Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Clayton Kershaw, Hunter Dozier, and winners and losers from Monday
Clayton Kershaw is back! Heath Cummings discusses that and other happenings from Monday, including some low-owned players worth your time
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Clayton Kershaw made his season debut Monday and now the fun starts for those who dared to draft him. Although, I'm not sure if it's so much fun as agony.
Kershaw looked good, especially considering it was his first start of the season. He was extremely efficient, getting through seven innings on just 84 pitches without walking a batter. The strikeout numbers weren't eye-popping, but 11 swinging strikes on 84 pitches isn't bad at all.
So why did I say "agony?"
Fantasy players with Kershaw on their roster have a tough decision to make, because now that he's back and made a good start you have a profit opportunity. He fell much farther in your draft than he would today, so you could take advantage of that and deal him for someone who is not quite as risky. After all, he hasn't made more than 27 starts or thrown more than 175 innings since 2015. You won't get peak-Kershaw value, but you can get more than you paid for him.
At the same time, you have a pitcher on your roster who consistently posts elite ratios and we don't have any guarantee his back is going to flare up again. There's still top-five starter upside here. You don't want to give that away because of fear.
My personal philosophy is I'm going to hold him and enjoy the ride. But everyone needs to at least consider their options after his return.
Four players to add from Monday
- Shin-Soo Choo (53%) — I'll admit I thought Choo should have been drafted in almost every league. His best format is points, but he's good enough in categories to be a fourth or fifth outfielder. He had three more hits on Monday, including his first home run of the season. His average is inflated by a high BABIP, but he's still a must-add unless you're in a three-outfielder categories league.
- Hunter Dozier (16%) — You'd be hard-pressed to find a hotter hitter in all of baseball than Dozier. In his last six games he has 12 hits, including two doubles and three home runs. His average exit velocity (94.1 MPH) is tied with Gary Sanchez for the 21st best in baseball and he's only struck out 10 times in 58 plate appearances.
- Delino DeShields (19%) — Only Dee Gordon has more steals than DeShields' six this season. And he's actually starting to hit a little bit too, with six knocks in his last four games. The .209 average is largely a product of a .242 BABIP. If that improves and DeShields plays regularly he should be among the league leaders in steals.
- Touki Toussaint (63%) - Toussaint didn't pitch last night but he's in the Braves rotation and should be owned almost everywhere ahead of his first start. In relief of Sean Newcomb he struck out seven Mets in six innings over the weekend. He has legitimate top-30 upside at starting pitcher and I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the rotation for good.
Winners and Losers
- Chris Davis — With all the jokes made at his expense it feels like we should at least mention Davis' first home run of the season. I wouldn't be all that surprised if he's AL-Only relevant rest of season.
- Jeff McNeil — McNeil had three hits on Monday, his fourth consecutive multi-hit outing. His ownership rate (71%) is a little high for the waiver wire section but go make sure he's owned in your league just in case.
- Yu Darvish — Yes, it was the Marlins. Still, it was nice to see Darvish strike out eight and only give up two runs in 5.2 innings. Each start has gotten incrementally better. We'll hope that continues against the Diamondbacks on Saturday.
- Christian Yelich — A three-dong-night always gets a mention when I'm writing this column. The biggest takeaway from Yelich's great start is that his fly ball rate (38.2%) has gone way up. If he keeps that up it becomes much easier to view him as a 30-homer guy.
- Travis Shaw -— Shaw went 0-for-5 and struck out three more times on Monday. He has a 32.3% strikeout rate and just two extra base hits. I'm not ready to cut bait yet but if he doesn't show something the rest of this week I think you have to bench him.
- Freddy Peralta — Peralta continued to struggle on Monday night and you have to wonder how much longer he'll be in the rotation. He's only made it out of the fourth inning once in his four starts.
- Raisel Iglesias — As little as he's been used in save situations it was really frustrating to see Iglesias blow one on Monday. He now has more losses than saves on the year. He's also given up at least one run in four of his six outings.
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