Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Danny Santana, Nate Lowe keep getting chances; Jose Ramirez, Noah Syndergaard highlight winners and losers
Jose Ramirez and Noah Syndergaard are beginning to look like their old selves again. Jurickson Profar, too. Scott White looks at winners and losers.
So how can he be a winner (or loser) the day after? Because of this:
"Right now, he's as good a player as there is in the league," manager Chris Woodward said. "I am going to find a way to get him in there."
"There" is of course the Rangers starting lineup, in which Santana hasn't been a fixture. But suddenly, he has started six of the team's past seven games, bouncing all over the diamond as a way of giving other players a day off. Given that he's batting .352 (25 for 71) with nine homers and four steals over the past month, it sounds like Woodward is looking to create a dedicated path for him, and that path may be third base, where Asdrubal Cabrera has been a liability all year. Third base is the one position other than catcher where Santana hasn't played this year, but he has begun working out there.
"This is a tough business," Woodward said. "You have to produce in this business and everybody knows it. When a guy is producing, you have to ride that out and see what we have."
Now, I'm under no delusions that the kind of numbers Santana has put up (see above) are totally legitimate. His xwOBA and xBA both suggest he has overachieved. But neither is bad. He has made hard contact, has the sort of line-drive rate that would lend itself to a high BABIP and elevates the ball well enough to hit some out of the park. Add his penchant for stolen bases, and he's potentially useful in all five categories.
Poor plate discipline holds him back in points leagues, but even there, his quadruple (soon to be quintuple) eligibility makes him a worthy addition off the ...
Yandy Diaz 3B
TB Tampa Bay • #2 • Age: 28
Yandy Diaz homered for the third time in four games Thursday. We can fixate on the launch angle and how different it is or isn't, but the power has consistently been there. Particularly in points leagues, where he has outperformed Luke Voit and Jose Abreu on a per-game basis, he has to be rostered, and he's a good enough source of batting average to roster in categories leagues, too.
ARI Arizona • #29 • Age: 30
So it hasn't been smooth sailing for Merrill Kelly since the start of June, but with his seven-inning gem Thursday against the Brewers (of all teams), he's down to a 2.67 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in his past nine starts. The strikeouts are unimpressive, but the swinging strikes are rising. Mainly, he's such a strike-thrower that he has no issue going deep into games when he does pitch well, and that's a handy guy to have around.
MIA Miami • #26 • Age: 28
Two more hits Thursday for Garrett Cooper, who has already gotten plenty of love in the space but deserves as much as we can throw at him. There's some concern he might not sustain his home run pace because he so rarely puts the ball in the air, but his actual wOBA is in line with his expected wOBA. And between the line-drive rate, the hard contact and the all-fields hitting, the batting average potential looks legit.
Nate Lowe 1B
TB Tampa Bay • #35 • Age: 24
Nate Lowe was out of the lineup for a couple games, each against a left-handed pitcher, but must have had the Rays wondering what they might have missed with his performance in a doubleheader Thursday. Actually, all the damage came in Game 2, when he went 3 for 3 with two doubles, but it was his fourth multi-hit game in six. He has five home runs in his past nine, and his strikeout rate has leveled off a bit. Things are getting interesting, in other words, for a player with killer minor-league numbers the past two years.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #34 • Age: 26
For the second straight start, Noah Syndergaard's slider came through for him, contributing to nine of his 17 swinging strikes in seven one-run innings against the Giants. It's looking like the key ingredient he was missing all year, and he should quickly regain his ace standing.
Chris Sale SP
BOS Boston • #41 • Age: 30
Turns out Chris Sale is still good, striking out 12 over six shutout innings against the same Blue Jays team that roughed him up two turns ago. That was the one purely bad start during that rough patch, though. For all the hits he allowed last time out, the average exit velocity was low, and he continued to pile up strikeouts throughout his struggles. If not for his 4-9 record, talk of his "down" year would be greatly diminished.
Jose Ramirez 3B
CLE Cleveland • #11 • Age: 26
Jose Ramirez homered Thursday for the fourth time in 10 games, offering even more evidence that he's over the dreadful slump that spanned nearly a full calendar year. He's now batting .314 with five homers, four steals, an OPS approaching .950 and a perfectly reasonable BABIP over his past 26 games. As hot streaks go, it's fairly tame, but it's lasted long enough to take seriously.
Kyle Gibson SP
MIN Minnesota • #44 • Age: 31
The Twins had to use Kyle Gibson in unconventional ways over the past month, which limited his innings and may have caused some Fantasy players to forget how good he can be. What he did Thursday -- allowing three earned runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings -- was similar to the things he did in May and June, missing a ton of bats with his slider while providing the Twins some length. There's a reason he's 9-4 on the year.
OAK Oakland • #23 • Age: 26
Whether or not the Athletics suspected they were lighting a fire under season-long underachiever Jurickson Profar by awarding his starting second base job to Franklin Barreto a couple weeks ago, it appears to have worked. He got a second straight start Thursday and hit another home run, giving him four in his past three starts. There was a case to be made he overachieved last year, so there's no rush to add him now. It bears watching, though.
Matthew Boyd SP
DET Detroit • #48 • Age: 28
Another shaky outing -- one in which he allowed five earned runs in six innings -- pushed Matthew Boyd's season ERA over 4.00. It was at 3.08 six starts ago. Home runs again did him in -- he served up two for a combined four earned runs -- but that's more like an occupational hazard that an indication of skill in 2019. Because his strikeout and walk rates have remained stellar even during this cold stretch, he should be a-OK.
Hector Neris RP
PHI Philadelphia • #50 • Age: 30
Of course, allowing four home runs in a span of five appearances, as Hector Neris has done, simply isn't going to fly for a closer, and even though he came through with the save Thursday, you have to think he's on thin ice. The Phillies don't have a reasonable alternative, which may grant him a reprieve, but you should look to some other team's bullpen rather than continue to take your chances here.
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