First they came for Eaton, but I did not speak out, because I did not own Eaton.
Then they came for Haniger, but I did not speak out, because I did not board the Hype Train.
Then they came for Cespedes, Braun, and Pollock, but I did not speak out, because I still had Mike Trout.
Then they came for Trout, and there was no one left on the waiver wire for me.*
It wasn’t exactly the happiest of Memorial Day weekends in fantasy sports, with baseball’s two crown princes falling to injury and a mean left-hook, respectively.
*(shoutout to reddit user ruckusseur who put his own take on this poem 12 hours before me; I promise I wrote this only having read Niemoller’s version….and on that note I should probably shoutout Martin Niemoller who wrote the original)
Bryce Harper isn’t officially suspended as of my writing this sentence, but I have no doubt he’ll be receiving a hefty fine and miss 5+ games once commissioner Manfred is done doling out punishment for the Bryce Brawl (trademark pending). It’s pretty amazing when you consider that this guy punched someone else in the face at work. Can you imagine walking across the hall to your annoying coworker’s office and just decking them in the face? And the fight goes on TV? And getting to keep your job? So weird, it’s almost like there’s a different set of rules in America for famous millionaires….
But pity-parties for rich people aside, today we’re going to dive into the waiver wire to try and salvage your season and find some angels for your outfield (not necessarily of the LAA variety). However, if you’re looking for someone to replace Trout or Harper’s production on the waiver wire, you should probably just give up baseball now and wait for the NFL season to start, because there are no men like Trout, only Trout.
I’ve selected 5 players from the under-50% ownership group that can help tide you over through Bryce’s short absence or Trout’s lengthy one, plus one bonus player from the over 50% group that you should grab now if he’s available. At the end, I’ll be recommending and reviewing a craft beer to drown your sorrows.
Robbie Grossman, OF (MIN) – owned in 2.9% of leagues
Stats: .283 AVG / .426 OBP / 21 R / 5 HR / 17 RBI / 1 SB
Robbie Grossman is widely available, and for good reason. He had a slow start to the season, but batted 40 points better in May than April. He’s hit safely in 7 of his last 9 games, with 5 multi-hit performances in that span, including 3 of his 5 home runs, 7 RBI, and 1 stolen base. And how about that plate discipline? That OBP should make your mouth water.
Grossman is batting second in the Twins lineup, which is good. But he’s also on the Twins, which is not so good (read: they suck). However, he’s been swinging a hot bat recently, and is picking up right where he left off after posting career numbers last year, including a .280 AVG and an OBP of over .400. This year he’s posted an outstanding, Votto-like .426 OBP, and his career numbers all back up an OBP of 10+ points. If you are in an OBP league, Grossman will be invaluable, and his counting stats should continue to increase despite not having the runs scored you’d like to see, which is partially bad luck and playing for Minnesota.
Domingo Santana, OF (MIL) – owned in 18.7% of leagues
Stats: .276 AVG / .374 OBP / 27 R / 8 HR / 28 RBI / 4 SB
Keep your eye on this guy, he might be the best pickup on this list. The 24-year-old slugger is breaking out in a big way, busting out in May to the tune of a .341/.429/.923 slashline after a putrid April showing of .197/.310/.744.
Santana bats 5th in a potent Brewers lineup, and has a power/speed combo that’s hard to find. Since May 24th, he’s slugged 3 home runs, scored 5 times, and plated 9 RBI. The steals will come, as Milwaukee is aggressive on the basepaths and Santana has the speed to do it, already doubling his total of 2 steals from last year.
He might not be your savior, but he’s worth a long look if you need help in the outfield, as he could contribute significantly in all 5 categories.
Steven Souza Jr., OF (TB) – owned in 30% of leagues
Stats: .277 AVG / .388 OBP / 25 R / 8 HR / 29 RBI / 1 SB
Souza is back! After being a popular early-season waiver wire add, Souza dropped off the radar for a month, posting 20 consecutive games from April 26th to May 24th without more than one hit. However, Souza has hit safely in 5 of his last 6 games, collecting 11 hits (3 multi-hit games, including a 4/5 effort with 2 doubles yesterday against Texas), 3 HR, 7 R, 6RBI, and one steal in that span.
I’d like to see him try to swipe more bases, but expect the runs and OBP to get better and better as the Rays leadoff man continues to get his chances. He offers a nice power/average/obp combo that you don’t often see at the top of the order, and should be a nice addition to your OF.
Keon Broxton, OF (MIL) – owned in 45.1% of leagues
Stats: .255 / .317 / 27 R / 5 HR / 15 RBI / 10 SB
If Souza is back, Keon Broxton is back 2: Electric Boogaloo. The Brewers electric speedster has just been handed the keys to the offense, with a slumping Villar being booted from leadoff duties in favor of the hot Broxton. We all know Keon’s well-documented fantasy rise and fall, but I argue that he’s here to stay, and 100% rosterable in all formats.
He’s moved around the lineup a lot this season, but he’s been consistent in two regards; he has scored several runs every week, and he has stolen bases, already racking up 10 SB in 15 tries this season. Not the success rate you’d like to see at 66%, but that should rise to his career success rate of 83% coming into the season, and the important thing is that he’s being aggressive on the basepaths.
While I don’t expect Broxton to stay on top of the lineup forever (Villar will end up there again eventually), this is the perfect time to pick him up after he posted a great May slashline of .303/.347/.887 to improve on his abysmal slash of .191/.276/.600 in April. The big takeaway here is the steals and runs; he’s gonna go fast.
Melky Cabrera, OF (CWS) – owned in 46.4% of leagues
Stats: .259 AVG / .318 OBP / 27 R / 6 HR / 30 RBI / 0 SB
I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Melk man, and I’m glad to see the veteran slugger righting the ship after a power-outage in April. Melky has a 6 game hitting streak, over which he’s collected 11 hits, including 4 home runs, 6 runs scored, and a whopping 11 RBI to increase his season total to 30. Batting second in a surging White Sox offense that has been the 8th best in baseball over the last week, Melky figures to get his share of chances to collect counting stats and plate runs.
The 32-year-old doesn’t figure to steal many bases, but he never really did that anyway, so don’t expect him to start now. His power numbers will continue to improve, as his 60 point increase in slugging from April to May demonstrated. He should be good to your AVG, OBP, R, HR, and RBI stats over the coming weeks. Look to the Melk man to deliver for you in your time of need.
Bonus player, Marwin Gonzalez, 1B, 3B, OF (HOU) – owned in 67.3% of leagues
Stats: .311 AVG / .401 OBP / 21 R / 11 HR / 32 RBI / 2 SB
You probably don’t see Marwin on your waiver wire, but if you’re in one of the 33% of leagues where he’s unowned, snap him up right meow. Marwin paced the American League in average in May hitting .381 while pilling up 20 RBI, scoring 15 R, and smashing 6 homers.
His multi-position eligibility makes him extra valuable in an era of jam-packed rosters, and the 28 year old figures to get plenty of playing time on a great offensive team. If he’s still out there, snatch him up.
Now that you have your outfield saviors lined up in Trout & Co.’s absences, you need a beer worthy of washing that news down. Today I’m recommending Even More Jesus by Evil Twin Brewing out of New York.
This hefty Imperial Stout clocks in at 12% ABV, and is the perfect rapturous brew to help you forget how many stars are piling up on your DL. It pours thick, heavy, and as black as Vladimir Putin’s heart, with a nice fizzy head and good lacing on the glass. I smell burnt coffee, woody sweetness, and a bit of vanilla on the nose.
The beer itself is nicely carbonated, thick and strong with a subtle, bitter boozey taste that’s present under the stronger tones of coffee, chocolate/cocoa, and malty goodness. The impressive aspect of Even More Jesus is it’s ability to blend all these flavors together in a heady mouthful that’s somehow both bitter and smooth at the same time. Watch out for the high ABV (or not, if you’re still mourning Trout), and enjoy this heavy treat!
Until next time, cheers!