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Waiver Wire Guidelines: Four Young Outfielders Looking To Make An Impact (Franchy Cordero, Mallex Smith & More)

Monday, April 16, 2018 6:34
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Sample sizes are still small, but we are at least starting to get some data to draw conclusions from.  Of course injuries have also helped to lead to opportunity, and in those cases we have only a handful of AB to go by.  Regardless of what we are looking at, there are numerous young outfielders who have the potential to make an impact, yet are hardly owned to date.  Let’s look at a few of them to try and determine if they are worth adding or not:

Jose Pirela – San Diego Padres

We were higher than most on Pirela entering the season, ranking him as the 41st outfielder in our 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.  Thus far he’s backed up that ranking, hitting .324 with 0 HR, 10 RBI, 12 R and 2 SB over 74 AB.  You can argue that the numbers are a little bit “empty”, but he does have 7 doubles and 2 triples indicating that the power may not be far behind (he showed it a bit last season, when he hit 10 HR over 344 PA courtesy of a 13.2% HR/FB).

We viewed him as a potential 15/10 option entering the year, and in that regard nothing has changed.  You could argue that there’s risk in his approach, but a 10.0% SwStr% and 29.1% O-Swing% aren’t unreasonable and we should see an improvement in his walk rate (2.6%).  Everything is pointing in the right direction and in most formats he’s going to hold value.

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team Leagues – Worth Considering
  • 12 Team Leagues – Must Add
  • 14+ Team Leagues – Must Add
  • NL-Only Leagues – Must Add
  • Keeper Leagues – Must Add
Franchy Cordero – San Diego Padres

Cordero got recalled when Manuel Margot hit the DL, though there’s a chance he can force his way into the lineup even once Margot returns.  He’s made his presence felt in short order, with 2 HR and 1 RBI over his first 18 PA of ’18.  It’s a small sample, but he’s also shown an improved strikeout rate (an 11.1% SwStr% would go a long ways…).  Of course he owned an 18.5% SwStr% at Triple-A last season, after posting a 17.9% across three levels in ’16.  We need to see him maintain this improved rate for an extended period of time before we fully believe, but with his power and speed the potential improvement could mean a monster impact.

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team Leagues – Worth Considering
  • 12 Team Leagues – Must Add
  • 14+ Team Leagues – Must Add
  • NL-Only Leagues – Must Add
  • Keeper Leagues – Must Add
Teoscar Hernandez – Toronto Blue Jays

Hernandez was summoned to take the roster spot of Josh Donaldson, so on the surface you’d wonder how he’s going to fit into the lineup.  With Kendrys Morales also sidelined Toronto has pushed Curtis Granderson into the DH role, at least initially, opening the playing time.  Even when Toronto starts to get healthy, Hernandez has the upside to force himself into the lineup daily.

The question is not Hernandez’ power or speed (18 HR and 16 SB over 400 AB at Triple-A in ’17), it’s whether he’s going to make enough contact (14.6% SwStr% over 212 PA in the Majors).  Considering his 13.8% SwStr% and 22.4% strikeout rate at Triple-A last season, those issues are real.  It’s possible that he struggles to hit .250, and he generally hasn’t shown an impressive walk rate.  Consider him more of a short-term solution in most situations, especially since the playing time isn’t guaranteed.

(If you are going to compare him to Franchy Cordero, the upside isn’t quite as high)

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team Leagues – Don’t Add
  • 12 Team Leagues – Short-Term Add
  • 14+ Team Leagues – Worth Add
  • AL-Only Leagues – Worth Add
  • Keeper Leagues – Short-Term Add
Mallex Smith – Tampa Bay Rays

Smith has been up all season, but he’s gotten just 40 PA.  The injury to Kevin Kiermaier is going to open up opportunities, and Smith should get the chance to step up and fill at least some of them…  Or will it alter his role?  Smith has amassed 537 PA over the past three years entering Sunday, where he’s shown an ability to produce against RHP (.280 with 29 SB) and not against LHP (.191 with 5 SB).  Already getting plenty of playing time against righties, his role isn’t going to change.

That means there is value if you are in the market for stolen bases, but he also will be an unusable option if the Rays have a slew of southpaws on the schedule.  Keep that in mind before rushing to the waiver to grab him.

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team Leagues – Don’t Add
  • 12 Team Leagues – Possible Add (better fit for daily formats)
  • 14+ Team Leagues – Worth Add
  • AL-Only Leagues – Must Add
  • Keeper Leagues – Worth Add

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  


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