Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Party With the Crons
Have you ever been just minding your own business, going about your day, and then that extra large coffee you drank earlier that morning kicks in and you have this abundance of energy all of a sudden? Or maybe you’re at a kids birthday party and all the children just got a sugar rush from the cake all at the same time. Consider this Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report a sugared-up toddler. There were already some intriguing names to consider adding this week and then bam, a trio of prospects get called up last night. Those guys are the sugar coursing through that toddler’s veins.
Now, not all three prospects are immediate adds. They all carry value, depending on your league size, but playing time situations give them varying degrees of potential short-term value. In addition to them, we have some power bats, a pair of brothers, starting pitchers returning from injuries, and even some speculative saves additions to consider. A smorgasbord of options for you this week. MLB might ask this waiver wire report to pee in a cup to check for steroids. Who knows. But let’s get down to it.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Hitters
Cavan Biggio, 2B/1B/3B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Hey, look, another prospect to add! While he might not have the elite pedigree of a Brendan Rodgers, Austin Riley, or Keston Hiura, there’s plenty to like about Biggio for fantasy purposes. Through 41 games for Triple-A Buffalo, Biggio was hitting .306/.440/.507/.948 with seven doubles, six home runs, five steals, and more walks (32) than strikeouts (28). This has been the modus operandi on Biggio for a while now. He provides solid power and speed with a strong plate approach and high OBP.
Those strong on-base skills have gotten better and better with each passing season too with Biggio’s walk rate improving each season up to a robust 19.0% this season. He wasn’t on quite the same power/speed pace as in 2018, but Biggio possesses the raw power to hit 20-25 home runs over a full season with stolen base totals in the teens. With his defensive flexibility and the Blue Jays lineup lacking big bats outside of that Vlad fellow, Biggio will likely play regularly and has the upside to provide solid value in mixed leagues.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Minnesota Twins
Back in the pre-season, C.J. Cron was one of my infield sleeper picks for this season due to his power potential and projected favorable spot in an improving Twins lineup. It took a little longer for Cron to get into a groove this season, but man has he found that groove now. Over the last month, only Josh Bell has more home runs as a first baseman than Cron’s 10 dingers. In addition, Cron has hit .287 with 19 RBI and 19 runs scored in that stretch, making him a borderline top-10 first baseman over the last month.
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) May 11, 2019
He’s entrenched in the No. 5 spot in a dangerous Twins lineup, so even if the average stays in the .250-.260 range, there should be a solid amount of R+RBI to go along with plenty of power moving forward. With this hot stretch, it’s astonishing that Cron is still unowned in roughly half of leagues. Let’s correct that, shall we?
Kevin Cron, 1B/3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
From big brother to little brother. The news broke last night that the Arizona Diamondbacks were calling up 1B/3B Kevin Cron from Triple-A Reno. Outside of Yordan Alvarez, you could argue that Cron was the hottest hitter in the minor leagues so far this season. In 44 games, Cron was hitting .339/.437/.800/1.237 with 13 doubles, 21 home runs, and a 27/33 BB/K ratio. It doesn’t matter that these are PCL aided numbers, Cron has been mashing.
┻┳| •.•) Kevin Cron dingers.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) May 23, 2019
The plus power has always been there throughout Cron’s minor league career, but he’s been improving as an overall hitter as well over the last few seasons. Cron has been walking more, striking out less, and hitting for a high average to go along with his usual power. Both his walk and strikeout rates have improved and currently sit at career-high marks of 13.6% and 16.6% respectively. It’s not overly clear if he’s going to start regularly right away, but Cron has the offensive skills to hit his way into consistent playing time, especially if Christian Walker continues to struggle at first base. He’s worth an add for the offensive upside and to see how the playing time shakes out.
Clint Frazier, OF, New York Yankees
Remember when Clint Frazier was one of the hottest pickups on the waiver wire back in April. My how things can change in just one month. After tearing the cover off the ball for a few weeks, Frazier went into a funk and is now available in nearly 2/3 of leagues. But wait, is that the sun peeking through the clouds over Yankee Stadium? With three dingers in the last three games, Frazier might be entering another hot stretch. Even if not, the playing time should be there moving forward with so many Yankees still injured and Frazier has the AVG/HR upside to provide value in mixed leagues. If he was dropped in your league during his cold stretch, now is a great time to scoop him back up.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Over the last few seasons, Gregory Polanco has been one of the steadiest outfield contributors in the fantasy world. He’s routinely hit in the .250-.260 range while providing around 20 home runs and double-digit steals. In 2018, he was right in that window, hitting .254 with 23 home runs, 12 steals, 81 RBI, and 75 runs scored in 130 games. Unfortunately, his season was cut short when he needed to undergo surgery to stabilize an acute left shoulder dislocation. Ouch.
That surgery kept him out the first month of this season and it took some time for Polanco to get into a groove. After an 0/5 showing on May 5th, Polanco was hitting .250 with zero homers and one single RBI. Since then, however, Polanco has turned it on hitting four homers with 10 RBI and a .311 average. He’s yet to steal a base, but it’s reasonable to expect at least a handful of steals moving forward.
Maybe he’s a little tepid after also sustaining a deep bone bruise in his knee during his final 2018 game. Who knows. But what I do know is that fantasy owners shouldn’t be tepid when it comes to adding Polanco to their fantasy squads. The upside here is too much for him to be sitting on the waiver wire in more than 50% of fantasy leagues.
Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Seattle Mariners
It’s a shame that Dan Vogelbach was dropped in so many leagues over the last few weeks. Well, a shame for those that dropped him and a golden opportunity for you if Vogelbach is still available in your league. Sometimes we can forget that a player is streaky like we have here with Vogelbach. You’ll have to endure some rough stretches, but those are usually offset with home run barrages that can carry your team for a week or two in the power department.
There’s plenty to like here with Vogelbach who is sporting the best walk and strikeout rates of his career this season at 17.8% and 22.1% respectively. Sure, the average might be in the .240 range at season’s end, but with his power and on-base prowess, you’ll be able to live with the batting average. Vogey is too good to just sit on your league’s waiver wire.
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Boston Red Sox
A lot of what I said about Vogelbach above can be applied here to Mitch Moreland. He’s streaky, hits for solid power, and can get on-base at a high clip. Sure, he’ll sit one or two days a week, but when he’s in the lineup, it’s usually in the three spot between Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. Let me repeat that. Between Mookie and JD. That’s a pretty damn good spot to hit if you ask me. Moreland has made improvements at the dish this season, improving his walk rate, strikeout rate, hard contact rate, and is hitting more fly balls.
The problem is that he’s pulling the ball more than 50% of the time and teams are putting a shift on him. That’s a big reason for his current .214 BABIP, but that should still stabilize some and get his average back up over .250. Let me finish by reminding you that Moreland is on a 40/100/75 pace. There’s still the chance that Dustin Pedroia comes back at some point and pushes Michael Chavis over to first base and Moreland to the bench. But let’s be honest, Pedroia is having a difficult time getting back in the lineup and endured another setback recently. For now, Moreland should remain in the lineup 5+ times a week.
Christian Vazquez, C, Boston Red Sox
Christian Vazquez has been a top-10 catcher this season. Never thought you’d see that sentence, did you? Well, it’s true. Vazquez is off to a .295 start to the season with six homers, 16 RBI, and 17 runs scored in 129 at-bats. Those numbers don’t smack you in the face, but remember, this is the catcher position we’re talking about here. This shouldn’t come as a total shock as Vazquez did hit .290 in 2017 and was a .266 hitter in the minors with a double-digit power pace. Nothing in his underlying statistics signal any type of dropoff coming, so it’s time to buy into Vazquez for the rest of the season.
Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, San Diego Padres
I’m including Naylor here purely as a speculative addition. San Diego announced his promotion last night in what is likely a move to get him some at-bats in the DH spot with the Padres next six games being in American League ballparks. Naylor was hitting .299 with 10 home runs and 14 doubles in 184 Triple-A at-bats. Maybe this promotion is strictly to add another bat for the six-game stretch in AL parks. But maybe, just maybe, Naylor hits well enough this week to eat into the struggling Hunter Renfroe’s at-bats. Those in deeper leagues that can afford to stash Naylor might want to take a shot to see what happens.
Others to Consider: Luis Arraez, INF, MIN | Rowdy Tellez, 1B, TOR | Albert Almora Jr, OF, CHC
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Pitchers
Andrew Heaney, SP, Los Angeles Angels
After nearly a two-month wait, the 2019 season debut of Andrew Heaney appears to be imminent and could come on Sunday. Heaney has been dealing with an elbow issue all season but made his first rehab start on Monday for Triple-A Salt Lake. The results were eye-popping, to say the least. In 4.1 innings of work, Heaney allowed two hits, one walk, and zero earned runs while striking out 10. That’ll do Andrew. That’ll do. Heaney is coming off a solid 2018 campaign where he finished with a 4.15 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 180 strikeouts in 180 innings. If you need an arm, Heaney’s definitely worth a look in mixed leagues. If he can return to his 2018-form, there’s solid value here.
Griffin Canning, SP, Los Angeles Angels
We’re four starts into Griffin Canning’s Major League career and we’ve seen one terrible start, two so-so starts, and one really damn good start. It just so happens that the really damn good start was his last outing when he fired seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out five. There was a lot of hype surrounding Canning when he was called up, but that died down quickly when his ERA sat at 5.65 through is first three starts. His ownership rate dropped considerably along with the hype. With four above-average to plus offerings and decent command, the long-term future for Canning is bright. He might not be on Chris Paddack or Mike Soroka’s level, but Canning has the upside to be a top-50 starter the rest of the season.
Griffin had em whiffin' in DET tonight:
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) May 8, 2019
Jimmy Nelson, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Remember him? The last time we saw Jimmy Nelson was in the 2017 season when he finished with a 3.49 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 199 strikeouts in 175.1 innings. Then he had to go and have surgery on us and we haven’t seen him in a Major League game since. Thankfully, the wait is almost over as Nelson’s return to the Milwaukee rotation is drawing near. After how he pitched in 2017, Nelson is absolutely worth a shot in mixed leagues to see if he can return to form.
Sean Newcomb, SP/RP, Atlanta Braves
Thankfully, the Braves have so many arms vying for rotation spots, it’s allowed them to shift Sean Newcomb to the bullpen where he can provide more value moving forward. As a starter, Newcomb is incredibly inconsistent. He’ll look dominant for a start or two then proceed to kill your rations for a month. He has a plus fastball/curveball combination, but has struggled with his command and at developing a consistent changeup. That fastball/curveball combination could do some real damage out of the pen. Newcomb could even find himself in the mix for saves moving forward as the Braves haven’t been able to find a consistent option this season.
Ryan Pressly, RP, Houston Astros
Let me start off by saying that Ryan Pressly would be a top-10 fantasy reliever if Roberto Osuna were to miss time. Do I have your attention? Good. Pressly has been one of the game’s top relievers since the start of the 2018 season. In 71.0 innings last season, he posted a 2.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 12.8 K/9, and has yet to allow a run or a walk in 21.0 innings so far this season. In fact, in his 44.1 innings since coming to Houston last summer, he’s allowed just two earned runs. That’s a 0.41 ERA to go along with a 0.52 WHIP in case you were wondering. Currently, Pressly can already provide some value and would be a bonafide RP1 if he became the closer in Houston. That’s worth an add in my book.
Scott Oberg, RP, Colorado Rockies
I’m going to be honest with you because I believe honesty is always the best way to go. And I’d never lie to you all. You’re my fantasy baseball peeps! We’re like one big crazy family for six months out of the year. Adding Scott Oberg is only something I’d recommend doing if you’re desperate for saves. While his ERA currently sits at a nice looking 1.77, both his FIP and XFIP are close to five and his walk and strikeout rates are mediocre at best. But alas, Oberg will get some save opportunities while Wade Davis recovers from an oblique injury. If you’re desperate for saves, have at it.
Photo/Video Credit: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire, Fox Sports North, Minor League Baseball, Alex Fast.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and a contributor in the best-selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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