Mid-May marks the quarter point of the MLB season calendar. Much like the field in this past weekend’s Kentucky Derby, a handful of teams have jumped out to strong starts heading into the first turn with many teams still battling for position as the first straightaway is just around the corner. Also like horse races, there are teams already way back in the pack. Bottom of the standings teams on the verge of being completely forgotten until next season, even by their own fans. Yet for fantasy baseball owners, these bad teams may provide some hidden gems to get your team through an injury or to bolster the bench for a few weeks.
Let’s take a peek at a few players on bad teams worthy of grabbing off the fantasy baseball waiver wire
Luis Garcia, Washington Nationals
There are far worse teams than the Nationals this season, but Washington does sit at the bottom of the NL East and possesses the third-worst winning percentage in the National League. Expectations weren’t exactly high for the Nationals this season so, at 15-21, things could be much worse for the Nation’s Capital hometown team.
At first glance, second baseman Luis Garcia’s stats don’t really jump out at you. Batting .274 with three home runs, 16 RBI and an OPS of .725, Garcia’s numbers seem mediocre. A deeper dive into his recent play is where fantasy owners may find some value. As the month of April came to a close, Garcia was batting a paltry .234 but, as the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers” and Garcia has blossomed so far this month. In 36 at-bats in May, Garcia is batting .389, .393 over the past week with a 1.023 OPS. Last week’s series versus the Arizona Diamondbacks has served as a potential springboard for the rest of his season. On the road in Phoenix, Garcia went an impressive 8-for-13 with a home run, three runs scored and a pair of RBI against a quality and competitive Arizona team. Prior to that series, Garcia’s average was just .223.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez (who could be on the hot seat in Washington) has moved Garcia up in the batting order to the number two spot where he’s batted .296 this season. Another key to Garcia’s improvement at the plate has been his handling of left-handed pitching, a situation that left him on the bench early in the season. Last season, Garcia hit .235 against southpaws. This season, his fourth in the majors and fourth with the Nationals, Garcia has responded to coaching with a .385 average against those lefties.
No longer a liability against lefties and fantasy roster flexibility as a second baseman and shortstop, Garcia makes for a waiver wire pickup worth trying out. The Nationals begin a four-game series at home with the Mets Friday and then travel to Miami to face the Marlins early next week.