Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Amed Rosario, Logan Gilbert, Miguel Andújar
Success doesn’t come easily to most. That’s true for fantasy baseball novices fighting for a title as well as the players tasked with accumulating stats for our second-hand glory. It takes a lot of practice, effort, and repetition before finally getting comfortable.
That’s what makes the post-hype sleeper such a frequent fantasy sports trope.
Think of how you fared early into a new job or career path. Chances are you made mistakes and felt overwhelmed by a new stack of tasks and responsibilities. Hopefully you received more time to learn than fantasy managers give struggling young players.
We have such a short leash that a top prospect promoted last month is already back on the waiver wire in most leagues despite quickly reversing a rocky debut. A few young hitters once pegged as future stars — including one who raked as a rookie — have also found their footing in recent weeks. Add them now before they remind everyone what the fuss was about not so long ago.
Note: Rostered rates are from Yahoo leagues as of Monday night.
FAABulous Four: Top Waiver Targets
Amed Rosario (SS/OF – CLE): 41% Rostered
It’s bad business to write off a talented 25-year-old going through the motions. After following a mediocre 2020 with an even worse April, Rosario is batting .326 (42-for-129) with six steals since the start of May. His .323 wOBA and 41.6% hard-hit rate are up a tad from an encouraging 2019 that saw the shortstop hit .287 with 15 home runs and 19 steals. He even has a 7.0% walk rate this season, a career-high for a shortstop who drew just four free passes last season. Even if Rosario is just returning to pre-2020 levels, he’s a valuable middle infielder in standard roto formats who added outfield eligibility for good measure.
Logan Gilbert (SP -SEA): 32% Rostered
First impressions are overrated. Fantasy managers rushed to grab Gilbert after his call-up, but he commenced his career by allowing seven runs in just 6.2 innings to Cleveland and Detroit. It appears many investors quickly moved on in shallower Yahoo leagues. Those impatient players have missed out on a 2.49 ERA in his last four starts, punctuated by six strikeouts in a career-high 6.2 innings Sunday at Cleveland. Just like that, the rookie flaunts a 3.65 FIP and 24.2% K rate. Gilbert should get re-added in all leagues once again. This time, he’s unlikely to get dropped.
Miguel Andújar (OF – NYY): 35% Rostered
Andújar went 19 games without a home run to start 2021, sparking fears that he’s a one-hit wonder rather than a promising young player deprived of playing time due to defensive limitations and the Yankees’ depth. He since has gone yard five times in 11 games, batting .317 (13-for-41) in the process. And hey, he even walked twice last week! While a .274 OBP is still ugly, Andújar is a 26-year-old who recorded 27 homers and a 129 wRC+ in his only full season. With their lineup floundering, the Yankees need to keep him in the lineup for the foreseeable future. Fantasy managers can do the same.
Mike Minor (SP – KC): 37% Rostered
The 4.50 ERA keeps him on the waiver wire in most leagues, but Minor is a rare workhorse garnering 81 strikeouts in 74 innings. He also has a 1.15 WHIP this season and, more importantly, an upcoming date with the Tigers. Although Detroit put 10 hits and four runs on his tab on May 21, they’re last in strikeouts with the third-worst wOBA against lefties.
Priority Pickups – <35% Rostered
C.J. Cron (1B – COL): 33%
Cron went deep Monday night for the first time since May 4. Although he’s in a nasty funk, the first baseman will continue to get the perfect remedy with six more games at Coors Field this week. At this point, however, Cron is no more than a home streamer until he picks up the pace.
Max Stassi (C- LAA): 26%
So maybe last year wasn’t a total fluke. After unexpectedly smacking seven home runs in just 31 games last season, Stassi is now hitting a sizzling .339/.397/.645 with five more long balls in 21 games. He’s now batting .303/.370/.579 in 173 plate appearances since the start of 2020. During that timeframe, Buster Posey is the only active catcher (minimum 50 plate appearances) with a higher wRC+ than Stassi. His .401 xwOBA is even higher than last year’s .385 xwOBA, so this breakout may have some legs. Stassi is at least a hot hand worth riding for anyone with a replaceable option behind the plate.
Tucker Davidson (SP – ATL): 22%
Cementing his place in Atlanta’s rotation, Davidson held the Nationals and Phillies scoreless in the second and third starts of the season. He’s also benefitted from a .188 BABIP and 89.7% strand rate, but let’s stay positive. He’s leaned on his slider 40% of the time, and the pitch has yielded just two singles. A 12.8% swinging-strike rate could also lead to more strikeouts than the 14 he’s tallied in 17.2 innings. Tuesday’s start against Boston will be a huge test for the 25-year-old southpaw. Don’t expect him to remain available in too many leagues if he passes.
Peter Fairbanks (RP – TB): 19%
There’s no use trying to guess who will get saves in Tampa Bay. Fairbanks has picked up two saves in the last four days, but he still may be one of many ancillary options behind Diego Castillo. The righty can help anyway. Fairbanks has allowed just two runs in 17 innings this season. Since the start of 2020, including his strong postseason run, he has a 2.41 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 56 innings.
Brendan Rodgers (2B/SS – COL): 17%
Rodgers is enjoying his first taste of major-league success, batting .254/.357/.424 in 70 plate appearances. He has started three of five games at second base since Trevor Story returned from the IL and went 2-for-2 with a pinch-hit home run in one of the others. Rodgers will get a full week at Coors Field to earn his spot in Colorado’s starting lineup. If he’s given playing time, fantasy managers need to take notice.
César Hernández (2B – CLE): 16%
Hernández, who has maxed out at 15 home runs in a single season, already has 10 through 61 games. With 18 barrels, he’s also two shy of matching his personal best from 2018. Making his start even more against type, the career .273 hitter is batting .214. His contact (78.9%) and strikeout (21.7%) rates trail behind career norms, but not enough to justify such a huge decline. That’s reflected in a .262 expected average, so a .240 BABIP — he’s never finished below .313 in a season — looks like the biggest culprit for his low batting average. Hernández will be an intriguing mixed-league middle infielder atop Cleveland’s lineup if he starts sprinkling in more singles with his newly gained power.
J.P. Crawford (SS – SEA): 14%
With just 15 homers and 16 steals collected over his career, Crawford is unlikely to ever stick as a roster mainstay in standard fantasy leagues. Yet he’s swinging a hot bat this month, hitting .391 (18-of-46) with eight walks and six doubles in 12 games. He’s also started each of those games as Seattle’s leadoff hitter, a role he can reasonably keep given his .342 OBP. Although better in points leagues, Crawford is a solid replacement in deeper formats.
Patrick Sandoval (SP – LAA): 12%
Sandoval has permitted no more than two runs in each of his five starts since moving back into the Angels’ rotation. Capped off by a 10-strikeout gem on June 6 and six more innings of one-run ball Sunday, the 24-year-old southpaw has a 2.42 ERA and a starter and a 53.2% ground-ball rate in 33.1 total frames this season. Sandoval is penciled in to make his next start Saturday at Detroit, so audition him as a streamer even if unconvinced of his staying power.
Jake Fraley (OF – SEA): 11%
Hide his .241 batting average, and Fraley is having a breakthrough. The 26-year-old has four home runs and stolen bases apiece, with 19 walks in 69 plate appearances. That gives him a 181 wRC+ bested only by three qualified hitters (Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Nick Castellanos, and Jesse Winker). Will it last? Fraley should at least get a chance to sink or swim, especially since Mitch Haniger exited Sunday’s game with a left knee injury. Fraley could be this year’s Dylan Moore, another sneaky Mariners pickup available in 51% of Yahoo leagues.
Deep League Targets – <10% Rostered
Seth Lugo (SP/RP – NYM): 9%
Lugo has swiftly returned from elbow surgery to re-emerge as a high-leverage reliever for the Mets. He’s allowed five hits, one walk, and one run over 5.2 innings with nine strikeouts, recording three holds in five appearances. As noted last week, he’s a valuable pitcher in leagues with daily lineup changes because of his SP eligibility.
Bobby Bradley (1B – CLE): 8%
Bradley didn’t make anything of his first opportunity in 2019, going 8-for-45 with one home run and 20 strikeouts. He’s looked much better in his second chance, going 9-for-21 with two doubles, two home runs, and just three strikeouts. Apply the “small sample size” warning label, but the 25-year-old has ample raw power and an opening to take Cleveland’s first-base job. He could make a major impact if he can keep cutting back on strikeouts, which is admittedly unlikely considering he batted .196 with a 32.1% K rate in Triple-A before his promotion.
Tyler Stephenson (C/1B – CIN): 8%
Even in a timeshare with Tucker Barnhart, Stephenson warrants a roster spot in two-catcher formats. The young backstop is batting .269/.376/.425 with a 122 wRC+ in 50 games. He has better contact skills than most of his peers available in deep formats, so you’re better off sacrificing a few plate appearances — assuming he doesn’t force his way into a bigger role — in favor of someone who may hurt your batting average.
Ross Stripling (SP/RP – TOR): 7%
Stripling isn’t all the way back from his Dodgers days, but he’s repaired his strikeout rate from last year’s 18.2% to 23.9. As for his 4.91 ERA, the righty has made seven of his 10 appearances against the Astros, Braves, Red Sox, and Yankees. He should rebound into a useful depth piece with some schedule relief.
Harold Ramírez (OF – CLE): 5%
The surface stats are gradually creeping up for Ramírez, who’s batting 11-for-33 with only two strikeouts in June. There’s understandably little buzz around a depth piece with 14 home runs and a .273/.312/.414 slash line in 158 career games. However, he’s making more contact (80.3%) with far more hard hits (54.0%). Let’s not ignore a .385 expected wOBA from a 26-year-old poised to receive the most playing time in his career.
Sammy Long (RP – SF): 3%
This is what we missed without Minor League Baseball last season. Long fast-tracked his way to the majors with 37 strikeouts in 22.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He stockpiled seven more in his MLB debut, allowing just one hit in four innings with 10 swinging strikes among his 69 pitches. The Giants are open to inserting the 25-year-old southpaw into the rotation, so Long is an intriguing speculative grab in deeper formats.
Collin McHugh (SP/RP – TB): 3%
Another terrific veteran reliever with SP eligibility, McHugh has 13 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in June. He has a 2.70 ERA despite a .404 BABIP concealing a stellar 1.65 FIP and 2.38 SIERA, and his 33.8% CSW is right in line with the 33.2% clip he posted alongside a 1.99 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 2019.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.