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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Plenty of prospects to pick up

June 9th, 2024

Welcome to Waiver Wire Watch, where we review the top waiver wire adds and drops for each week of the MLB season.

The premise is pretty straightforward. I’ll try to give you some recommended adds each week based on recent production or role changes. When I list a player, I’ll try to list the category where I think he’ll be helpful or the quick reason he’s listed. My hope is that it will help you to determine if the player is a fit for what your team needs or not.

For a player to qualify to be on this list, he needs to be UNDER 50% rostered in Yahoo! formats. I understand you may say, “These players aren’t available in my league,” and I can’t help you there. These players are available in over 50% of leagues and some in 98% of leagues, so they’re available in many places and that can hopefully satisfy readers in all league types.

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We’ll start by just looking at the teams with the best overall schedule in the next week. It’s just a part of the equation but it’s good to know which hitters will face an easier road.

Good Schedule

Team

Games

Opponents

White Sox

7

at SEA, at ARI

Orioles

7

at TB, at ATL, vs PHI

Royals

7

vs NYY, at LAD

Twins

7

vs COL, vs OAK

Yankees

7

at KC, at BOS

Athletics

7

at SD, at MIN

Mariners

7

vs CWS, vs TEX

Rays

7

vs BAL, vs CHC, at ATL

Pirates

6

at STL, at COL

Jeimer Candelario – 1B/3B, CIN (54% rostered) was at 47% when this article was drafted
(POWER UPSIDE, HOME PARK)

Candelario has been on here multiple times this season, but we need to keep going back to the well. He started off the season slow, but he has nine home runs on the year and is hitting .300 with four home runs, seven RBI, and two steals over his last two weeks (12 games). He’s going to play every day in a great home park and that makes him worthy of an add in most leagues. Another highly rostered third base option who might be available in your league is Ke’Bryan Hayes – 3B, PIT (47% rostered). I know the power we wanted to see hasn’t shown up yet, but Hayes remains a solid fantasy option due to his batting average and stolen base upside. Since coming off the IL, he’s 10-for-33 (.303) with six runs, four RBI, one home run, and four steals in 10 games. Getting that stolen base and batting average production from an everyday third baseman is certainly something that will help all teams.

Joey Ortiz – 2B/3B, MIL (52% rostered)
(RUNS, STARTING JOB)

Ortiz has been here for a few weeks but continues to play regularly and play well, so I’m going to keep him on here until he’s over 50% rostered. The 24-year-old had solid exit velocity numbers in the minor leagues last year but couldn’t break through with the Orioles; yet, it was intriguing when he got dealt to the Brewers. Then it took him a while to break into the lineup, but now it appears that he’s emerging as the primary third baseman for the Brewers and is producing, going 28-for-90 (.311) over the last month (25 games) with two home runs, 16 runs, 13 RBI, and two steals. He’s unlikely to be a huge power hitter, but he hits the ball hard and is now in a much better hitter’s park, so he will leave the yard on occasion and I think you could get a little bit of production in all five categories from Ortiz and that makes him a solid add in most formats.

Heliot Ramos – OF, SF (52% rostered)
(NEW LINEUP SPOT, POWER UPSIDE)

We were on that Ramos train weeks ago when he was just at 2% rostered, so I hope you got on board then. Ramos has now started 26 games for the Giants. At this point, with Austin Slater and Michael Conforto back, playing time concerns are out the window unless Ramos starts to struggle at the dish. He’s even been hitting lead-off at times, which is great for his counting stats. He’s not gonna give you a lot of speed, but the power is there and a fully healthy Giants lineup is good enough to provide decent contributions in other categories as well. I still don’t know if this is a “rest of season” hold but I love it for now.

Mark Vientos – 3B, NYM (40% rostered)
(STARTING JOB, POWER UPSIDE)

Mark Vientos has seen a major roster bump over the last week, which is understandable since he is the full-time starter at 3B for the Mets. Well, for now. Given how the Mets have operated, they could call Brett Baty back up in two weeks and throw both guys back into a timeshare (Baty is up and starting on Sunday as the 27th man for the London trip). But at this moment, Vientos is playing regularly and showing off increased contact that has reportedly come from not trying to swing as hard as he can on every swing. Given that Vientos has plus raw power, taking 80% or 90% swings and trying to square the ball up makes far more sense than him trying to crush everything.

Nick Gonzales – 2B/SS, PIT (44% rostered)
(PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITY, BATTING AVERAGE, RBI)

Gonzales is another repeat on this list, so I’ll keep what I said the last two weeks with some updated stats: “There was a point in time when Nick Gonzales was an interesting prospect, but his first taste of the majors didn’t go so well last year. However, he seemed to alter his approach at Triple-A this year, being a bit more aggressive which led to a lower walk rate but more hard contact. Since he’s been up at the MLB level, he’s lifting the ball more with a 48% fly ball rate that has helped lead to a 10.8% barrel rate and four mph jump in his average exit velocity. The pull rate is down, so if he also begins to pull the ball as he had been at Triple-A (or even at his career norm levels) we might see a bit more power. As it stands, he’s hitting .305 with four home runs, two steals, and 23 RBI in 26 games since being promoted. He continues to hit fifth in the order every day which should lead to RBI opportunities as well.”

Jesse Winker – OF, WAS: 40% rostered
(STARTING JOB, SPEED – I GUESS)

Yes, another week with Jesse Winker on the Waiver Wire Watch. I can’t believe it’s 2024 and I’m recommending Jesse Winker, but here we are. Despite never stealing more than one base in a season, he has five steals over the last two weeks and 11 on the season. He’s not the hitter he flashed in 2021, and I think the back injury has sapped some of his power, but he still has a strong feel for the strike zone and finds himself in an everyday job. Now that he’s also running, that adds some much-needed fantasy value to his solid batting average. Another speed option, and a more traditional one, is Winker’s teammate Jacob Young – OF, WAS (21% rostered), who hits ninth almost every day for the Nationals and already has 17 steals on the year. He won’t give you much besides speed, and if he struggles to get on base, as he did this week, that speed won’t come, but if you are just hunting steals, he could be an option.

Josh Bell – 1B, MIA (33% rostered)
(TRADE STASH, POWER UPSIDE)

We’re coming to the point in the season where we can look to start stashing players we think could benefit from the trade deadline. Now, the deadline is about six weeks away, so we’re not just stashing anybody, but players like Bell who are playing full-time and performing but could see a huge team context boost with a trade are good candidates. Bell has gone 33-for-98 over the last month, which is a .337 average. He also has three home runs, 18 RBI, and 11 runs over those 25 games. If he were playing in a different lineup, or in a more hitter-friendly home park, those numbers would be much better. Bell seems like one of the more obvious trade candidates at the deadline, so you can stash him now and cross your fingers for a great landing spot. Maybe the Yankees finally decide it’s time to replace Anthony Rizzo?

Masyn Winn – SS, STL: 34% rostered
(EVERY DAY JOB, BATTING AVERAGE UPSIDE)

This is now the third straight week that we’ve had Winn on here, but his roster rates aren’t changing much. I’m not sure people realize that Masyn Winn was riding an 18-game hitting streak in May and is hitting .349 over his last 24 games with 14 RBI, 12 runs, three home runs, and three steals. He has started hitting lead-off against left-handed pitchers which will help with his run totals, but he’s still hitting ninth against righties and doesn’t bring tons of power, but if you need a batting average asset, Winn is as good a bet as any you can find on the wire.

Andrew Vaughn – 1B, CWS (22% rostered)
(STARTING JOB, POWER UPSIDE)

I had Andrew Vaughn on here a couple of weeks ago and said: “Vaughn had been being pitched up and inside more than in years past, and his early season results showed far more infield pop-ups than he’d had before. It’s possible he’s started to adjust back to how pitchers are throwing him, and since he still makes a solid amount of contact and doesn’t swing-and-miss often, you could still get a .250-.260 season with 20+ home runs out of Vaughn, which makes him a good CI target.” Well, it didn’t happen right away and I almost dropped him in a few leagues, but I remembered that Ty France started to hit for power as soon as I lost patience, so I held. It worked out for this week at least as Vaughn went 8-for-20 with two home runs and six runs scored. He’s on a bad team that is liable to get worse if Luis Robert and others get traded; however, Vaughn will likely remain in Chicago and play every day. Given his growing power, that could make him usable as a CI in deeper leagues if you need a bit of pop.

Jack Suwinski – OF, PIT: 13% rostered
(POWER/SPEED UPSIDE, PLAYING TIME)

Jack Suwinski was somebody I was in on at the start of the season because of his approach changes. Last year, he flashed interesting power and speed but was too passive and struck out a lot because he got behind in the count. This year, he was more aggressive but also wound up chasing more pitches out of the zone and it just didn’t work. Now, after a stint in the minors, it seems line Suwinski had changed his hand placement on his load in an effort to make more contact up in the zone (side note: Pirates hitters seem to get better in the minors and on rehab assignments and then don’t carry it over). Suwinski has come up and started in four of five games, including one game against a left-handed pitcher. Anyway, all of that is to say that Suwinski isn’t a must add but I’m open to adding him in deeper formats if I need some power.

Henry Davis– C/OF, PIT (9% rostered)
(RECENT CALL-UP, POWER UPSIDE)

Ah, Henry Davis. People created entire draft strategies around drafting him late, waiting for him to get catcher eligibility, and then using him as their second catcher. The problem is that Davis was terrible to start the season and got sent down. He crushed Triple-A pitching, which we see from a lot of good prospects, but he also went back to his old batting stance and worked a lot of hitting velocity and reacting, not overthinking. Now that Davis has catcher eligibility, I’d be adding him in most places where I need a catcher. I also like adding Patrick Bailey – C, SF (19% rostered) who has battled some concussion issues this season but is the clear starting catcher in San Francisco. His barrel rate is down from last year, but he’s making hard contact and spraying line drives all over the field, which is great if you’re looking for production from your catcher spot. He does hit better against righties than lefties, so the Giants will sit him against some left-handed pitchers, which is something to keep in mind as you look at their schedule.

Connor Norby – 2B, BAL: 5% rostered
(POTENTIAL STARTING JOB, POWER /SPEED UPSIDE)

Norby is the next Orioles prospect to get a shot after he was promoted on Monday. The 24-year-old is not as well-known as some of the other prospect hitters who have come up, but he’s the Orioles’ 6th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline and was one of the top 10 second base prospects in all of baseball. This season, in 51 games at Triple-A, Norby hit .286/.374/.510 with nine home runs, 42 runs scored, 36 RBI, and seven steals in 51 games. He started four of the six games at second base since he’s been up with Jordan Westburg sliding over to third. Now, Jorge Mateo was just on the concussion IL, so he could be activated this week if he’s healed up. That does put a bit of a damper on our projections for Norby, and he will need to hit better than his current .214/.214/.429 slash line, but he’s making a good amount of contact, so maybe the Orioles will give him a couple of weeks to prove himself.

David Hamilton – 2B/SS, BOS: 8% rostered
(PLAYING TIME, MAJOR SPEED UPSIDE)

Meet the starting shortstop on the Boston Red Sox. Hamilton has now started five of the last seven games in the middle infield for Boston as the Red Sox have transitioned Ceddanne Rafaela back to the outfield. Hamilton struggled defensively in his first chance in 2024 after being thrust into a starting role following the injury to Trevor Story. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he intentionally kept Hamilton on the MLB roster to allow him to take a breath, and Hamilton has rewarded his confidence by hitting .328/.375/.478 in 22 games since taking over the starting job while adding one home run, nine runs scored, and eight steals. The 26-year-old has game-changing speed, so if he’s going to play regularly, he’s worth a gamble in fantasy leagues, but just know that he will sit against left-handed pitching.

Adael Amador – 2B/SS, COL (4% rostered)
(PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITY, POWER/SPEED UPSIDE)

Listen, I know it’s hard to trust the Rockies with their prospects, but Amador is quite literally their top prospect, so it’s hard to imagine them calling him up if it wasn’t playing him regularly at second base with Brendan Rodgers on the IL. Keep in mind that Rodgers has a hamstring issue, so he’s likely only out a couple of weeks. Now, if Amador hits, he could force his way into the line-up full-time, but he’s also coming straight from Double-A and was really struggling early in the season, so much so that he still has a .194 average at Double-A. Yes, he’s had a great last two weeks, 14-for-39 (.359) with six home runs and six stolen bases in his last nine games, but that’s nine games versus the whole rest of the season. I’d be cautious on bids here.

Brett Wisely – 2B/SS/OF, SF (2% rostered),
(BATTING AVERAGE, STARTING JOB)

Wisely is another middle infield option for deeper formats since he has carved out the strong side platoon role at shortstop. He hits ninth in the order, but he has a .318 average with seven RBI in 17 games so far in 2024. Wisely was also sporting a 15% strikeout rate and 14% walk rate in Triple-A, so plate discipline and a strong understanding of the strike zone are a clear part of his skill set. He won’t help you too much in counting stats at the bottom of the lineup, but if you need batting average, he’s a good option.

Jesus Sanchez – OF, MIA (2% rostered)
(PLAYING TIME, POWER UPSIDE)

Jesus Sanchez has popped in quite a few of my articles this season, including my article on potential power gainers and also my article on fast and short swings. He’s making really strong zone contact, striking out at a career-low rate, barreling the ball almost 12% of the time, and hitting the ball harder in the air than he has in years. If you believe in just X-stats, he should be hitting so much better across the board than he currently is. That’s the part that gives me hope. However, he’s also pulling the ball at the lowest rate of his career and has a 50% groundball rate. The groundball rate has been decreasing, and he’s gone 11-for-35 (.314) over the last 11 games with two home runs and five RBI, so if that keeps up, I’d like to add him in more leagues. Also, I’m watching what’s happening with Victor Robles – OF, SEA (1% rostered). As of now, it seems like he might just be starting against lefties, but Dominic Canzone has not been good, so there is some opportunity here. We know Robles has the speed to be a stolen base asset, but he has also flashed enough power and contact ability to help in deep formats. Of course, that hasn’t happened in years so you’re banking on a new organization unlocking some of that old talent, but I trust the Mariners organization so I’m at least keeping an eye on this.

Tyler Locklear – 1B/3B, SEA (1% rostered)
(PLAYING TIME, POWER UPSIDE)

With Ty France banged up, it seems like Locklear will be getting the call for the Mariners. The 23-year-old started the year at Double-A and hit .291/.401/.532 in 41 games with eight home runs, 26 RBI, and four steals. He also posted a 12.2% walk rate. He’s only played 10 games at Triple-A, but is 12-for-40 with a home run and a 12.5% walk rate compared to a 23% strikeout rate. When I asked my buddy and prospect aficionado Chris Clegg if he thought Locklear had a chance to stick in the Mariners lineup, he replied: “Certainly a chance. There are questions surrounding contact and his timing has to be impeccable with the bat waggle he has going on. But the power is real.” That’s enough for me to place some small bids in leagues where I need pop.

Hunter Brown – SP, HOU 51% rostered

Brown continues to pitch well of late and while a lot of that could be a relatively easy schedule, I also wrote about some pitch mix changes he’s making that have me intrigued. The pedigree and raw talent is there and his easy schedule continues with a matchup against the Tigers, so you can add him in all leagues.

Yimi Garcia – RP, TOR – 48% rostered

Jordan Romano is on the IL with elbow issues and I know he’s starting to throw this week, but consider me skeptical that his issues will just be fixed in one week. Garcia is getting the highest leverage innings, which has led to two saves this week. The Blue Jays are no longer the powerhouse team many expected them to be, but Garcia has a solid 2.16 ERA and 0.72 WHIP on the year and should be rostered in all leagues while he’s closing.

Matt Waldron – SP, SD: 41% rostered

Waldron has been really good of late since he made a change to his knuckleball, which I covered in this week’s Mixing It Up column. I encourage you to check that out and feel free to jump on the Waldron bandwagon but just know that, as with most knuckleballers, he will be inconsistent because it’s so hard to know if he’ll have full command of his trademark pitch or not.

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Max Meyer – SP, MIA 28% rostered

This week we heard the Marlins say that Meyer would be back up in the majors “soon.” The 25-year-old struggled immediately after being sent down, but a lot of that had to do with his disappointment with the move and his need to re-discover his confidence. Meyer was solid in three starts with the Marlins to begin the season and should be a solid source of ratios once he’s back. Just don’t expect too many wins.

Hurston Waldrep – SP, ATL 24% rostered
Waldrep is getting the call for the Braves to start on Sunday against the Nationals and with AJ Smith-Shawver hurt and both Bryce Elder and Spencer Schwellenbach not pitching well, Waldrep has a chance to stick. Waldrep started the year off poorly, but as Chris Clegg’s tweet below points out, he’s really turned it around of late. His splitter is one of the best pitches in the entire minor leagues, which provides him with a clear ceiling. The issue is that splitter-heavy pitchers are also risky since it’s a hard pitch to command consistently. The rest of Waldrep’s arsenal is still being fine-tuned and while there is potential for a few of his pitches to grade as plus, we can’t be sure when that will happen. It could be this year, and the ceiling is worth adding in most league types, but just be aware that there is a floor here.

Jose Soriano – SP, LAA 12% rostered

I’ve written about Soriano in the past and I covered him a couple of weeks ago in Mixing It Up, detailing how he’s been finding success by using his sinker far more and cutting back on his four-seam. He now sets up for a two-start week against the Diamondbacks and Giants and while that doesn’t look enticing on paper, I do still think he’s a good enough pitcher to be usable in most 15-team leagues this week.

Robbie Ray – SP, SF (18% rostered)

Everybody is focused on Gerrit Cole and Bobby Miller likely being one start away from their return to big league action (and rightfully so), but Robbie Ray has also started his rehab assignment. He’s still pitching in Complex League games, but his 30-day rehab clock is now ticking, which means we could see him up by the beginning of July. If you don’t have a lot of injury stashes in your league, this could be the time to add Ray.

DJ Herz – SP, WAS (1% rostered)
Herz was called up to fill a spot in the Nationals’ rotation after pitching to a 3.75 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A with 42 strikeouts in 36 innings. He did have 29 walks and a 1.42 ERA, so that’s something to keep in mind, but the eighth-round selection from the 2019 MLB Draft has been good for Washington since coming over in a trade with Chicago. The 23-year-old flashed a 94 mph fastball and a plus changeup in his MLB debut and also features a solid cutter and a slider he can use against lefties. I don’t believe this start against the Braves will go well on Sunday, but Herz has a solid start lined up for next week and could be an option in deeper formats.

STREAMING STARTER OPTIONS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK (ranked in loose order)

Chris Paddack (MIN) – vs COL, vs OAK

Jameson Taillon (CHC) – at TB, vs STL

Hunter Brown (HOU) – vs DET

Reese Olson (DET) – vs WAS

Taj Bradley (TB) – at CHC

Braxton Garrett (MIA) at NYM

Mitchell Parker (WAS) – at DET

Ben Brown (CHC) – vs STL

Tylor Megill (NYM) – vs MIA, vs SD

JP Sears (OAK) – at SD, at MIN

Jose Soriano (LAA) – at ARI, at SF

Keaton Winn (SF) – vs LAA

David Peterson (NYM) – vs MIA

DJ Herz (WAS) – vs MIA

Colin Rea (MIL) – vs TOR, vs CIN

Joey Estes (OAK) – at SD, at MIN

Spencer Arighetti (HOU) – at SF, vs DET

Adam Mazur (SD) – at NYM

Slade Ceccioni (ARI) – vs LAA

Randy Vasquez (SD) – vs OAK

Spencer Howard (SF) – vs LAA (*likely will not pitch deep into the game)

Roddery Munoz (MIA) at NYM

Jeremiah Estrada – RP, SD: 31% rostered

Every year, a group of ratio-helping relievers emerges into the fantasy landscape ready to help our teams. Even though they are not likely to get saves, they can rack up strikeouts and help balance our ratios and that can often be more valuable than streaming a mediocre starter or chasing saves with a flawed reliever. I like Estrada for that role. He flashed as a reliever with the Cubs but now seems to be putting it together and is throwing high-leverage innings with the Padres that can earn him wins and saves. Luke Weaver – RP, NYY (19% rostered), Garrett Cleavinger – RP, TB (11% rostered), and Matt Strahm – RP, PHI (23% rostered) are also options I like for this same reason.

In this section, I’ll give you a few players who are rostered in over 50% of leagues who I think might be OK to cut bait on. I’ll also list the schedule to highlight which teams have fewer games or face a tougher road of pitchers in case you want to churn the bottom of your roster by getting rid of some hitters with a bad schedule.

Bad Schedule

Team

Games

Opponents

Reds

5

vs CLE, at MIL

Guardians

5

at CIN, at TOR

Rangers

6

at LAD< at SEA

Xander Bogaerts – SS, SD: 73% rostered

People, Bogaerts has a broken shoulder. There’s no guarantee he’ll play again this season. Why is he still rostered in 76% of leagues? Surely that’s not 76% keeper leagues. Bogaerts had a nice speed rebound last year, but his power and average took an expected dip outside of Fenway Park. He’s a solid MLB player and a high-floor option in fantasy leagues, but I’m not sure he’s worth holding in this many leagues when we’re not sure when/if he’ll be back.

Cedric Mullins – OF, BAL: 57% rostered
Mullins has started just three games this week and while we know he can still run, he’s hitting .170 on the season and has gone just 7-for-61 (.115) with zero home runs over the last month. The Orioles have too many talented outfielders to keep running Mullins out there every day, and they seem happy to play Colton Cowser in center field, which is a bad sign for the veteran.

Spencer Torkelson – 1B, DET: 41% rostered
We’ve talked about cutting Torkelson for a few weeks and now he’s in Triple-A. Why are we still holding him? Stop trying to make Fetch happen.

Christian Scott – SP, NYM: 20% rostered
Yes, Scott was demoted to Triple-A last week but that was all due to schedule. The Mets had the recent trip to London gave them far more off days. They also have a few scheduled off days at the end of June, so this upcoming month is one where they won’t need a full rotation and can limit Scott’s innings to make sure he can pitch for them deeper into the season. He will miss a few turns in the rotation, but if you have a deep enough staff to stash him for a few weeks, I think it’ll pay off for you big time in the end.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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