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Waiver Wire: Vogt, Gillaspie gaining popularity

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
  •  

Please raise your hand if you remember former Athletics shortstop Bobby Crosby.

Keep your hand raised if you remember that Crosby won AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2004.

Continue to keep your hand raised if you recall Crosby never quite living up to his rookie potential and turning into one of baseball's biggest busts during the first decade of the current millennium.

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since Crosby burst onto the scene and nearly five years since he disappeared from it. No, this is not a comeback story or a "Where are they now?" piece. Crosby's story just reminds me a lot of Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan, whose career has followed an eerily similar path since he won the NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2009. However, Coghlan is back on the major-league radar thanks to a recent offensive surge.

Like Crosby, Coghlan was a first-round draft pick, so the bar was set high. However, it was a bit surprising that Coghlan took home Rookie of the Year honors since he never reached the echelon of elite prospect.

Unfortunately, Coghlan's sophomore season in the majors was more remembered for him tearing a meniscus in his left knee while trying to deliver a pie in the face to teammate Wes Helms in celebration of a walk-off win than his performance on the field. He missed the rest of the season due to the injury, but even before hurting his knee in late July, Coghlan was mired in a sophomore slump. He hit just .268 with a .383 slugging percentage over 91 games, and he would compile just a .224/.289/.332/.622 slash line over the next three seasons in the majors (174 games), while battling injury and shuttling between the majors and minors.

Most added players on CBSSports.com
Player Own %
1. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, CHC 64 (+30)
2. Stephen Vogt, C, OAK 55 (+30)
3. Shane Greene, SP, NYY 32 (+27)
4. Edinson Volquez, SP, PIT 53 (+24)
5. Odrisamer Despaigne, SP, SD 40 (+20)
6. Kolten Wong, 2B, STL 60 (+19)
7. Jacob deGrom, SP, NYM 52 (+19)
8. Wade Miley, SP, ARI 62 (+14)
9. Chris Coghlan, OF, CHC 18 (+14)
10. Kevin Kiermaier, OF, TB 32 (+13)

It's not hard to see the Crosby comparisons. After playing 151 games as a rookie in '04, Crosby only surpassed 140 games in the majors once more, earning the distinction of being an injury prone player. After belting 22 home runs as a rookie, Crosby would hit just 40 over the next six seasons and produce a .237/.360/.662 slash line.

After his release from the Marlins in December, Coghlan found a home with the Cubs in January on a minor-league contract. He opened the year in the minors and once he got the call to the majors in early May, it was much of the same we had seen from Coghlan in recent years. Though he was healthy, the production wasn't there. However, in recent weeks, Coghlan seems to have regained his rookie form.

He is batting .393 with a .457 on-base percentage, .672 slugging percentage, 1.129 OPS, three home runs, eight doubles, 12 RBI, 16 runs and three stolen bases in his last 17 games. He's played his way into regular at-bats and has become a decent leadoff option for Chicago while Emilio Bonifacio remains on the disabled list.

Still, I'm having a hard time considering this more than just a hot streak for Coghlan. Cubs manager Rick Renteria attributes Coghlan's turnaround to him being healthy and putting together good at-bats, but that's about it. It's not like there's any whispers of Coghlan changing his batting stance or approach at the plate. I have more confidence in players like J.D. Martinez and Steve Pearce continuing to produce because they overhauled their mechanics. Prior to his recent surge, Coghlan hit just .193 in 41 games for the Cubs and had a .243/.314/.694 slash line in 24 games for Triple-A Iowa.

I have no problems with Fantasy owners treating Coghlan as a stopgap option and getting the most out of him while he's posting ridiculous numbers. But I still feel Coghlan is closer to post-Rookie-of-the-Year-Crosby than the player Coghlan was when he took home the hardware after his first season.

Stephen Vogt, C, Athletics

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 55 percent (up 30 percent)
With the rate Fantasy owners are adding Vogt, it seems everyone is quite aware he has been a top 3 Fantasy scoring catcher in points and Rotisserie formats over the last 28 days. I can still understand if you're hesitant to add Vogt since he's having his major-league breakthrough at 29 years old. Also, the potential of a playing time crunch is quite real with Josh Reddick getting close to coming off the disabled list. But as long as Vogt keeps producing, the A's are going to keep him in the lineup. While it's taken him some time to get his chance in the majors, Vogt has a good track record in the minors. He had a .301/.487/.831 slash line at Double-A and a .302/.498/.865 line at Triple-A. It's not like his recent production sprouted up out of nowhere. He hit this spring, he hit in the minors and he's been hitting since getting the call in June. He's already played at catcher, first base, left field and right field, and the A's could easily stick Reddick at DH once he returns. Vogt's versatility is key, but his catcher eligibility in Fantasy is what makes him an interesting add off waivers.
Leagues worth owning him: 10-team Rotisserie, 12-team Head-to-Head

Shane Greene, SP, Yankees

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 32 percent (up 27 percent)
The rookie right-hander has pitched exceptionally well in his first two starts, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. But despite his strong start, don't count me among those running to waivers to add him. Greene isn't this good of a pitcher and seems to have benefited from a bit of luck. Ground-ball pitchers like Greene tend to have slightly higher than average BABIPs. However, Greene has a very low BABIP (.200). He does get credit for striking out nine batters in his last start against Baltimore, which is a team that doesn't strike out at a high rate. But he's just never been this good of a pitcher. The only level in the minors he had lower than a 4.00 ERA was Double-A, and even then it was 3.18. His current strikeout (7.9 K/9) and walk (3.3) rates are close to what he did in the minors (8.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9), but he had a 4.39 ERA and 1.48 WHIP down on the farm. Greene gave up a lot of hits in the minors and that pitcher will likely emerge at the major-league level, so don't invest heavily into the rookie hurler.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 60 percent (up 19 percent)
Wong has put up some big numbers since coming off the disabled list, batting .321 (9 for 28) with five home runs and eight RBI in eight games. While Wong probably won't keep up the home run pace, he can still be a useful Fantasy option. I know Wong has had a lot of ups and downs as a rookie, but for the most part he's been pretty solid since returning from his minor-league banishment. He did have a bit of a cold spell in June, but it was related to his shoulder injury. Now that he's healthy, he's back to raking. Even with the cold spell in June, Wong has a .470 slugging percentage in 33 games since his recall from the minors. He even has nine stolen bases in that span. Wong wasn't a great home run hitter in the minors, but he has good gap power, is good contact hitter and should be a sneaky option for steals. Second base has become a deep position, so Wong is not a must-own in standard points leagues where you only need one second baseman. But Wong should definitely be owned in Roto formats.
Leagues worth owning him: 10-team Rotisserie, 14-team Head-to-Head

Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 52 percent (up 19 percent)
The former college shortstop has settled down after an up-and-down start to his MLB career. He's gone 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his last five starts after going 0-4 with a 4.39 ERA in his first seven starts. The difference for deGrom is he's throwing more strikes and getting more batters to swing and miss. He's been really good at racking up strikeouts in July, recording 27 in 19 innings this month. Still, deGrom isn't as good of a pitcher as he's been lately. He has 38 strikeouts in his last five starts (32 2/3 innings), but those starts have come against the Marlins (two), Braves (two) and Pirates. All three of those teams have totaled more strikeouts than the league average, and the Marlins and Braves rank in the top 5 for most strikeouts. deGrom's recent surge is more of a market correction than the start of a breakout run. deGrom had a 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and allowed 9.3 hits per nine innings during his minor-league career, so it's not like he was an ace pitcher. If you are looking to own a Mets pitcher, I would recommend adding Bartolo Colon or Dillon Gee.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Conor Gillaspie, 3B, White Sox

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 35 percent (up 12 percent)
You might not know, but Gillaspie has kept his batting average above .300 all season. However, lately he's added power on top of hitting for average. He is batting .314 with a .534 slugging percentage in his last 32 games. Still, he has just four home runs in that span, with three coming over a three-game span from July 8-10. I'll definitely give Gillaspie his credit for being able to hold onto the starting third-base job for Chicago and being a better offensive option than expected. But even with a .484 slugging percentage, he has just four home runs on the season. Not exactly the home run total we want from a corner infielder. Gillaspie doesn't hurt Fantasy owners in Head-to-Head formats with a high strikeout rate either, but his lack of elite home run power and RBI ability is holding him back. Also, while he's done nothing to lose his place in the White Sox lineup, prospect Matt Davidson has really picked up the pace at Triple-A Charlotte. If the White Sox go into selling mode, it could be time to bring Davidson to the majors and see what he can do down the stretch, which would cut into Gillaspie's playing time.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Drew Stubbs, OF, Rockies

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 34 percent (up 6 percent)
The time has passed to add Stubbs to your mixed-league roster. He was playing regularly with Carlos Gonzalez sidelined, but now that CarGo is back, Stubbs is back to being a fourth outfielder. He's going to start occasionally against righties, but he will see most of his starts against lefties. Also, when the Rockies are on the road, it's not the time to start Stubbs. He has just a .206/.330/.582 slash line on the road, as opposed to a .357/.628/1.014 line at home. If it was the American League, the DH option would go a long way to solving the time crunch. But it's the NL, and right now the Rockies' favored outfield alignment is Corey Dickerson in left field, Charlie Blackmon in center field and Gonzalez in right field. Even if that changes, Stubbs would have to improve vastly against right-handed pitchers and on the road for him to become reliable in most mixed leagues.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 24 percent (down 2 percent)
Many expected Franco to be in the majors by now. Alas, much like Archie Bradley and Noah Syndergaard, he's been one of the bigger prospect disappointments this season. However, we might finally see Franco in the majors soon enough. It seems the Phillies are in selling mode and it's not like Cody Asche is doing enough that the Phillies would be foolish to remove him from the starting lineup. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said in late May the team was waiting for Franco to settle into a groove before bringing him to the majors. Well, he's batting .280 since June 10 for Triple-A Lehigh Valley and he's red hot at the plate in July. He is batting .390 with .707 slugging percentage, 1.126 OPS, one home run, two triples, six doubles and 11 RBI in nine July games. Franco finally seems primed for a promotion, so now might be the time for Fantasy owners to stash a potential impact bat for the stretch run.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Rubby De La Rosa, SP, Red Sox

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 33 percent (up 7 percent)
It seems the Red Sox are finally ready to keep De La Rosa in the rotation. He's had some less-than-spectacular starts for Boston this season, but for the most part he's been pretty good. He's even been respectable at Triple-A, posting a 3.45 ERA in 12 starts. Like many pitchers, De La Rosa's career was set back by Tommy John surgery (2011). But like many pitchers, the farther he gets away from the elbow operation, the stronger he looks. He's starting to return to the form that made him a Baseball America top 100 prospect in 2011. De La Rosa usually doesn't get hit hard, posts a pretty strong strikeout rate and doesn't give up a lot of home runs. But where he runs into trouble is when his command gets away from him. However, his walk rate (1.9 BB/9) hasn't been an issue at the major-league level this season, which is very encouraging. He's averaging 15 Fantasy points per start this season, which is about the level Madison Bumgarner has been at this season. I'm not calling De La Rosa the next Bumgarner, but there's plenty of Fantasy value here. If De La Rosa gets his chance to keep his rotation spot, then he could be a second-half sleeper.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 45 percent (up 1 percent)
I've been one of the biggest proponents of keeping Headley off Fantasy rosters since his breakout season in 2012. Well, now I'm turning into a proponent. As I referenced earlier with J.D. Martinez and Steve Pearce having success because of changes to their approach, Headley could be at the beginning of something special because of a change he made to his grip. He has returned to his natural grip. Headley said he last used the grip in 2012 because he suffered a broken bone in his hand in the spring of 2013, which made his natural grip less doable. Headley said his grip allows him to be "shorter to the ball" and give him more leverage. You can't argue with the results. He has a .327/.462/.788 slash line, along with four extra-base hits (one HR) and six RBI in 12 July games. It's also looking like Headley is a strong candidate to get traded, which should only help boost his value.
Leagues worth owning him: 10-team Rotisserie, 12-team Head-to-Head

Chris Parmelee, OF, Twins

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 2 percent (up 1 percent)
Parmelee has quietly been one of the Twins' most consistent hitters since mid-June. Over his last 22 games (16 starts), he is batting .370 with a .493 slugging percentage and .888 OPS. It's surprising he has such a high slugging percentage despite having one home run in that span. Parmelee's hot streak is intriguing enough because once upon a time the 2006 first-round pick was considered a top 100 prospect by Baseball America (2007). Also, he has pretty good numbers at Triple-A (.295/.395/.530/.925 in 141 games), so he's proven he can hit advanced pitching, even if he's been a bust at the major-league level. Parmelee has really struggled with runners in scoring position as a major leaguer, so if he ever improves in that area, he could be ready for a breakout run. The best thing that could happen for Parmelee is that the Twins trade Josh Willingham to free up a starting job for him. But until he sheds his label as a bench player, Parmelee is going to stay on the watch list in most Fantasy formats.
Leagues worth owning him: AL-only

American League options

Jake Smolinski, OF, Rangers

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 2 percent (up 2 percent)
Smolinski's promotion to the majors July 7 came without a lot of fanfare. There was really no indication he was primed for a promotion after he was just promoted from Double-A to Triple-A. He spent all of eight games with Triple-A Round Rock before he was on his way to Texas. Well, the 25-year-old rookie has made quite the impact since making his MLB debut. He is batting .476 (10 for 21) with three doubles and five RBI in seven games. Though, I think it goes without saying that if Smolinski was a prospect flying under the radar that it's unlikely we are looking at the next breakout Fantasy star. Smolinski, who has been toiling in the minors since 2007, hit just .263 with a .397 slugging percentage in his minor-league career. Perhaps his greatest strength was his plate discipline. The Rangers are giving Smolinski his chance to stick in the starting lineup, but I just don't see the upside potential, even if his home ballpark is favorable for hitters.
Leagues worth owning him: AL-only

National League options

Ken Giles, RP, Phillies

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 9 percent (up 3 percent)
Giles is a name for Fantasy owners to start familiarizing yourself with because if the Phillies can trade Jonathan Papelbon, then Giles might be next up in the closer's role. And this kid might not just be a short-term option. The hard-throwing right-hander has been mowing down major-league hitters. He's allowed just seven hits and three walks in 14 innings, while recording 18 strikeouts. It's the same dominance Giles was showing at Double-A and Triple-A this season before getting promoted to the majors. He had a 1.88 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 28 2/3 innings, while striking out 11.9 batters per nine innings. Now, like many hard throwers, Giles has had some command issues. He had a high walk rate (5.4 BB/9) in the minors, but thus far it hasn't appeared in the majors. Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure said Giles has the confidence to close, so it seems he could try to convince manager Ryne Sandberg to elevate the 23-year-old rookie to the closer's role, if Papelbon gets dealt. The biggest threats to Giles taking over the closer's role are Jake Diekman and Antonio Bastardo, but if I had to choose a speculative stash, it would be Giles because of his high-end potential.
Leagues worth owning him: Deep formats

Player you might reconsider dropping

C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 56 percent (down 4 percent)
Fantasy owners seem to be quick to throw in the towel with Cron after he posted a three-point performance in Fantasy Week 15. I know first base is a deep Fantasy position, but it seems kind of rash to give up on Cron after one poor week. The rookie is still batting .284 with six home runs and 12 RBI in his last 18 games, and still owns a .497 slugging percentage for the season. I understand his low walk rate is bad for points leagues, but he doesn't compound the problem with a high strikeout rate. Also, his power numbers can certainly help make up for the poor walk rate. Cron is definitely more valuable in Rotisserie formats, but I still feel he's worth rostering as a potential utility/bench option in standard points leagues. Fantasy owners are always looking for power bats and this kid has a strong track record in that department. He slugged 27 home runs as a 22-year-old in 2012 and posted a .501 slugging percentage in the minors.
Leagues worth owning him: 10-team Rotisserie, 12-team Head-to-Head

Q &A

Would you rather own Arismendy Alcantara or Danny Santana rest of season? --@hashtaglikeog

MH: While I still feel Alcantara's Triple-A numbers were a little inflated because of hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League parks, he has more upside than Santana, who was doing very well before going on the disabled list. Though, Santana's offensive surge following his promotion to the majors was a little shocking since he didn't show high-end offensive potential in the minors. He hit just .274 with a .393 slugging percentage in the minors. Santana is still a great source for stolen bases, but Alcantara can do it all, including steal bases. Given his track record and upside, I'd take Alcantara over Santana.

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Player News
Diamondbacks clear their 60-day disabled list
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Diamondbacks have moved four players off the 60-day disabled list, according to the Arizona Republic

Bronson Arroyo, Patrick Corbin, David Hernandez and Matt Reynolds were activated Thursday. Players are not allowed to be on the 60-day disabled list during the offseason. They can be put back on the 60-day DL once the season begins again. 


Diamondbacks bring back Daniel Hudson, Matt Reynolds
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Diamondbacks have picked up options on Daniel Hudson and Matt Reynolds, according to the Arizona Republic

Hudson returned to the majors after undergoing two Tommy John surgery. He tossed just 2 2/3 innings, posting a 13.50 ERA. Reynolds spent all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery. 


Padres decline option on Josh Johnson, but could bring him back
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Padres have declined an option on pitcher Josh Johnson, according to MLB.com.

Johnson missed most of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was owed $4 million next season, but the Padres opted to buy out the final year on his contract. Despite the move, Johnson could return to San Diego at a lesser price. The 30-year-old pitcher reportedly has interest in staying with the club. 


Orioles decline to bring back Nick Hundley
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Orioles have declined an option on catcher Nick Hundley.

Hundley hit .243/.273/.358 over 218 at-bats last season between San Diego and Baltimore. He was set to earn $5 million in 2015, but the Orioles didn't want him at that price. He'll look to hook on with another club this winter.


Orioles decline option on Nick Markakis
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Orioles have declined an option on outfielder Nick Markakis.

Markakis was owed $17.5 million next season, but the team opted to buy out his contract for $2 million. The 30-year-old Markakis will head into the offseason a free-agent. He hit .276/.342/.386 over 642 at-bats last year.


Orioles bring back Wei-Yin Chen, Darren O'Day
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Orioles have brought back pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and Darren O'Day for next season.

The club had options on both players and decided to pick them up. Chen posted a 3.54 ERA over 185 2/3 innings last year. O'Day posted a 1.70 ERA over 68 2/3 innings. 


Dan Haren decides to return to Los Angeles
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren has decided to remain with the club, according to the Los Angeles Times

Haren opted to exercise a $10 million option to stay with the team. In his first season with Los Angeles, Haren posted a 4.02 ERA 186 innings. 


Royals expected to decline option on Billy Butler
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Royals are expected to decline an option on designated hitter Billy Butler, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Butler slumped last season, hitting .271/.323/.379 over 549 at-bats. He hit just nine home runs. Butler is owed $12 million next season, and the team is expected to go a different direction. 


Royals pitcher Danny Duffy limited by rib issue
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) Royals pitcher Danny Duffy was limited by a rib injury throughout the playoffs, according to the Kansas City Star.

Duffy suffered a stress fractuce in his ribcage late in the year, which prevented him from throwing more than two or three innings at a time. Duffy was a candidate to start the first game of the ALDS until the injury cropped up. Duffy was excellent down the stretch for Kansas City. He posted a 2.53 ERA over 149 1/3 innings. 


Marlins expected to bring back Jeff Mathis
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/30/2014) The Marlins are expected to pick up an option on catcher Jeff Mathis, according to MLB.com.

Mathis is owed $1.5 million next season, and the club will likely pick that up. Mathis isn't much of a threat at the plate, but receives high marks for his defense and ability to work with a pitching staff. 


 
 
 
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