Latest News

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Watch: TJ Friedl returns, Matt Vierling gets hot

June 2nd, 2024

Welcome to Waiver Wire Watch, where we review the top fantasy baseball 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.

Listen to the Rotoworld Baseball Show for the latest player news, waiver claims, roster advice, and more from our experts all season long. Click here or download it wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Diamondbacks

7

vs SF, at SD

Orioles

7

at TOR, at TB

Reds

7

at COL, vs CHC

Rockies

7

vs CIN, at STL

Padres

7

at LAA, vs ARI

Cardinals

7

at HOU, vs COL

Blue Jays

7

vs BAL, at OAK

Nationals

7

vs NYM, vs ATL

Matt Vierling – 3B/OF, DET: 57% rostered (was 39% rostered as of Friday)
(POWER UPSIDE, STABLE PLAYING TIME)

Yes, Vierling has now exceeded the 50% threshold, but he was well below it when I started drafting this, so I’m going to keep him here. I had Vierling on here once early in the year when I was intrigued by his batted-ball quality. He’s chasing far less out of the zone this year and while that hasn’t led to any crazy changes in contact rate, I think it indicates a shift in the type of pitches Vierling is making contact on. It’s part of the reason that his barrel rates have improved, and since he’s also pulling the ball almost 10% more than last year, and lifting it 10% more, his HR/FB rate is way up and he’s making more meaningful contact. I don’t believe this is some major breakout, but I think he has the makings of a solid regular in deeper formats and a priority add in shallow leagues while he’s hitting well.

Joey Ortiz – 2B/3B, MIL (44% rostered)
(RUNS, STARTING JOB)

Ortiz was in this article last week and continues to play regularly and play well, so I’ll keep him on here. 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, hitting 23-for-75 (.307) in May with four home runs, 16 runs, and 12 RBI in 23 games. Ortiz is 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. He also stole 11 bases last year, so he will likely swipe a base or two as the year goes on. 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.

Tyler Freeman – 2B/3B/SS/OF, CLE: 40% rostered
(SPEED AND RUNS)

Tyler Freeman has been quite a surprise this season, but there are a lot of things to like about what he’s doing and the Guardians moving him to the top of the lineup has been great for his fantasy value. Freeman makes a good deal of contact with a 92% zone contact rate and 85% contact overall. That contact isn’t weak either, with a 5% barrel rate and 109.2 mph max exit velocity. Freeman is pulling the ball more than in years past, and I think his .223 batting average is being dragged down by a .237 BABIP. He could hit .260 from here on out and finish the year with 10 home runs and 15 steals while hitting lead-off for the Guardians. That’s viable in many fantasy formats.

TJ Friedl – OF, CIN: 38% rostered
(BACK FROM INJURY, SPEED UPSIDE)

Friedl is back from injury. Again. The Reds inserted him right back into the top of the lineup. This offense hasn’t been as dynamic as we expected coming into the season, but there are clearly still some talented hitters and the ballpark is great. Friedl may be more of a .260 hitter than the .280 one he was last year, but the speed is real and if this offense gets going, he could be a solid source of runs while hitting 8-10 home runs and stealing 15 bases the rest of the way.

Jake Meyers – OF, HOU: 39% rostered
(STARTING JOB, BATTING AVERAGE)

I had Meyers on here last week, and he was the main add in my Weekly Rotoworld Add/Drop on YouTube, but his roster rate only went up 20%. Jake Meyers has been playing well and has continued to start since Chas McCormick came back from injury, but people don’t seem to want to pick him up. In May, Meyers is 28-for-85 (.329) with three home runs, 11 runs scored, 14 RBI, and three steals. He makes a lot of contact, is barreling the ball 10% of the time, and pulling the ball more than he ever has. Now that we understand there is no immediate threat to his playing time, he needs to be added in more formats.

You can also add Kevin Pillar – OF, LAA (38% rostered), but I wouldn’t go crazy. Yes, he’s swinging a hot bat right now, but we also know who Kevin Pillar is at this point in his career. This performance is certainly not going to keep up, and the lineup will hinder the counting stats, but Pillar has shown good speed before and has always made a decent amount of contact, so just ride the hot streak while it lasts.

Keibert Ruiz – C, WAS (30% rostered)
(BATTING AVERAGE)

I was high on Ruiz coming into the season as a great source of batting average at the catcher position. However, a severe illness cost him time and caused him to lose over 10 pounds. As a result, he really struggled to start the year, but things seem to be coming around of late. However, over the last two weeks, he’s 13-for-39 (.333) with one home run, seven RBI, and one steal. He’s not going to hit for massive power, but he hits in the middle of the order which will help with his contact stats, and I do trust his batting average.

I also like adding Patrick Bailey – C, SF (23% 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.

Nick Gonzales – 2B/SS, PIT (36% rostered)
(PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITY, BATTING AVERAGE, RBI)

Gonzales is another repeat on this list, so I’ll keep what I said last week 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 also a higher pull rate and more hard contact. Since he’s been up at the MLB level, he’s lifting the ball more with a 50% fly ball rate that has helped lead to a 14.6% barrel rate and five 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 .315 with three home runs, two steals, and 16 RBI in 20 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: 25% rostered
(STARTING JOB, SPEED – I GUESS)

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 10 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.

Another speed option, and a more traditional one, is Winker’s teammate Jacob Young – OF, WAS (22% 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, but he is 11-for-39 (.282) over the last two weeks, so maybe he won’t drag down your average too much either. Just keep in mind that he was removed from Saturday’s game with swelling in his hand, so you’ll want to keep looking for updates regarding what happened.

Masyn Winn – SS, STL: 24% rostered
(EVERY DAY JOB, BATTING AVERAGE UPSIDE)

I’m not sure people realize that Masyn Winn was riding an 18-game hitting streak that just ended on Saturday. He’s 16-for-81 (.309) in May with two home runs, 11 RBI, 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 so I wouldn’t go crazy on your bids. If you need a batting average asset, Winn is a good bet though.

JJ Bleday – OF, OAK (21% rostered)
(POWER UPSIDE, PLAYING TIME)

I had Bleday on here earlier in the month, and he’s worked his way back onto this list again after he popped on my plate discipline leaders article over the winter. The former fourth-overall pick is continuing to show a strong understanding of the strike zone while lifting the ball more but using the whole field instead of trying to yank everything. That has helped up his barrel rate and he still has enough raw power to drive the ball out of the yard. In 28 games in May, Bleday is hitting .252 with five home runs, 17 runs scored, and 13 RBI. That’s worthy of an add in deeper formats.

Another outfield option is Adam Duvall – OF, ATL (9% rostered), who should see far more playing time with Ronald Acuña Jr. out. I’ve been intrigued by some of the plate discipline gains Duvall has shown in a limited sample size this year. He’s chasing far less out of the zone and making a career-high contact. We now the type of power that Duvall possesses, so if he’s able to make more consistent contact then he could have a few solid weeks ahead of him.

Colt Keith – 2B, DET: 17% rostered
(POWER UPSIDE, HOT STRETCH)

Keith has now been on this list for the last two weeks, but his roster rate doesn’t seem to want to go up. This was one of the top hitting prospects in baseball who struggled initially to make the transition but has been coming on of late, and nobody seems to care. He’s had a good month of May and while the full power profile hasn’t materialized yet, the 22-year-old is showing improved contact ability and the quality of the contact has also gotten better. He’s hitting toward the middle of the Tigers’ lineup and is getting more comfortable at the MLB level, so it might be time to take a gamble in 12-team formats as well.

Another middle infield option for deeper formats is Brett Wisely – 2B/SS/OF, SF (3% rostered), who has carved out the strong side platoon role at shortstop. He hits ninth in the order, but he has a .355 average with seven RBI in 13 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 skillset. He won’t help you too much in counting stats at the bottom of the lineup, but if you need batting average with some chip-in steals, he’s a good option.

Andrew McCutchen – OF, PIT: 8% rostered.
(POWER UPSIDE, PLAYING TIME)

I know McCutchen is only UTIL eligible in some leagues, so it makes him less desirable, but we should be paying attention to what he’s doing at the plate. He’s gone 26-for-94 (.277) in 24 games in May with five home runs, 17 runs scored, and 12 RBI. He’s playing every day in Pittsburgh and also hit .256 with 12 home runs and 11 steals in 112 games last year, so it’s not as if he’s totally washed. He can still give you stretches of solid production and is worthy of a lineup spot in deeper leagues.

David Hamilton – 2B/SS, BOS: 5% rostered
(PLAYING TIME, MAJOR SPEED UPSIDE)

Meet the starting shortstop on the Boston Red Sox. Hamilton has now started five of the last six 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 .333/.393/.490 in 19 games in May with one home run, nine runs scored, and seven 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.

If you’re also just looking for speed, you can add Jorge Mateo – 2B/SS, BAL (7% rostered), who has five steals in the last two weeks. Mateo has more competition for playing time, so I worry about his hold on the starting job, and we’ve also seen him go in the tank offensively many times in his career. In fact, he’s hitting just .194 over the last two weeks, so this is really just a speed play.

Miguel Andujar – OF, OAK (19% rostered)

(PLAYING TIME, POWER UPSIDE)

Andujar is back from injury and starting regularly. He was an intriguing prospect but was never able to lock down a full-time job, in part because his defense wasn’t good. Yet, he’s getting a chance in Oakland and has gone 13-for-39 (.448) in seven games with two home runs and 12 RBI. Obviously, this level isn’t going to keep up, but he’s worthy of a pick-up in deeper formats just to see how much value you can get from him.

This embedded content is not available in your region.

Jose Miranda – 3B, MIN (4% rostered)
(STARTING JOB, POWER UPSIDE)

Miranda isn’t going to knock your socks off, but sometimes you just want to make a waiver claim that will plug a hole and not hurt your team. Miranda has emerged as the starting third baseman in Minnesota and seems immune from their platoon trends. He’s gone 23-of-85 (.271) in May with three home runs, 15 runs scored, and 11 RBI. Again, not production that will blow you away but production that is stable and can help in deeper formats.

Heliot Ramos – OF, SF (2% rostered)
(PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITY)

Ramos has already proven to be more of a stable fantasy asset than his teammate, Luis Matos – OF, SF (25% rostered) who is 7-for-52 since his hot start. I mentioned in the past weeks that I believed Ramos might be the better long-term bet, and that’s turning out to be the case. He’s striking out 33% of the time in 16 games with the Giants, which isn’t ideal, but he has a 10.2% walk rate and 12% barrel rate. His groundball rate is climbing back closer to 50% and Michael Conforto is on his way back so I wouldn’t bid crazy here. In fact, I might even stash Conforto if he was available.

Ben Lively – SP, CLE: 44% rostered

Ben Lively gets yet another good start this week against Miami, so we’re gonna keep this thing going. Yes, Ben Lively is not as good as his 2.84 ERA suggests, but he is also a different pitcher after his time in Korea and belongs in the streaming conversation. His only truly bad start was a game against the Rangers you should never have been starting him in. He looked solid against the Mets to start this week and now gets the Nationals next week. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get five or six innings with two runs allowed and six or seven strikeouts. I like that as a stream, but he’s a streamer only.

Ben Brown – SP, CHC 59% rostered

Brown’s rostered percentage has spiked, but don’t add him thinking you’re getting a repeat of what we saw on Tuesday in his electric start. He has a fine but not great four-seam fastball but a tremendous curve. There is some strikeout upside here, but the Cubs have been pretty stingy with his innings (when he’s not throwing a no-hitter), so he’s not lock to even go five innings when he starts. He has a tough start in Cincinnati this week, but he has the raw talent to be added off the waivers this week to see if he can build out a role for himself. Just be aware that Jordan Wicks is coming back this week too.

Jose Soriano – SP, LAA 14% rostered

I’m a fan of Soriano’s 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. I know the last start against the Mariners wasn’t great, and he’s tough to start against San Diego this week, but I think he has a chance to be a pick-up who can stick on your roster in 15-team leagues or deeper, so I’d keep an eye on him.

Matt Waldron – SP, SD: 16% 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.

I also covered Cal Quantrill – SP, COL (21% rostered) in the same article, and I do believe in Quantrill’s splitter enough to start him this week against the Cardinals on the road. As with every Rockies pitcher, you need to be really careful, but I feel good enough about this start in deeper leagues.

Tylor Megill – SP, NYM (12% rostered)
Megill has been pretty electric in his two starts since coming off the IL. I don’t know how long this is going to stick, but I think it’s worth adding Megill just in case some level of this is real. We’ve seen him flash velocity in the past, and his new splitter has the makings of a really good offering. I have no idea how consistent he will be, and his injury history doesn’t inspire much confidence, but there aren’t many streamers with his upside on the wire.

Robert Gasser – SP, MIL (35% rostered)
I know Gasser doesn’t miss bats in the way Paul Skenes or Ben Brown do, so he’s not exciting to fantasy managers, but he’s a pretty good pitcher. He has a deep arsenal of pitches and good command of them, so it’s unlikely that he really gets lit up. He’s still learning how to maximize his arsenal, so there will be some games where he doesn’t deliver big strikeout numbers, but I think Gasser is a safe option with a good schedule this week.

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

Jeremiah Estrada – RP, SD: 34% 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.

Yimi Garcia – RP, TOR – 31% rostered
Jordan Romano has been battling elbow issues and now finds himself on the IL. When Romano was on the IL earlier in the season, Garcia got the highest leverage innings. That didn’t always amount to save chances, but it shows his status in the pecking order. Now, Chad Green – RP, TOR wasn’t healthy then either, so a small bid on him could make some sense too until we see how this situation plays out.

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

Rays

5

at MIA, vs BAL

Phillies

5

vs MIL, at NYM

Mets

5

at WAS, vs PHI

Marlins

5

vs TB, vs CLE

Xander Bogaerts – SS, SD: 75% rostered
People, Bogaerts has a broken shoulder. There’s no guarantee he plays 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.

Lourdes Gurriel – OF, ARI: 67% rostered

I had Gurriel on here a couple of weeks ago, but he continues to struggle at the dish, going just 11-for-42 (.262) over the last two weeks with one home run and one steal. He’s been outiside the top 700 players in Yahoo standard 5×5 scoring over the last month. Gurriel was likely a fringe roster player at the start of the season but then he got off to a torrid start and now people are hesitant to drop him after he’s cooled off considerably. Remember what you thought about him before the season started and ask yourself how you would have reacted to him if he was outside the top 700 players after one month. Would that still be a player you’d hold onto?

Cedric Mullins – OF, BAL: 66% rostered
This is for shallower formats because I think Mullins will continue to play as the Orioles’ best option in center field and has four steals over the last week, so we know he can still run. However, Mullins is hitting .148 in 18 games in May with 19 strikeouts and zero home runs. Because of his speed, I’m not cutting him in 15-team leagues and I could see holding him in 12-team leagues with deep benches where I need the speed, but in shallower formats or leagues where I feel comfortable about my speed, I’d rather play some of the hot bats over Mullins.

Justin Turner – 1B/2B/3B, TOR: 53% rostered

Justin Turner is on here again because his roster rate is just not dropping. Turner has not looked the same for the Blue Jays as he did in Boston last year, and I think Father Time is lurking here. Turner is now hitting 7-for-67 (.104) over the last month with no home runs, three runs, and five RBI in 21 games. I’m just not really sure what he’s bringing to the table to be rostered in this many formats. Do we still believe the Blue Jays are going to wake up into one of the better offenses in baseball? I just don’t see it.

Christian Scott – SP, NYM: 21% rostered

Yes, Scott was demoted to Triple-A on Friday but that was all due to schedule. The Mets have an upcoming trip to London which is giving 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 »
Disclaimer/Note: TGM Radio’s latest news posts are a collection of curated and aggregated, fresh content from the best news sources across the globe.

Tags:

Comments are closed.