Waiver Wire Report (Week 18)

What a nightmare to figure out who’s fantasy value is up, the same, or down from all the deadline trades and subsequent roster adds and drops. All the players traded on Friday weren’t with their new teams until yesterday, so it’s tough to know everyone’s role. With so much going on, I’d recommend two things.

  1. Check Sunday lineups for who is playing and their lineup position. I made the following rankings knowing who played on Saturday, but the valuations could change a ton come Sunday as lineup positions and closer roles clear up.
  2. Be careful with drops. Just because a player is on a new team with a good lineup spot, it doesn’t mean that they have to be added. Ensure any add improves the fantasy team.

In the article, I cover the players using CBS’s (40% or less initial roster rate) and Yahoo’s ADD/DROP rates. Both hosting sites have the option for daily and weekly waiver wire adds. CBS uses a weekly change while Yahoo looks at the last 24 hours. Yahoo is a great snapshot of right now while CBS ensures hot targets from early in the week aren’t missed. The players are ordered for redraft leagues by my rest-of-season preference grouped by starters, relievers, and hitters.

Hitters

Harrison Bader: Since the strikeout drop has stuck (32% to 15%), he’s a must roster in all formats (9 HR, 6 SB, .294 AVG).

Gregory Polanco He’s turned around his season by hitting .286/.422/.543 with 2 HR in July. The gains have come from raising his walk rate to 17% and dropping his strikeout rate to 20%. His in-the-zone contact rate and chase rate are coming back to his 2018 levels when he hit a .839 OPS with 23 HR and 12 SB. He just might finally be healthy.

Brian Anderson: He is continuing to hit like he always has with a .269 AVG and 5 HR in just 159 PA. The surprise this season has been the 4 SB since his previous career-high was 5 SB.

Abraham Toro: Between the Mariners and Astros, he’s been OK (.235 AVG with 8 HR and 4 SB in 133 PA). With the Mariners, he’s played second base in each game (vs RH and LH starters) while hitting in the 5th or sixth spot.

Ji-Man Choi: He’s become a regular at first base starting in 11 of the 14 games with six of seven of those coming with Nelson Cruz on the team. For the season, he’s hitting .258/.375/.445 with 7 HR in 184 PA.

Patrick Wisdom: In just 177 PA, Wisdom is hitting .269/.339/.600 with 16 HR on the season. With all the players the Cubs traded away, Wisdom is now batting cleanup. He was on fire to start the season and has slowly cooled down (1.133 OPS in May to .950 in June and to .785 in July). He has a ton of swing-and-miss in his game (38% K%) with the 7th lowest Contact% in the league (min 150 PA, 324 hitters). As his .355 BABIP has regressed his batting average has dropped (.236 AVG in July).

José Iglesias: He’s been good enough (7 HR, 4 SB, .279/.308/.395) to be ranked as the 22nd best shortstop in the league. He’s a fine middle-infield option in 15-team leagues.

Kyle Farmer: The shortstop has started 11 straight games with the last two in the #2 spot. He’s caught fire in July with a 1.105 OPS propped up by a .431 BABIP. I dug through all his batted ball and plate discipline metrics and nothing has changed from the career sub.-.700 OPS hitter. He just had a career month and a return to the norm should be coming soon.

Brent Rooker: He’s started seven straight while hitting second for the last six. While he’s struggled to make contact (31% K%, .196 AVG), he’s hit for decent power (4 HR, .464 SLG).

Rodolfo Castro: With the trade of Adam Frazier, 22-year-old Castro will now get the chance to show his potential (started in the last four games). He’s already hit 5 HR in just 31 PA, so there is some power. In AA, he hit 11 HR but also stole six bags, so there is also some speed. Before 2021, he had a strikeout rate of around 25% but it’s around 20% this season.

LaMonte Wade Jr: First off, he is currently out with a lower leg injury. He normally bats against right-handed pitchers (Darin Ruf 러프 vs LHP) and has a stat line of .256/.343/.564 with 12 HR and 3 SB. Playing time will now become a concern with the addition of Kris Bryant and Brandon Belt being on a rehab assignment. He might get squeezed into just a few pinch-hit at-bats.

Wilmer Flores: He’s started 13 of the last 14 games while hitting OK on the season (.249 AVG, 12 HR, 1 SB). His playing time could dry up once Evan Longoria returns from the IL. Also, he’s hurt and may miss some time.

Willi Castro: He gives fantasy managers glimpses of being a dual-threat (7 HR, 4 SB), but he’s just not a good hitter (.627 OPS on the season, .545 OPS in July). The Tigers aren’t sold on the talent either by hitting him 7th or 8th every day.

Josh Harrison: Harrison was a perfect fantasy bench bat. He wasn’t not going to win anyone a league (.294 AVG, 6 HR, 5 SB), but he wasn’t not going to hurt them either. In several leagues, I start each week with him on my bench but he ended up in the lineup because of injuries. The issue now is his role in Oakland after being traded. The team is set with everyone hitting over the last month, so Harrison will spend most of his time on the bench.

Thairo Estrada: He had a nice run (.323/.397/.492 with 3 HR and 1 SB) when Brandon Crawford was on the IL, but he is most likely headed back to being a utility bat. There is a scenario I could see where he takes over for Donovan Solano (.681 OPS) at second base or slot into third with Wilmer Flores hurt.

Tyrone Taylor: The 27-year-old has started eight of the last 10 games with Lorenzo Cain and/or Christian Yelich on the IL. Taylor’s been productive (.269/.351/.491 with 9 HR and 5 SB in 171 PA) when playing. He might get another week of playing time, but then it’ll be back to the bench.

Ronald Torreyes: He’s been playing all around the field since about the All-Star break (15 of 17 games). He’s always been a fantasy afterthought with his lack of power (career .098 ISO), but his 107 Max EV is 5 mph more than his previous career high and his 43% GB% is 7% points under his career average. Even with the extra power, he hasn’t “barrelled” up a ball in three seasons. All his HR this season have been wall scrapers.

Rougned Odor: Odor continues to do Odor things like hit home runs and post a low batting average. His run with the Yankees just might be over the addition of first baseman Anthony Rizzo. DJ LeMahieu will likely slide over to second base and Odor will head to the bench.

Rowdy Tellez: Well, he had a starting job, but with the addition of Eduardo Escobar and with Daniel Vogelbach on a rehab assignment, Tellez will likely get regulated to pinch-hitting duties.

Jack Mayfield: With Anthony Rendon on the IL, the 30-year-old Mayfield has been playing third base and not really hitting (.195/.233/.378). He’s been on a bit of a hot streak with 4 HR since July 17th.

Catchers

Daulton Varsho: The idea of a running catcher who could accumulate at-bats is a fantasy (manager’s) dream. The deal is that he is just not a good hitter (.205/.321/.385) with his 14% BB% (up some from batting 8th before the pitchers) being his only real positive.

Keibert Ruiz: After being traded from the Dodgers to the Nations, the touted prospect will start the season in AAA where he’ll continue to hit (.311 AVG and 16 HR). He’ll get promoted at some point this season.

Hittin Prospect

Jose Miranda: I think there was hope that Josh Donaldson would be traded and Miranda would be promoted. For now, he’ll just keep hitting in AAA (.356/.421/.669 with 9 HR).

CBS Hitter Rostership Rates
Name Prev Roster% Current Roster% Increase
Patrick Wisdom 3B CHC 38% 40% 2%
Brian Anderson 3B MIA 33% 36% 3%
Josh Harrison 2B OAK 29% 37% 8%
Jose Iglesias SS LAA 28% 31% 3%
Willi Castro 2B DET 27% 30% 3%
Wilmer Flores 3B SF 23% 25% 2%
Daulton Varsho C ARI 19% 46% 27%
Harrison Bader CF STL 18% 52% 34%
Abraham Toro-Hernandez 2B SEA 14% 17% 3%
Rougned Odor 2B NYY 12% 16% 4%
Gregory Polanco RF PIT 12% 16% 4%
Keibert Ruiz C WAS 9% 14% 5%
Ji-Man Choi 1B TB 8% 10% 2%
LaMonte Wade 1B SF 6% 17% 11%
Rowdy Tellez 1B MIL 6% 13% 7%
Jose Miranda 3B MIN 4% 13% 9%
Kyle Farmer SS CIN 4% 10% 6%
Brent Rooker LF MIN 4% 8% 4%
Thairo Estrada SS SF 4% 6% 2%
Tyrone Taylor LF MIL 2% 7% 5%
Rodolfo Castro 2B PIT 2% 5% 3%
Ronald Torreyes SS PHI 1% 3% 2%
Jack Mayfield 3B LAA 0% 2% 2%

Starting Pitchers

Logan Webb: Webb should be 100% rostered by this point. Before going on the IL he had a 3.63 ERA (2.96 xFIP) and a 2.40 (3.63 xFIP) since returning. He plays for one of the best teams in the NL with a 9.4 K/9 and a 59% GB%.

Tanner Houck: He has been amazing so far this season (12.3 K/9, 1.09 WHIP, and 2.45 ERA), but got demoted to AAA. On this upcoming Saturday, he is supposed to be promoted to start one game in a doubleheader. One issue with him is that he’s just a two-pitch guy (fastball-slider) and has struggled the second time through the order (0.87 ERA 1st TTO, 4.05 ERA 2nd TTO).

Touki Toussaint: While he got lit up for 7 Runs with 2 HR in his last start, his profile is still interesting with a 10.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 52% GB%. With so few starting pitcher options, he’s one of the best available adds.

Reid Detmers: The highly-touted prospect got his debut pushed back from Saturday to Sunday. He’s been lights out in the minors with a 16.2 K/9, 1.17 WHIP, and 3.50 ERA in AA. He made one AAA start throwing a six-inning shutout with 9 K. The projections already have him for 10.3 K/9 and 4.03 ERA. That’ll play.

Brad Keller In July, Keller’s been decent with an 8.5 K/9, 2.28 ERA, and 1.05 WHIP. During July, he upped his slider (14% SwStr%) usage from 31% to 44%. Additionally, he’s dropped his walk rate from 4.7 BB/9 to 3.3 BB/9. He could again be a decent streaming option.

Luis Patiño: He’s slowly being worked up and averaged over 95 pitches in his last three starts where he has a 4.86 ERA. That value could be even worse as seen by his 5.09 xFIP. Since he’s effectively a fastball-slider pitcher (throws a below-average change and curve) and therefore has struggled the second time through the order (3.00 ERA 1st TTO, 6.30 ERA 2nd TTO). A few good relief innings are masking a ton of flaws as a starter.

Tyler Anderson: He’s been a fine streamer with a 4.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 7.5 K/9. In my opinion, his trade to Oakland doesn’t improve his value enough to be started every time through the rotation.

Adrian Houser: Houser is a fine pitcher who has seen his walk rate creep up (4.0 BB/9 on the season, 4.5 BB/9 in July). His 60% GB% helping prop up his value.

Michael Wacha: He’s been on fire (at least for him) since his June 24th start with 10.9 K/9, 4.18 ERA, and 1.18 WHIP. The only noticeable change is that he’s throwing his changeup (19% SwStr%) more (25% to 30%). Also, he hasn’t been decent when a long reliever with a 3.63 ERA when starting and a 9.42 ERA when relieving.

Nestor Cortes: The 26-year-old is being stretched out as a starter (season-high 79 pitches, 5 IP in his last start) but may go back to relieving with the addition of Andrew Heaney. In 13 IP as a starter, he has a 1.38 ERA and 7.6 K/9. All four of his pitches (four-seamer, cutter, slider, changeup) have a swinging-strike rate between 9.2% and 10.4%. He’s been able to take the step forward by walking fewer batters (2.8 BB/9 in 2021, 3.9 BB/9 for his career), throwing harder (90.5 mph fastball in 2021, 88.1 in 2020), adding a cutter, and dropping his curve (4% SwStr%).

Matt Harvey: He’s thrown three straight shoutouts against KC, DET, and WAS. One key is that he only walked one batter in all three starts. During those starts, he moved away from his four-seamer (39% to 20%, 7% SwStr%) and started throwing his changeup (12% to 17%, 5% SwStr%) and curve (10% to 18%, 12% SwStr%) more. Hitters seemed to be sitting on the four-seamer (.974 vsOPS) and throwing it fewer times is the key to the improvement. He seems to finally embrace being a junkballer in a Johnny Cueto sort of way.

Daniel Lynch: He struggled (15.75 ERA) in a May promotion, but the results have been better this time around (1.93 ERA). While he dropped his walk rate (5.6 BB/9 to 1.3 BB/9), his strikeouts are also down (7.9 K/9 to 3.9 K/9). One adjustment he made in the minors was adding an 85 mph cutter (26% SwStr%, 50% GB%). He could definitely afford to throw it more.

Cal Quantrill: Since the All-Star game, Quantrill has a 1.59 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, but nothing in his profile has changed. His first-half K-BB% “jumped” from 8.6% to 8.7% and ERA is down because of luck (91% LOB%, .229 BABIP, 0.5 HR/FB%) as seen with his 4.74 xFIP. As a starter this season he has a 4.68 ERA and that is in line with his talent (4.42 FIP, 4.89 xFIP).

Spenser Watkins: He was scheduled for two starts this week and the first one (vs MIA) didn’t go as planned (4 ER, 1 K, 4 IP). While he still has a 3.10 ERA, his ERA estimators are in the 4.50 to 5.50 range.

Braxton Garrett: He keeps getting a random call up to the majors where he’s performed like an AAAA pitcher (4.37 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 1.54 WHIP). He’s just not rosterable at this point in a weekly league because it’s impossible to know when he’ll start.

CBS Starting Pitcher Rostership Rates
Name Prev Roster% Current Roster% Increase
Logan Webb SP SF 39% 43% 4%
Touki Toussaint SP ATL 31% 61% 30%
Brad Keller SP KC 31% 39% 8%
Tanner Houck SP BOS 29% 40% 11%
Tyler Anderson SP SEA 27% 31% 4%
Luis Patino SP TB 23% 29% 6%
Adrian Houser SP MIL 20% 22% 2%
Daniel Lynch SP KC 13% 17% 4%
Cal Quantrill RP CLE 12% 16% 4%
Reid Detmers SP LAA 11% 18% 7%
Michael Wacha SP TB 11% 15% 4%
Spenser Watkins SP BAL 6% 10% 4%
Braxton Garrett SP MIA 4% 7% 3%
Matt Harvey SP BAL 3% 5% 2%
Nestor Cortes RP NYY 2% 4% 2%

Closers – Saves based rankings

Heath Hembree: Decent reliever who is the closer.

Gregory Soto: Decent reliever who is the closer.

Kyle Finnegan: Good reliever who is most likely the closer.

Tyler Clippard: Decent reliever who is mostly the closer.

• Scott Barlow: Good closer who is sharing the closer’s role.

Dylan Floro: OK reliever who is most likely the closer.

• David Bednar: Good reliever who might be the closer.

Andrew Kittredge: Decent reliever who might have a share of the closer’s role for a short time.

Dan Winkler: OK reliever who might be the closer.

Anthony Bender: Great reliever who has a small chance of being the closer.

Paul Sewald: Great reliever who still looks to be the backup.

CBS Reliever Rostership Rates
Name Prev Roster% Current Roster% Increase
Gregory Soto RP DET 37% 42% 5%
Heath Hembree RP CIN 36% 38% 2%
Andrew Kittredge RP TB 19% 21% 2%
Paul Sewald RP SEA 18% 37% 19%
Scott Barlow RP KC 17% 19% 2%
Anthony Bender RP MIA 9% 12% 3%
David Bednar RP PIT 7% 13% 6%
Dylan Floro RP MIA 2% 4% 2%
Tyler Clippard RP ARI 1% 3% 2%
Kyle Finnegan RP WAS 0% 12% 12%
Dan Winkler RP CHC 0% 2% 2%





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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rthompson
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rthompson

Rowdy Tellez is the starting 1b for the Brewers, he will sit against lefties, he’s the strong side platoon.

wschampionredsox04
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wschampionredsox04

Agreed! Vogelbach is not taking PT from Rowdy Rowdy. He’s been en fuego since arrival.

blueboy714
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blueboy714

That’s most of the Brewers’ 1B can’t hit their weight – and somehow they keep winning. It’s been fun watching them all year.