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10 Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups (Fantasy Baseball)

May 31, 2019

Jeff Hoffman is poised to be a viable streamer next week

Summer is just around the bend! Now that we’re roughly a third of the way through the season, we’ve noticed a plethora of formerly low-owned players who gained traction for either being extreme category specialists (like Mallex Smith with steals), showing promise stepping into a new role (such as Brandon Woodruff becoming a starting pitcher), or just getting hot and never looking back (i.e. Hunter Dozier and Matthew Boyd).

As we move into the summer, there are bound to be many more waiver-wire darlings who can give your fantasy roster a jolt. This leads us to one question — which guys are widely available and have the potential to push your squad to new heights? Our featured experts have outlined several athletes below who fit the bill.

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Q1. What one starting pitcher should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of leagues?

Jeff Hoffman (SP/RP – COL) | Zac Gallen (SP – MIA)
“I’m interested in this first guy only as a streamer. It may make you cringe, but Hoffman has two starts next week and both happen to be away from Coors. His numbers on paper are abysmal, but he has fantastic stuff and you wouldn’t think twice about using him in both starts if Coors hadn’t ruined his numbers. Not only should he provide useful ratios and potentially a win or two, but most importantly, Hoffman has a chance at 15 Ks this week.

As for my next player, I already talked about Alex Reyes last week, so let’s turn our attention to another minor league pitcher who is sure to get called up soon. Zac Gallen of the Marlins may not be the most highly regarded prospect, but he is polished and ready to get big league hitters out. Through 74 innings, he has struck out 88 and has just a 1.70 ERA and 0.676 WHIP. That will certainly do the trick.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Tanner Roark (SP – CIN)
“After a slow start to the season, Roark has been much better and it’s been largely unnoticed by many. Only owned in 14% of leagues, Roark has struck out 16 batters over his last 10.1 innings and has given up more than three runs just one time this season. Roark’s downfall has been an inability to pitch late into games because of too many baserunners, but he has been limiting damage so far. Up next are starts against the Nationals and Phillies, which could allow for another strong week.”
– Kyle Richardson (The Fantasy Headliners)

Felix Pena (SP – LAA)
“Pena is flying under the radar and needs to be owned in more leagues. He’s been coming into the game behind an opener and it helps put him in position to get more wins since he doesn’t need to pitch five innings to get credit for a victory. Pena has a 3.42 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and a 51:13 K:BB ratio over 50 innings. He made four starts without an opener and went five innings in just one of the starts. Putting an opener in front of him has helped his fantasy value.”
– Adam Ronis (FullTime Fantasy)

Trevor Richards (SP – MIA)
“The Marlins are a lousy baseball team, but it doesn’t mean their pitchers can’t help us. The word is out on Caleb Smith, but perhaps Jose Urena and (for this question) Richards can help us. Richards has a 3.82 ERA and 1.29 WHIP – not elite ratios, but they play in 2019. The home park is roomy and forgiving. For his MLB career, Richards averages about a strikeout per inning. Be familiar with this pitching staff.”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Q2. What one hitter should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of leagues?

Luis Urias (2B – SD)
“It’s always nice to snag a player before everyone else has the chance to do so. Urías has been tearing it up since being demoted to Triple-A. The Padres could bring him up in the next few days as Ian Kinsler has been dreadful with his -0.6 WAR and paltry batting average of .180. The Friars’ #3 prospect coming into the year is hitting .356 with an OBP of .451 for El Paso along with 13 bombs and offers some speed. Once he gets the callback, expect him to cement his spot into the lineup, while providing good counting numbers. Get him before the masses and reap the rewards.”
– Todd D Clark (The Fantasy Fix)

Keon Broxton (OF – BAL)
“In deep formats, Broxton is worth a look. Now with the Orioles, he will get a shot to play every day after barely playing with the Mets. While Broxton will swing and miss often, he has some power and speed. He is 7-for-22 with three runs, two home runs, four RBIs, and one stolen base in six games with the Orioles. In 2017, Broxton had 20 home runs and 21 steals with the Brewers and gets to play in another homer-friendly hitters park.”
– Adam Ronis (FullTime Fantasy)

Kevin Kiermaier (OF – TB)
“Looking for some cheap steals at this point of the season? Look no further than Kiermaier, who is currently owned in 15% of leagues. His overall OBP and AVG for the season are a little lower than fantasy owners would like, but over the past seven days, Kiermaier has an OPS of .906 with four stolen bases. His BABIP is slightly below his career average right now, so maybe this is a sign of Kiermaier heating up. Either way, ride the hot streak with this pickup.”
– Kyle Richardson (The Fantasy Headliners)

Scott Kingery (3B/SS – PHI)
“Kingery is playing almost every day for the Phillies and is a reliable source of both power and speed. While his .313 batting average is unlikely to stick, it shouldn’t drop below the .260 range like it did last year when the rookie struggled. He comes with a safe floor for a middle infielder and 25/25 type of upside when he finally plays a full season, so there is no reason for his ownership to stay below 50%, let alone 20.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Brandon Belt (1B/OF – SF)
“I’m not ready to give up on Belt. Hard-hit percentage is up, walks are up, and strikeouts are down. The park is never going to help him, but maybe there’s a chance of a trade. And even if he sticks, I’d peg him as a .260/.270 hitter the rest of the way, with two positions of eligibility and a little bit of pop. He’s a useful support guy.”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Bonus Reliever: Jalen Beeks (RP – TB)
“Beeks might not pile up the strikeouts since he follows an opener and tends to go three-to-five innings most times out. Since he’s on a good team, he’s going to be in position to win often and he has allowed 20 hits, six earned runs, and walked nine, while striking 27 in his last 27 innings over six games with four wins.”
– Adam Ronis (FullTime Fantasy)

Thank you to the experts for giving their thoughts on some under-the-radar waiver options. For more info, be sure to follow them on Twitter and subscribe to our fantasy baseball podcast, which is featured below.

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