by Will Overton
Do you ever feel like every time you check the waiver wire it’s the same old group of recycled players time after time. Occasionally an owner will do something dumb and drop a good player because of a one week slump, but for the most part the wire can often consist of guys who get picked up for a week and dropped the next only to give someone else a turn.
Every once in a while to strike fantasy goodness on the waiver wire you have to think outside the box a bit and have a bit of patience as well. Sometimes you have to rely on grabbing guys who aren’t even in the majors and hope for the best. This week’s waiver post is dedicated to those guys.
Every year someone gets a huge boost in the second half of the season because they were the first ones to grab a guy like Eric Hosmer last year after he was called up. What if you had that guy before everyone else? You have to be comfortable with temporarily wasting a bench spot and also taking a gamble that a team really will call your guy up, but it can be worth it in the end if you guess right.
Chances are if you are in a deep league someone owns most of the big name prospects that we all hear about being on the verge of a call up. If you’re in a dynasty or deep keeper league most of the guys I talk about in this post today will not be available, I apologize in advance. But I am going to give a few big name prospects I like who could be called up by the all-star break for those in standard leagues. And then I will also dig a little deeper for those in leagues of 14 or more team.
Here are some guys not even in the major leagues right now who might just be worth stashing:
Anthony Rizzo – 1B, Chicago Cubs: The call up of Anthony Rizzo has been rumored about for weeks now and we’re still waiting. Still, this guy is the safest bet on this list to be called up before the end of this month. The Cubs are even starting to play Bryan LaHair in right field some which seems to be nothing more than getting him ready for his new position. Rizzo has certainly proved all he can at Triple-A this season hitting .360 to go with 46 R, 23 HR and 59 RBI in just 64 games. The guy is going deep once every ten at-bats right now. Some might be hesitant because of how bad Rizzo was last year when the Padres gave him a chance in the majors and he hit .141 with just one dinger in 128 AB’s. But he’s better for that experience and now he’s another year older and he’s gone from pitcher heaven in San Diego to hitter friendly Wrigley Field.
Be warned he will strikeout often, but he also knows how to take a walk, think Adam Dunn. If you’re offense needs a power boost to gain some ground in the standings and you have a bench spot to waste, this is your guy. And I really don’t think that spot will be wasted for long cause he’s due to come up any day now.
Trevor Bauer – SP, Arizona Diamondbacks: I went back and forth on whether or not to include Bauer on this list. For a while his call up seemed imminent, but now its unclear as the Diamondbacks pitching staff really doesn’t have any glaring holes at the moment. Still, in my opinion Bauer is major league ready and has better stuff than some of the guys in the D’Backs current rotation. Does he walk too many hitters still? Yes he does. But he is also purely dominant at times in a way that screams major leaguer. Right now one of two things have to happen, an injury or a trade. With Bauer waiting in the wings and the potential he has to help the team more than some of the current pitchers, I can absolutely see a trade involving someone like Wade Miley or Joe Saunders to make room and also beef up the offense and/or bullpen. The path to the majors seemed blocked right now, but it can change in a hurry and I think it will.
Wil Myers – OF, Kansas City Royals: Every year it seems like the Royals have a guy like this just waiting to get called up with the potential to make an immediate impact, unfortunately for them none are pitchers. Like Bauer his way seems blocked, but the Jeff Francoeur annual trade rumors are already flying and while the Royals might not be sellers this year for once, they could use some pitching and Francoeur could bring that. Myers killed the ball at Double-A hitting .351 with 13 HR’s in 35 games. He got called up and has killed Triple-A pitching as well with a .328 average and 11 HR’s in 32 games. There’s only one more promotion left for this guy and it’s the big leagues. If Francoeur doesn’t get traded it might not be until September that he makes the leap, but I can’t see the Royals sitting on this guy that long with these kinds of numbers. This is a risk, but it’s a risk I am willing to take.
Jimmy Paredes – 2B/3B Houston Astros: The Astros are bound to make some moves coming up this next month and one of the big beneficiaries of those moves could be Jimmy Paredes. This is the guy who was supposed to start at third base before getting beat out in Spring Training by Chris Johnson. But he has shown that he’s close to major league ready at Triple-A hitting .332 and flashing his speed with 22 SB’s. He has also shown a couple glimpses of what might be blooming power with 6 HR’s. He won’t be a big slugger, but mediocre power paired with good speed can be useful. Paredes has a couple months major league experience under his belt from last season and he hit .286 in that time so he’s already given us a small sample showing he can handle the bigs. Right now it’s just a matter of waiting for a spot to open up and one way or another one will.
Jeff Locke – SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: If the Pirates want to stay in the NL Central race they are going to need help currently not on their roster and one of those guys might be Jeff Locke. The Pirates younger and not so ready pitching prospects get all the attention, but this guy has been nothing but solid this season. Locke has a 3.13 ERA and a 8.34 K/9 rate. He doesn’t have lights out strikeout stuff with a fastball that tops out in the low 90’s, so his K rate might not hold up in the majors, but he has impeccable command with a 1.85 BB/9 so far this season. His LOB% is high, but it’ll probably be high throughout his career because he’s a contact pitcher who gets a lot of ground balls. Locke might not be a stud, but I think he’ll be up soon and I can see a sub 4.00 ERA with around 7 K/9 which is deep league worthy.
Anthony Gose – OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Those in dynasty leagues and deep keeper leagues have no chance at this guy, but just standard deep leagues he should be available in the majority. Gose is a top 50 prospect on a lot of lists, but at just 21 a lot of people don’t think he’ll get called up before September. The problem is that he is very similar to Rajaj Davis, but he has something Davis doesn’t have, upside. Gose might be just as fast and while he doesn’t have great power, he has some, and that’s more than Davis. Gose hit 16 HR’s last season at Double-A so that’s something. The Jays could get by with Davis, but why not take a shot on a guy with more potential and could be more helpful to the team this season even. It might take until September, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gose up before the end of July.
What minor leaguers are on your radar right now? Anyone you are stashing hoping for a big boost in the second half? Give your thoughts and feedback.