For the week five waiver wire there are no glaring injuries that need to be filled but there are plenty of slumping players and players struggling to return from injury who have question marks over. The patience of owners is stretched thin as this is the point of the season where owners start looking towards the standing for which categories they need help in. Currently, I will still do this article by position but soon I may switch it over to roto categories as much as position eligibility to help people target the category they are short in..
Yasmani Grandal, C, LAD: I was debating whether to make Grandal my number one catcher this week and then he went and exploded Thursday with two homers and eight (yes EIGHT!) runs driven in whilst going 4/4 at the plate. That dragged his yearly totals up to a 0.301 average with four homers, 15 runs scored and 12 driven in. Now while it is concerning that two thirds of his RBI came in one came that doubt is overshadowed by the fact he gets to pinch hit even on days off. That doesn’t happen for many catchers and really Grandal’s value in all formats knowing you are getting something from him every day.
Miguel Montero, C, CHC: A decent year so far for Montero has seen him hit 0.283 with three homers and 13 runs driven in. There was some early concern when Ross started opening day but Ross appears to be John Lester’s primary catcher and Montero is the main man for the Cubs. In the last week Montero has gone eight for 15 while driving in four showing his production is not tied to the power. Montero is still available in 75%+ leagues and is definitely a solid option for those whose catcher is still injured or just isn’t performing.
Blake Swihart, C, BOS: Another prospect who has to be on this article just for the hype but much like with Addison Russell Blake is here as a cautionary tale. So far he is hitting 0.143 in the majors with two runs and one RBI. Learning a staff is tough for a young catcher and that could be effecting his offence. That is not to say he will be terrible all year but right now he is a two catcher league only guy and if anything is a buy low if you can pay virtually nothing for him.
Kelly Johnson, 1B/3B/OF, ATL: Johnson seems to have earned the right to be an everyday guy in Atlanta and it is no surprise given the way he has hit this season so far. Johnson already has six homers with 17 RBI and 11 runs coming at a 0.250 average. Johnson is widely viewed as a streaky player and although he has hit three homers in the last week he has also been hitting at a 0.217 average which essentially sums up what he will do for your team. Spurts of power with stretches of low average mean he is a big risk/reward player. Currently he is rosterable in 14 team leagues or deeper purely for the power and the very nice position eligibility.
Logan Morrison, 1B, SEA: Morrison has been on fire in the last week hitting four homers at a 0.360 average. However, on the season he is hitting for just a 0.237 average with five homers suggesting that this is purely a hot streak and Morrison isn’t breaking out to be a fantasy superstar. He is behind Johnson for me solely because of Johnson’s position eligibility.
Kyle Blanks, 1B, TEX: Blanks has been superb since being called up to replace the injured Mitch Moreland. Currently he is hitting 0.375 with three home runs in just seven games (25 AB’s) but the news on Moreland is that he shouldn’t be gone for long which would put Blanks in a platoon as a best case scenario. His BABIP is in the 0.500 range which is not going to be sustainable so expect some regression from a player who has flashed with clubs in the past only to see his chance fall away.
Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN: Phillips is in a hot streak right now with five multi-hit games in his last eight. In that time he has stolen three bases and hit a home run whilst driving in six and scoring five. For the season he is hitting at a 0.314 average which would be a career high so while there could be some regression there his slugging percentage is currently close to his career low so I would expect to see that increase given he has only hit one home run so far this year. At a weakfish position this is a guy to go and grab if your second baseman is struggling through 2015 so far.
Joe Panik, 2B, SF: With two home runs this week Joe Panik looks like an intriguing option for the rest of the year. Generally seen as an average hitter who doesn’t offer anything special in homers or steals he had his only two homers and one steal of the season within four games all within the last week. Don’t go out and get him expecting a big power outbreak or even a big steals guy as Panik is nothing more than someone to be on the radar for injury cover in shallower leagues but in 14 and 16 team leagues he is an option who should be considered if you need some solidity.
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Trevor Plouffe, 3B, MIN: There were a lot of predictions that Plouffe would struggle to keep his job safe from the hot third base prospect Miguel Sano but Plouffe has been doing his part to make sure that doesn’t happen anytime soon. On the season Plouffe has five home runs with 17 runs driven in and 14 scored which beyond any Plouffe optimist’s wildest dreams. Plouffe’s resurgence has come in line with the Twins who are doing a great job of getting people on base and scoring runs. Right now Plouffe is my top third base choice but there is always the risk later in the season that if he cools off Sano is lurking.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, MIL: Ramirez got off to such a terrible start that really the only way was up and in the last week he is hitting for over a 0.300 average with one homer and 4 RBI. This hot stretch has dragged his season average to a measly 0.230 with three homers. As a career 0.280 hitter who is one year off being an all-star I do expect him to keep dragging up that average but Milwaukee’s offence is really poor this season and that will limit his runs and RBI opportunities.
Danny Santana, SS/OF, MIN: Santana was horrific to start the season and it took over a month for him to take a walk! However, since he has been moved down the order he has been tearing it up hitting 0.333 over the last two weeks with nine runs scored and five RBI. A lot was expected of Santana this year and if this high average guy, which he was last year keeps up then he could still finish as a top 10 SS even if he is struggling for power and steals. I would take Santana as my top SS on the waiver wire right now if I am still trying to find production at a tough position. Santana is just behind Phillips in my middle infield picks up this week.
Brandon Crawford, SS, SF: Crawford is hitting over 0.300 in the last week but the real headline is his five home runs on the season. He has 13 runs and 15 RBI to go with those home runs and that is in a struggling San Francisco offence. Hitting just 0.253 on the season is a concern but if the power continues then at SS you will trade off some average for power at a position where you traditionally get very little. Worth an add in 14 team or deeper leagues and definitely a consideration in 12 teamers if this power keeps up.
Kevin Pillar, OF, TOR: Pillar has defied expectations so far this year and his hot start is the reason Dalton Pompey was sent to the minors when Saunders returned from the DL. Pillar is hitting 0.277 on the year with five steals, one homer, 17 runs scored and 14 driven in. Pillar is a must own in five outfield leagues given that his hitting and his defence make him a fixture in that Toronto line-up which is full of potential to score plenty of runs this year.
Jimmy Paredes, OF, BAL: Paredes really seems to have an everyday job either in the outfield or as the DH in Baltimore because quite frankly he is out hitting the other options. He is currently batting 0.339 on the season with four home runs and one steal. He has scored 13 runs and 12 RBI so far and the even split is because is batting position tends to fluctuate between the top and middle of the order depending on who else is available on that day or who they are facing. Paredes has fast become a must in all 5 OF leagues which are 12 teams or deeper.
Colby Rasmus, OF, HOU: Rasmus was always going to be a streaky player at times has struggled to be an everyday option this season but the power is there so far with five homers. What is even better is that he is hitting around 0.260 so his average isn’t hurting you. The Astros have flown out of the blocks with some players performing superbly and others slumping but Rasmus seems to be a guy who is on neither extreme. I do expect some average regression and there will be rough patches but the power is legit especially playing half his games in Houston. A viable option in 14 team or deeper leagues.
Quick note: Porcello is the only pitcher I would add in 12 team leagues, the other two pitchers listed here are deeper options and are streaming options at best in 12 team or shallower mixed leagues.
Rick Porcello, BOS: Porcello started the season badly giving up 18 earned runs in 25 innings. However his strikeout rate was encouraging with 23 strikeouts and his last two starts he has shown some signs of improvement. In 14 innings he has given up just one run whilst striking out 12 and walking just two guys. Both starts came at home with one against the fiery Toronto offence and the other against the not so fiery Tampa Bay offence. Boston believe Porcello is a good pitcher and so far he has shown his good and his ugly side but the strikeout rate means I might well be buying into this upturn.
Mike Pelfrey, MIN: Pelfrey is off to a storming start having given up just 10 unearned runs in 34.1 innings. However, his start against the White Sox lasted just three innings and the strikeouts aren’t there in the quantity you would like. He has struck out just 16 so far this year and has walked 13 suggesting there may well be some regression in his near future. His next start against Detroit is definitely one I would be hesitant to start him in.
Dan Haren, MIA: Haren is off to a decent start in 2015 for no other reason than he hasn’t been completely blown up in any start so far this year. He gave up four earned runs against Philly in his worst start but that came on just four hits and three walks. In his other four starts he has given up just seven earned runs in 31 innings with 17 strikeouts whilst walking five. Again the strikeout rate and strikeout to walk ratio concerns me and makes me fear a 2.68 ERA is going to blow up in owners faces if you commit on an every start basis.
Brett Cecil, TOR: The bad start to the season for Cecil has made people slow to buy into him as the Toronto closer. He came into the year rusty after being injured in spring and promptly lost the closers job whilst showing little to no control. However, in his last seven outings he has given up just one run whilst striking three with two saves. The elite strikeout rate isn’t there but in roto leagues saves are always needed and right now Cecil can offer them for very little outlay.
Tyler Clippard, OAK: Clippard got two saves this week, one against Texas and another against the Twins, to take his season total to just three. The A’s don’t seem to win close games this year which has limited Clippard’s opportunity so far. He has had two bad outings which have seen all three of his runs scored. Clippard is a really good pitcher but when Doolittle comes back the saves for Oakland area big question mark. In a week which has been slow for closer news Clippard it is sad to say that Clippard is the number two option.