With no 'real' baseball taking place over the past half-week, it's a good time to see where how successful my first-half recommendations have been. I've only chosen to look at the first nine weeks of my 'Waiver add' columns because it's still too soon to know how well the advice has worked on those that were added just five or six weeks ago.
As you read the names, I invite you to either toss flowers or hurl tomatoes at the screen.
David Freese, 3B, Pittsburgh (Week 2)
What I Said Then: "Every season provides us with a ho-hum player who has landed in prime lineup real estate. Freese is the man for 2016. He's locked in right behind Andrew McCutchen and just a slot ahead of Starling Marte in the Pirates order. That's a godsend for any hitter. He'll still get some chances at 3B when Pittsburgh hands Kang a start at SS. For now, the opportunities are absolutely there and that makes the vet a solid corner infield add."
What He's Done Since: Freese is an everyday part of the Pirates' lineup and has hit over-.290 while popping 10 homers, driving in 38, and scoring 42 in the first half of the season.
Michael Saunders, OF, Toronto (Week 2)
What I Said Then: "Saunders is a solid power/speed player who starts in a great lineup and hits in a great ballpark, but who struggles to string together even three healthy weeks. He still has the best combination of skill and opportunity for any hitter in this week's column which makes him a worthy shot in the dark. If you get him, commence with the prayers, crossed fingers, and four leaf clovers."
What He's Done Since: Saunders earned his way to San Diego for the All-Star game this past Tuesday. That's all you need to know!
Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit (Week 3)
What I Said Then: "In 2016, Castellanos is seen as 'just a guy' who is on the lower-third of MLB 3B rankings. That may be about to change. The first thing to consider is that the Tigers man is still just 24! His bat hasn't shown a great deal of growth in his first two seasons with almost identical slash marks, OPS+, and total bases. The raves coming out from the Detroit brass about his growth have also picked up a little steam. I'm a big believer in an expected growth bump this year."
What He's Done Since: Everyone has received more than they could have expected from Castellanos. His average has dropped, but still sits in the .300s. He's also become a critical middle-of-the-order producer for the Tigers with 17 shots and over 50 RBIs.
Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, St. Louis (Week 5)
What I Said Then: "Moss has crushed five long balls already and he's a sleeper candidate for 25 or more now that his hip seems to be healthy. Moss has past performance on his side, too, lifting 76 balls over the wall from 2012-14. If you can afford the hit to your batting average (he'll probably end up in the .220s), Moss makes for a good power add."
What He's Done Since: Moss is currently on the DL, but still launched 17 home runs in less than 220 at-bats.
Yangervis Solarte, 3B, San Diego (Week 9)
What I Said Then: "Somehow, someway, I always find myself mentioning this guy! He returned last week and immediately became a piece in the heart of the Padres' batting lineup. He's likely to stay there and produce some solid marks. If he stays off the disabled list you are legitimately adding a guy who can hit .275, launch low double-digit homers, and drive in 50+ over the remaining 115 games. For those who just lost Mike Moustakas for the season, it's an easy add. Although his pub is a sliver of what Moose gets, he's practically the same player."
What He's Done Since: Since being activated on May 21, Solarte has become a clean-up man in San Diego. That's led to a very impressive run of 31 RBIs and eight HRs in just 44 games. He's also hitting .287 in that time.
Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs (Week 2)
What I Said Then: "Here's the chance for Soler. But, will it be a full-fledged chance? Don't be surprised to see Ben Zobrist and Matt Szczur getting some chances while Schwarber is out. That's just the way that manager Joe Maddon works and it's proof that the team does not fully trust the fresh, raw abilities of Soler. He has always enticed and he's definitely worth a strong bid, but the odds of success are totally equal to the odds of failure."
What He's Done Since: This was mostly a case of being off on the suggested bid ($11). As noted, Soler had an equal chance of being successful as he did of being a bust. He went in the latter direction and even picked up an injury after losing playing time.
Michael Taylor, OF, Washington (Week 2)
What I Said Then: "This is a huge opportunity for the Nats' youngster. Last year with very irregular playing time, Taylor still impressed with 14 HR and 16 SB. Unfortunately, he also K'd nearly a 160 times (in under 475 ABs) and hit just .229! If you can handle all the whiffs and unproductive outs, then you should at least get help in the HR, R, and SB categories. Right now, he's leading off for Washington and that could be a gold mine for him until Revere returns. Pay up for that possibility."
What He's Done Since: Taylor again failed to make consistent contact and struggled so much that he's now floundering at Triple-A, yet again.
Aledmys Diaz, SS, St. Louis (Week 3)
What I Said Then: "I don't think it will stick. Diaz has shown some uplifting power with a homer and some doubles, but overall he does not profile as a plus-hitter. His mitt has also been inconsistent up the middle with three errors in his first 18 chances. So much would have to break his way for him to even be an everyday player and even then his bat would be fighting an uphill battle in the majors."
What He's Done Since: Diaz been one of the top two or three waiver pick-up's in all of baseball. You can even make the case that the NL All-Star been one of the top two or three overall shortstops in baseball.
Chris Coghlan, 2B/3B/OF, Oakland (Week 6)
What I Said Then: "Coghlan's average is the pits (.156), but he's an established MLB'er who will find his stroke. Remember, too, that he found his way to 16 HRs with the Cubs last year and he already has four slow trots this season. Another plus for him is that he could find a home at the top of the A's order in the 2-hole."
What He's Done Since: Coghlan is now back on the North Side of Chicago, but he still can't find his bat. Repeated chances in both the AL and the NL have produced a .155 hitter who clearly looks to be over-the-hill.
Ross Stripling, SP, LA Dodgers (Week 2)
What I Said Then (after his near no-no in San Francisco): "There's no record of raving scouts when it comes to Stripling. Even forecasting him for the majors was an iffy proposition. Seriously, he made 14 starts between in Single-A and Double-A last year."
What He's Done Since: Do you even remember Ross Stipling???
Vincent Velasquez, SP, Philadelphia (Week 3)
What I Said Then: "Velasquez has plenty of health and workload concerns. His talent is absolutely there and it's worth noting that his velocity was still elite at the end as he was hitting the upper-90s in the 9th inning. So, yeah, he can pitch. But, after this week's showing, his price tag is going to sail and catch a gust of wind from some over-anxious owner. My suggested price below figures in my expectation of an injury at some point and a limit of under-170 innings."
What He's Done Since: He's been good, injured, and working with an innings limited. Just as predicted across -the-board.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland (Week 5)
What I Said Then: "He still has the arm that made him a high-end prospect just a couple of years ago, but the shine has worn off with too many failed attempted take-off's (his ERA as a starter is over 4.50 and his WHIP is near 1.40). Still, this a true K-arm (8.6 per 9 in almost 375 innings) that is absolutely worth the risk."
What He's Done Since: It finally seems to have 'clicked' for the righty. Bauer has finally clamped down on the walks and is starting to show consistency from start-to-start. His ERA is getting into the low-3's and the WHIP is under-1.20 at the break.
Seung-hwan Oh, RP, St. Louis
What I Said Then (before he was named the closer in St. Louis): "Rosenthal continues to own the 9th inning for the Birds, but he has had some major issues with free passes. I'll just say this ... closers with a walk rate near 8 (Rosey is at 7.6), don't last very long. There's nothing imminent about Rosenthal losing the job, but continued control problems could lead to some chances for Oh. Deep leaguers should be all over him."
What He's Done Since: Oh is now the Redbirds' closer. He hasn't been exceptional (and hasn't seen many actual closing opportunities because of game-flow), but Rosenthal continues to feel for his control and effectiveness. There's a good chance Oh holds onto the gig and can pick up 20 saves before the end of the year.
Julio Urias, RP, LA Dodgers (Week 9)
What I Said Then: "If you truly want or need Urias you better be prepared to wipe out most of your FAAB. And to cut to the chase ... I don't like the idea. But, nearly all agree that most MLB work he could see this season would be in the 80-90 inning range. If you start there, that would mean around 15 starts or the Dodgers could work him in for 8-9 starts and then use him out of the bullpen for another 20-25 appearances. Either way you are not bringing in a full-time pitcher to your fantasy roster if you add the young lefty."
What He's Done Since: The obvious has been made obvious. The Dodgers have been very hesitant to expose Urias to any measure of work in their rotation. He's now back at Triple-A and will probably have to settle for influencing the NL West race by becoming an arm out of the bullpen.
Jeanmar Gomez, RP, Philadelphia (Week 2)
What I Said Then: "I have one unbreakable rule this fantasy season. Don't chase after any of the guys that Philadelphia is trying out in the 9th inning. A career and average-at-best middle-reliever like Gomez is not going to overcome my stance."
What He's Done Since: Gomez has an awful K-rate that doesn't indicate any sort of relief dominance. Still ... he's managed to be one of the top saves' grabs off the waiver wire. Somehow he enters the start of the second half with a robust 24 saves and solid ERA and WHIP marks.
Jose Berrios, SP, Minnesota (Week 4)
What I Said Then: "Berrios sports three strong offerings (fastball, change-up, curve) and should stick in the Twins' rotation for the remainder of the summer. He shouldn't have any real innings limitation after throwing nearly 175 innings in the minors last year. He hasn't had many hiccups in the minors, either, dominating most every batter he faces."
What He's Done Since: Berrios was a total flame out after just four starts and was banished back to the minor leagues. Since then he's managed to get back to his above-average ways. He has six wins in 10 starts while keeping his ERA under-3 (2.98) and whiffing nearly a full batter inning (65 in 66.1 innings). He should return to the Twins soon, so you might take a look, right now, at your league's waiver wire. Yes, that's a pair of suggestions in less than four months!
You can hear Kyle each weeknight on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive' from 7-10 ET, Sirius 210, XM 87.
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