Welcome back to Riding the Waive, where we look at the comings and goings on fantasy rosters in CBSSports.com leagues. Rather than provide an extended breakdown on one player, let’s go with the buckshot approach this week and get to many more players than usual.
Mike Bolsinger, SP, LAD (+52 percent ownership). Bolsinger has been on fire in his four starts, but none was better than his most recent outing, in which he tossed eight one-hit innings while striking out eight and walking none against the Padres. He’s taken advantage of plus matchups and has made three straight starts at home. His biggest test comes Friday in St. Louis, which could go a long way towards validating his early-season success (or not).
Shawn Tolleson, RP, TEX (+31 percent). I talked about Tolleson at length in last week’s Chasing Saves, but here’s a quick update on his performance thus far. He racked up five saves in a seven-day period, allowing two hits and one walk in five scoreless innings while striking out six. The Rangers, and fantasy owners who have jumped aboard, may have found a keeper at closer.
Tanner Roark, SP, WAS (+28 percent). Roark and his RP eligibility hopped into the rotation on Monday, allowing one run on three hits and one walk in five innings while earning a win. He did a great job as a starter last year (15 wins, 2.85 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 138:39 K:BB ratio) and can be ridden as long as he remains in the rotation, which will likely depend on the health of Doug Fister.
Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI (+26 percent). After serving mostly as an overpriced afterthought for the last three years, Howard has suddenly begun to turn things around at the plate. He’s hit .307/.340/.602 with six home runs in 88 at-bats during May, and with 10 homers to his credit already, the first baseman could be looking at his first 30-homer campaign since 2011. In fantasy, he’s a matchup play against righties (.268/.309/.559 with nine homers in 127 at-bats).
Cameron Maybin, OF, ATL (+20 percent). Maybin has settled into the No. 2 spot in the Braves lineup ahead of Freddie Freeman, a place where a talented player can do damage. The center fielder is certainly talented, hitting .261/.361/.435 with five homers and six steals in 115 at-bats thus far. His problem has always been staying healthy, so while he’ll continue to be a sell-high candidate while all is going well, he’s a worthy gamble if available for nothing.
Logan Forsythe, 1B/2B/3B, TB (+12 percent). Forsythe has been a regular contributor for the Rays while shuffling around the diamond, playing mostly at second base but also seeing time at first base and third base. In all, he’s hit .298/.374/.478 in 171 at-bats, and while most of his power has come against lefties, against whom he has four of his five homers, he’s also batting .315 against righties. Forsythe is a fine option to plug in at 2B in standard leagues while performing well.
Carlos Frias, RP/SP, LAD (-25 percent). Frias had earned plenty of fantasy backers through his first four starts, and he entered his most recent outing with a 2.55 ERA and 19:6 K:BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings. Things turned south in a hurry, as he was lit up for 10 earned runs in four-plus innings on Sunday, despite having a relatively favorable matchup against the Padres at home. He’ll face a tough task this weekend looking to rebound, as he draws the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Jon Niese, SP, NYM (-15 percent). Niese has seen his strikeout rate dip this season, and when that’s coupled with the fact that he’s been extremely hittable, he’s poised to post the worst FIP of his career. He’s surrendered 16 earned runs in 16 innings over his last three starts and is hands-off in fantasy leagues at this point.
Jake Marisnick, OF, HOU (-15 percent). A big April brought many fantasy owners to Marisnick due to his .379/.422/.621 line with two home runs and eight stolen bases in 58 at-bats. Those numbers have cratered, and his .469 OPS in May has brought his season line down to .271/.308/.414. It could continue to plummet; the outfielder is just 1 for 16 in his last six games and hasn’t had a homer or stolen base since May 1.
Zack Cozart, SS, CIN (-12 percent). Cozart had a run of production in mid-April that was unlike anything we’d grown accustomed to seeing from him, including a four-game span in which he clubbed four homers. While he’s had flashes of upside since then, May hasn’t been nearly as kind to the shortstop, who is just 2 for 33 in his last nine games. At this point, he should be treated as a matchup play against lefty pitching rather than an every-week option at shortstop.
Yasmani Grandal, C, LAD (-12 percent). Grandal has been excellent this season, hitting .291/.403/.466 with four homers and 17 RBI in 103 at-bats. Finding an OBP over .400 at catcher can be gold in points leagues – ask last year’s Russell Martin owners. Grandal’s bat wasn’t lagging all that much before hitting the disabled list with a concussion last week, and since he’s expected back this weekend, there isn’t a great answer as to why a large number of owners are moving on from the hitter. The options at catcher in free agency aren’t really that great.
Deeper Add Recommendations
Preston Tucker, OF, HOU (15 percent owned). Tucker has impressed in the early-going, hitting .306/.393/.531 with two homers and eight RBI in 49 at-bats since being called up earlier in May. He had been crushing it at Triple-A Fresno, hitting .320/.378/.650 with 10 homers in 100 at-bats before being recalled. A big reason to like him moving forward is his lineup position; the team has elevated him to No. 3 in the lineup in each of the last two games, and batting between Jose Altuve and a resurgent Evan Gattis could pay big dividends if it sticks.
Carson Smith, RP, SEA (11 percent). Fernando Rodney has been awful this year, posting a 6.98 ERA in 19 1/3 innings while giving up 11.2 hits and 4.2 walks per nine innings. Smith has been the complete opposite, posting a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings with 3.9 hits and 2.1 walks per nine innings. Thrown in his 24 strikeouts, and it would be shocking if Smith didn’t receive an opportunity to close soon. Even if fantasy owners have to wait for saves, Smith provides plenty of value as a middle reliever at his current level of production.
Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B/OF, STL (5 percent). Reynolds is a guy that’s proved capable of consistently providing power production in his career. As a high-strikeout slugger, he’s never going to hit for a high average, but he’ll knock some home runs when given an everyday role. He has a clear path to playing time moving forward with Matt Adams out for months, so owners looking for cheap power who can take the hit in batting average should feel free to jump aboard.