As the fantasy season enters its final month waiver wire logic changes. Overall ability is secondary to category specific potential. That is reflected in this week’s adds. Houston will struggle to reach 55 wins but two young position players are showing progress.
Brandon Moss: He is coming off his best month of 2013, slugging eight home runs in August and posting a 1.015 OPS. His HR/FB ratio has dropped from 26% to 19%, although the average distance of his fly balls is up two feet. This year’s number is probably closer to his true talent level considering a player has maintained a HR/FB over 25% just ten times in the last five seasons. Moss is making some gains in contact rate and is useful for those chasing in power categories.
Drop for him: Khris Davis, Norichika Aoki, Nick Markakis
Don’t drop for him: Domonic Brown, Yoenis Cespedes, Nate McLouth
Emilio Bonifacio: He logged 89 at bats in August after having only 29 in July and he has played in every game since going to Kansas City. He has thirteen steals in the second half, good for seventh in the league. He is hacking aggressively and has his worst wRC+ since 2009, so he will only help in one category.
Drop for him: Dan Uggla, Marco Scutaro, Howie Kendrick
Don’t drop for him: Omar Infante, Brian Dozier, Neil Walker
Jason Castro: He is fifth among catchers in wRC+ and hitting .301/.408/.537 in the second half. His .437 BABIP and 24.0% HR/FB reveals a certain amount of good fortune over that time. There is a troubling drop in his contact rate, but his numbers make him mixed league material this year and next.
Drop for him: Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski, Evan Gattis
Don’t drop for him: Brian McCann, Salvador Perez, Jonathan Lucroy
Matt Dominguez: He is hitting .270/.325/.466 in the second half with a .196 ISO. His BB/K is up from 0.24 to 0.38. His season’s .250 BABIP reveals room for growth but his walk rate is so low that his OBP will continue to lag. Houston’s offense was a joke in the beginning of the year but they are tied for sixteenth in runs scored since the All Star Break.
Drop for him: Kelly Johnson, Michael Young, David Freese
Don’t drop for him: Alex Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez, Jedd Gyorko
Justin Smoak: He showed some life in July by hitting .289/.372/.470 but he is back to form in August at just .229/.324/.417. He is 22nd out of 27 qualified first basemen in ISO. His BABIP normalized to .305 this year, so that crutch is gone. He is not a productive hitter.
Drop him for: Mitch Moreland, Christian Yelich, Ike Davis
Brandon Belt: This drop is curious as he is hitting .315/.388/.531 in the second half with a .215 ISO. That is good for 8th best wRC+ in baseball. His fly ball rate increased from 36.6% to 42.8%, and his average fly ball distance is up as well. His power has improved, but it is not necessarily a plus tool relative to his position.
Drop him for: Eric Hosmer, Allen Craig, Mark Trumbo
Don’t drop him for: Nick Swisher, Justin Morneau, Anthony Rizzo
Brad Ziegler: His last save was August 7, but there is no change in his status, just a lack of opportunities. He is a poor source of strikeouts, but, thanks to an unholy ground ball rate, is very good at preventing home runs. J.J. Putz was the greatest threat, but he is again on the DL.
Drop him for: Rex Brothers, Danny Farquhar, Ernesto Frieri
Don’t drop him for: Tom Wilhelmsen, David Robertson, Kevin Gregg
Stephen Drew: He sat twice last week as Xander Bogarts cuts into his playing time. This is Drew’s best offensive year since 2010, although an increasing strikeout rate is dragging his average down. His diminished role is difficult to manage for those with short benches or in weekly leagues.
Drop him for: Brad Miller, Starlin Castro, Jimmy Rollins
Don’t drop him for: Derek Jeter, Nick Franklin, Jurickson Profar