Assets becoming increasingly available on the waiver wire
APR 17, 2014 4:38p ET
We are not a culture of fidelity or longevity. A quick glance at the marriage landscape will reinforce this belief: over half our matrimonies end in divorce. (Although, for those keeping score at home, Belgium is the world leader in separations at 71 percent. Keep that nugget in mind when falling hard for that vixen in Brussels this summer.)
Relationships are not the only forum for this ephemeral sentiment. Rapid advancements in technology, along with good ol’ peer pressure, have made the concept of updating a socially-imposed mandate. Cell phones, computers, televisions, cars, houses, careers – we’re never totally content because there’s always something out there that’s better. Not saying that trying to improve one’s situation or predicament is ill-advised; far from it. However, we often mistake change as advancement, and that’s simply not the case.
This “grass is greener” mindset even appears in fantasy baseball, verified by your league’s waiver wire. A contingent of high-drafted players are suddenly without teams, causalities of owners’ desires in attaining flavors of the month.
Despite slow starts, these entities are more than capable of fulfilling their preseason forecasts. Using the FOXSports.com Fantasy Baseball Add/Drop tool, here are the players becoming increasingly available that warrant a roster spot, along with their ownership rates:
Chris Archer, Rays (Owned – 83.8%)
Archer is one of the best young arms on the Junior Circuit, finishing 2013 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, earning him third-place honors in Rookie of the Year voting. This spring began with similar feats, delivering 13 innings of two-run ball in his first two outings. Such craftsmanship was M.I.A. in start No. 3, as the Tampa starter was shelled for seven runs by the Orioles. Apparently that was a bridge too far for some managers, as Archer was one of the most dropped players in the past week.
Archer’s 2013 line seemingly waves some red flags (4.07 FIP, .253 BABIP), but these numbers partially derive from Tampa’s progressive defensive positions. The only real worry with Archer concerns the Rays’ offense, as Tampa looks like one of the weaker lineups in the league. While this could dent his win total, look for Archer to post strong ERA, WHIP and K numbers, making his acquirement a must.
Pablo Sandoval, Giants (Owned – 80.6%)
Kung Fu Panda has a collection of worries as a fantasy property - injury prone, unstable power, the fact that he’s a grown man that goes by the name of “Kung Fu Panda” – but his batting skills are not part of this set. In 712 career games before 2014, Sandoval owned a .298 average to go along with a .351 OBP. His rising strikeout rate is a tad concerning, but look for Sandoval to return to form soon.
Kyle Seager, Mariners (Owned – 61.9%)
Seager arrived this season with an average line of 21 homers, 78 ribbies, 70 runs and a .260/.327/.424 split from the previous two years. In 13 games in 2014 he “boasts” a .156/.296/.222 slash with zero jacks and a meager two RBI. Call me crazy, but, entering his prime at age 26, I’m betting on Seager to revert to his historical output.
His fantasy value has taken a dip with the loss of 2B eligibility. Moreover, I’m not a big proponent of Mariners hitters due to an uncharitable work environment. (Not Seattle – as a coffee beau, that place is heaven. Referring to Safeco Field, which remains Gehenna for hitters even after the altered ballpark dimensions.) But with slim pickings at hot corner, Seager is one of the few bats you can count on to produce.
Chris Johnson, Braves (Owned – 60.1%)
We knew Johnson’s .321 batting clip was a bit of an aberration, a thought emitting from his league-high .394 BABIP. Not helping matters is Johnson’s current .264 batting average against a .351 BABIP, causing owners to wonder if further problems are to come. These numbers come with a caveat, though, as Johnson’s level swing has always produced a high line-drive rate, a figure that equates to his raised hitting averages. And while he’s never been a major source of power, envision Johnson’s RBI and run total to get a boost from Atlanta’s juggernaut offense as the summer rolls on.
Billy Butler, Royals (Owned – 57.2%)
I have a soft spot for Butler, if only because he perpetually looks like he ate too many ribs before hitting the diamond. Forget about his battle with the Mendoza Line; by the end of the season, the dude will have numbers close to his career .296/.362/.455 slash. Butler is simply in an epic slump (.148 average, .179 BABIP).
Although this is his eighth year in the Show, Butler is turning 28 this Friday, calming any worries that the slugger is losing swing speed or muscle. The only detriment Butler has is his position eligibility, or lack thereof. Still, Butler’s average and decent power numbers will justify his usage in your utility spot.
Rick Porcello, Tigers (Owned – 28.3%)
Standing by my prediction that Porcello will be a fantasy stud in 2014. He blanked the Orioles in his first start of the season before getting lit up by the Padres. His control has been outstanding thus far, allowing just two walks in 13 innings, and with a potent array of bats in assistance, will be a candidate for wins as long as he’s serviceable. Available in almost 75 percent of FOXSports.com Fantasy Baseball leagues, owners will be kicking themselves for failing to grab Porcello when they had the chance.
Jim Johnson, A’s (Owned – 54.7%)
Johnson has turned in five scoreless innings since being pulled from Oakland’s closer role. There’s been talk that the A’s might go the dreaded committee route for duties in the ninth, but that’s rarely a lasting solution. Oakland’s bullpen has a handful of viable fireman candidates, yet Johnson will ultimately get another shot to slam the door.
Billy Hamilton, Reds (Owned – 62.4%)
Perhaps Blazing Billy is not an everyday starter in standard formats, but his speed is at least worthy of a bench spot. Besides, in his last seven games, Hamilton has five runs and four steals, and it appears his batting stance has been condensed from its wide posture seen in the first week of the season. Plus, Willie Mays Hayes struggled at the start of the 1989 season, and look how that turned out!