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8 Under-the-Radar Pickups (Fantasy Baseball)

Aug 26, 2020

Ryan Mountcastle should be scooped up now that he’s secured an everyday role

The waiver wire has seen a lot more action this year than in the past. Usually, it would be acceptable to place someone on your watch list and see how things go over a couple days, but the shortened season has created a heightened sense of urgency with waivers. Players (like Dominic Smith and Jesse Winker) that were diamonds in the rough back in mid-August are now rostered in the majority of leagues, so acting quickly on these sleepers is paramount. Our featured pundits for this week have shared their top widely available waiver adds below. Don’t get caught sleeping on these guys!

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Q1. What one hitter should fantasy managers look into picking up that is rostered in less than 25% of leagues and why?

Ryan Mountcastle (1B/3B/SS – BAL): 11% Rostered
“Mountcastle should be the Orioles’ everyday left fielder going forward and he’s worth a pickup in all leagues 12 teams or deeper. He is off to an excellent start in his brief time in the majors, slashing .333/.500/.500 with four walks and five strikeouts. Although he was never all that selective in the minors, he did bat .295 in his minor-league career and hit 25 home runs in just 127 games last year. He’s not going to be a superstar this year, but he profiles as a hitter who should hit for a decent average with a bit of pop, and who you can easily get by with in a five-outfielder league.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Brad Miller (2B/3B/OF – STL): 12% Rostered
“The hitter that I am picking up in all of my leagues is the St. Louis Cardinals’ Brad Miller. In 33 at-bats, he is hitting .364 with two homers and 11 RBIs while leading the Cardinals with a .606 slugging percentage and a 1.094 OPS. Miller is producing these stats on the heels of a career-high 50% line-drive percentage and 54.2% hard-hit rate. He has secured himself in the starting lineup with his multi-position eligibility at 2B, 3B, and OF since multiple players are still affected by COVID-19 on the Cardinals’ roster. There is so much variability this season, so grabbing a multi-position hitter such as Miller can maximize the number of at-bats in your lineups in this shortened season.”
– Dennis Sosic (Fantasy Six Pack)

Corey Dickerson (OF – MIA): 21% Rostered
“Look, I won’t pretend there’s anything particularly thrilling about clicking the ‘add’ button and picking up Dickerson, but fantasy baseball is a numbers game and the 31-year-old outfielder can still get the job done. He’s living proof that the ability to hit for a high batting average is the most underappreciated skill set in the fantasy game today, especially when it comes alongside some decent pop. Dickerson has hit .300 or better in four of the last six seasons and he’s regularly displayed the ability to slug 25 homers while even chipping in the occasional steal. He’s obviously not going to lead the league in runs or RBIs while playing for the Marlins, but it helps that he’s hitting in the three spot, and Miami quietly ranks in the middle of the pack in runs scored so far.”
– Andrew Seifter (FantasyPros)

Mike Tauchman (OF – NYY): 11% Rostered
“While Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have both been sidelined, it’s been Tauchman, and not Aaron Hicks or Brett Gardner, who has taken full advantage. This month, Tauchman is hitting a tidy .370, and while he does not have a home run yet, he has stolen five bases. Judge is ready to return, but there’s no reason for Aaron Boone to take Tauchman, who can play all three outfield positions, out of the lineup. Pretty much any Yankee starter is an attractive fantasy option, so why not go with the one who has been swinging a hot bat and is tied for fifth in the American League in steals?”
– Mark Ross (Athlon Sports)

Q2. What one starting pitcher should fantasy managers look into picking up that is rostered in less than 25% of leagues and why?

Taijuan Walker (SP – SEA): 20% Rostered
“The starting pitcher that I am looking to add is the Seattle Mariners’ Taijuan Walker, and I’m not the only one. There is plenty of buzz about him being traded before the trade deadline next week. Walker is on a team-friendly contract and will be a free agent in 2021. He looks healthy after missing the 2018 and 2019 seasons due to undergoing Tommy John surgery. Walker, who is averaging over five innings a start, is sporting an 8.3 K/9 rate against a 2.7 BB/9 rate. The former top prospect owns a 2-2 record with a 4.00 ERA in five starts across 27 innings. Every game is so significant in this shortened season. Having an experienced starter at the back-end of the rotation could be a difference-maker down the stretch for Walker’s new team and your fantasy roster.”
– Dennis Sosic (Fantasy Six Pack)

Yusei Kikuchi (SP – SEA): 5% Rostered
“It’s slim pickings when it comes to widely available starting pitchers, but Kikuchi is one hurler I mentioned in a recent edition of my ‘Buy/Sell’ column (shameless plug alert!) who still easily meets that threshold. His 6.30 ERA through four starts is downright ugly, but it’s just four starts and his 2.56 FIP and 3.73 xFIP give a better sense of how he’s actually pitched. His velocity is up from his first season stateside and it’s led to significantly more swings and misses (and strikeouts). If it wasn’t for his bloated .340 BABIP allowed and absurdly low 50 percent left-on-base percentage, his surface stats would look much better. They will soon.”
– Andrew Seifter (FantasyPros)

Ian Anderson (SP – ATL): 16% Rostered
“Anderson’s numbers do not beg you to pick him up, but his upside does. He had an abysmal five-start stretch in Triple-A last year (6.57 ERA, 18 walks in 24 2/3 innings), but he had never struggled in the minors like that before (2.91 ERA, 10.7 K/9 rate in his career). Anderson has good stuff — a plus fastball and curveball and an above-average changeup — and can miss bats with the best of them. His lack of command throughout his career probably limits his overall ceiling, but his strikeout potential and the Braves’ need in the rotation demands your attention.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Alex Cobb (SP – BAL): 14% Rostered
“If you take out Cobb’s one bad outing (5 ER in 6 2/3 IPs versus Toronto), you get a sub-3.00 ERA across five other starts. He doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, but he seems to do a good job of mitigating the damage when someone gets on via a hit or a walk. He’s just 1-2, but the Orioles are 4-2 overall in his starts, so he does his part to keep his team in the game. The other factor that could really impact Cobb’s fantasy outlook for the rest of the season is if he were to get traded to a contender (Atlanta, for example). Either way, he is definitely worth keeping an eye on if you stream starters.”
– Mark Ross (Athlon Sports)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their under-the-radar pickups. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter.

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