Finding help on the waiver wire can be tricky at times. Do you buy into the hot hand with the risk of them quickly regressing and bringing little value? Or is the hot streak worth buying, because it can be continued for the foreseeable future? Let’s take a look at some of the players who may be on your wire and determine if they are worth adding or not:
Hunter Pence – Texas Rangers (OF)
The renaissance of Pence doesn’t seem to be stopping, as he’s hitting .316 with 7 HR and 25 RBI over 79 AB. It’s easy to get excited about those surface numbers, especially when they are coupled with a 17.6% strikeout rate and 11.8% walk rate. However there are several metrics that aren’t sustainable (entering the day):
- Hard% – 53.3%
- HR/FB – 36.8%
- BABIP – .340
Even the strikeout and walk rates have been uncharacteristic. There’s going to be a lot of talk about his remade swing and people buying the hype, especially with regular playing time, but the numbers are going to regress in short order. Ride him while he’s hot, then move on.
Verdict – Short-Term Streamer
J.P. Crawford – Seattle Mariners (SS)
The key acquisition in the Jean Segura trade has gotten off to a nice start, hitting second and going 4-12. There appears to be an opportunity for him to run with the job, after hitting .319 with 3 HR and 3 SB over 116 AB at Triple-A this season. He showed an ability to make consistent contact (8.8% SwStr%) and draw a walk (13.8%), making him a solid play for those in OBP formats. The question is if there is going to be enough power or speed to truly make an impact, though with 15/15 potential to go along with that OBP (even though he won’t maintain his .375 BABIP) the value is there. Don’t let his past struggles in the Majors deter you.
Verdict – Buy ‘Em
John Means – Baltimore Orioles (P)
He continued to roll yesterday, defeating the Angels by allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, as he improved to 5-3 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Of course he’s not a groundball machine (45.2% entering the day, 5 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday) and he doesn’t bring many strikeouts (7.99 K/9 entering the day and only 8 swinging strikes yesterday, though a 13.8% SwStr% entering the game would’ve given a sense of hope). He needs to improve the strikeouts if he wants to continue his success, especially since his 20.2% Hard% is going to rise (as is the .244 BABIP he had benefited from prior to yesterday). Throw in having to maneuver through the AL East and the bottom could fallout quickly.
Verdict – Deny ‘Em
Jonathan Loaisiga –
New York Yankees (P)
The injuries have consistently forced the Yankees to dip into their depth at various positions, with pitcher being among them. We’ve seen Domingo German emerge, and with a consistent opportunity could Loaisiga join him? He’s shown enough of the three skills we look for over the past two years in the Majors (38.2 IP) to at least get us intrigued, given his 10.71 K/9, 4.66 BB/9 and 45.2% groundball rate. He generally hasn’t had control issues coming up through the minors, though his 38.7% groundball rate over 34.1 IP at Double-A last season is a little bit eye opening. It means home run issues, especially pitching in the AL East, is likely (especially when you also add in his 36.5% Hard%). There’s value, at times, but it’s hard to envision him a consistent contributor (especially since he could easily be replaced).
Verdict – Streaming Matchup Play
Derek Dietrich –
Cincinnati Reds (1B/2B/OF)
He’s forced his way into the lineup recently, hitting .241 with 10 HR and 25 RBI over 83 AB. He’s always been an intriguing bat in terms of power, but a 29.4% HR/FB is far exceeds his 12.1% career mark and he hasn’t added many additional extra base hits (1 double and 1 triple). That would make you think that the power could soon dry up, and considering his sudden fly ball heavy approach (52.3%) causing limited upside in his average (there isn’t much of a chance for him carry a solid BABIP) and what are we buying? It’s easy to envision his playing time disappearing and that will lead to his value disappearing.
Verdict – Short-Term Streamer (at best)
Aaron Altherr – San Francisco
Recently claimed by the Giants, it’s easy to envision a quick rise to playing time given the status of the Giants outfield. Let’s not forget that he hit 19 HR back in 2017, though he also has a career .223 average over 1,120 PA in the Majors. Making consistent contact has always seemed to be an issue (12.3% SwStr%) and he’s generally struggled against both right-handed pitchers (.228 with 24 HR) and left-handed pitchers (.210 with 12 HR). What about that are we getting excited about? The name will draw you in and maybe he offers some short-term appeal, but over the long haul it’s hard to get excited.
Verdict – Deny ‘Em
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs