Waiver Wire: What can Moose do for you?

I'm sure you have heard of the adage, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I feel like this rightfully applies to Fantasy owners who have at one point in time have had Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas on their roster.

When Moustakas first came up to the majors in 2011 there was a lot to get excited about. He made his way through the minors as an elite prospect and many pegged him to be one of the next great stars at third base. He definitely showed some of that potential in 2012, when he hit 20 homers and 34 doubles despite batting just .242.

A lot of folks anticipated Moustakas was only going to get better and had breakout potential written all over him heading into 2013. A funny thing happened, though: he didn't get better. He actually got worse. A lot worse. Since the start of last season, Moustakas has hit just .219 with a .374 slugging percentage in 220 games. Heck, he was even demoted to the minors earlier this season because of his struggles.

I know I was on the Moustakas bandwagon earlier this season after he had a strong offseason in winter ball and promising spring training. Alas, he couldn't carry that momentum over into the regular season and once again we had to give up hope on the 25-year-old third baseman.

Most added players on CBSSports.com
Player Own %
1. Josh Rutledge, SS/3B/2B, COL 42 (+32)
2. Chase Headley, 3B, NYY 70 (+24)
3. Neftali Feliz, RP, TEX 38 (+23)
4. Jorge De La Rosa, SP, COL 58 (+20)
5. Austin Jackson, OF, DET 87 (+20)
6. Brandon McCarthy, SP, NYY 59 (+17)
7. Chris Carter, OF/1B, HOU 57 (+17)
8. Lucas Duda, OF/1B, NYM 85 (+16)
9. David Phelps, SP, NYY 46 (+15)
10. Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B/SS/OF, SD 40 (+14)

So why are we talking about him now? Well, in case you haven't been paying attention, he's been fairly good since his return from the minors in early June. Over his last 38 games (34 starts), he is batting .252 with a .488 slugging percentage, .802 OPS, three doubles, nine home runs, 20 runs and 21 RBI.

Over the last 28 days, he's the 10th-ranked third baseman in Rotisserie leagues and 12th-highest scoring third baseman in Head-to-Head leagues. So here we are again: Is Moustakas for real and worth adding in Fantasy? Or is this just a hot streak?

I don't blame Fantasy owners for wanting to pass on Moustakas. We've been here before, and it's not like he's lighting it up, forcing your hand with a critical decision. In fact, since Week 15 his Fantasy ownership has risen just 1 percent from 34 to 35. It even dipped to 32 percent in Week 17 when he was still in the midst of his recent turnaround. Fantasy owners are showing they are having a hard time believing in Moustakas, and rightfully so because he's burned us in the past.

I can't say Moustakas' current run is really moving the needle for me either. He was due for a market correction because his numbers were really bad. Even with his recent run, he is still batting just .195 with a .260 on-base percentage, .390 slugging percentage and .650 OPS. His career slash line is .236/.290/.385/.675.

He is also still not hitting lefties, but an even more troubling negative is Moustakas' inability to hit to all fields. It's an area the Royals are actively working to help him with, but the results aren't there. He has just eight hits (two doubles) to the opposite (left) field and 16 hits (eight doubles) to center field, and all 13 of his home runs have gone to right field (per FanGraphs.com).

Perhaps the day Moustakas starts hitting to all fields will be the day Fantasy owners run back to waivers to add him in droves. Sadly, today is not that day.

Josh Rutledge, 2B/3B/SS, Rockies

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 42 percent (up 32 percent)
Rutledge has taken over as the Rockies' everyday shortstop with Troy Tulowitzki (hip) on the disabled list, and his production has been good. He is batting .382 (13 for 34) with one triple, one home run, four doubles and nine RBI in his last eight games. His numbers this season (.308/.358/.486/.843) have been closer to what he did as a rookie in 2012 (.274/.306/.469/.775) than what he did last season (.235/.294/.337/.630), which is encouraging. But I'm still not ready to buy into Rutledge being a must-add. Even during his recent eight-game stretch, he didn't reach base one time via a walk. I'll give him credit for being equally good on the road as at home this season. In fact, all three of his home runs have come on the road. But as my podcast comrade Adam Aizer said, "It seems Rutledge gets worse with more playing time." He's capable of doing well in spurts, but I'm just not convinced he will produce this well over a long stretch.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Chris Carter, OF/1B, Astros

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 57 percent (up 17 percent)
It's never easy to trust a batter that strikes out as much as Carter, and since the beginning of May he is batting just .235 and has 73 strikeouts in 64 games. However, he is also slugging .525 with one triple, 11 doubles and 17 home runs in that span, so the power is there. He's having a pretty big July, batting .306 with a .681 slugging percentage, 1.043 OPS, six doubles, seven home runs and 16 RBI in 19 games. Carter has been really good on the low part of the plate this month (according to CrawfishBoxes.com), batting .500 (1 for 2) on low-inside, .455 (5 for 11) on low-middle and .500 (6 for 12) on low-outside pitches within the strike zone (per BrooksBaseball.net). For the season on batted balls inside the strike zone, he is hitting .333 (10 for 30) on pitches down the middle, .455 (10 for 22) on pitches on the outside middle and .316 (12 for 38) on low-outside pitches. Unfortunately, he's not a strong hitter in the rest of the strike-zone quadrants. If pitchers start picking up on this scouting report, Carter's numbers are likely to tail off. It's shaping up that he might just be a stopgap option in mixed leagues while he's on a roll.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Brandon McCarthy, SP, Yankees

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 59 percent (up 17 percent)
A change of scenery has made a huge difference for McCarthy, who is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in three starts with the Yankees after going 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 18 starts with Arizona. McCarthy has never been this good of a pitcher in his MLB career, as evident by a career 4.16 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. But he was pretty good during his years in Oakland, going 17-15 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, so he's had success when he's been on good teams. As McCarthy explains it, he's been better mixing up his pitches since joining the Yankees and the fact he's on a contender is making a difference. McCarthy said (per NJ.com), "At least, to come here and feel good about myself again in a pennant race is a great feeling." McCarthy was even turning the corner before he was traded, winning his last two starts with Arizona. McCarthy seems rejuvenated since switching leagues and has the chance to have a very strong finish pitching for a contender, so don't sleep on the veteran right-hander.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 10 percent (up 6 percent)
Hendricks' debut July 10 didn't bring a lot of attention because he was never considered an elite prospect despite being a pretty successful arm in the minors. He posted a 31-19 record with a 2.69 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 452 1/3 innings. Hendricks was a power arm coming out of Dartmouth, but he became more of a control pitcher in the minors. He went from being a thrower to a pitcher, and it's been great for his career. He had a rocky MLB debut against the Reds, but it was really just a rough first inning when he allowed three runs. He walked no batters in his last start and that's the type of pitcher we expect Hendricks to be. He might not be a top strikeout pitcher, but he usually doesn't get himself into a lot of trouble either. The wins might be a little tough to come by pitching for the Cubs, but that hasn't stopped Fantasy owners from relying on Padres starting pitcher Jesse Hahn. He might not have as good of a strikeout rate as Hahn, but Hendricks has that same sleeper potential as his fellow rookie.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Chris Tillman, SP, Orioles

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 71percent (up 4 percent)
After winning 11 times in 19 starts in the first half last season, Tillman has totaled just 12 wins in his last 36 starts. But outside the drop in wins, Tillman hasn't been that much different of a pitcher. He had a 3.95 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in the first half in 2013. In the second half, he had a 3.42 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. This season he has a 3.92 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 22 starts. He's been hurt by a drop in his strikeout-to-walk ratio, but Tillman has been pretty good since mid-June following a rough start to the season. He is 2-3 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in his last nine starts. Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said Tillman has cleaned up his mechanics, which has aided his recent surge. His strikeout rate still isn't great amid his hot streak, but he's averaging 18.4 Fantasy points over the last seven scoring periods after averaging 12.8 Fantasy points in the first 10 scoring periods. His Fantasy output would look a lot better if his win total was higher, but the Orioles are still in contention, so the wins could be there down the stretch.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 25 percent (up 4 percent)
Reddick has performed extremely well since coming off the disabled list, batting .381 (8 for 21) with one home run, three doubles, three RBI and five runs in six games (five starts). He looks completely different from the .229 hitter he was before going on the DL in late June for the second time this season. It doesn't seem Reddick is fully recovered from his nagging knee injury, but the brace on his right knee seems to be managing the injury enough for him to get in the lineup. I don't anticipate Reddick to continue to hit for a high average. What Fantasy owners need to be looking for is his ability to hit for power. He slugged .457 in 2011 and .463 when he hit 32 home runs in 2012. Right now, his slugging percentage is .390. It seems his power numbers are really going to depend on if his knee holds up. Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said an oblique injury has destroyed his power swing, so lingering ailments can have a major impact. Perhaps another week or two of continued production, then it might be time to start buying into Reddick. For now, he's best left for deep formats.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 27 percent (up 2 percent)
It looks like the Dodgers are serious about trading an outfielder, even if they have to include money as part of the deal. Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford are the two names being floated in trade rumors. Not only is this significant for the haul the Dodgers might get in return, but trading one of these two players could finally free up the roster spot and playing time Pederson needs, who is proving at Triple-A Albuquerque he's ready for the majors. Pederson is batting .322 with a .455 on-base percentage, .592 slugging percentage, 1.047 OPS, 14 doubles, 22 home runs, 55 RBI, 72 runs and 25 stolen bases in 90 games. He would be up in the majors by now on most teams, but the Dodgers have a logjam of outfielders. Though, they are trying to rectify the situation. If you don't want to use a speculative stash on Pederson, then be ready to run to waivers to add him if the Dodgers move an outfielder by Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline. If they can afford Pederson the at-bats, he can be an impact bat for Fantasy owners.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 42 percent (up 2 percent)
Fantasy Baseball Today host Adam Aizer tried to convince me on Monday's podcast that Gyorko is a good pickup off waivers. My counter was that second base has become such a deep position, who are you going to cut to get him on your roster? I understand Adam's argument because of Gyorko's upside, but he wasn't hitting well before he went on the disabled list and who knows if his foot injury won't be a problem the rest of the season. I'm also concerned about the RBI opportunities. There's no denying he has pop in his bat, but the Padres don't exactly have a potent lineup or play in a hitter-friendly park, so I'm not sure Gyorko is going to turn into a Fantasy monster down the stretch. Let's not forget about his high strikeout rate, which will be a liability in points leagues. I think Gyorko is a better option in Rotisserie formats because of the deeper rosters and no penalty for strikeouts. I agree there is plenty of room for Gyorko's numbers to get better, especially since he has just a .192 BABIP. But I'm more convinced Gyorko's upside the rest of season is good, not great.
Leagues worth owning him: 10-team Rotisserie, 16-team Head-to-Head

Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 36 percent (up 3 percent)
It was just a few weeks ago that Mets manager Terry Collins was skeptical about Syndergaard making his MLB debut in 2014. Now a few weeks later, he might be a replacement in the rotation for Bartolo Colon, if the veteran right-hander is traded. Though, Syndergaard's name has popped up in trade rumors too, particularly regarding Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but it seems more likely Syndergaard would get moved in the offseason than by Thursday's deadline. Therefore, he's back in play as a rotation option in August, making him a potential stash in deep formats. Syndergaard has been one of the more disappointing prospects this season because of injury and inconsistency, but he's improving. He's allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his last four starts for Triple-A Las Vegas. He also has 29 strikeouts in 27 innings in July, while allowing just one home run in five starts in that span. The Mets might not be a serious playoff contender, but they could do enough for Syndergaard to be a threat for wins down the stretch. If Colon is dealt, you will see the buzz around Syndergaard increase.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Shane Victorino, OF, Red Sox

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 65 percent (up 3 percent)
Durability issues are a concern with Victorino, so I understand why some Fantasy owners are hesitant to use a roster spot on the veteran outfielder. But there's no denying when he's healthy, he produces for Fantasy owners. He's batting .385 (10 for 26) with one double, one home run, two RBI, two walks and four runs in seven games since returning from his latest DL stint. Even playing in just 122 games last season, Victorino finished as the 22nd-ranked outfielder in Rotisserie leagues and the 36th-highest scoring outfielder in points leagues. This kind of move can make the difference between missing the playoffs and making a championship run. Victorino has proven to be a reliable starting Fantasy outfielder in the past, even as recent as last season. If you are brave enough to look past his durability issues, it could end up paying huge dividends. I know Fantasy owners had the same hesitation when it came to adding Jaime Garcia earlier this season and his durability issues eventually returned. However, you got pretty good use out of Garcia before he went back on the disabled list.
Leagues worth owning him: 10-team Rotisserie, 12-team Head-to-Head

American League options

Chris Taylor, SS, Mariners

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 5 percent (up 4 percent)
The Mariners brought Taylor to the majors last week, as it seems the team has finally given up on shortstop Brad Miller bouncing back. For now, it seems the two are going to split playing time, which doesn't help Taylor's Fantasy value in the immediate future. Taylor, a 2012 fifth-round pick, began his career as a glove-first prospect. However, he broke out offensively in 2013, batting .314, and kept the momentum going in 2014, batting .328 in 75 games before his promotion. Taylor has good plate discipline and is efficient at using the whole field, but his strikeout rate can get a little high because he usually goes deep in the count and he doesn't have a lot of home run power. He's also not a bad threat on the base paths. But as my colleague Al Melchior pointed out, Taylor had a high BABIP in the minors and that doesn't always translate to the majors. If he doesn't hit for power, he could end up being just a little better than Luis Valbuena because Taylor can at least be a threat with steals.
Leagues worth owning him: AL-only

National League options

Jacob Turner, SP, Marlins

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 6 percent (up 1 percent)
Turner turned in a pretty good performance last week, beating the Braves and Astros. He allowed just three runs in 10 2/3 innings. Though he struck out just eight batters, which is a little disappointing seeing how the Braves and Astros have two of the highest strikeout rates in the majors. Nonetheless, winning back-to-back starts has caught our attention. Turner went 2-4 with a 6.38 ERA in his first nine starts this season before being dispatched to the bullpen. It's not like he turned in great numbers as a reliever (5.74 ERA), but he was still inserted back into the rotation. Turner said pitching in relief taught him to attack the strike zone, so he could limit the walks and avoid the big inning. He's walked just four batters in his last two starts, but he's actually thrown strikes just 58 percent of the time in those outings, which is way lower than his first nine starts (64 percent) when he was struggling. Turner has had a high strand rate (93.5 percent, per FanGraphs.com) and low BABIP (.267) in his last two starts, so he seems to have luck on his side. We are going to need to see a larger sample size from Turner before we start buying into a turnaround.
Leagues worth owning him: NL-only

Player you might reconsider dropping

Dillon Gee, SP, Mets

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 75 percent (down 4 percent)
Gee is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts since coming off the disabled list, but now is not the time to give up on him. His last two starts have really been the issue, and it seems Gee has been a victim of bad luck. He had a 68 percent strike rate in his last two starts, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but he's had a .333 BABIP over that stretch and his strand rate was 37.9 percent (per FanGraphs.com), which is really bad for any pitcher. He hasn't really given up any more than an average amount of hits or walks in his last two starts, and his strikeout rate has even been above average in two straight losses. Gee just seems to have been a bit unlucky. In his first start back from the DL, he posted 25 Fantasy points. Before going on the DL, he was averaging 22.2 Fantasy points over the first six scoring periods. He finished as a top 60 Fantasy scoring starting pitcher and was a top 90 pitcher (including relievers) in Rotisserie in 2013. He might not have ace potential, but Gee is a sneaky Fantasy option.
Leagues worth owning him: 10-team Rotisserie, 12-team Head-to-Head

Q &A

In a 10-team categories league, I need a middle infielder. Who would you choose out of Andrelton Simmons, Jed Lowrie, Jordy Mercer, Martin Prado, Tommy La Stella, Aaron Hill, Yangervis Solarte, Stephen Drew or Danny Santana? --@Connor_Time

MH:The top three choices in my opinion are Prado, Lowrie and Santana. I like Santana for his speed, but he actually hasn't stolen a lot of bases and I have my reservations about him being a .300-plus hitter. I like Lowrie because he's been a strong second-half player in the past, he's in the midst of a market correction after being a victim of bad luck earlier in the season and he plays on a top contender. But I'll tell you what, I'm really impressed with how Prado has played lately. In his last 23 games, he has a .325/.356/.446/.801 slash line. He finally seems to be coming to life after a poor first half and seems due for a prolonged hot streak. His value could even go up more if he is dealt to a contender. I'd be fine with either Lowrie or Prado. Right now, Lowrie is higher in my rankings, but that might be changing.

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