Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 21
The biggest waiver news hit over the weekend, as Michael Kopech is prepping for his MLB debut after making Triple-A hitters look like a circus act for weeks now. He’s already 53% owned so we can’t chat much, but regular readers had been holding anyway. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Eloy Jimenez is following him anytime soon — apparently, his progress still needs evaluating. We also need to move on from Yu Darvish until 2019, and Chris Sale is unlikely to pitch again until September. Let’s see what aid the waiver wire can provide!
Ownership levels are taken from Yahoo leagues and, along with the stats, are accurate through August 20.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
David Dahl (COL – OF): 11% owned
Dahl is finally healthy and it shows. He’s clubbed two homers and swiped two bags while hitting around .280 over the last two weeks since returning from injury. This gives him six homers and five steals over 146 PAs thus far, which bests his flashy 2016 rookie campaign (12 HR+SB in 237 PAs). With an .856 OPS and nearly everyday play since being activated, Dahl can pack a versatile punch for fantasy owners that need a little bit of everything.
Tyler Glasnow (TB – SP/RP): 27% owned
Glasnow “disappointed” by allowing five runs (four earned) over 6 2/3 innings against the MLB-leading Red Sox. Much of the damage came in the first inning when the old Glasnow reared his head with three straight walks. He would buckle down and not walk any other Sox on the day, winding up with a sub-1.00 WHIP thanks to just three hits allowed. One bad inning against the best offense in baseball and he still owns a 24-to-6 K-to-BB ratio over 18 1/3 IP as a Ray. He’ll celebrate his 25th birthday on Aug. 23 with a golden start against the Royals.
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN – SP): 26% owned
Hey hey, look whose ownership rate went up by 20 percentage points since last week? DeSclafani has been on fire lately, going at least seven innings in his last three starts with only two earned runs surrendered over that stretch. He’s not succeeding with electric Ks — he’s got 16 across his last 21 1/3 IP — but there are still enough to buy in. Make sure the wind isn’t blowing out at Wrigley for his next slated start against the Cubs on Aug. 23, but the rust finally appears to be off for Tony Disco.
Amed Rosario (NYM – SS): 27% owned
After hitting .216 in June and .210 in July, Rosario has exploded in August with a .292 average, two homers, five steals (on six attempts) and a wild 28 R+RBI entering play on Monday night. He swiped five bags in July as well, but the low average and zero homers really dinged his fantasy appeal. But a couple of his seven July XBH clearing the fence in August makes a difference to most. Now the Mets’ 111 runs scored in August lead the NL, which inflates Rosario’s counting stats, so do set expectations accordingly (read: modestly).
Matthew Boyd (DET – SP/RP): 23% owned
Shame on Detroit’s bullpen for ruining Boyd’s latest effort for a quality start. He had made it through six innings with just one run allowed, but then another would score in the seventh before he exited with two more baserunners that the ‘pen promptly escorted home. I understand why Boyd and his 90 mph heater don’t inspire action, but the drop in speed (it averaged 92 mph in ’17) accompanies a slower slider that he’s throwing 31% of the time after dialing it up 11% of the time in ’17.
Joe Musgrove (PIT – SP/RP): 30% owned
Musgrove has begun to strike people out alongside his strong ratios, with a strikeout per inning in his last two starts after fanning only six combined over his previous three outings. I still wouldn’t count on him for more than roughly five Ks in a seven-inning start, but that’ll do given the 2.12 ERA/0.88 WHIP over the last 30 days. BrooksBaseball is crediting him with more sliders recently, so perhaps he’s truly getting more bite on his offerings of late. I’ll be watching his next slated start — Aug. 24 at Milwaukee — with this in mind.
Trevor Hildenberger (MIN – RP): 20% owned
Hildenberger has settled down after a hairy first save conversion in Minnesota’s post-Fernando Rodney-era, posting two scoreless saves on Aug. 14-15 and notching the win in Saturday’s 5-4 victory. He’s the favorite for Twin saves over the likes of Addison Reed. It’d be nice if the 27-year-old stopper could reclaim his 2017 form (3.21 ERA, 2.63 SIERA), but it’s worth noting how his 3.66 SIERA is nearly a full run lower than the 4.48 ERA. The 13.3% swinging-strike rate points to more punchout upside beyond the current 22.1% clip as well.
Hunter Renfroe (SD – OF): 11% owned
Renfroe has slugged six homers over his last 15 games and appears to have escaped major damage with just a bruised forearm after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. While Renfroe has a reputation for being a boom-bust HR type whose cold streaks lead to demotions, we can’t forget that he popped 30 homers with a .306 average on the farm just two years ago. He hit 26 dingers in just 479 PAs (albeit with a .231 average) as a rookie! Consider riding the wave with his .303 August average that hosts a mere 14.9% strikeout rate (32.3% in July, never lower than 20% in the preceding months).
Alex Cobb (BAL – SP): 20% owned
After being left for dead in most fantasy circles, Cobb has pitched himself back into relevance in the past month. Perhaps most of you are only seeing his name again thanks to Saturday’s complete-game victory over the Indians, but he had posted four straight QS before that. All of these came against teams over .500, as he slowed the Rays twice, beat the Yankees once and ate a tough-luck loss against the Red Sox.
Wins will be hard to come by in an Orioles uniform, and he has a 5.44 K/9 in his last seven outings, but the 3.44 FIP may work moving forward (rather than the 2.14 ERA in that span), though I’d buy more toward his 4.06 xFIP considering the rough schedule of an AL East pitcher. He faces the Yankees again next.
Austin Gomber (STL – SP/RP): 21% owned
After blanking the Royals and Nationals in back-to-back outings, Gomber almost made it three scoreless starts in a row by opening with four clean innings against the Dodgers on Monday night. He would allow two runs in the fifth but leave in line for the win before his bullpen blew the lead. His 36-to-23 K-to-BB ratio is terrifying, as is the 5.09 xFIP behind the 2.98 ERA, yet there he is succeeding with a mid-90s fastball, a curve he throws a quarter of the time and a slider. Mix in the occasional changeup and he can at least keep batters guessing, but he needs to rein in the walks before being a reliable fantasy factor.
Deep League Targets – <10% owned
Tyler White (HOU – 1B): 8% owned
White’s red-hot bat has earned him the green light in Houston’s order lately. He’d logged hits in eight straight starts with four homers over that span before being held hitless on Monday, and he may just push Yuli Gurriel out of the regular 1B job once Jose Altuve returns and Gurriel is done covering 2B. It’s hard to fathom benching such a hot bat that’s hit fifth in three of their last four contests, but time will tell. I’d speculate just in case the player who tallied a 1.013 OPS across 70 Triple-A games this season is here to steal our hearts.
Brett Anderson (OAK – SP): 8% owned
I think most can agree that Anderson is a solid pitcher if he can stay on the mound, but injuries have just ravaged his career thus far. That said, he’s notched a 2.48 ERA/1.02 WHIP since returning on July 8, though it comes with only 19 strikeouts in 40 innings. Two of his last three starts have seen him twirl at least seven innings of scoreless ball, and while he’s more of a 3.75 ERA pitcher moving forward, Oakland is winning games and Anderson’s a beneficiary. Some of you simply need to target wins as a fantasy stat, I get it. For as long as O.co Coliseum remains a pitcher’s park and Anderson can stay healthy, he’ll be a streamer in 12-team circles.
Greg Allen (CLE – OF): 2% owned
With five steals and an average north of .350 over the last two weeks, Allen is now an everyday player for Cleveland and even hit leadoff on Sunday. We can’t all add guys like Adalberto Mondesi but need an AL-only speed option (so no Travis Jankowski or Rafael Ortega either), meaning Allen is your guy. He even homered on Monday night after I’d put him in the column already, though I wouldn’t count on any real power here.
Touki Toussaint (ATL – SP): 8% owned
Not only is Toussaint getting another chance in the bigs already, but he gets the face the Marlins again (set for Aug. 24)! Usually, I dislike hitters getting a second look at a guy so swiftly, but it’s the Marlins…vigorously knocks on wood. Touki coasted through six innings of one-run ball against them in his debut and could’ve gone longer had his spot in the order not come up with runners in scoring position. Perhaps we’ll see more of the strikeout potential come to fruition in this next turn. I’d rather have Toussaint than Bryse Wilson, but rostering both in deep waters is fine by me.
Daniel Poncedeleon (STL – RP): 5% owned
The Cardinals are finally moving Luke Weaver to the bullpen to work alongside Carlos Martinez in favor of Poncedeleon. Sir Ponce’s only big league outing thus far has seen him twirl seven no-hit innings, though the overall 10-to-9 K-to-BB ratio in 17 2/3 IP isn’t enticing. But he does have a 12.2% swinging-strike rate, which should lead to more Ks than a 15.2% rate. The man had a 26.3% strikeout rate at Triple-A (11.3% SwStr) with the same ~13% walk rate, so I’m hopeful there’s sneaky upside here but do acknowledge the low floor. I’d rather gamble on him than Stephen Gonsalves.