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MLB Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups – Week 15

MLB Fantasy Baseball - Waiver Wire - Kole Calhoun

Week 15 is here and playoff races are not only heating up in Major League Baseball, but in your fantasy campaign as well.

Last week we highlighted a pair of Tigers in Joe Jimenez and Niko Goodrum, a couple of players who have excelled since those suggestions. Over the last seven days, Jimenez has pitched just one inning, but it was a clean one as he earned a save and struck out a batter. With Shane Greene still on the DL and with no timetable to return, the closer’s job is his and could possibly stay that way for the remainder of the season. He was also named as the Tigers’ lone representative for the All-Star game.

In those same seven days, Goodrum has absolutely mashed his way to a 1.020 OPS, .267 ISO and a .432 wOBA across 31 plate appearances in an everyday role at second base. In terms of fantasy counting stats, Goodrum posted a homer, four runs, five RBI and a stolen base. He’s a real solid cross-category producer and gained roughly 6% in ownership since last week.

Lastly, Max Fried did not fare well in his lone outing of the week and ended up on the DL as well. He allowed four earned runs on four hits and three walks in just three innings of work. He is on the DL with a blister on his left middle finger, but still remains a high-upside play for teams either rebuilding or with a DL spot to spare.

Let’s take a look at some attractive waiver wire adds for Week 15!

*Ownership percentages courtesy of ESPN.

Adalberto Mondesi (KC)

  • Position Eligibility: 2B, SS | %OWN: 1.4%

I’m a little surprised to see Mondesi so low owned given his production and upside as the Royals’ shortstop of the future.

Yes, the Royals are currently one of the worst offenses in baseball and Mondesi hits at or near the bottom of the lineup, but he’s garnered starts in 10 of the Royals’ last 12 games. In that time, he’s produced a homer, seven runs, five RBIs and two steals.

Mondesi produced as a cross-category contributor in Triple-A this season as he had five homers, 19 runs, 21 RBIs and 10 steals across 133 plate appearances. In non-fantasy terms, he produced a very impressive .242 ISO and also a solid .787 OPS. At Triple-A in 2017, he hit 13 homers and stole 21 bases in 357 plate appearances. He also produced another impressive .234 ISO figure while his OPS checked in at a whopping .879. Fantastic figures for a middle infielder.

Some may still be hesitant with Mondesi due to his poor big league showing last season when he hit just .170 with one homer and five steals across 60 plate appearances. Don’t be that person. His power/speed combination is fantastic, especially for a shortstop/middle infielder, and he’s only 22 years old. He’s already pushing longtime Royals’ shortstop Alcides Escobar out of his full-time job, so I would find room for Mondesi in your middle infield whether you are contending or not as he is potentially a big-time cross-category contributor in the near future.

Kole Calhoun (LAA)

  • Position Eligibility: OF | %OWN: 5.7%

Calhoun is by no means a sexy addition or a long-term savior, but there is reason to believe he can provide some depth to a fantasy lineup if you are in need of an outfielder who plays nearly every day.

The overall numbers aren’t pretty, nor will they be for the remainder of the season. Calhoun posted a .418 OPS across March and April and followed that up with a dismal .314 OPS in May. Since then? Calhoun has logged a .742 OPS in June and has produced a .819 OPS so far in July. His power is also back as Calhoun hit for a nice .189 ISO in June and has a massive .320 ISO in July thanks to a pair of homers and a pair of doubles for the month across seven games.

What I like most about Calhoun is the fact he has been moved into the leadoff spot in six of his last nine games, which means he is usually hitting one or two spots ahead of Mike Trout, who knocks in a lot of runs in case you didn’t know. His runs production should get a boost, he’s hitting for extra-base power and he is even running more with a modest four steals, which is already one short of last year’s total for the whole season.

If you believe in the law of averages and the power of the leadoff spot, Calhoun is a nice short-term depth piece while he sits on the wire in almost 95% of ESPN leagues.

Shelby Miller (ARI)

  • Position Eligibility: SP | %OWN: 4.5%

Feeling frisky? Give Shelby Miller a chance.

Miller hasn’t produced the ERA figures we want to see from him since returning, but that is very understandable since he’s now logged only 36 MLB innings over the last season and a half. He’s posted a 9.00 ERA in three starts and 14 innings in 2018, however that is nowhere near an accurate depiction of his work.

First, his FIP in those three starts is 5.34 while his xFIP is extremely encouraging at a rock-solid 3.26 figure.

Second, Miller has generated a very nice 26.9% strikeout rate at the big league level this season which is about right in line with the 25.6% rate he posted in his two Triple-A rehab starts prior to his activation. While this number could come down some, it’s nonetheless an encouraging sign.

Lastly, he’s been bitten by very bad luck in the form of a .400 BABIP and 46.4% strand rate.

In his most recent outing, he worked his way up to 94 pitches, 11 of which the opposition swung and missed at. He’s averaging 94.9 mph on his four-seam fastball, which is four ticks above his career mark of 94.4 mph.

The numbers aren’t pretty yet, but with Clay Buchholz on the DL and still not yet throwing, Miller is going to get a few more turns in the rotation and could possibly lock down a full-time rotation spot if his peripherals begin to show through. He’s worth a speculative add in deep leagues.

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