Last Word on Baseball is back with your fantasy baseball waiver targets of the week. At the bottom, see how last week’s targets have fared.
For the sake of continuity, ESPN leagues are the baseline, and for a player to make this list, they must be rostered on no more than 50% of teams across the site (rounded to the nearest whole number). Slash lines are AVG/OBP/SLG. The list is in no particular order.
Dakota Hudson, STL, SP (29% rostered)
Last 7 days: 2-0, 12.2 IP, 9 K, 7 BB, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP
Rookie starter Dakota Hudson is finally looking more like the starter St. Louis Cardinals fans hoped for after a strong spring training. Dakota Hudson past three outings have all been scoreless, and he’s gone six innings in all of them. His hot streak has improved his record this season to 13-6, with a 3.47 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Not too shabby for a rookie.
The WHIP is a little concerning. His 4.2 BB/9 on the year isn’t wonderful and his 6.8 K/9 doesn’t do a ton to make up for it. Still, it’s hard to argue with the results. Two of his past three outings were against explosive offenses (Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers). Dakota Hudson doesn’t overpower hitters, instead using his 58% groundball rate to stymy opposing lineups. In fact, his 4.55 GB/FB ratio is the best in the MLB. If you’re in need of starting pitching, Dakota Hudson is a readily available option.
Willie Calhoun, TEX, OF (19% rostered)
Last 7 days: 34 AB, .353/.353/.706, 6 R, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB
Once considered a top-50 overall prospect, it’s taken some time for Willie Calhoun to get going at the big-league level. The Texas Rangers outfielder is getting consistent playing time and making the most of it. Most of his time since joining the Rangers has been spent in AAA, where he’s raked. Last season didn’t go as planned, but this year is going much better.
Calhoun’s season line currently stands at .292/.333/.579, and he’s added 15 HR and 34 RBI in 207 plate appearances. The 24-year-old has always been lauded for his power, which is coming to fruition in his third season. Not only that, he’s hitting for contact as well. He has multi-hit games in seven of his last 11. In that stretch, he has a .381 average with five homers and eight runs batted in. Calhoun is carrying a .961 OPS since the All-Star break, and the good news is his .BAbip is a relatively low .277, so things could get even better down the stretch. Strikeouts are pretty rare for him, and his post-break HR pace is a whopping 62 bombs over 162 games. Add this man right now.
Hanser Alberto, BAL, SS/2B/3B (10% rostered)
Last 7 days: 28 AB, .250/.300/.643, 7 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB
Only the Detroit Tigers are worse than the Baltimore Orioles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find fantasy value sporting orange and white. Versatile infielder Hanser Alberto is a little surprisingly only owned in one-tenth of ESPN leagues. The fourth-year veteran is hitting .313 on the season and has enjoyed a very productive month of August. So far, his line this month is .321/.364/.580, and he’s hit four homers and driven in 13 in 22 games.
Alberto’s power numbers have increased significantly since the All-Star break. Before the break, he hit three home runs in the 73 games. Since then, he’s hit seven in 38, good for a 30-HR pace. His OPS before was at .718, but since it has been .892. It’s encouraging to see the spike in power numbers, but take it with a slight grain of salt since he’s never shown this kind of power at any level in his career. Alberto rarely strikes out, but he would do well to show even more plate discipline by drawing more walks: he’s only walked 13 times all season. Depending on your league’s scoring categories, Alberto could provide good value in your infield.
Note: Alberto left today’s game and is considered day-to-day. Keep an eye on his situation moving forward.
Tom Murphy, SEA, C (3% rostered)
Last 7 days: 13 AB, .462/.500/1.462, 4 R, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB
In one of the more random developments of the season, all of a sudden Seattle Mariners catcher Tom Murphy is bashing baseballs into the stratosphere. The 28-year-old is in his first season with Seattle, and it’s gone well beyond anyone’s expectations. He spent four seasons in Colorado, where he played 81 games, had a .219 average, and hit only 10 homers. Murphy’s line so far this season is .292/.323/.611, with 16 homers and 35 RBI in 54 games.
The former 3rd round pick in 2012 flashed power in the minors for years. He spent seven years in the Rockies organization, totaling 93 HR in 469 games, which comes to a 32-HR pace when scaled down to 162 games. Albeit no catcher plays that much, the point remains that the man can hit dingers. Contact has always been a problem at the major-league level, though. Yet, this year the Mariners have given him more playing time than he’s ever seen, and he’s having a great year. Recently he went on a four-game tear where he smashed six homers and drove in 10 runs. Catching help is hard to come by this time of year – Murphy is too hot to ignore right now.
Kyle Seager, SEA, 3B (34% rostered)
Last 7 days: 23 AB, .348/.464/.783, 5 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB
Long-time veteran Kyle Seager has had quite the renaissance in the second half of the 2019 season. Once a fantasy staple for his consistent power numbers, injuries and declining production have rendered Seager more of a fantasy liability than asset in recent years. The 31-year-old missed a huge chunk this season with a wrist injury. Despite that, he’s been on a roll since the All-Star break and should continue his streak of 20-HR seasons.
Just how good has Seager been since the break? He’s been one of the best in baseball, slashing .303/.370/.636, racking up 11 homers and 29 RBI in 36 games. In the month of August alone, Seager is batting .348 with a staggering 1.220 OPS, adding eight homers and 22 RBI in 19 games. Any questions about the health of his wrist have been tossed out the window. The list of fantasy studs at third base has grown, but no one expected Seager to work his way back into consideration. If you happen to be one of the unfortunate GMs with a void at the hot corner, odds are Seager is out there waiting.
Last week‘s list and their performances over the last seven days:
Ryan Yarbrough: 4.1 IP, 0-0, 5 K, 0 BB, 2.08 ERA, 0.69 WHIP
Ryan McMahon: 25 AB, .240/.345/.240, 1 R, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Nick Ahmed: 18 AB, .111/.227/.278, 2 R, 1 HR 2 RBI, 0 SB
Mike Yastrzemski: 23 AB, .217/.217/.478, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB
Marwin Gonzalez: 19 AB, .105/.190/.158, 1 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images