Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Logan Webb, Kyle Finnegan, Jo Adell
Get comfortable. There’s a lot to cover from the fallout of a frantic MLB trade deadline.
Four of the recommended pick-ups have already benefitted from a change of scenery. Ten more could see (if they haven’t already) a more lucrative role on a lighter roster. That includes many potential new closers, but none of them are even guaranteed to get their team’s next save opportunity. If seeking saves, consider them dart throws that may need to be replaced in a week or two.
Plenty of notable ramifications have already unfolded since Friday’s trading frenzy, and the aftermath will continue to develop. This is a great time to bolster your roster for the stretch run.
Note: Rostered rates are from Yahoo leagues as of Monday night.
FABulous Four: Top Waiver Targets
Logan Webb (SP – SF): 36%
Webb was on the cusp of a breakout before suffering a shoulder injury in May. Before getting sidelined for over a month, he recorded 21 strikeouts to three walks and two earned runs allowed in his last three starts.
He hasn’t lost that progress, posting a 2.25 ERA in five starts since returning on July 9. That’s particularly impressive since he’s made his last three appearances against the Dodgers (twice) and Astros.
After handling those behemoths, Webb boasts a 3.33 ERA and 73 strikeouts in as many innings. When not striking batters out, the righty is inducing contact on the dirt. Framber Valdez is the only starter (minimum 50 innings pitched) with a higher ground-ball rate than Webb (59.9%). You won’t find a reason for skepticism in his 3.34 FIP, and dropping to his 3.54 SIERA would still make for a mighty fine waiver-wire find.
While Webb impressed earlier in the season, he hadn’t proven enough to stash in a shallower league with precious few IL spots. They were then slow to snag him back since the Giants eased him into action, respectively pitching three, four, and few innings in his returning starts. Those who finally took notice last week might have halted when they saw the Dodgers and Astros on the schedule.
No more excuses. Like Patrick Sandoval last week, Webb has vaulted into an easy top-50 fantasy pitcher who could keep climbing higher. He should be rostered in all leagues.
Kyle Finnegan (RP – WAS): 41%
Unlike other bullpens affected by the trade deadline, Washington quickly identified a new closer. Finnegan recorded saves in back-to-back games after the Nationals traded Brad Hand to Toronto. They also flipped Daniel Hudson, who could have taken the ninth-inning job when returning from the COVID-19 IL, to San Diego.
Finnegan isn’t an exciting pitcher who dominated in a set-up role. On the contrary, most fantasy managers outside of D.C. had little reason to know much about him before last week. A troubling 1.42 WHIP bloated by an 11.2% walk rate won’t provide too much job security, but let’s focus on the positives. The best option left in a ransacked bullpen, Finnegan has a 3.14 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 43 innings. He’s only allowed two hits over his last eight scoreless outings. Most importantly, for fantasy purposes, the closer’s job belongs firmly to Finnegan … for now.
Jo Adell (OF – LAA): 11%
Adell was rostered in only 11% of Yahoo leagues when the Angels called him up Monday night. It’s hard to blame fantasy managers for not awaiting his arrival with bated breath. The blue-chip prospect crashed and burned in last year’s debut, hitting .161 with 55 strikeouts in 38 games. Rough initiations for Jarred Kelenic, Jarren Duran, Vidal Bruján, and fellow Angels outfielder Brandon Marsh may also prompt gamers to temper expectations for the next big-time promoted hitting prospect.
Of course, Adell may struggle again. It’s probably not the best sign that his 29.3% strikeout rate in Triple-A qualifies as progress. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old sat near the top of prospect rankings a short year ago. He has also displayed massive power and speed this year by batting .289 with 23 home runs — four in his last five games — and eight steals. Although not a “drop what you’re doing and get him right now” add in shallow mixed leagues, Adell still flaunts far too much potential to leave on the waiver wire.
Abraham Toro (3B – SEA): 18%
This feels like Ty France all over again. Toro struggled as an intermittent injury replacement throughout his Astros tenure before getting shipped to Seattle. He’s since gone 9-for-21 with three doubles, two homers, and a steal in six games. Toro’s 83.0% contact rate and 16.3% strikeout rate are strong marks that typically yield a high batting average. However, he’s batting .246 — still above his career .210 average — with a .242 BABIP. In the meantime, he’s provided eight homers and four steals in 40 games. He also had a .462 wOBA in 68 Triple-A plate appearances.
Toro only needed a week in Seattle to boost his batting average by 35 points. No longer looking over his shoulder, the 24-year-old could be a sneaky five-category producer for the stretch run and tantalizing dynasty pick-up.
Priority Pickups – <40% Rostered
Myles Straw (OF – CLE): 38%
Straw was playing regularly in Houston before somewhat surprisingly getting moved to Cleveland. He’s joining an undoubtedly weaker lineup, so how does this change of scenery boost his fantasy value? After spending nearly all his time down the bottom of Houston’s stacked lineup, the speedster has made two of three starts as Cleveland’s leadoff hitter. He already has a steal and a rare home run with his new club, giving him a .338 OBP and 17 steals this season. Maintaining his new lineup slot would at least make Straw more than a one-category contributor in standard-scoring leagues.
Josiah Gray (SP – WAS): 31%
Has anyone tried trading Gray and Keibert Ruiz for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer in their dynasty league? (Note: Don’t actually try that unless you want to eliminate a potential trading partner.) It worked for the Dodgers, who fortified their superteam while the Nationals begin an arduous rebuild. Gray had just made his MLB debut with a pair of four-inning starts, but he was far from certain to stay in the defending champion’s rotation.
That shouldn’t be a problem in Washington. Heck, Gray might be the staff ace in a rotation without Scherzer, the injured Stephen Strasburg, and a woefully ineffective Patrick Corbin. He allowed one run over five innings in his team debut Monday night. In an about-face, he registered just two strikeouts after procuring 13 strikeouts — but allowing six runs — with the Dodgers. The electric 23-year-old righty will at least get an extended chance.
Patrick Wisdom (1B/3B – CHC): 29%
The Cubs’ lineup is mostly a wasteland after they traded franchise stalwarts Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, and Anthony Rizzo. Yet this leaves undisputed playing time for Wisdom, who’s slugging an eye-popping .583 with 16 home runs in 186 plate appearances. He also has 70 strikeouts in 59 games with a .274 wOBA against breaking pitches. Pitchers are already wising up to Wisdom; his wRC+ dropped from 150 in June to 109 in July. You can still pass in shallower leagues, but Wisdom offers cheap pop in Chicago’s cleanup role.
Alex Colomé (RP – MIN): 27%
The Twins lost Taylor Rogers to a finger injury and traded Hansel Robles to the Red Sox last week. With most members of their closing committee gone, they may reset to their Opening Day option. Colomé lost the role by surrendering 15 runs (eight earned) through April. Saddled with a career-high 4.70 ERA, he’s yet to rebound enough to justify a second chance. Minnesota could instead turn to Tyler Duffey and/or Caleb Thielbar, but Colomé is the established option with “closer experience.”
Jeimer Candelario (1B/3B – DET): 20%
Candelario is batting .283 with 77 runs in 150 games since the start of 2020. Although the power has dwindled this season, he’s elevated his walk rate to 11.1% while also making more contact (77.4%). He’s also reached base in 27 of his last 28 games and submitted a hit in 14 of his last 15. Candelario is a useful seat-filler to make up for injuries in standard leagues and a rock-solid corner infielder in 15-teamers.
Luis Patiño (SP/RP – TB): 19%
Patiño had the best (and longest) start of his big-league career when blanking the Yankees over six innings Thursday. After working 15 innings in his first five outings, he returned from the minors as a proper starter in July. That shouldn’t change, as news broke of Tyler Glasnow needing Tommy John surgery shortly after the Rays dealt Rich Hill. Patiño should at least stack up the strikeouts; he has 36 in 31.1 innings with Tampa Bay and a 10.9 K/9 in his minor-league career. Nothing else, however, is a sure thing from the 21-year-old.
Brendan Rodgers (2B/SS – COL): 18%
Rodgers has gone deep four times in his last seven games and is now slugging .497 since the start of June. Last week’s power surge was all on the road, where he’s deposited seven of his nine home runs this season. Fantasy managers should nonetheless jump at the chance to add the surging 24-year-old in time for a full week at Coors Field.
Brian Anderson (3B/OF – MIA): 16%
The never-exciting but consistently solid Anderson returned to Miami’s lineup after missing two months with a shoulder injury. He went yard in his second and third games back. You can do worse than a career .265/.347/.428 hitter who’s locked into a starting job, usually batting anywhere from third to sixth. Anderson has also stolen four bases in 43 games this season after not attempting any in 2020.
Rowdy Tellez (1B – MIL): 15%
Tellez flashed tremendous skills when batting .283/.346/.510 with a 15.7% strikeout rate in short work last year. Nevertheless, the Blue Jays didn’t prioritize playing time for the big bopper, and this was the rare case where it didn’t naturally sort itself out. So they sent him to the Brewers, where playing time eventually materialized.
Although a full-time role didn’t immediately follow, an injury to Daniel Vogelbach finally opened a door. It should stay open. Tellez has answered the call with four home runs and two doubles among 14 hits in his last nine starts. He’s once again limiting strikeouts enough (20.4%) to combine his raw power with a solid batting average.
David Bednar (RP – PIT): 12%
Bednar initially looked like the top candidate to replace Richard Rodriguez as the Pirates’ closer, but he got called to pitch the eighth inning — and squandered a one-run lead — Saturday. Putting Bednar in to face J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper certainly doesn’t show a lack of trust. Given his 2.85 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 41 innings, he’s still the best speculative add from Pittsburgh’s bullpen.
Rafael Ortega (OF – CHC): 12%
Ortega has emerged as the Cubs’ new leadoff hitter following their deadline purge. He earned the role by batting .368/.419/.563 in July and capping off the stellar month with a home run and steal Saturday. Oh yeah, the 30-year-old then commenced August with three more long balls Sunday. Rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues entering the weekend, Ortega will suddenly draw mainstream attention. Join the bandwagon, if only because the Cubs are about to play a three-game series at Coors Field.
Cole Sulser (RP – BAL): 10%
The best closer pick-up may have nothing to do with a deadline deal. Sulser nearly went all of July without a save before picking up two in the month’s final two days. He’s thrown 6.2 scoreless innings since allowing a run in three straight outings. That now gives the 31-year-old a 2.75 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 39.1 innings. Baltimore has shown a short attention span for its closing options, so Sulser won’t necessarily last in the ninth inning. Yet it’s better to bet on skills, and Sulser has backed his unheralded success with a 2.77 FIP and 14.9% swinging-strike rate.
Deep League Targets – <10% Rostered
Matt Harvey (SP – BAL): 8%
Harvey hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts, all wins where he worked at least six innings. What year is it again? This stellar stretch improved his ERA all the way down to 6.20, so only the bravest — or most desperate — fantasy managers are trusting the Dark Knight at Yankee Stadium this Wednesday. But perhaps the former ace can work his way back to some semblance of value, even if only as a streamer or deep-league arm. The same curveball that got crushed to a .473 wOBA in May and .459 wOBA in June suddenly flummoxed the opposition to a .088 wOBA in July. A strong start in New York would put a lot more eyeballs on Harvey’s recent renaissance.
Tyler Clippard (RP – ARI): 7%
Clippard picked up a save in his third appearance for Arizona, so the 36-year-old is the front-runner to replace the traded Joakim Soria as the new closer. This is his 10th team in eight years (and second stint with the Diamondbacks), but Clippard has posted a 3.14 ERA and 26.9% strikeout rate during that timeframe. He could pick up a few saves on the last-place club without damaging your bottom line.
Jake Fraley (OF – SEA): 6%
Fraley tallied seven homers and steals each in 40 games with the Mariners before going on the COVID-19 IL. Back for the first time since the All-Star break, he notched two hits, two RBIs, and another stolen base on Monday night. In deeper five-outfielder leagues, you can’t ask for much more than a hitter showcasing power and speed with an elite 22.1% walk rate.
Dylan Floro (RP – MIA): 6%
Floro converted Miami’s first save opportunity since dealing Yimi Garcia to the Astros. With a 2.49 ERA and 2.56 FIP, he can get the job done well enough in deep leagues despite a pedestrian 11.8% K-BB rate. Floro hasn’t allowed a single home run all season. That’s a desirable trait for a high-leverage reliever, but regression to the mean would make him look more like the middling option who delivered a 4.24 ERA for the Dodgers in 2019.
Gregory Polanco (OF – PIT): 5%
At 11 apiece, Polanco is one of 23 hitters with double-digit home runs and stolen bases. He’s also batting .203, leaving the once-prized prospect on most waiver wires. Give him another chance in deeper roto leagues. Polanco batted a much more palatable .253 in July while cutting his strikeout rate to 20.4% and drawing eight walks in 15 games. It’s not like the Pirates have anyone better to play for the final two months.
Rodolfo Castro (2B/SS – PIT): 4%
Castro can’t get much more different than his Pirates predecessor. Replacing Adam Frazier, who was batting .324 with four home runs before getting traded to the Padres, the rookie touched them all in his first five career hits. Unfortunately, Castro only has four other hits in 14 games. The raw prospect should get an extended opportunity to sink or swim this summer. While unlikely to help in batting average, he could pair his power with a sprinkle of speed.
Matt Wisler (SP/RP – TB): 3%
Did you expect anything less from the Rays? In the thick of a heated division race, they traded saves leader Diego Castillo. This is the same bullpen with three of its best relievers (Peter Fairbanks, Collin McHugh, and J.P. Feyereisen) on the IL. So on Sunday Night Baseball, battling for first place in the AL East, they brought on Wisler to protect a one-run lead against the Red Sox for his first save opportunity of the season.
He got the job done. The former starter now has a 3.80 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 10 walks in 42.2 innings out of the bullpen. A 3.18 FIP and 2.84 SIERA are also encouraging, but don’t get too comfortable. Tampa Bay will likely mix and match, and Nick Anderson is working his way back from the 60-day IL. Andrew Kittredge is a far better add wherever available (42%), even if he stays in his current fireman role.
Yadiel Hernández (OF – WAS): 3%
Hernández has gone 9-for-15 with three doubles and two home runs (both Sunday) in his last five games. A late-bloomer in the truest sense, the 33-year-old still has rookie eligibility after logging 64 plate appearances in a forgettable big-league debut last season. The previous year, he batted a torrid .323/.406/.604 with 33 home runs and seven steals in Triple-A. Washington threw in the towel when trading Turner and Scherzer, and left field is vacant after sending Kyle Schwarber to the Red Sox. The Nats might as well see what they have in Hernández.
Brandon Drury (1B/2B/3B/OF – NYM): 2%
This can’t last. Drury is 12-for-20 with five doubles and two home runs since returning from a hand injury. He’s collected four extra-base hits off the bench, prompting the Mets to find room in their lineup. Drury has started at second base, right field, and third base in four of their last five games. Although this is likely a random hot streak from an organizational depth piece, NL-only gamers should see if the 28-year-old keeps earning more opportunities for an offense in need of the spark he’s provided.
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.