Free Agent Frenzy: Does Opportunity Mean Must Add Opportunities? (Mallex Smith & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The season hasn’t even started, but that doesn’t mean that we should be ignoring the potentially available names off the waiver wire.  Injuries and opportunities have likely changed the outlook on some players, so who should we be targeting?  Let’s take a look at three of the names that have been in the news of late and try to determine if they are worth adding or not:


Mallex Smith – Tampa Bay Rays – Outfielder
With Colby Rasmus primed to open the season on the DL it appears that Smith is going to get an opportunity to play.  That immediately makes him an intriguing option, especially given the general perspective that finding stolen bases is difficult.  Smith brings game-changing speed, stealing as many as 88 SB in a minor league season and swiping 16 bags in 216 PA for the Braves last year.

Sure he hit .238 in the Majors last season as he struggled to make contact (11.9% SwStr%), but he should be able to cut that down with experience and given his speed he should maintain better than a .302 BABIP.  He was a .296 hitter in the minors, including .287 at Triple-A, and should be able to parlay that into a .260+ mark in the Majors.  Couple that with the ability to draw walks and he should get on base more than enough, and also be given a green light, to run wild.  Given the lack of a great option at the top, if Smith is producing he’s going to continue playing and that makes him an intriguing add.

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team Leagues – If need speed, worth rolling the dice
  • 12 Team Leagues – Must add
  • 14+ Team Leagues – Must add
  • AL-Only Leagues – Must add
  • Keeper Leagues – Must add


Tyler Duffey – Minnesota Twins – Pitcher
Last season was a disastrous one for Duffey, who pitched to a 6.43 ERA and 1.50 WHIP over 133.0 innings in the Majors.  However he’s going to get another opportunity, thanks to the recent demotion of Jose Berrios.  Duffey was once viewed as a potential high upside option and there was plenty of poor luck involved in his ’16 struggles (.339 BABIP, 60.0% strand rate).

He features strong control (2.17 BB/9 in the Majors in ’16, 1.9 over his minor league career), though is that really enough?  He owns a 0.96 GO/AO in the minors, with home runs playing a big role in his struggles last year (1.69 HR/9).  He also hasn’t shown a tremendously high strikeout mark (7.71 K/9 in ’16, but 7.4 at Triple-A and 6 K over 11.2 IP this spring).  Maybe he operates as a potential streaming option, but not much more as he likely will cede his role once Berrios is deemed ready.

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team Leagues – Pass
  • 12 Team Leagues – Pass
  • 14+ Team Leagues – Monitor off waiver wire
  • AL-Only Leagues – Worth the gamble
  • Keeper Leagues – Pass


Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks – Pitcher
He’s turned a strong spring into an opportunity to break camp in the rotation for Arizona.  We all know the types of struggles he’s had in the past, but 17 K vs. 3 BB in 18.1 IP this spring and the upside he’s shown in the past has got to grab our attention.

Corbin’s struggles last season came due to:

  • Control – 3.82 BB/9
  • Poor Luck – .322 BABIP (19.4% line drive rate), 64.8% strand rate
  • Home Runs – 1.39 HR/9

Control shouldn’t be a big issue and the home runs seem like an aberration, considering he also posted a career best 53.8% groundball rate.  We also have to remember that 2016 was his first full season after missing ’14 due to Tommy John surgery, so fatigue could’ve played a factor.  As far as high upside potential additions, Corbin has all the makings of a potential prized pickup.

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team Leagues – Monitor off the wire
  • 12 Team Leagues – Depending on roster size, worth adding
  • 14+ Team Leagues – Must add
  • NL-Only Leagues – Must add
  • Keeper Leagues – Worth adding (not must add)


Sources – Fangraphs,, Baseball Reference,

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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
Relief Pitcher01/02/17--


  1. Bbboaton says:

    With borjous traded for does smith still get a shot?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      He should, though with the way he played this spring the leash is rather short. I’d be looking elsewhere

  2. Timmy says:

    Hey Prof. Gsellman is available in my league. Bottom of my staff is Eickoff Hellickson, and Robbie Ray. Which one could I drop for Gsellman?? Thanks and good luck this season.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Definitely not Ray. I do like the other two more than Gsellman, assuming that he doesn’t stick in the rotation all season. That said, Hellickson doesn’t have the upside and Eickhoff I’m not particularly high on.

      Depending on how you want to play it, I’d swing for the fences and drop Hellickson.

  3. DJ says:

    Add Corbin over Boyd, Sabathia, Finnegan, Musgrove, Karns, or Severino??

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