Are you playing in an extremely deep fantasy league? That always makes the waiver wire extremely thin and finding value difficult. Let’s take a look at a few outfielders owned in less than 10% of leagues that may be able to provide value:
Dominic Smith – New York Mets
Depending on your league rules Smith has earned outfield eligibility (15 games played), and with the Mets toying with the idea of Michael Conforto in centerfield once again there’s a good chance he starts to see more AB in a corner spot. Smith has had limited opportunities in the Majors this season (124 PA), but he’s made the most of them hitting .321 with 6 HR, 12 RBI and 25 R (including home runs in each of his past two games). The big development has been the improvement in his approach, with an 11.5% SwStr% and 30.2% O-Swing%. He’s made improvements across the board, which also helps (Whiff% for 2018 vs. 2019):
- Hard – 12.36% // 9.23%
- Breaking – 18.18% // 17.29%
- Offspeed – 19.15% // 12.77%
He’s likely going to be more of a platoon player, meaning he’ll sit against most lefties, and a .373 BABIP despite a 35.8% Hard% tells us there will be a regression. There is potential value, but there’s far too much risk to invest outside of NL-Only formats.
Verdict – Don’t Add
Mike Yastrzemski – San Francisco Giants
The Giants have been desperate to find outfielders and that’s led to an opportunity for Yastrzemski. In 102 PA he’s hitting .239 with 5 HR and 13 RBI, though he has shown signs of significantly more upside:
- Hard% – 39.7%
- SwStr% – 10.5%
- O-Swing% – 27.7%
Those marks should yield better than his 29.4% strikeout rate and .293 BABIP (especially given his 9.8% SwStr% and 13.5% walk rate at Triple-A). There’s promise there, especially when coupled with his 17 total home runs this season. As a left-handed hitter there’s a good chance he’s utilized in a platoon, albeit on the favorable side, and that could limit his appeal initially. That said the upside is there and that makes him an extremely intriguing flier.
Verdict – Roll the Dice
Jacoby Jones – Detroit Tigers
Jones has often taunted us with a mix of power and speed, though a putrid batting average (.214 career average) generally has offset the potential. Things are slightly different this season, hitting .257 with 9 HR and 6 SB over 229 PA. Obviously that’s not an average that you’d brag about, but it’s at least a usable mark.
He’s hitting the ball extremely hard (43.9% Hard%), and while he has improved his approach a 12.5% SwStr% and 33.7% O-Swing% it doesn’t support this type of improvement. He’s been even better in June (51.1%), though it’s impossible to envision him maintaining it. While the power and speed will play, when the Hard% his average could easily fall back into the .220-.230 range.
Verdict – Use him while he’s rolling, but be ready to move on
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball