Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Jordan Hicks' injury pushes John Gant, Carlos Martinez to the top of the list
Looking for an edge in Week 14 and beyond? Check out the top 10 players to prioritize on waivers, along with one bonus star nearing a return from injury who might still be out there.
We've got plenty of options for you to consider adding to your roster as we head into Week 14, including potential difference makers for this week's games, as well as some options who could end up being big-time contributors all season long.
But first, we're going to cheat just a little bit and point to one player who doesn't quite meet our typical standards for waiver wire consideration in CBS Fantasy leagues (rostered in 75% of leagues or fewer), but who is much more widely available in either Yahoo or ESPN Fantasy leagues, and is the top priority if he's available:
1a. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Reds (83%)
We're in the midst of another league-wide offensive explosion, with the average OPS for all hitters up 24 points to .751, but second base is still trailing behind. Even in an environment where offense is easier to come by than ever, Gennett still looks like a difference maker. Gennett could return to the Reds' lineup by the end of this week, and as long as he isn't hindered by the groin injury that has kept him out to date, he should step right back into Fantasy lineups too.
1b. Liam Hendriks, RP, OAK (26%)
The A's best reliever might be their closer now, with Hendriks likely to step up in Blake Treinen's (shoulder) absence. Hendriks has a 1.49 ERA and 2.46 FIP, with 50 strikeouts in 42.1 innings of work this season, and might just run away with the job, given Treinen's struggles this season.
With news coming down Monday afternoon about Jordan Hicks having a torn UCL, the Cardinals are going to need a new ninth-inning guy. While it's possible Andrew Miller gets the call for the next save, he hasn't exactly turned things around after his disappointing 2018, so I would expect we'll see one of Gant or Martinez first. I would have been a lot more confident in Gant, who got the vote of confidence in recent days, except he gave up four earned runs in Sunday's game, a loss to the Angels. Despite that, he still has a 2.40 ERA and 0.871 WHIP, though with a 3.21 FIP that suggests he's been a bit over his head. And, with an 8.1 K/9 that doesn't exactly scream "dominant closer."
Martinez, on the other hand, might just be the high-upside target to go after. He had just five strikeouts in his first eight appearances, with three runs allowed in 7 innings of work. In his last five appearances, however, he has eight strikeouts and only one walk, and his velocity is actually up in his role out of the bullpen, in spite of his shoulder issues this preseason. He seems to be finding his way, and the transition from ace starter to light's out closer is one we've seen before — including from Martinez, who had a 1.47 ERA and five saves out of the bullpen late last season.
If you're chasing upside, Martinez is the guy, even if Gant might be the first option the Cardinals go with.
3. Joe Musgrove, SP, Pirates (63%)
After a nine-start stretch that saw him post a 7.59 ERA, Fantasy players were beginning to lose faith in Musgrove, a popular breakout candidate coming into the season. So it was nice to see him go out and dominate the Padres over seven innings Friday, racking up eight strikeouts and no walks in his best start since early April. Musgrove got back to relying heavily on his slider like he did early in the season, and that could be the key to staying at that level.
4. Ian Desmond, OF, Rockies (58%)
Desmond is a new man, turning around his groundball-heavy ways and emerging as a much more sustainable kind of hitter than he'd been in recent years. With four games on the schedule at home, he's, and should be in lineups everywhere.
5. Jordan Yamamoto, SP, Marlins (66%)
It's been fascinating to watch Yamamoto tinker with his pitch mix during each start, even as he continues to see solid results. The depth of his repertoire and his confidence in each pitch could make it tough for hitters to get a read on him, even as the scouting report gets out. He won his third straight game to open his career with Sunday's outing against the Phillies, during which he struck out seven in five innings. He also uncharacteristically walked four, but that has hardly been an issue for him either in his previous two starts or his minor-league career, so don't fret over it.
6. Adbert Alzolay, SP, Cubs (33%)
When it comes to pure stuff, you can definitely move Alzolay up above Yamamoto, and with two starts on the way in Week 14, he's probably the better option to get in your lineup this week. However, he's not quite as polished just yet, and might not be trusted to pitch deep into games as a result. What you should expect is a ton of strikeouts anyways, and there's big upside here if the Cubs stick with him.
7. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies (38%)
With Trevor Story likely out for a while with a thumb injury, Rodgers actually looks in line for consistent playing time this time around. He has looked a bit overmatched in his time in the majors so far, but this is a guy with a .350/.413/.622 line at Triple-A and about as sterling a pedigree as you'll find, so you'll want to trust in the talent — and four games at Coors Field this week might be just what he needs to get going.
8. Emilio Pagan, RP, Rays (19%)
If you miss out on Hendriks when waivers run Sunday evening, you can try to sneak Pagan through and get a little bit of help at closer for the next few weeks. Pagan and his 1.23 ERA should be the priority with Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado on the IL already. He has pitched well enough this season to expect he will be a viable Fantasy option if he get the chance to close.
9. Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians (19%)
The Indians have kind of turned their season around of late, but they still desperately need offense, and Bradley certainly has the potential to provide them with just that. He brings huge power to the table, having already clobbered 24 homers in 67 games at Triple-A this season. He's also already struck out 91 times (32.0%), so there's no guarantee he hits enough to stick — though he did go 1 for 3 with a double and a walk in his first MLB start Sunday. The Indians are going to give him a chance, at least, so maybe you should too.
10. Garrett Cooper, OF, Marlins (41%)
Cooper is finding success in unlikely ways, emerging as a solid source of power in 2019 despite a middling track record and a minuscule fly ball rate. What helps is he's hitting tons of line drives, and he's hitting the ball hard, leaving him with a .324 average and .518 slugging percentage that are unexpectedly backed up by a .303 expected average and .490 expected slugging percentage, per BaseballSavant.com. There's something here.
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