The Wire Troll: Kolten Wong Returns to Action
Francisco Mejia (right) should provide some excitement for suffering Padre fans. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. With just over three weeks remaining in the season, your time grows short on your ability to use the wire. Don’t let up now.
This week, Todd Frazier pulled a fast one — and it worked; Shawn Kelley lost a battle with a sharp knife and is now out with a cut thumb; and Shohei Ohtani — who will likely need Tommy John surgery — shrugged off the diagnosis when he spanked two dingers on Wednesday.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks…
Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 1.5 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Wong will probably need offseason surgery on his knee, but he’s off the DL now and is worth adding for the stretch drive. Remember that after an awful start he kept improving once May ended. In June, Wong started to show signs of life, flashed nice extra-base pop in July and then tore it up in August (915 OPS) before getting hurt. He’s actually been healthier this year compared to last season and has a career best in ISO. A superb contact hitter, Wong’s major issue has been staying on the field. Still, the Hawaiian native has shown he can hit for a better average (.285 last year) and his play since July proves that. Just bear in mind that he’s unlikely to play every day, so is mostly an NL-only league asset for now.
Francisco Mejia, C, San Diego Padres (ESPN: 5.6 per cent; CBS: 39 per cent): September callup Mejia wasted little time in showing that he can be a major asset down the stretch, bashing two homers and driving in four runs on Thursday (see video below). Formerly a top prospect for the Indians, he enjoyed a 50-game hitting streak two years ago that really put him on the map. Last year, Mejia was considered one of the premier prospects in the whole sport, but he slid on most lists thanks to a crappy start this season. Still, in looking at his second half and his immediate success with the Padres now, it’s clear that he needs to be scooped up. Mejia may very well be a starting worthy mixed league option in 2019.
Josh James, SP, Houston Astros (ESPN: unowned; CBS: 15 per cent): Houston’s 34th round pick in 2014 has enjoyed a serious breakout season, looking unhittable at Double-A (albeit, with some control issues) before a promotion to Triple-A, where his ERA rose, but was still quite solid. All told, after some struggles in 2016 and 2017, James put himself back on the map this year, earning a start with Houston last week. He didn’t look out of place, and flashed some serious K potential while averaging 97.4 mph with a powerful four-seam heater. Houston has shown a recent history of uncovering late-round gems; James could add to that list.
Nick Raquet, SP, Washington Nationals (ESPN: unowned; CBS: NA): Raquet is another young pitching prospect that’s taken a nice step forward in 2018, establishing himself among the Nats’ top 20 prospects based on a strong debut at full-season ball. He’s a groundball pitcher that earned a promotion to High-A in late-June, proving he could win there despite less than stellar peripherals. Still, we saw what Raquet was capable of on Sunday, as he hurled a complete game, one-hit shutout — his third CG of the season. He’ll need to improve his hit rates as he moves up, but the 2017 third round pick has shown enough flashes to land on the radar of dynasty league owners.
Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals (ESPN: 8 per cent; CBS: 38 per cent): Still with young Nats, Robles has been recalled from the minors as a September callup despite an injury plagued and disappointing season. Unfortunately, he’s stuck in the wrong system to be an outfield prospect, so may need a trade to open up playing time, but keeper league owners need to be all over this dude. Robles is a top prospect that has great speed and more power potential than he’s shown so far.
Luke Voit, 1B, New York Yankees (ESPN: 29.9 per cent; CBS: 27 per cent): Where do the Yankees find these guys? While no one is going to suggest that Voit has suddenly developed into a star player capable of mashing for years, he’s definitely Mr. Right Now given the roll he’s on, which includes homering in three straight and four of six games recently. Acquired from the Cardinals at the trade deadline, he was originally seen as an organizational depth piece, but he’s forced his way into playing time with his moonshots. Ride Voit while you can.
Others to Consider
Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres (ESPN: 41.7 per cent; CBS: 45 per cent): Renfroe had a huge August (nine homers, 935 OPS) and has rode that into September, with three homers in his first five games. He’s now reached 20 dingers for the second straight season.
Matt Shoemaker, SP, Los Angeles Angels (ESPN: 4.9 per cent; CBS: 13 per cent): Shoemaker has sure had his injury issues in the last couple of years, but he’s back now and looked sharp in hurling five shutout frames at the Rangers on Monday.
Matt Grace, RP, Washington Nationals (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): This sinkerballer has enjoyed a breakout year and has been especially effective lately (five innings, no earned runs, no walks over last seven games). Grace’s sweet ERA (2.75) this season could earn him a more high-leverage role in 2019.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
New Orleans has always been a hotbed of blues, soul and funk and one of its lesser appreciated artists is the late Eddie Bo, who released more singles than any artist from the Big Easy not named Fats Domino. Here’s one of Bo’s rarer tracks, “Don’t Turn Me Loose,” recorded in 1969.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.