Waiver Wire Guidelines: Should You Be Rushing To Add The Newly Recalled Oscar Mercado Or Nicky Lopez?

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Two of the players who had appeared on our most recent Top 10 Prospects on the Cusp rankings were recalled yesterday.  Let’s take a look at each and determine if they are worth grabbing off the wire:

Oscar Mercado – Cleveland Indians – Outfielder
Playing at Triple-A Mercado was hitting .294 with 4 HR, 15 RBI, 24 R and 14 SB.  He continues to show enough power (he’s added 10 doubles and 1 triple) to pair with his speed (he’s stolen at least 33 bases in each of the past four seasons, including 37 last year) to tell you that he’s more than just a one-trick pony.  While his strikeout rate (22.9%) and SwStr% (12.0%) are up this season, he showed significantly more last season while splitting time between Double and Triple-A:

  • Strikeout Rate – 15.9%
  • Walk Rate – 9.0%
  • SwStr% – 8.9%

There could be continued stumbles with strikeouts initially at the Major League level.  That said in 1,575 PA from 2016-2018 he owned a SwStr% of 8.7% so there is reason to believe that this year’s mark is a bit of an aberration.  In fact all he’d need to do is maintain what he’s done thus far with his speed to post a solid average (think .270ish).

A solid average with ample speed and enough power?  He may generally not be viewed as a strong prospect, but he has the potential to make an impact.  Speed isn’t easy to find on the waiver wire, and Mercado could steal 30+ bases with regular AB.  Throw in the potential to score runs, if he assumes a spot at the top of the order, and there’s a lot to like.  The Indians outfield has continued to struggle, so there’s a good chance he’s being summoned to get an opportunity at regular AB.

While those in the shallowest of formats may not make a move, for most he’s a must grab.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Nearly must add
  • 12 Team League – Must add
  • 14+ Team League – Must add
  • AL-Only League – Must add
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Must add

Nicky Lopez – Kansas City Royals – Shortstop
Lopez was a contact machine over 138 PA at Triple-A this season, posting an elite level SwStr% of 4.1%.  That helped him to an impressive 5 K vs. 20 BB and a .353 AVG.  Obviously he’s not going to maintain that type of mark, as he benefited from a .352 BABIP, but for those in OBP formats he belongs on all radars as the owner of a minor league career .296 AVG and .378 OBP.

The question is going to be if he’ll add enough in terms of power or speed to make that number matter.  At Triple-A this season he had 3 HR and 9 SB, but he’s never hit more than 9 HR or steal more than 24 bases in a season.  While it’s nice that he could get on base at a good clip, given the other metrics he’s likely going to find himself hitting near the bottom of the order and therefore may not produce much in the way of counting stats.

There also could be a question in terms of playing time, with Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi lining up in the middle infield spots.  It’s likely that Merrifield will shift back out to the outfield to accommodate getting Lopez’ bat into the lineup, though it is something that needs to be monitored.

Lopez does bring some positives and in some cases is going to be worth owning, but his ceiling is below that of Mercado.  If you have to pick between the two, it’s Mercado.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Don’t add
  • 12 Team League – Potentially addable (drop dependent)
  • 14+ Team League – Must add
  • AL-Only League – Must add
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Must add

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs

4 COMMENTS

  1. Would you do a Nicky Lopez and Mercado for Brantley and R. Chirinos in a 12 team AL only keeper league? Both of those guys would be a $1 for the next 3 years but I’m in a win now situation. Thanks and great stuff as always!

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