Waiver Wire Guidelines: Amidst Rumors Of A Recall, Is Jake Fraley A Must Own Option?

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Injuries have been the only thing that has slowed down Jake Fraley this season, as he’s performed well both at Double and Triple-A:

  • Double-A (259 PA) – .313 with 11 HR, 47 RBI, 40 R and 16 SB
  • Triple-A (168 PA) – .276 with 8 HR, 33 RBI, 28 R and 6 SB

Regardless of the level he’s shown the ability to make consistent contact (9.8% SwStr%) and there wasn’t much of a regression upon his promotion (10.1% SwStr% at Triple-A).  The surface numbers are eye catching, but it’s impossible to tap into them if you aren’t on the field.  Between 2017 and 2018 he played a total of 96 games and he missed a little bit of time earlier this year as well.

That said, when he’s healthy the skills are obvious and it would appear that he’s taken an important step forward this season.  Just look at this preseason scouting report, courtesy of Baseball America:

His below-average power results in more doubles to the gap than balls over the fence. His best tool is his plus speed, allowing him to stay in center field, but he needs to develop better instincts on the bases. 

As for the developments:

  • Stolen Bases – He had gone 15-for-27 (55.6%) in stolen bases the previous two seasons, but he’s 22-for-29 (75.9%) this year.  That type of efficiency will definitely play and allow him to make an impact.
  • Power – While it would be easy to point towards the inflated HR at Triple-A and the Majors this season as an explanation, he hit 11 HR in 230 AB at Double-A.  In fact he posted a better HR/FB there (15.1%) than at Triple-A (13.8%) and he’s also added 27 doubles and 5 triples.  At 24-years old it’s easy to imagine that he’s simply taken a step forward in his development.

The left-handed hitter could be deployed as part of a platoon, especially after struggling to a .231/.295/.256 slash against southpaws at Double-A (he was better at Triple-A).  That could help to limit his immediate appeal, but there’s more than enough to catch our attention.  Finding speed on the waiver wire is never an easy task, and Fraley should add some while also contributing in the power department.  That makes him a player to consider in all formats, depending on your roster/needs.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Potential Add (in five-outfielder formats)
  • 12 Team League – Worthy Add
  • 14+ Team League – Must Add
  • AL-Only League – Must Add
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Must Add

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America

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