by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Are you searching for help on the waiver wire in an extremely deep league? It’s never easy, but here are a few names that may be tempting you. Are they worth it? Is there upside? Let’s take a look:
Jung Ho Kang – Pittsburgh Pirates – Third Baseman
CBS Sports – 5%, ESPN – 1.3%
After missing all of 2017 due to legal issues Kang is working his way back into shape at Single-A, and in his first seven games it doesn’t appear like he’s missed a beat. In 24 AB he’s hitting .417 with 3 HR and 11 RBI, and possibly even more impressive is his 3 K vs. 6 BB.
It will be interesting to see where the Pirates fit him into the lineup once he’s deemed ready, though it’s not like they’ve gotten massive production from third base thus far. The current options have posted a .410 SLG, which ties them for the eighth worst mark in the league. Do either of these slashes scream of a must start:
- Colin Moran – .277/.359/.422
- David Freese – .247/.318/.412
They may want to give Moran an opportunity to entrench himself, since he’s likely viewed as the future at the spot, but Kang could quickly force their hand. Let’s not forget that he hit 21 HR in 318 AB back in ’16 and could provide a power surge for a team that’s currently tied for 20th in home runs (66). If you play in a deeper format, he’s well worth stashing now to see how things play out.
Jose Miguel Fernandez – Los Angeles Angels – Infielder
CBS Sports – 2%, ESPN – Unavailable
The 30-year old signed out of Cuba (originally by the Dodgers) has had an impressive year at Triple-A, hitting .345 with 10 HR and 39 RBI over 203 AB in the Pacific Coast League. Summoned to replace the injured Shohei Ohtani, he’s started three straight games at first base and could get a lengthy look there with Albert Pujols getting some run at DH. He also could fill in across the infield, depending on where he’s needed, as he’s split his time since signing prior to the 2017 season:
- First Base – 25 games
- Second Base – 77 games
- Third Base – 19 games
While he’s not known for his power, it’s his ability to command the strike zone that’s his calling card. At Triple-A he had 19 K vs. 20 BB over 203 AB, courtesy of a 5.9% SwStr%. Baseball America described him prior to his signing by saying:
At 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Fernandez doesn’t do anything flashy, relying on his ability to control the strike zone and put the ball in play with good plate coverage and below-average power. Fernandez’s swing isn’t the most conventional—his back foot will slide out from underneath him, costing him balance—but he has the bat control and hand-eye coordination to square up fastballs, is able to keep his hands back to adjust to breaking pitches and hangs in well against lefthanded pitching.
As a second baseman he be intriguing (where he has eligibility in CBS formats), but as a corner infielder he’s easily ignored.
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com, ESPN, CBS Sports, Baseball America
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