by Will Overton
As we get into the middle and end of August we are nearing the end of fantasy baseball trading season. As you lose the option to add pieces via trades the waiver wire becomes more and more important, and the time you spend monitoring it should grow.
Just like owners should trade with purpose though, they need to work the wire with purpose too. When you’re looking for a player you need to look to fill a need. Adding someone like Rajaj Davis because he’s playing more and is racking up the steals isn’t a bad idea. He might even be the best outfielder available to you.
However, if you’re adding Davis to your team when you have a 15 steals lead in that category and are in a tight race in home runs, you’ve completely wasted a roster spot. And that, is what we’re talking about this week, adding power.
Home runs seems to be one of the harder categories to catch up in through the waiver wire, cause real home run hitters don’t stay free agents long and if they do, there’s often a reason . Here, however, are five homerun hitters available in a large amount of leagues:
Juan Francisco – 1B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers: There’s a reason that Francisco is playing on his third team at the age of 26. Despite the above average power he possesses Francisco strikes out too much and struggles to get his average over .250. He does hit for power though, and that’s what we’re looking for.
Since joining the Brewers Francisco has 12 HR’s in 171 AB’s, that’s a HR every 14.3 AB’s, one of the better rates in all of baseball. Francisco is starting to play on a near daily basis as a first baseman in Milwaukee and if he’s getting regular AB’s you could still get another 10 HR’s out of him this season possibly. He’s gonna go through cold spells, cause he always does, but end of the day he’s got big power.
Ryan Raburn 2B/OF, Cleveland Indians: There are probably better power sources on the wire than Raburn, probably quite a few of them. He made this list though because one of the few middle infielders on the wire that hits for power. He only has 14 HR’s so far, but he also only has 192 AB’s. So that winds up at a 13.7 HR/AB rate and that’s a lot more impressive than it looks at first glance.
The key here is Raburn getting more playing time and we’re told he’s going to, especially with Mark Reynolds getting the ax. He’s also a well-known second half player and has 3 HR’s in his last eight games. If you need a second baseman and you need power, this is likely your best bet.
Mark Reynolds – 1B/3B, New York Yankees: I’m not super comfortable with this one, and neither should you. He has to be mentioned in an article like this though, especially heading to New York and Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium is a haven for someone like Mark Reynolds with that short porch.
I think we’ve probably all been down this road once or twice before and Reynolds was hardly impressive in Cleveland this season. I would still consider adding him in leagues 12 team or deeper at this point and using him at home only if nothing else. Yeah he’s going to hurt your average, that’s unquestionable, but would anyone be surprised if he hit 10 – 15 HR’s from here on out?
Chris Colabello – OF, Minnesota Twins: After a bit of a slow start to his time in Minnesota Colabello is coming around a bit now. This is the advantage of a prospect on a bad team like the Twins, they won’t give up too easily. Colabello is hitting .300 in August now and he has two HR’s in his last seven games.
Colabello had 24 HR’s in Triple-A before being called up and we’re starting to see a bit of that now in the big leagues. Colabello is barely owned in any leagues and he is a deep league player more than anything, but this guy does have real legitimate power and I think we’re going to see it come on at a greater rate as the season progresses.
Justin Smoak – 1B, Seattle Mariners: Here is one of the classic post-hype sleepers. Smoak hasn’t become what we once thought he would be, but he’s at least become a useful fantasy players and as of late he’s turning into a nice power threat to boot. Smoak is hitting .273 for the season and thanks to a nice start to August he has 13 HR’s.
Just 13 HR’s doesn’t sound like much, but we know he has power and considering he has four bombs in his last ten games who knows how many he can hit from here on out. In fact since coming off the DL in the middle of June he has 10 HR’s and .942 OPS. Maybe the power started slow this season, but it’s there now and he is looking like the real deal.