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Waiver Wire Report: Mad Max Muncy

Welcome back to another waiver wire report. Glad to have you back. This week’s report is kind of all over the place. We have a mix of rookies, injury fill-ins, and post-hype sleepers that can all provide a needed boost to your fantasy team. One player below even has catcher eligibility and won’t be relied upon behind the plate much moving forward. For this report, let’s start with a man that has been terrorizing National League pitchers for the last month and is still unowned in over a third of leagues. That man would be Mr. Max Muncy.

Waiver Wire Hitters

Max Muncy (1B/3B – LAD)

Ownership: Fantrax 67%, Yahoo 67%, ESPN 63%

Let’s start off with a public service announcement. Max Muncy needs to be owned in more than 2/3 of fantasy leagues. Plain and simple. Over the last four weeks, all Muncy has done is slash a robust .314/.449/.786/1.235 with 10 home runs, 20 RBI, 14 runs, and nearly as many walks (18) as strikeouts (20). The only player with a higher OPS over that stretch is Andrew Benintendi. What more does the man have to do to get that ownership rate up to where it belongs?

Is it the lack of a defensive home that scares you off? Well, it shouldn’t Muncy can play both corner infield spots and shift Cody Bellinger to the outfield. He’s likely to ride the pine 1-2 games a week but 4-5+ games each week put of Muncy is enough to provide solid fantasy value. Al Melchior told you about Muncy a few weeks ago and now I’m telling you now. If Muncy is still sitting on your waiver wire, change that immediately

Willy Adames (SS – TB)

Ownership: Fantrax 46%, Yahoo 10%, ESPN 7%

Willy Adames, Rays starting shortstop, take two. After a brief three-game sting with the Rays late last month, Adames is back for his second go around. Now, there’s nothing flashy about Adames. If you’re looking for the next Carlos Correa or Trea Turner, move on. But if you’re in need of some middle infield depth and looking for a player that won’t hurt you in any one category, you and Adames will be great for each other.

Adames was quietly enjoying a solid season in Triple-A before his promotion. In 203 at-bats, Adames slashed .286/.356/.424/.780 with six doubles, five triples, four home runs, three steals, 30 RBI, and 27 runs scored. Nothing that jumps off the screen at you, but enough across the board production to provide some sneaky fantasy value. Adames makes enough contact to hit in the .270-.280 range with close to 10 home runs and 10 steals the rest of the way.

John Hicks (C/1B – DET)

Ownership: Fantrax 40%, Yahoo 37%, ESPN 9%

With Miguel Cabrera now done for the season, John Hicks will take over at first base regularly for the Tigers. This is far from a sexy pickup, but Hicks has some decent fantasy appeal moving forward with the additional playing time he now has. Through his first 159 at-bats, Hicks is hitting .296 with eight doubles, five home runs, 22 RBI, and 22 runs scored. Now, we need to be a little cautious here as that batting average is aided by a very high BABIP, but even with some regression there, Hicks could hit .270 with 15-20 home runs the rest of the way. Oh yeah, did I mention that he’s catcher eligible in most fantasy leagues? Bonus!

Ketel Marte (2B/SS – ARI)

Ownership: Fantrax 58%, Yahoo 25%, ESPN 21%

There haven’t been many middle infielders hotter than Ketel Marte over the last two weeks. In 42 at-bats, Marte is hitting a robust with three home runs, 13 RBI, 14 runs, and a steal. He even leads the National League with seven triples this season. Marte has made minor adjustments this season that have finally started to reflect in his season stat line.

The biggest improvement has been with his pitch selection. Marte has been swinging at less pitches outside the zone and more pitches inside the zone. His O-Swing% is down from 31.6% to 27.8% while his Z-Swing% has risen from 65.8% to 71.3%. Not only is he laying off bad pitches outside the zone, he’s been able to make more contact when he does chase pitches, as evident by his 81.1 O-Contact% which ranks 5th in MLB. Marte is simply a better hitter than he was last season and needs to be owned in more fantasy leagues.

Randal Grichuk (OF – TOR)

Ownership: Fantrax 35%, Yahoo 6%, ESPN 5%

This one is more of a wait and see, but definitely keep Randal Grichuk on your radar moving forward. Before hitting the DL in late April, Grichuk was one of the worst hitters in baseball, with just seven hits in his first 66 at-bats. Maybe the month off did him some good as Gruchuk is hitting .308 with three homers in 39 at-bats since his return. I wouldn’t be rushing to the waiver wire to scoop him up, but if this production continues, you’re going to see those ownership rates begin to rise.

Waiver Wire Pitchers

Dylan Covey (SP – CHW)

Ownership: Fantrax 37%, Yahoo 18%, ESPN 12%

During his time with the White Sox last season, Covey was downright atrocious. In 12 starts and six relief appearances, he has a 7.71 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, and only 5.3 K/9. Fast forward to 2018 and he’s a whole different pitcher. Covey has all but abandoned his four-seam fastball and relied much more heavily on his sinker which he now throws 65.3% of the time compared to 31.5% in 2017.

The more heavy sinker usage has predictably led to a much higher groundball rate this season. In fact, for current starting pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched, only Mike Montgomery can best Covey’s 61% groundball rate. After another strong outing Wednesday night, Covey’s season line now stands at 2.29 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and nearly a strikeout per inning. With his rotation spot locked up for the foreseeable future, Covey needs to be owned in standard leagues while he’s pitching this well.

Seth Lugo (SP – NYM)

Ownership: Fantrax 43%, Yahoo 53%, ESPN 14%

Say what you want about their offense, but the Mets continue to produce quality pitcher after quality pitcher. Even recent castoff Matt Harvey was once a hot commodity. The latest example of this is right-hander Seth Lugo. After making his first 23 appearances from the bullpen, Lugo has stepped into Noah Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation and has combined for nine shutout innings with zero walks and 10 strikeouts through his first two starts. These two strong starts have lowered his ERA and WHIP to 1.77 and 0.85 respectively on the season.

With Thor not due back for another couple weeks, Lugo should get at least 2-3 more turns in the rotation and could stick there if he continues to pitch well and Jason Vargas continues to stink up the place.

Have a question about a player who wasn’t covered here? Ask below or find me on Twitter. Check back next Friday for more waiver wire pickups.

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