Fantasy Baseball Waiver Thread: Jon Berti and Tommy Pham headline Quiet Week

For those short on FAB, this could be a week to bid lightly, or not at all.

It might not seem that way, especially in the 10 and 12 team leagues, where chances are Michael Wacha and Ross Stripling are available. They boast 2.34 and 3.08 ERAs respectively, both have WHIPs below 1.10 and both are slated for two-start weeks. Given the lack of other viable options, many fantasy managers might make adding one or both of these entries a priority this weekend.

It’s probably best to resist this temptation and ride with the starters you’ve already signed up, even if you end up with fewer starts than your rivals. Wacha is starting the week in Toronto, and we’ve probably all had the regret of streaming a pitcher that puts our fantastic team in a hole before we go to bed on Monday night.

It may be easy enough to convince yourself that a pitcher like Wacha, who has put up some impressive stats to date, can handle one of the majors’ most formidable offenses, but the Red Sox right-hander’s stats are misleading. . He’s blocked 84.5% of his base runners, more than 11 percentage points above his career norm and is highly unlikely to be sustained. His ERA and WHIP were both aided by a .227 BABIP, and although Wacha presented himself as a low BABIP pitcher (high balls, good defense in the middle of the field), he still looks like a serious contender for regression in this regard. Meanwhile, Wacha’s mediocre 88.4% Z-Contact% suggests he might be vulnerable to a dangerous touch. His second start of the week will be against the Cubs in Chicago, and while it’s a better game than the first, the Northsiders have been a decent, if inconsistent, offensive team lately.

At least with home starts against the Red Sox and Rays, Stripling won’t have a truly scary game this week, but he’s not without his own warning signs. Since replacing Hyun-Jin Ryu in the Jays’ rotation, Stripling has put up a sparkling 1.31 ERA and 0.73 WHIP, but like with Wacha, he’s had plenty of rate assist. non-durables (80.0%) and BABIP (.211). He, too, lent himself to contact in the zone (87.9% Z-Contact%) and hard contact on the flies and liners (94.9 mph EV FB/LD) on this four-start stretch. If you had to choose one of Wacha and Stripling, the latter is the safest bet, as it has been good at inducing grounders this season (53.2% rate).

At least for the deeper leagues, there are a few scatterable pitchers, which is if you don’t have an urgent need for wins. On the other hand, there’s no shortage of hitters worth picking up in shallower leagues. Let’s start by looking at the most intriguing ones that might be available.

Jon Berti, 2B/3B/SS/OF, Marlins: With Brian Anderson (back) and Joey Wendle (hamstring) out, Berti has started 21 of the Marlins’ last 22 games, and in that streak he’s gone .309/.378/.395 with 17 stolen bases. If you haven’t signed Berti up yet, you’ve probably already missed the best part of his season, but even with Anderson and Wendle possibly returning soon, there’s still value to be had. Berti is versatile enough to find playing time, and he hits and kicks well enough to give Don Mattingly a reason to keep him in the lineup at least semi-regularly. Even with the occasional day off, Berti would have to contribute flights, if nothing else.

Bidding: 7-8% of total FAB budget in 12-team leagues.

Tommy Pham, OF, Reds: Pham has been on fire for a good month now, batting .316 with five home runs, 19 runs, 16 RBIs and two steals since May 25, but he’s still widely available in the 10- and 12-team leagues. He relied on fly-ball trends (43.3% rate) and a circuit-friendly home park to boost his power numbers during the streak, but he can continue to build on those advantages at the future.

Bidding: 2-3% in 12-team leagues.

Luke Voit, 1B, Padres: It’s been a struggle for Voit for much of this season, but he seems to be locked in now. He’s 13 for his last 45 (.289) with four home runs and a blistering eight barrels on 29 batted outs (27.6 percent rate). Voit likely won’t maintain the 34.5% line drive rate or .360 BABIP he posted during this streak, but as the Padres’ cleanup hitter he should continue to produce runs with some home runs . The biggest concern around Voit right now is that he sat out Thursday against the Phillies due to hamstring pain, so if he doesn’t return this weekend, it may not be. -may not be the best time to sue him in FAB.

Bidding: 2-3% in 12-team leagues.

CJ Abrams, SS, Padres: In April and May, Abrams did little offensively in his first exposure to the majors, but he made solid progress after being demoted to Triple-A El Paso – .314 batting average with seven homers and 10 stolen bases in 151 home plate appearances (and he accomplished that at age 21). Now, as a backup to injured Manny Machado (ankle), he’s only gone 2 for 14 (.143), although to his credit Abrams has only struck out once in those four matches. I’m skeptical about Abrams’ playing time and his chances of performing well in the future, although I’m less worried about the former if Machado is out for a long time. However, Abrams is still available in some 14 and 15 team leagues and is a worthy addition, at least for stolen base potential.

Bidding: 0-1% in 12-team leagues, 3-4% in 15-team leagues.

Jarren Duran, OF, Red Sox: If you’re in a league with no bench spots or a league that requires you to start a player you add, don’t bother with Duran this week, but deep leaguers should consider making an offer. Duran will not play in the Red Sox series in Toronto because he has not been vaccinated, and his playing time will be in question once Enrique Hernández (hip) returns, but he has more than held his own spot as the Red Sox center fielder and leadoff hitter. Since his most recent promotion, Duran has gone 7 for 24 (.292) with three doubles, a triple and two stolen bases. Although his short-term playing time situation remains uncertain, there should be enough opportunities in the second half of the season to make him worthy of hiding in leagues with at least 14 teams.

Bidding: 4-5% in 15-team leagues.

Taylor Trammell, OF, Sailors: Trammell was the Mariners’ right fielder (with occasional days off against left-handers) for over a month, and put up a 153 wRC+ in the process, but hardly anyone outside of leagues reserved for AL took note. Over 80 plate appearances, Trammell batted .254 with a .354 OBP, three home runs, 13 runs and eight RBIs. Despite having just one stolen base, Trammell shows legit power with six barrels on 49 batts (12.2 percent rate). It’s a particularly good week to try Trammell in deeper mixed leagues, as the Mariners have three games against the Orioles, followed by four games against the Athletics, with Jared Koenig being the only left-hander against them.

Bidding: 2-3% in 15-team leagues.

Tyler Wells, SP/PR, Orioles: Guess I’m on an island with that opinion, but I’d feel better about using Wells for his next two-start week than Wacha and Stripling, especially if getting wins isn’t critical. Like those two most popular pitchers, Wells carries a low ERA (3.34) and WHIP (1.10), thanks to a well below average BABIP (.240). In Wells’ case, the stats are more believable, as he receives extraordinarily high amounts of fly balls and popups (average launch angle of 49.2 degrees). He starts the week with a decent game in Seattle, and while the Twins should be a tougher challenge, Wells could have a good chance of winning with Devin Smeltzer (7.4% SwStr%) on the slab for the team at residence.

Bidding: 0-1% in 12-team leagues, 3-4% in 15-team leagues.

Dean Kremer, PS, Orioles: Kremer just started against the White Sox and Rays who produced 11.2 scoreless innings, and he posted impressive puff and chase rates in both outings. He only has one start this week — with the Mariners — but in the deep leagues where he’s still widely available, that could be enough for a productive scoring run. If you’re worried about having the pitcher who gave up 17 homers in 53.2 innings a year ago in your rotation, consider giving him another chance. Kremer has allowed just one home run in 21 innings so far in 2022, and he’s limited opponents to one barrel on 66 balls batted (1.5% rate) and average exit velocity on flies and liners from 91.7 mph. That profile could also come in handy next week, which Kremer is currently lining up for home starts against the Rangers and Angels.

Bids: 1-2% in 15-team leagues.

Jonathan Heasley, PS, Royals: There isn’t a single indicator in Heasley’s season-to-date stats that I find encouraging but ignores his recent trends. In his last five starts, Heasley has improved his hitting and walking rates. While a 21.4% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate over this span aren’t particularly impressive, they could be good enough to make for a two-start favorable week. That’s what Heasley has in store with starts scheduled at home against Rangers and on the road against the Tigers. The Rangers game has some potential to go awry (.176 Team ISO in June), but as long as he gets the start against the Tigers, this could be a good week to use Heasley in deeper leagues.

Bids: 1-2% in 15-team leagues.

To note: Season-to-date stats are for all games played through Thursday, June 23.

Statistical credits: FanGraphs, Baseball Savant, Baseball-Reference

(Top photo: Jeff Curry – USA TODAY Sports)

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