Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Evan Longoria, Logan Webb, Ty France
June is often when fantasy baseball managers realize the long season doesn’t last forever.
Along with signifying the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day is also typically when the “It’s still early” excuses expire. That struggling star has far more troubles beyond a fluky slump, and that seventh-place fantasy squad needs to pick up the pace before it’s too late.
Some managers will now get more aggressive on the trade market, but they shouldn’t discount the waiver wire. As usual, players continue to pop up for a far lesser acquisition cost. All of the following players are available in at least 60% of Yahoo leagues. They might not stick on your roster through September, but they represent an immediate upgrade or high-upside gamble worth taking.
Note: Rostered rates are from Yahoo leagues as of Monday night.
FAABulous Four: Top Waiver Targets
Evan Longoria (3B – SF): 37% Rostered
Longoria’s 59.6% hard-hit rate is the highest of any qualified hitter. Only Aaron Judge has a higher average exit velocity than his 95.6 mph. One can get giddy when looking at Longoria’s .289 expected batting average and .576 expected slugging (as of Monday), but we don’t even need to get greedy. His .274/.360/.510 slash line is already pretty darn good.
A 140 wRC+ marks Longoria’s highest rate since 2012. Although he hasn’t exceeded 20 homers in a season since delivering 36 for the Rays in 2016, he has 16 in 101 games for the Giants since the start of 2020. He’s also heating up again after a brief May swoon, collecting five long balls in his last 10 games. The 35-year-old deserves far more recognition than he’s currently receiving.
Logan Webb (SP – SF): 14% Rostered
It’s typically tough to find quality pitching on the waiver wire. Other times, however, a tremendous talent is inexplicably ignored. Webb is somehow rostered in just 14% of Yahoo leagues, but that rate should skyrocket after returning from a brief IL stay to allow just one hit and one earned run in five innings against the Dodgers.
A 3.86 ERA might not indicate a league-winning find, but the 24-year-old has other metrics that should soon lead to a roster spot in all fantasy formats. Webb wields a 3.27 FIP and 3.34 SIERA on the strength of 54 strikeouts and a 58.0% ground-ball rate in 49 innings. His worst start of the season occurred on May 5, when the Rockies rocked him to six runs at Coors Field. He has a 2.98 ERA in all appearances outside of the extreme hitters’ park. Grab Webb before he gets another opportunity to command more respect.
Ty France (1B/2B/3B – SEA): 27% Rostered
One of the season’s finest early waiver-wire finds, France demanded mainstream attention by batting .289/.386/.464 through April. He ends May available in most Yahoo leagues.
Seattle’s breakout infield went 11 games with just two hits before going on the IL with left wrist inflammation. Following a 10-day hiatus, he has returned to register 10 hits in seven games. The injury halted a heater stretching back to last summer, as France hit .309/.371/.469 in 22 games with the Mariners after getting traded from the Padres. He doesn’t run or possess a huge home-run ceiling, but fantasy managers have a second chance to secure an ab0ve-average hitter parked into starting gig as the No. 2 or 5 hitter.
Adbert Alzolay (SP – CHC): 35% Rostered
One of these weeks, while preparing to write him up yet again, I’ll search Alzolay’s name into Yahoo’s database and find that he’s rostered in too many leagues to highlight. Like Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting, I’ll smile upon the realization that the righty has finally left our small confines and moved on to bigger things. We’re not there yet. Alzolay is still widely available despite brandishing a 0.93 WHIP and a 21.1% strikeout rate that ranks right above John Means and Walker Buehler.
Priority Pickups – <35% Rostered
Joc Pederson (1B/OF – CHC): 32%
Pederson runs hot and cold, often making him maddening to roster over a full season. He couldn’t buy a hit to start the year, but he’s batting .314/.365/.477 since returning from the IL on May 4. The 29-year-old has become a near fixture atop the Cubs lineup in front of a red-hot Kris Bryant. You may grow tired of Pederson and eventually cut him in shallower leagues, but he packs a prolific power punch while consistently drawing walks.
JT Brubaker (SP – PIT): 31%
Brubaker worked his way off the wire by posting a 2.58 ERA through even starts, but many of those new investors tossed him back into the pool after he surrendered five runs at St. Louis and seven more at Atlanta. He bounced back with six scoreless innings at home against the Rockies, repairing his overall ERA to 3.74. He has 56 strikeouts to just 13 walks in 55.1 innings with a 3.58 SIERA and 11.9% swinging-strike rate.
Those ghastly road starts serve as a wake-up call to play the matchups a bit more carefully, as the Pittsburgh righty has already dished up 10 homers. If he returns from the bereavement list in time, Brubaker is in line to make his next start at Miami. He’d certainly merit a green light in that situation.
Willy Adames (SS – MIL): 20%
No longer the man holding back Wander Franco, Adames has taken warmly to a change of scenario. In 10 games since getting traded from Tampa Bay to Milwaukee, the 25-year-old shortstop is 11-for-34 with five walks, two doubles, and two home runs. While he’s no longer a shiny new toy like Franco and Vidal Brujan, Adames is an above-average hitter (career 104 wRC+) who produced 20 homers in 2019 and eight in the shortened 2020 campaign. Better suited for deeper leagues, he’s a solid power source no longer looking over his shoulder.
J.P. Feyereisen (RP – TB): 16%
While most of the attention went to Adames (and the spot it vacated in Tamba Ray’s infield), Feyereisen has picked up three saves since moving from Milwaukee. The 28-year-old righty had a 4.08 ERA in 28.2 career innings for the Brewers, but the Rays appear to view him as an impact piece.
Keeping up with Tampa Bay’s bullpen is a full-time job in itself. Feyereisen is already the sixth Rays pitcher to register a save this season; the Pirates and Diamondbacks each have six saves altogether. It’s unlikely any pitcher takes a stronghold over the closer’s gig, and Diego Castillo remains the most likely candidate. Feyereisen is nevertheless worth a speculative add while saves are barren on the waiver wire.
Zach McKinstry (OF – LAD): 15%
McKinstry was rapidly becoming a popular commodity in April, only to get abandoned after suffering an oblique injury. After spending six weeks sidelined, 2016’s No. 1,001 overall pick returned to the Dodgers on Saturday. He has started all three games and quickly displayed his flexibility by playing right field, third base, and second base. McKinstry grabbed headlines and forcing his way into a crowded lineup by batting .296/.328/.556 before landing on the IL. The 26-year-old will stick around — and eventually add second-base eligibility — if he keeps hitting.
Tarik Skubal (SP – DET): 12%
Skubal closed out a strong May in style, submitting eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings against the Yankees. He tallied 39 strikeouts over 27 innings in five turns for the Tigers and improved his 2021 ERA to 4.59. The 24-year-old lefty, however, is far from a finished product. His 1.45 WHIP is a considerable liability, and it’s difficult for a pitcher of any caliber to compile many wins for Detroit. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find any other starting pitcher sitting on the waiver wire with as much strikeout potential as Skubal.
Deep League Targets – <10% Rostered
Justin Dunn (SP – SEA): 9%
Unlike most other pitchers endorsed, Dunn has a far lower ERA (3.18) than his 4.56 FIP and his 5.03 SIERA. Yet he’s also developing a habit of pitching above his lethargic peripherals. The 25-year-old has a 3.69 ERA in 23 career starts despite an uglier 5.57 FIP and 5.76 SIERA. This defiance has a lot to do with weak contact; Freddy Peralta is the only starter with at least 50 innings pitched to best Dunn’s 17.7% pop-up rate from 2019 to 2021. The walks remain a glaring concern, but Dunn has earned a chance in deeper mixed leagues by toting a 2.52 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 25 May innings.
Jonathan Schoop (1B/2B -DET): 8%
Even in deep leagues, managers gave up on Schoop after he batted .198 in April. He bounced back in May, batting .275 with three homers (two in his last five games) and 12 RBIs each as an everyday starter. The 29-year-old has reached base in each of his last 16 games and added first-base eligibility to his arsenal this season. With the early slump in the rearview mirror, Schoop once again looks like a sturdy depth piece on the path to hitting .250-.260 with 20-25 homers.
Rob Refsnyder (OF – MIN): 8%
You can’t predict baseball. Refsnyder floundered across four franchises before injuries presented another opportunity in Minnesota. The 30-year-old had two home runs over the last five seasons before smacking two more in 16 games. Batting .320/.364/.500, he should continue to see playing time with Max Kepler joining Byron Buxton on the injured list. Refsnyder is probably just a hot, healthy hand to ride for a short-term spark in deeper leagues.
Keynan Middleton (RP – SEA): 7%
The closer carousel is quiet, so Middleton might be the best (or only) option available for saves-starved managers if Feyereisen isn’t available. The 27-year-old picked up two of his four saves last week in place of Kendall Graveman, who had grasped a firm handle on the role before landing on the COVID-19 IL. Managers are better off stashing Graveman in the 42% of Yahoo leagues where he’s available. The former starter has yet to allow a run this season, and the Mariners could activate him at any time if he’s healthy and clears COVID protocols. Middleton is more of a low-priority temporary add in hopes of scooping up another save or two this week.
Brendan Rodgers (2B/SS – COL): 7%
Trevor Story went on the IL with elbow inflammation a week after Rodgers returned from a hamstring injury. With their top star sidelined, the Rockies have little choice but to give Rodgers a prolonged opportunity at his original position. Rodgers has tallied only five singles through seven games, but he’s still a former top prospect who’s only 24. Plus, he played the last six games on the road. Colorado has six games at Coors Field this week.
Alex Cobb (SP – LAA): 7%
Cobb has quietly returned from the IL to allow one run in two starts. After besting the Twins on May 20, he tallied eight strikeouts across seven shutout inning to defeat the A’s on Saturday. While an ugly start at Houston brought ample damage to his 3.76 ERA, he’s sporting an excellent 2.19 FIP and 30.1% strikeout rate for the Angels. He’ll get a golden opportunity to stay hot at Seattle later this week, so consider Cobb a strong streamer with potential staying power.
Edward Olivares (OF – KC): 6%
Promoted Sunday, Oliveras promptly sprayed two hits in his season debut and swiped a base Monday. After delivering 18 homers and 35 steals in Double-A in 2019, the outfielder became a popular sleeper who failed to deliver in 2020. He did, however, bat .274 in 18 games for Kansas City after getting jettisoned by San Diego. The 25-year-old outfielder more recently dominated in 20 Triple-A games to prompt the call-up, slashing .395/.473/.654 with five long balls and seven steals. Don’t ignore Olivares just because he underwhelmed last season. The skills are still tailor-made for rotisserie success.
Trevor Larnach (OF – MIN): 4%
Minnesota’s outfield injuries also secure a longer look at Larnach if a foot issue that took him out of Monday’s lineup doesn’t sideline him as well. Despite a slow initiation, he enters June with a .375 wOBA and 142 wRC+ in 20 games. Although he’s not hitting for much contact, the 24-year-old has displayed enough patience (16.7 BB%) and power (.228) to stick in the lineup. More managers have noticed Refsnyder’s hot streak, but Larnach is a more interesting option if not requiring a prolonged absence.
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.