As Major League Baseball approaches double digit games played for every team, a clear picture starts to emerge for player usage and potential breakouts. For fantasy baseball, these first ten games are crucial for determining potential breakout candidates early on. So far this week we’ve explored the entire infield for free agent options on the waiver wire. Today we turn our attention to the outfield. Below are three free agent outfielders who could be worth scooping up off your waiver wire. Normally, we explore options for your league available in 50% or more of Yahoo! leagues. One of the three has availability in 90% or more. Today, we explore
Below are three free agent outfielders who could be worth scooping up off your waiver wire. Normally, we explore options for your league available in 50% or more of Yahoo! leagues. One of the three has availability in 90% or more. Today, we explore six outfielders, with two available in 90% of leagues or more. There’s a lot of available talent on the waiver wire, it’s important you know about them.
Yankees Double Dip: Aaron Judge (50% owned) & Brett Gardner (44% owned)
These guys are pretty much only available in ten-team leagues, but they both deserve ownership. Judge has mondo power and has figured out major league pitching. In 95 PAs last year he had a pathetic .179 average, which he’s improved to .305 in 29 PAs so far. Neither is indicative, but Judge has big time power and seems to have sorted out MLB pitching, as well. Gardner isn’t as high a priority as he will likely miss a few games after a scary collision with Rickie Weeks. Still, his 5 stolen bases lead the position, and the Yankees seem dead set on running him at every given opportunity.
Jayson Werth, Washington (27% owned)
Fantasy baseball players aren’t appropriately valuing his Werth. Since I wrote about Werth last week, he has a 5/17 (.294) line with a home run, 3 RBI and 4 R. If you have speedsters in your lineup, you can survive without any stolen bases from Werth while he provides plus average, good pop and hits in the productive Nationals lineup. He’ll keep this up as long as he’s healthy, which is the hard part. Get him now and ride the hot streak (until the injury).
Jason Heyward, Cubs (24% owned)
Heyward had a truly godawful 2016 campaign. The career .262/.346/.415 hitter ended the year at .230/.306/.325. That’s bad all around. Doubly bad given Chicago’s investment in him. Reports in the offseason were that Heyward retooled his swing and fixed the issue that had him flailing at the plate last year. So far so good, as Heyward has a .296/.367/.370 line so far this year. The low slugging stems from a lack of power, which should come around: his exit velocity and launch angle are above league average. Heyward is literally free in three-of-four Yahoo! leagues, so if you’re speculating on someone, why not on the bounce back of a perennial top-twenty outfielder?
Mallex Smith, Tampa Bay (3% owned)
Mallex Smith is a super speedster who just needs everyday playing time to get used to major league hitting. He’s purely a deep league speed option, but he has plenty of it. Last season in just 215 PAs he had 16 stolen bases. Smith racked up those SBs with a truly dismal .316 OBP. He didn’t get a ton of opportunities on base, but when he got on, he ran. That hasn’t changed in 2017. He’s ended up on base eight times, and he’s attempted three steals. He has 45-50 stolen base potential, and he’s literally free in 97% of leagues. Even FAAB leagues you can snag him for a $0 or $1 bid. Be cautious, however, as he left Thursday’s game with hamstring tightness that might sideline him for a bit. Maybe file him away for later.
Leonys Martin, Seattle (4% owned)
Leonys Martin is a weird test case in how advanced stats can give you exactly the reason why a player struggles. Martin currently rocks a sweet .083 batting average through 37 plate appearances this season. His terrible batting average stems from him hitting the ball basically straight into the ground. Martin’s launch angle is less than half of league average, which is an easy fix. Lifting the ball will lead to more landing for hits. His exit velocity is barely above league average, too. This means he isn’t softly rolling over on balls—he’s jamming them straight into the ground. His crazy high ground ball rate and very few line drives supports this. Should he fix his launch angle, he will be a huge stolen base monster. He has three stolen base attempts the four times he’s gotten on base this year.