I think my favorite type of article to write about fantasy baseball are articles where I find a guy who I believe is undervalued and I try to convince you why you should own or trade for them.
When I looked back at an article from earlier this season, I wrote about Fantasy Waiver Wire Power Hitters: Sluggers you Should Grab, which featured Chris Carter, Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, and Juan Francisco. I figured it would be fun to look back and see how they have done since I suggested adding them back on June 21st.
Let’s begin with the most rousing success of the bunch, Chris Carter, because I actually added him on June 11th. Adding the waiver wire slugger on my team inspired me to write the original article because I felt like he was an undervalued asset at the time that should be owned in most formats.
From June 22nd to August 12th, Chris Carter has not been good. Chris Carter has been incredible. On June 21st, Carter was rostered in only 14.5% of all ESPN leagues. That number has skyrocketed to 98.7%, but his ownership is still 1.3% too low.
The numbers in the table below are in only 38 games and 159 plate appearances.
|6/21 to 8/12||29||15||36||2||.297||.352||1.014|
It is obvious that all of these numbers are awesome, but if the counting stats were spaced out across 162 games, then Carter’s full season numbers would be 124 runs, 64 homers, 153 RBI’s, and 9 steals. (I am rounding these stats to the nearest whole number).
In the last 30 days among all MLB players, Chris Carter ranks second in runs, second in home runs, first in RBI’s, and fourth in OPS. That is good enough to find Carter ranked as the best player on ESPN’s player rater over the last 7, 15, and 30 days.
Those numbers are worthy of the top pick in fantasy baseball. Of course, this maniacal stretch is only 23.5% of the season, but that is some serious production for a guy that was on waivers less than two months ago.
By the way, Chris Carter still has had a 29.6% strikeout rate in that period, but I do not think anyone is complaining anymore that Carter provides enough wind power for the entire Houston metro area with his whiffs.
I think my suggestion of adding Chris Carter to your team back in June may be the best piece of fantasy advice I could have possibly given.
Since June 21st, the most notable thing about Adam Dunn was that he pitched an inning in relief and it was amazing to watch. Dunn has played in 33 games and has had 138 plate appearances since I wrote the article on waiver wire sluggers.
From a fantasy perspective, Dunn has been pretty bad since June 21st. The Big Donkey is slashing .197/.319/.393 with 13 runs, 6 homers, and 13 RBI’s. His ESPN ownership has trickled down from 15.2% to 9.8% over that period.
Sorry about that one if you chose Adam Dunn over Chris Carter.
Mark Reynolds is the third of the waiver wire sluggers that I suggested to add back in June. In the June 21st to August 12th time span, Reynolds only had 123 plate appearances in 39 games. Mark Reynolds posted 17 runs, 7 homers, 12 RBI’s, and 2 steals. The slash line is a .226/.320/.453, which looks pretty decent in OPS leagues.
While Reynolds has had numbers par for the course for him, I think he could finish the season strong as he suffered from a .250 BABIP during that period of time. I would still consider targeting him if you need late season power. There is a good chance that Mark Reynolds hits 25 homers on the season because he already has 20 bombs.
Mark Reynolds has basically no ownership change since June 21st as it inched down from 17.8% to 17.5% in all ESPN leagues. In most leagues, I would take the chance and hope Reynolds can finish strong.
After Chris Carter, I was the second most excited about the possibility of Juan Francisco when I wrote the first article on waiver wire sluggers. Unfortunately, Francisco has provided the least power of all with only four home runs in that time frame. It is partially due to a slight lack of playing time as Francisco has only accumulated 118 plate appearances in 40 games since June 21st.
Juan Francisco had a tidy OPS of .881 as of June 21st, but he has slashed a very poor .194/.254/.361 since then. I loved the possibility of owning a free agent with big power and OPS potential as well as corner infield eligibility, but it was not meant to be even with Edwin Encarnacion on the shelf for roughly a month.
Logically, Juan Francisco has seen his ESPN ownership drop from 22.9% down to 13.8% because 11 runs, 4 homers, and 12 RBI’s in 40 games is just not getting the job done.
When I wrote the first article about waiver wire sluggers, I was really hoping that all four players would take off, but that would be unlikely since most players are available for a reason.
However, the upside of these sluggers is so high because of their home run and elite fantasy player potential. Let’s not forget that Mark Reynolds once hit 44 homers in the not too distant past, while Adam Dunn used to be a fantasy stud with elite numbers (outside of batting average).
More often than not, your waiver wire pick-ups will not do much to help your team, but you have to be active and look into the numbers to see where the value lies. Whether it is acquiring cheap power, steals, or protecting your ratios, there is often undervalued talent available in free agency.