Waiver Wire Targets: Week 7

I feel like I write up the same hitters every week and they slowly creep over my 40% threshold. Almost all of them are over 95% owned in my 15-team leagues. The deal is that after going over the lineups, there hasn’t been much turnover from the minors. Additionally, not many difference-making pitchers on the wire. It might be time to focus on adding minor league prospects.

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

Robbie Grossman: With his batting average trending up (Apr: .212 AVG, May: .302), he’s a must-add with the four homers and seven steals.

Harrison Bader: Another must-add in all formats with his power-speed combination. The key for him maintaining his value will be continuing to halve his career strikeout rate (29% to 15%).

Austin Hays: The 25-year-old been fine since coming off the IL with five homers and a .250 AVG. His power is a little more than projected but his 110 Max EV is a career-high and his 36% GB is a career-low. He might have 25-30 HR upside.

Avisaíl García: The stats look great (5 HR, 3 SB, .267 AVG), but he’s only started in six of the last ten games. He is sharing time with Lorenzo Cain (.688 OPS), Tyrone Taylor (.738 OPS), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (.532 OPS) To me, it seems like Garcia (.771 OPS) should be playing more than Bradley. He might get that chance with Cain starting four straight in center field.

Cesar Hernandez: After struggling in April (.527 OPS), he’s on fire so far in May (.906 OPS) while continuing to leading off. An accumulator.

Brandon Crawford: His counting stats have been great (8 HR, 3 SB), but his deserved .235 AVG (.245 xAVG) drags down value.

Brandon Belt: He’s selling out for power (8 HR, 56% Pull%, 32% K%) and it’s working. One dimensional bat.

Adam Duvall: Another power-only bat (7 HR, .263 OBP) whose strikeout and walk rates are career worsts (5% BB%, 32% K%). He’s also, pulling the ball more than ever (52%) to get some cheap homers.

Pavin Smith: He’s cooled off some (Apr: .765 OPS, May: .710 OPS) but his bland profile and dual position qualification make him an ideal bench bat.

Josh Harrison: He started out hot but has been regressing back to being Josh Harrison (Apr: .901 OPS, May: .635). A multi-position qualified bench bat.

Josh Naylor: With so many hitters struggling this season, Naylor has been quietly productive (3 HR, 1 SB, .274 AVG).

Freddy Galvis: A fine replacement-level bat who is not great in any one category, but acceptable in all. The counting stats might be getting a boost since he’s moved up to hitting 4th or 5th in the Orioles lineup.

Odúbel Herrera: He struggled in five April games (.205 OPS), but has taken off in May (.824 OPS). He started nine straight and helped solidify a black hole in the lineup. He doesn’t provide much power or speed, but is a warm body playing every day.

Hunter Renfroe: He has less power and all the flaws of the players ranked ahead of him. Feels like a replacement-level outfielder and I’m ranking him as such.

Marwin Gonzalez: Being qualified at every position including tight end can only help is fantasy value so much. A .654 OPS is fine, but I’d rather have the other multi-position bats ranked ahead of him.

Niko Goodrum: On the surface, everything seems great (4 HR, 6 SB, .243 AVG), but that batting average could become a sink like last season (.184 AVG). His 40% K% is already weighing on it and if his .400 BABIP starts to regress to his career rate (.323 BABIP), his AVG could quickly be under .200.

Charlie Culberson: He’s started nine of the last 11 while posting a decent slash line on the season (.280/.322/.463). It’ll be interesting to see if he keeps the regular playing time once Brock Holt returns.

Michael Chavis: He’s started four straight, so there’s playing time for now. For his career, he has 24 HR, 5 SB, and a .241 AVG over 562 PA. I guess he’s rosterable but I’d feel dirty doing it.

Asdrúbal Cabrera: The results were just starting to match the quality of contact metric (.984 OPS in May), and then he went on the IL for a strained hamstring. While he might not be worth adding this week, roster him once he’s back.

Austin Slater: He’s a poor man’s Robbie Grossman. All the gains Slater made in lowering his strikeout rate in 2020 (31% to 21%), he’s given back and then some this year (35% K%). He’s still providing decent power (4 HR) and speed (6 SB). The biggest issue for him right now is that he’s not starting (still pinch-hitting) with his last start being back on the seventh. With all the roto potential, he not hitting enough (.710 OPS) to start.

Seth Brown: He’s on the strong side of a platoon with Stephen Piscotty. It’s tough to start him against those righties with his middling stats (5 HR, .217 AVG).

Josh Fuentes: I’d like the idea of rostering Fuentes, but a couple of items are holding back his value. First, he’s not been a good hitter with a .617 OPS (.816 at home). Second, it’s tough to know if and when he’ll play. He’s started seven of the last 10 games. In the previous 10 games, he only started five. He’s sort of streamable at home.

Kevin Pillar: Pillar is a one-week add at most. He’s in for Nimmo who is on a rehab assignment. With a .706 OPS, he’s not forcing the Mets hand to continue to play him. The one possible option is that he takes Dominic Smith’s (.627 OPS) spot in the outfield. More likely is that the pair splits time killing both of their fantasy values.

Taylor Ward: Since being promoted, he’s hit in eight of the last nine games with power (.233 ISO, 2 HR) and little else (.588 OPS). With Adell and Marsh in the minors, his time may be limited.

Matt Duffy: He’s started four straight with the Cubs facing AL teams. His playing time will likely dry up once it’s back to the NL and Ian Happ comes off the IL especially since he’s not hitting that great (.654 OPS).

Trevor Larnach: Unrosterable at this point. He’s on the strong side of a platoon with Kyle Garlick. He’s not hitting (.544) enough to force the Twins to keep him up once everyone else is healthy.

Matt Beaty: I think fantasy managers must be attracted to the empty .304 AVG. Nothing else points to him being worth an add. He hasn’t barreled up a single ball. He’s only started five of the last 10 games.

Catchers

Willians Astudillo: He starting to steal first base at-bats from Miguel Sano. While still hasn’t walked once, he’s a productive catcher in all formats (.316/.312/.487).

Yan Gomes: He’s hitting for some power (4 HR) to go with a .288 AVG. He should be rostered by someone in all formats.

William Contreras: He is fitting into the league-wide catcher mold, no batting average (.226 AVG) with some power (2 HR, .290 ISO).

Mike Zunino: The dude just hits bombs (8) and strikes out (35% K%). Embrace the inner Zunino.

Jacob Stallings: A .237 AVG and two homers are about right for a replacement-level catcher.

Danny Jansen: For Jansen to be added, he must have heated up since he still has a .397 OPS. He has a .641 OPS in May with three homers. Not horrible considering how most of the other catchers are hitting.

Hitting Prospects – I decided to pull out the prospects from the rest of the hitters. I want to focus on talented hitters, show that talent (hitting right now to force a call up), and has a spot in the majors. If all three aren’t met, I don’t find they are worth stashing.

Jarren Duran (.993 OPS, 4 HR, 2 SB): There has been talk of Duran moving to the infield, but there is a good chance he’ll be promoted to play outfield since that’s where he’s playing AAA games. With Franchy Coredo struggling (.397 OPS) and the Red Sox in first place, I could see this move happen.

Vidal Bruján (1.177 OPS, 4 HR, 2 SB): He’s been lights out and played at second (4 games), third (1), and outfield (5) in the minors. With the Rays playing guys at multiple positions, I and not surprised he has been around the diamond.

Jo Adell (1.048 OPS, 4 HR, 2 SB, 37% K%): I think Angels are going to want to see Adell lower his strikeout rate. Last season in the majors, he had a 42% K% and only a .161 AVG. The Angels don’t want a repeat.

Jesus Sanchez (1.194 OPS, 12% K%, 5 HR): The biggest major league hole is in center field, but Sanchez has only played in the corners so he’ll need to outhit two of Duvall (.700), Cooper (.574), or Dickerson (.790). Seems possible but I see the Marlins giving the three major leaguers more time.

CBS Ownership Rates for Hitters
Name Prev Own% Current Own% Change%
Austin Hays LF BAL 34% 39% 5%
Jo Adell RF LAA 34% 38% 4%
Pavin Smith RF ARI 32% 37% 5%
Avisail Garcia RF MIL 29% 41% 12%
Cesar Hernandez 2B CLE 29% 31% 2%
Brandon Belt 1B SF 26% 43% 17%
Mike Zunino C TB 25% 30% 5%
Willians Astudillo 1B MIN 25% 28% 3%
Josh Harrison 2B WAS 23% 26% 3%
Yan Gomes C WAS 21% 30% 9%
William Contreras C ATL 21% 26% 5%
Adam Duvall RF MIA 20% 23% 3%
Brandon Crawford SS SF 17% 34% 17%
Asdrubal Cabrera 3B ARI 17% 23% 6%
Hunter Renfroe RF BOS 16% 22% 6%
Freddy Galvis SS BAL 16% 21% 5%
Vidal Brujan 2B TB 15% 24% 9%
Jarren Duran RF BOS 15% 20% 5%
Trevor Larnach RF MIN 14% 18% 4%
Jacob Stallings C PIT 14% 17% 3%
Robbie Grossman LF DET 12% 34% 22%
Harrison Bader CF STL 12% 20% 8%
Josh Naylor RF CLE 12% 16% 4%
Marwin Gonzalez 2B BOS 11% 13% 2%
Josh Fuentes 3B COL 10% 13% 3%
Austin Slater CF SF 10% 12% 2%
Kevin Pillar CF NYM 10% 12% 2%
Danny Jansen C TOR 9% 11% 2%
Niko Goodrum SS DET 7% 17% 10%
Jesus Sanchez RF MIA 5% 8% 3%
Michael Chavis 2B BOS 5% 7% 2%
Matt Beaty LF LAD 3% 7% 4%
Seth Brown RF OAK 2% 9% 7%
Odubel Herrera CF PHI 2% 6% 4%
Matt Duffy 3B CHC 2% 4% 2%
Charlie Culberson 3B TEX 2% 4% 2%
Taylor Ward RF LAA 1% 4% 3%

Starters

Adbert Alzolay: A 4.71 ERA from April likely scared off potential fantasy managers, but he’s been drop that number as the season has gone on. His 23.6 K%-BB% ranks 17th in the league between Clayton Kershaw and Lance Lynn.

Tyler Anderson: While I don’t expect him to be 3.05 ERA good, he can be an acceptable 5th to 7th starter for the rest of the season. Boring but useful.

Logan Gilbert: I watched his debut and it was not that impressive. He only threw 71 pitches and didn’t generate one groundball hence the two home runs allowed. I know he has a ton of prospect hype but I’d rather roster Shane McClanahan. Some managers will pay a ton for him, but with the lack of success with rookie pitchers, I’ll wait until someone more polished gets promoted.

Adrian Houser: The groundball specialist (60% GB%) continues to get it done with a 3.63 ERA. No excitement, just results.

Luis Garcia: While he’s given up a few homers (1.8 HR/9, 34% GB%), the rest of his stats make up for it (1.07 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 3.60 ERA). Continue to add and hold while he remains in the Astros rotation.

Garrett Richards: After reworking his mechanics, he has been lights out in May with a 2.50 ERA, 8.0 K/9, and 1.22 WHIP. And he’s healthy.

Logan Webb: His .357 BABIP has boosted up his 1.45 WHIP and 4.74 ERA. Currently, his ERA estimators are in the 3.50 range so some regression is likely coming.

Rich Hill: The biggest reservation of rostering Hill was that he wasn’t going far into games and then he goes out throws 104 pitches of 6 shutout innings. Even with that start, he just averaging 75 pitches. Complete gamble.

Alek Manoah: He has been dominating AAA with a 12.8 K/9, 0.42 WHIP, and 0.00 ERA in 12 IP.

Martín Pérez: His strikeouts (8.6 K/9) are up, the walks (3.2 BB/9) are down and his 13.2 K%-BB% ranks between Miley and Greinke. A streamable option as long as he keeps up the results.

Vince Velasquez: How someone with a 5.8 BB/9 and 2.2 HR/9 has been able to maintain a sub-4.00 ERA is beyond me. An 11.4 K/9 helps, but his ERA estimators grade him around 4.50. And his 1.40 WHIP is likely to balloon once his .231 BABIP regresses towards his career rate of .313. Run away.

Sam Hentges: He has been getting hit around (.359 BABIP, 2.63 HR/9) but been able to maintain an ERA under 4.00 with his ERA estimators between mid-4’s to the 6’s. I think he’s interesting to park on a bench to see how the talent plays out.

James Kaprielian: I had some interest in him after watching his first start. It wasn’t enough to start him this upcoming week, but add on the cheap. That plan is on hold after he gets his turn in the rotation skipped.

Cody Poteet: He won his one start, didn’t implode, threw a 94 mph fastball and three non-fastballs, and sticks in the rotation. Watch to see how he does next week, but a nice out of nowhere start.

Zach Davies: 5.6 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 5.6 ERA. It seems managers are grasping at his last three starts where he has a 1.10 ERA but a 4.4 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 leading to a 5.08 ERA. Continue to ignore.

Jon Lester: Do some managers ever look past the 2.25 ERA? He’s a negative everywhere else. 1.36 WHIP. 5.6 K/9. 3.9 BB/9 88 mph fastball. 5.36 SIERA.

CBS Ownership Rates for Hitters
Name Prev Own% Current Own% Change%
Adbert Alzolay SP CHC 40% 59% 19%
Zach Davies SP CHC 36% 38% 2%
Logan Gilbert SP SEA 29% 65% 36%
Tyler Anderson SP PIT 28% 38% 10%
Garrett Richards SP BOS 26% 28% 2%
Jon Lester SP WAS 25% 31% 6%
Luis Garcia SP HOU 20% 36% 16%
Dick Mountain SP TB 20% 25% 5%
Adrian Houser SP MIL 18% 26% 8%
Logan Webb SP SF 17% 23% 6%
Alek Manoah SP TOR 16% 26% 10%
Martin Perez SP BOS 10% 15% 5%
Sam Hentges RP CLE 10% 12% 2%
Vince Velasquez SP PHI 4% 7% 3%
James Kaprielian SP OAK 2% 11% 9%
Cody Poteet P MIA 0% 2% 2%

Closers – Saves-based ranks

Stefan Crichton: OK reliever with the closing role.

Jake Diekman: Good reliever with part of a closing role.

Jeffrey Springs: Good reliever who will get a handful of Saves.

Andrew Kittredge: Good reliever who could get a half dozen Saves.

Tyler Chatwood: Excellent backup closer.

Blake Treinen: Good backup closer.

Yusmeiro Petit: OK multi-inning reliever who always seems to vulture a few Wins and Saves each season.

CBS Ownership Rates for Hitters
Name Prev Own% Current Own% Change%
Jake Diekman RP OAK 33% 43% 10%
Stefan Crichton RP ARI 20% 22% 2%
Yusmeiro Petit RP OAK 19% 27% 8%
Blake Treinen RP LAD 18% 20% 2%
Jeffrey Springs RP TB 6% 10% 4%
Sam Coonrod RP PHI 4% 6% 2%
Andrew Kittredge RP TB 3% 5% 2%
Tyler Chatwood RP TOR 3% 5% 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 three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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digiderek

Astudillo left Sunday’s game after getting hit in the hand by a pitch. Best to check his status before picking him up.