seven scoreless innings with only three baserunners allowed and seven strikeouts.

Chicago White Sox

  • Yesterday marked two good starts in a row for SP Carson Fulmer, with “good” being relative for fantasy purposes. Fulmer went seven scoreless innings, a career high, but he still couldn’t deliver enough of a gap between his strikeouts and walks (he had three of both) to start building up a mixed-league value proposition. He also only picked up three swinging strikes.
  • Waiver wire – Hitter: 2B/3B Yolmer Sanchez (20% owned) offers position flexibility and a comfortable lineup spot (second) with every day playing time.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Scott Schebler stayed hot since his return from injury, hitting his third home run of the season and giving the Reds their only offensive production of the day off Minnesota SP Jake Odorizzi. Schebler needs to be in all starting lineups right now, he tends to run hot and cold and he’s clearly rolling now.

Cleveland Indians

  • 1B Yonder Alonso hit his eighth home run of the season and third in three games yesterday.
  • SP Carlos Carrasco was hit hard for the first time in about a month, giving up four earned runs in three innings, along with five hits and a walk. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com spoke to Carrasco, who said he slipped on the dugout steps in the third inning and it led to a drop in velocity as his back stiffened up.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: C Yan Gomes (52% owned) got has upped his hard-hit rate by 13 percent so far this season, and his fly ball rate is up six percent as well. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he already has four home runs. In a deep lineup like Cleveland, he could be a smart add for two-catcher leagues due to his volume playing time and RBI opportunities.

Colorado Rockies 

  • OF Charlie Blackmon was back in the leadoff spot with 2B DJ LeMahieu sitting out last night, and he welcomed Miami SP Wei-Yin Chen back to the majors with a leadoff home run. After that, though, the Rockies bats went silent in a 4-1 loss.

Detroit Tigers

  • Waiver wire – Hitters: 3B Jeimer Candelario (71% owned) is another player who will not lose playing time for any non-injury reason. He’s hitting second, he’s playing every day, and he’s improved his contact rate (9 percent from last year) significantly.

Houston Astros

  • Some troubling trends starting to emerge in the playing time of C Evan Gattis, as he sat for the third time in four games Saturday, with 1B Yuli Gurriel playing Gattis’ usual DH position and INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez getting the start at first.

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B/OF Whit Merrifield got his second straight game in the leadoff spot, but his uneven season continued with an 0-for-4 effort that included a strikeout.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: We’ve been saying for weeks that the power burst is coming for OF Jorge Soler (33% owned), and while his contact rate still leaves something to be desired, he’s hitting the ball hard and has cut his strike out rate by about eight percent while raising his walk rate by nearly that same amount.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SP Garrett Richards was a victim of a toxic mix of bad defense and a Yankees offense that made him pay for any bad pitch he threw. We’d wager that last night’s outing – 1 2/3 innings, five hits, three walks, five earned runs – ends up being Richards’ worst this season. Keep running him out there every time.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • 2B/OF Chris Taylor continues to come back to his 2017 form, although it has been a little uneven with a 2-for-18 stretch to open the week before yesterday’s three-hit effort in game one of the doubleheader with the Giants, which came with a homer and four runs scored. Taylor seems in little-to-no danger of losing playing time anytime soon, so continue to keep him in your lineup.

Miami Marlins

  • In a shift from what we mentioned Friday, SP Wei-Yin Chen was actually activated yesterday to start against Colorado. Chen gave up a leadoff home run but after that was solid over 68 pitches and 5 1/3 innings, allowing six baserunners and striking out three. Other than his curveball, which he threw just five times, being down about 3.5 mph, the velocity on his four-seam and two-seam fastballs and his slider were consistent with his 2016 numbers.
  • 3B Brian Anderson is still batting cleanup, but the return of 3B Martin Prado has pushed Anderson out to right field for what seems like an indefinite period.
  • RP Kyle Barraclough got the save last night, bouncing back from his three-walk outing on Friday to strikeout the side against Colorado. RP Drew Steckenrider pitched a perfect eight, and RP Brad Ziegler did not pitch. If you want to blow your free agent budget on Barraclough, you better be incredibly desperate for saves. While I can’t guarantee that Barraclough will be a bust, I can guarantee there will be a better options available within the next month or so.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • SP Junior Guerra continues to defy the underlying numbers that would point to a sharp regression in his run prevention some time soon – against the Cubs yesterday, he went six innings, struck out six, and gave up only one run on five baserunners. Every fantasy analyst in the world will tell you Guerra is not going to keep up his 0.82 ERA, but if you’re looking for a small reason to believe, his ground ball rate is up to 46.2%, which is far beyond anything he’s delivered in his major league innings, and he’s cut his hard contact allowed to 27.5% while boosting his soft contact allowed to 25%.

Minnesota Twins

  • Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com writes here about OF Byron Buxton’s fractured toe. The timeline for Buxton’s return is unclear, but since it is a hairline fracture, the Twins seem optimistic this won’t be a long-term thing. That said, Buxton has said he’s fine hitting but feeling pain while running, which could impact his stolen base production even when he returns.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: SS/3B Eduardo Escobar (59% owned) is essentially a better version of 2B/3B Yolmer Sanchez, with possession of a slightly more valuable position for flexibility (shortstop instead of second base).

New York Mets

  • Well, we had hoped SP Jason Vargas would show us something to make us think twice about his value in mixed leagues, but his season debut was an utter mess over 3 2/3 innings, with nine hits and nine earned runs allowed. He gets the Rockies at home next and shouldn’t be trusted in any format just yet, including NL-only.

New York Yankees

  • The good version of SP Masahiro Tanaka showed up last night, staked to a 10-0 lead before he took the mound for the second inning and pitching efficiently because of it. Tanaka’s slider, which has been his best pitch early in the season, continued to look sharp last night. He finished with nine strikeouts in six innings, allowing just a solo home run to SS/3B Zack Cozart along with just one other hit and two walks overall.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: We’ve probably written 1,000 words on 1B Tyler Austin (10% owned) this month, and we’d still recommend him for those looking for a good batting average and moderate power source at the corner infield position. But the news on 1B Greg Bird (67% owned) has been positive this past week, and a mid-to-late May return to the big-league lineup looks realistic. Bird is similar to what we said about Mark Trumbo earlier, except the everyday playing time isn’t going to be likely in the first week or two of Bird’s return. But he’s probably the highest-end power source you’re going to find available on waivers right now, so if you’re short on power in the first month, you should spend a roster spot on stashing Bird.

Oakland A’s

  • Not much to say in an 11-0 loss, other than SP Daniel Mengden only getting through 2 1/3 innings and 57 pitches, allowing six hits and four earned runs. Two steps forward and one step back for Mengden, as he had only allowed two earned runs in his previous 14 1/3 innings. He gets the Orioles at home Friday and should be started in leagues where you own him.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: We talked in Tuesday’s Intel about 1B/OF Mark Canha. Here’s what we said then: “Very quietly, 1B/OF Mark Canha is hitting well, extending his hitting streak to seven games last night with two hits, an RBI, and a walk. Canha is playing every day and has the ability to hit for power, so if you’re in a deep league and could use some help in those categories, he’s worth a shot because of the volume of playing time he’s receiving.” Since then, Canha hit another home run on Friday. Canha’s contact and hard-hit rates are up significantly, his walk rate is up and his strikeout rate is down from last season, and he’s playing a lot. With a 5% ownership rate, he’s the guy we’d say is the most under-owned player in fantasy right now relative to what he should be. There’s a lot of untapped upside here.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • The slow ascent in 3B Maikel Franco’s numbers continued last night with a solo home run, his first since back-to-back homers on April 5 and 7.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: Much like Canha, we wrote earlier this week about OF Aaron Altherr, who, at 59% owned, is under-owned. Here’s what we said on Friday: “OF Aaron Altherr has some momentum going, with hits in five straight games and eight RBI over that time. He’s also raised his average from .091 to .177. Altherr has basically played every day for a week now, and he’s done nothing to lose playing time – if you’re in a mixed league where an owner lost patience and dumped him, we’d pounce now.”

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • 1B Josh Bell picked up an RBI single yesterday, but he still has just two extra-base hits in his last 12 games and is striking out about 25 percent of the time. We don’t see him losing the starting job at first and he’s still batting cleanup, but Bell doesn’t own the type of upside to justify owning him through this type of slump in shallow leagues.
  • Waiver wire – Pitchers: SP Chad Kuhl (9% owned) has cut his walk rate, been victimized by bad luck (.373 batting average on balls in play), and has maintained his strikeout percentage from last season (around 21 percent). His 4.55 ERA is likely to come down by at least a half run.

San Diego Padres

  • OF Franchy Cordero is going to be an everyday player moving forward, as manager Andy Green says in this article from AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. He hit fifth last night, with his lone hit being a three-run home run. OF Jose Pirela was starting at second last night, which could be the alignment we see going forward. Pirela adding second base eligibility would be a nice little boost for his value, especially if he can run a little more like he did last night when he picked up his third steal of the year.

San Francisco Giants

  • Chris Haft of MLB.com writes here about 2B Joe Panik hitting the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb, OF Mac Williamson hitting the seven-day concussion disabled list, and RP Mark Melancon being transferred to the 60-day disabled list. 2B Kelby Tomlinson will likely get the bulk of the starts at second in Panik’s absence.
  • SP Chris Stratton was so bad yesterday – one inning, six hits, six earned runs, four walks – that the Giants had to resort to 3B Pablo Sandoval to pitch the ninth inning, which he did so perfectly! Stratton just came back to the team after the birth of his second child, so we’ll give him a pass due to likely fatigue. He gets the Padres next time out on Wednesday.

Seattle Mariners

  • 1B/3B Ryon Healy delivered a good fantasy game for the first time this season thanks to a ninth-inning two-run home run.
  • 2B/OF Dee Gordon and 2B/SS Jean Segura combined to go 5-for-9 with a home run, two steals, six runs scored, and four RBI.
  • Waiver wire – Pitchers: SP Marco Gonzales (10% owned) was a first-round pick in 2013, so it isn’t impossible for him to have the skill set to deliver a breakout season, even if there are scant signs in his minor league track record to support that claim. Still, Gonzales has a swinging strike rate around 10 percent, and he’s shown gradual improvement in his starts. With a near three-run difference between his ERA and his FanGraphs-calculated Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) rate, Gonzales is a smart speculation in deep mixed leagues.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • OF Dexter Fowler looks to be locked in to his new batting order placements after losing the leadoff spot a couple of weeks ago – while he wasn’t starting against lefties previously, he’s hit sixth in his last few outings against righties. If you need to drop someone in 12-team leagues this weekend and have Fowler, we’re willing to bet he’s your first option.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • We keep waiting for OF Denard Span to stop doing good things at the plate, but thanks to an inside-the-park home run off a misplay dive by Boston OF Mookie Betts, he’s now got 19 RBI to go along with his very impressive .384 on-base percentage. Span is playing all the time and, at the very least, is getting chances to accumulate stats in a Tampa Bay lineup that is hitting very well right now. He’s an interesting option in super-deep leagues.
  • Waiver wire – Pitchers: Despite a bad start yesterday against Boston, SP Yonny Chirinos (71% owned) has secured his spot in the Rays rotation and has shown a well-developed three-pitch arsenal that has allowed him to pick enough strikeouts to be valuable in fantasy despite a low innings total so far.

Texas Rangers

  • We’re owners of C Robinson Chirinos in a few leagues, and there was a slight feeling of despair as we took a look at his first month numbers. He’s hitting the ball hard more than 50 percent of the time, and his fly ball rate is way up, so we were concerned about the lack of home runs so far, especially because his contact rate is down five points to 65 percent and he’s swung and missed 17 percent of the time. But, after yesterday’s two home run effort, it dawned on us that owning Chirinos this season is going to be akin to owning 1B Chris Davis or some other type of all-or-nothing, streak-laden power hitter. If Chirinos delivers the power his underlying numbers so he could, we’ll take the awful three-week stretches in exchange for the 35 home runs he’ll have delivered by September 30.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • OF Kevin Pillar hit fifth for the third straight game and delivered the power to match the position, hitting his second and third home runs of the season. Pillar is another player like Nick Markakis that delivers value primarily due to safety of playing time status, but he’s definitely lost some contact in his game without the tick in fly ball rate that we’ve seen with other guys.

Washington Nationals

  • RP Ryan Madson worked the eighth inning yesterday and blew the lead for the second time in four appearances, giving up three hits and an earned run. Madson has now appeared in 14 games and is on pace for 78 innings, which would be a 20 percent boost from his season-high since he returned from his myriad arm surgeries that cost him three seasons between 2012 and 2014.
  • Waiver wire – Hitters: We wrote yesterday about 2B/OF Howie Kendrick. At 35% owned, he’s a nice add for the next few weeks. Here’s what we said: “(Kendrick) is quietly delivering some solid value hitting out of the two hole most days. He went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI yesterday, and has now hit in five straight games. Kendrick won’t be in position to produce like this for long with 3B Anthony Rendon and OF Adam Eaton differing levels of “close” to returning from injury, but he’s a solid short-term fill in for batting average and runs scored help.”

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