Fantasy baseball Waiver Wire: Puig finally joining Dodgers outfield
Zack Grienke's bizarrely broken collarbone presaged a terrible first two months of the Dodgers' 2013 season. After taking on a ton of salary in a trade with the Red Sox at last year's trade deadline and spending even more on Grienke this offseason, the Dodgers were supposed to be back among the contenders. At 23-32, they're in last place in the NL West, 8.5 games behind the first place Diamondbacks, and have the fifth-worst record in the league. Many of their woes originate from an offense that has been dreadful this season -- as a team, they're hitting .257/.327/.375, and their 193 runs are the third least in the majors. Now they hope help is on the way in the form of prospect Yasiel Puig.
Puig (available in 78 percent of Yahoo leagues, 44 percent of CBS leagues, and 94 percent of ESPN leagues) is making the jump to the majors straight from Double-A Chattanooga, where he hit .313/.383/.599 with eight homers, 37 RBI and 13 steals in 40 games. Based on merit alone, he probably should have made the team after his huge spring training, but Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford already occupied the Dodgers' outfield. But now Kemp and Crawford are out with hamstring injuries, making plenty of room for Puig.
He should be grabbed in all leagues, regardless of format, even if you're worried about him sticking around for long. If he proves that he can hit, the Dodgers won't be able to justify sending him back to the minors when Kemp and Crawford return. His ceiling definitely warrants going after him despite not being a lock to remain on the roster for the rest of the season.
And now for the rest of this week's best waiver wire options.
• Luke Gregerson, San Diego Padres (Yahoo!: 68 percent, CBS: 77 percent, ESPN: 79 percent): With Huston Street on the DL, Gregerson takes the reins for the Padres in the ninth. His strikeouts are down this year and his average velocity has dipped to 87.9 MPH, but his success is undeniable. In 24.2 innings, he has a 1.09 ERA and 2.99 FIP. His ground-ball rate is up to 53.8 percent, which is helping to offset his decline in strikeouts. His .152 BABIP is likely unsustainable, but he's not getting squared up very often this year. Opposing hitters have a 16.9 percent line-drive rate against him. Go get him.
• Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks (92, 64, 99): The Diamondbacks will recall Skaggs from the minors to take Brandon McCarthy's spot in the rotation while he's on the DL with a shoulder injury. Get past his 4-5 record and 5.23 ERA at Triple-A Reno this year, and focus on his 3.03 FIP and his 54 strikeouts in 51.2 innings. His BABIP is .333 and his strand rate is 55.9 percent, so luck has simply not been on his side. He whiffed nine batters in six innings in his one start in the majors this year. Skaggs will likely remain in the majors for as long as McCarthy is out, and we're not quite sure how long that will be for now. If it's an extended period, Skaggs could end up paying large dividends.
• Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers (54, 26, 71): Ah yes, Lucroy, one of my favorite targets heading into the season. He got off to a terrible start, but has been coming around lately, going 8-for-13 with three homers and eight RBI in his last three games. This feels like he's breaking out of a slump not entirely of his own making. Lucroy's BABIP this year is just .257 despite a 20.5 percent line-drive rate and more ground balls than fly balls; also, his strikeout rate is down to 10.2 percent. He should be much more widely owned. Let's rectify that, guys.
• Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays (90, 73, 92): Like the Dodgers, the Blue Jays have fallen way short of expectations thus far. One person who can't be blamed is Lind, who is hitting the way he did when he burst onto the scene back in 2009. In 150 plate appearances, Lind is hitting .315/.407/.520 with five homers, 22 runs and 12 RBI. He's posting career bests in strikeout rate (15.3 percent) and walk rate (14 percent), and he's also popping out just 2.5 percent of the time, also the best mark of his career. Basically, he's making lots of contact, and quite often he's doing so quite solidly. How he's available in such a large majority of leagues is beyond me. Go ahead and add him as needed.
• Vernon Wells, New York Yankees: After a surging start to the season, Wells has cooled off considerably. Entering May, he was hitting .300/.366/.544. As we start the first week of June, he's down to .253/.300/.439. The only thing he's really providing is homers, but he hasn't hit a roundtripper since May 15. Feel free to let him go.
• Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies: Chacin allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings against the Dodgers Friday, the third time in his last seven starts that he surrendered at least five runs. His ERA has ballooned to 4.26 from 1.46 over that stretch, and his only strong outing since coming back from the DL has been against the lowly Astros. There's no reason to hold onto him in mixed leagues.