2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire: Lucky Seven?

by Dennis Sosic
2019 Fantasy Baseball: Week 7 Waiver Wire: Lucky Seven?

Hello, Fantasy freaks and geeks and welcome back to the Fantasy Six Pack 2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire.

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. All of us have been there. We look up and down our roster and it is filled with Fantasy studs. We think we have it made. However, lady luck has other ideas. Your opponent just happens to have all of his starters with two starts that week. Or he happens to have Chris Davis in his lineup and he actually manages to get a couple of hits and his obligatory home run. It never fails.

So what do you do to combat luck? Continue to stack your team throughout the season. This will reduce the odds that lady luck will kill your Fantasy team. Also, remove any dead weight on your roster. Add the hottest hitter or pitcher. Be aggressive on the waiver wire. Don't think that your team cannot be beaten.

I can't stop lady luck but I can inform you of the players that you should pick up and build your roster. Let's take a look at seven players that will hopefully make your team lucky in the 2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire:  Lucky Seven?

2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire

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Marwin Gonzalez, 1B/2B/SS/3B/OF, Minnesota Twins

I know that his current stats do not look very good right now. However, I recommend that Fantasy owners should add the super-utility player Marwin Gonzalez. The switch hitter got off to a poor start of the 2019 season. He slashed .167/.244/.256 with two homers and seven RBI in March/April. Gonzalez was probably dropped in the majority of leagues due to that dismal beginning.

The former Astro has started to produce as of late. He has hits in 10 of his last 11 games while batting .385 with a .478 OBP. His 15 hits heading into this past Tuesday already has outperformed his 13 from the first month of the season.

Gonzalez qualifies at every position except pitcher and catcher. Check your waiver wire and see if Marwin Gonzalez is available. His defensive versatility is Fantasy gold and provides owners with flexibility and the comfort that he can play anywhere and it won't hurt your team.

Tommy La Stella, 2B/3B, Los Angeles Angels

During this past offseason, the Chicago Cubs decided to trade their pinch-hitting specialist Tommy La Stella to the Los Angeles Angels. During his four-year career with the Cubs, he appeared as a pinch-hitter 187 times, the most in Cubs history. As a pinch-hitter, he went on to post a slash-line of .288/.404/.399. He hit a total of nine home runs in 303 games with the Cubs.

With the Angels, La Stella has profited from a sudden increase in playing time. Through 36 games this season, he has played 26 starts at second base and six starts at third base which has resulted in 103 at-bats in 36 this season. He has already set a new career mark in home runs with ten while producing a .272/.364/.583 slash line.

Tommy is definitely showing more power. I couldn’t tell you if it’s a conscious effort to drive the ball more, if he’s just squaring up the ball better. I really couldn’t pin it down for you, but he’s been really good for us.” —Brad AusmusAngels manager

In conjunction with the increased playing time, the most significant difference to his hitting profile is his launch angle. According to The Athletic, La Stella increased his average launch angle from 8.1 degrees to 13.9 degrees.

La Stella has the leadoff spot locked down on an offense that features Mike Trout and recently returning Shohei Ohtani. I advise Fantasy owners looking to upgrade their MI or CI to add Tommy La Stella immediately before someone else does.

Hunter Pence, OF, Texas Rangers

Hunter Pence came home again and has turned the clock back on his career. Pence has now played in  Texas as a college player for the Longhorns as well as a pro. He has been one of baseball's biggest surprises this season.

In 2018, it appeared that Pence's career was over. He hit just .226 with four homers and an awful OPS of .590 in 97 games for the San Francisco Giants. His $18.5 million salary hit was too much for the Giants, and they had to let Pence go last year.

Pence is now making $1 million for the Texas Rangers, who signed the hometown player to a minor-league free agent deal a week before spring training started.

Hunter has resurrected his career and looks like the star player during the championship seasons for the Giants. According to Statcast, Pence has struck the ball with an average exit velocity of 93.0 MPH, which is 21st in all of baseball. Currently, Pence is producing a double-digit walk rate (11.7%) for only the second time in his career. Also, he has also reduced his strikeout rate to 17.8% which is his best mark since 2013.

Hunter Pence is slashing .316/.389/.658 with seven home runs, 25 RBI, and a career-high 1.047. While this type of extreme production probably won't last, I would still like this type of contribution to my Fantasy team. Fantasy owners in all formats should take advantage of Pence's revival.


Steve Cishek, RP, Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs continue to win despite having two closers on the disabled list. Brandon Morrow hasn't pitched since last July and is rehabbing from elbow surgery last November. The timeline of his return seems uncertain. Pedro Strop, who has filled in admirably as the primary closer, was recently placed on the injured list with a grade-2 strain of his left hamstring. It was the same injury that he suffered last September.

The next man up is 32-year-old Steve Cishek. He is coming off a great season. He was 4-3 with four saves and a 2.18 ERA in a career-high 70.1 innings. Cishek led all Cubs relievers with 78 strikeouts. However, it seems that the heavy workload started to take its toll at the end of last season. Through August, Cishek had a 1.90 ERA and 3.13 FIP. In September, his numbers rose to a 4.15 ERA and 5.70 FIP.

The caveat, of course, is that Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is never conservative or manages by the book. He might go with the dreaded closer-by-committee approach in which Cishek and Carl Edwards Jr. will share the closer role, then again he might not.

Cishek has converted on both save opportunities since Strop went on the IL. He is worth adding for Fantasy owners who are desperate for saves, and which Fantasy owner does not need saves?

Lucas Giolito, SP, Chicago White Sox

Once known as the top pitching prospect in baseball, Lucas Giolito gave up more runs (118) and walked more batters (90) than anyone in the American League last season. In his first full MLB season, he finished dead last in ERA (6.13), FIP (5.56), and WHIP (1.48) in MLB over 173.1 innings. So why I am recommending him?

Giolito came into this season focused on making mechanical changes with an effort to make everything more compact in his delivery. It looks like it is working so far. Through his seven starts, he is now 4-1 with a 3.55 ERA (123 ERA+), and a 1.18 WHIP. His 10.89 K/9 is the best for a pitcher 24 years or younger. Additionally, he has cut his home run rate from 1.40 per nine innings to 0.71.

Are you not convinced yet?  Since returning May 2 from a short stint on the IL with a hamstring strain, the right-hander has dominated to the tune of 1.86 ERA in three starts, recording 23 strikeouts while allowing just one home run.

One significant factor to his success is due to his increased velocity. Giolito’s fastball has seen an 8% increase in spin rate, it’s topping out at 95+ miles per hour, according to Brooks Baseball. Please stop reading this now, and go pick up Luca Giolito immediately. I'll wait, but please come back.

Deep Dive

Danny Duffy, SP, Kansas City Royals

Danny Duffy had a dreadful 2018 season, which saw him in an all too familiar place on the injured list. He is no stranger to arm troubles and in 13 starts last season; he posted a 4.88 ERA and 1.49 WHIP.

The southpaw recently returned to the Royals rotation after shoulder tightness in spring training kept him off the Opening Day roster. Duffy has pitched well through his three starts this season. He is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 17.2 innings.

The Kansas City Royals are hoping that the 2016 Danny Duffy returns when he was 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Unfortunately, that version of Danny Duffy is long gone. This model of Duffy needs to figure out how to pitch and become a finesse pitcher.

Duffy is still a streaming option for Fantasy owners. Look for lineups that are heavy with left-handed hitters. They have slashed .201/.250/.262 vs. Duffy over the last five seasons. No starter has surrendered a lower OPS during that time period. On the other hand, righties recorded a .344 wOBA against Duffy last season. If you are in a 12-team league or larger with deep benches, stashing Duffy and streaming him in the right matchups will benefit your Fantasy team.

Ronny Rodriguez, 2B/SS/3B, Detroit Tigers

The former Indian was called from Triple-A Toledo with both infielders Jody Mercer and Josh Harrison on the 10-day injured list. Rodriguez was expected to be a temporary fill-in, and he wasn't setting the world on fire in the minors, managing just seven hits in 33 plate appearances this season. In more than 800 career minor league games, Rodriguez owns a .726 OPS with decent power and a low OBP.

The long-time minor leaguer is currently the Tigers' best hitter. He is slashing .301/.350/.658 with five homers and 14 RBI. He has been crushing the ball with 14 of his 22 hits going for extra bases.

Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire has no choice but to keep in the starting lineup. The versatile defender has played eleven games at shortstop, six games at second base, and four games at first base. He will primarily play shortstop until Mercer returns. Fantasy owners need to ride them while they are hot, and there are few players hotter than Ronny Rodriguez. Owners can utilize Rodriguez at MI spot and reap the rewards.

Want to see where these players rank at their position for the rest of the season? Take a look at the latest updated version of the 2019 Fantasy Baseball Rest of Season Rankings


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