Its call-ups and stashing season as Nate Lowe highlights this week’s waiver wire column.
Nate Lowe (1B/DH – Tampa Bay Rays)
Ownership: Yahoo 22% ESPN 8% CBS 41%
The Tampa Bay Rays called up 1B/DH Nate Lowe on April 29th after he started the year in AAA with a .300/.444/.543 slash line with three home runs. Lowe broke out in his second full professional season last year hitting 27 home runs across three minor league levels. Lowe had excelled tremendously in high A and AA before slowing down a bit upon the call up to AAA. Lowe has an above average hit tool, great plate discipline, and plus power. Lowe has started in every game since his call up and has hit safely in every game. Lowe could be a difference maker for fantasy teams with the potential to be a top ten to twelve first baseman and should be added everywhere.
Tommy La Stella (2B/3B – Los Angeles Angels)
Ownership: Yahoo 16% ESPN 21% CBS 31%
Los Angeles Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella is benefiting from newfound power he hadn’t previously displayed as a utility man for the Cubs. Already with seven home runs, he had never hit more than five in a season. His home run total can be attributed to a career high hard hit rate at 44%, 6.3% barrel rate, and 15.8 degree launch angel. While La Stella is only hitting .247 to start the year, it comes with a .194 BABIP. His 21% line drive rate indicates better BABIP luck to come. La Stella has an excellent batting eye with a MLB best 6% strikeout rate among qualified hitters and 11% walk rate. The Angels has recently moved La Stella into the leadoff spot. The Angels have a favorable schedule next week going to Detroit for three games followed by a three game series in Baltimore. I would roster him in 12 team leagues and deeper, with most of his value coming in points leagues.
James McCann (C – Chicago White Sox)
Ownership: Yahoo 18% ESPN 3% CBS 27%
Chicago White Sox catcher James McCann is off to a terrific start this season with a .373/.417/.597 slash line in 17 games. McCann has essentially split games with Welington Castillo this season but looks to be separating himself with six starts in the last seven games playing catcher and designated hitter. McCann has hit cleanup in every one of those games. McCann’s numbers look to be backed up by a excellent hard hit rate of 42% and line drive rate of 28% that lends itself to a high average. McCann is also in the top 87th percentile in average exit velocity at 92 mph, the highest of his career. If you don’t have any of the top handful of catchers, I suggest picking up McCann. It’s easy to see him finishing among the top 12 catchers at season’s end if he continues to get the bulk of the playing time, so he should be picked up in 12 team leagues and could even be ten team viable if you are struggling at the position.
Yordan Alvarez (OF – Houston Astros)
Ownership: Yahoo 25% ESPN 22% CBS 35%
Houston Astros outfield prospect Yordan Alvarez is currently off to one of the hottest starts to the season among all professional levels of baseball hitting .402/.490/.931 in 24 games at AAA. The 21 year old looks ready to face MLB pitching with a 13.7% walk rate and 18.6% strikeout rate. Now is the time to stash the next impact rookie, and Alvarez may currently be the best one. It’s not hard to see Alvarez starting a some point in the near future in place of Tony Kemp or Tyler White. Even with fellow outfield prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings, I think Alvarez is showing that it’s him that should get the first call. Alvarez should be on a roster in every league at this point, so pick him up if he is still available.
Didi Gregorius (SS – New York Yankees)
Ownership: Yahoo 23% ESPN 18% CBS 56%
Possibly no team in the majors have been decimated by injuries more than the New York Yankees. Fortunately for them, reinforcements are on the way. Shortstop Didi Gregorius is set to begin a rehab assignment in a couple weeks and could be on the active roster before months end. The move to New York from Arizona did wonders for Gregorius, having hit a combined 72 home runs across the last three seasons. While shortstop is among the deeper positions in fantasy at the moment, Gregorius should absolutely be owned upon his callup and could provide great value at a MI or utility spot.
Matchups of the Week
This week we are treated with a Rockies homestand with three games against the San Francisco Giants followed by a three game series against the San Diego Padres. They will face four left handed pitchers this week, so even better news for Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado owners, who are hitting .361 and .371 respectively this season against left handed pitchers.
The Indians offense is one in need of a boost. They could get the kickstart they need this week with a seven game schedule including four at home against the White Sox before a road series against the Oakland A’s. The White Sox have the second worst team ERA in the major leagues with Oakland being closer to middle of the pack with the eleventh worst ERA.
Boston Red Sox The Boston Red Sox are on this list again this week as they visit the launching pad that has been Camden Yards and the Orioles’ league worst ERA of 5.92 for three games followed by a three game series at home against the Seattle Mariners to end the week. The Orioles have given up 75 home runs this season, 20 home runs ahead of the second worst team. The team that has allowed the fourth most home runs this season? The Seattle Mariners.