And now, the end is near…
Welcome to the penultimate edition of the waiver wire report. Props to all of you still focused on finishing what you started back in late February-early April. There’s still gold out there, so let’s keep digging just a bit longer.
Juan Nicasio, P, Cardinals: The eighth pitcher to record a save this season for the Cards, Nicasio, who was traded by the Pirates at the end of August, went nearly a month without allowing an earned run before being touched by the Reds on Thursday. He’s the hot hand in the St. Louis bullpen, one that owners in CBSSports.com leagues have noticed, as his status shot from six percent to 23 percent. The former starter has found a home as a reliever, averaging nearly a strikeout per inning and stranding runners at a 77 percent clip. Nicasio has taken advantage of a Cards bullpen that has been plagued by inconsistency and injury and if you’re needing a nudge in the saves category, it’s best you also take advantage of him.
Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals: He’s thumping the heck out of the ball this month, wearing out Senior Circuit hurlers to the tune of .359/.405/.744 with four homers, ten RBIs and a pair of steals. He’s finally tapped into the power/speed potential he had flashed at times in his brief career despite striking out at a 30.2 percent clip this season. Taylor is making the most of a .364 BABIP, which has forgiven a lot of his swing and miss sins, yet it’s also his .333 OBP in the second half that has helped. Owned in 44 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Taylor contact rate feels more like smoke and mirrors, yet there’s no denying his Isolated Power rate of .219 along with his ability to swipe bases. Sometimes, it’s best not to overthink matters, which is a good suggestion when it comes to figuring Taylor out.
Archie Bradley, P, Diamondbacks: Keep this past Sunday in mind, not only for the remainder of the season, but for 2018 Draft/Auction time. Bradley recorded his first save and it won’t be the last he gets. When I profiled Bradley earlier in the season, I stressed that he would be the Diamondbacks’ closer next year. He’s striking out hitters at a 10.13 K/9 clip and has allowed one run in his last ten appearances. Bradley has not allowed a hit this month while walking just one batter, part of the reason why his CBSSports.com ownership has slowly climbed to 27 percent. The D’Backs will probably commit to Fernando Rodney as they head into the postseason, yet Bradley will be the guy dropping the hammer in the ninth inning this time next year. Bank it.
Jen-Ho Tseng, P, Cubs: The club will bring up their 13th ranked prospect on Friday, giving Tseng a chance to get his feet wet out of the bullpen. Tseng had a 13-4 record in 24 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, sporting a 2.54 ERA while striking out 122 batters over 145.1 innings. He’s only at three percent ownership, so consider Tseng an NL-only play at this point. He doesn’t blow away hitters with heat, yet has above average movement and knows how to avoid putting the ball up in the strike zone. This is more of a sneak peek toward next season, as Tseng will have a chance to compete in a rotation that will be greatly altered this winter.
Jose Peraza, 2B/SS, Reds: You know why you’re going after Peraza: steals. He’s swiped five over his last ten games and with the Reds giving him a green light, Peraza – who has 22 steals entering Friday’s play – could move closer to 30 stolen bases down the stretch. The one issue with Peraza is the barrier that has neutralized swift runners over the course of time, the adage of “you can’t steal first base.” Peraza has a putrid .297 OBP and he offers little power (.327 slugging percentage). Still, Peraza has moved his ownership in CBSSports.com leagues to 45 percent and with the Reds continuing to give him at-bats, the temptation of steals that he offers makes it difficult to ignore him if you’re within range of adding a point or two in swipes.
Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox: The phrase “Ball Four” is seldom applied to Anderson, who has drawn all of 13 walks this season. However, if you can withstand his .274 OBP, Anderson gives Fantasy owners a power/speed combo at middle infield, as he entered the weekend with 16 homers and 11 steals. The swipes were expected. The power, however, was not. Anderson came into the league last season regarded as a light-hitting shortstop with occasional pop, so the fact he has an outside chance to reach 20 homers is a surprise. He’s owned in 33 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and is worth the gamble at this point in the season. There’s a 20-20 season down the road if Anderson could ever get his OBP in the .310-.320 range.
Matt Chapman, 3B, Athletics: He’s more of an option in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues, yet Chapman has done enough to merit a late-season add. Chapman has a pair of homers, six RBIs and six runs scored over the past week, an extension for what has been a solid second half for the youthful slugger. Since returning from his July vacay, Chapman is sporting a .546 slugging percentage as all 12 of his homers have come in the second half. Owned in 19 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Chapman is worth the gamble, especially in leagues that use slugging percentage and/or OPS as a category.
Chad Green, P, Yankees: Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman get the love, yet Green has emerged as the unsung member of the New York bullpen. Entering the weekend, Green has whiffed 99 batters over 64.1 innings and has limited hitters to a .149 batting average, numbers that are more intimidating thus far in September as Green has won three games while striking out 13 over 7.1 innings. The wins have made him a vulture worth grabbing, evidenced by the push in ownership to 16 percent in CBSSports.com leagues. Granted, Green is more valuable in leagues that are friendly to middle relievers, yet his strikeouts and opportunities to scoop up wins from a less than stellar Yankees starting rotation make him worthy of being picked up.
*Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Yankees: There’s still some pop left in Ellsbury’s bat, and while it hasn’t resulted in homers, the fact he’s hitting .412 with ten runs scored this month has pushed his ownership in CBSSports.com leagues to 28 percent. He’s also driven in five runs along with drawing seven walks. The Yankees have been forced to find ways to keep his bat in the lineup and it’s worth mentioning Ellsbury can still run (18-for-20 in stolen bases this season), enhancing his overall value. This might be one of the last times we can get excited about Ellsbury’s production, so run with him while he continues to rake.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Tigers: The centerpiece of the trade that sent Justin Wilson to the Cubs in July, Candelario hit his first major league homer in Thursday’s loss to the White Sox. He’s hitting loud this month as six of his 15 hits have gone for extra bases. Owned in just seven percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Candelario wouldn’t be a bad play for a Fantasy owner willing to go off the grid and add him. At-bats might be hard to find with Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos manning the corners, yet his bat will force the Tigers to keep him in the lineup. He’ll be in Detroit’s starting lineup come next April. The only question is what position Candelario will play.