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Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Harrison Bader, Jarred Kelenic, Mitch Keller (2022)

Sep 25, 2022
Harrison Bader

Harrison Bader in pinstripes will contribute across the categories.

This is it, ladies and gents! We’re down to our final week and a half. For those of you still dueling it out in fantasy leagues, you deserve a medal just for lasting this long! Ideally, you’re still in it, and if it’s close, maybe one or two of these last waiver additions can make a significant difference for you.

As always, each player (rostered in 50 percent or less of Yahoo leagues) is sorted into which category they’re most likely to contribute. At this point, many categories are already settled but for those few that are still up for grabs, scroll down to find those last-minute players who can help you ascend into the winner’s circle.

Hopefully, you were able to improve your team throughout the season by heeding my advice. There were some early gems that turned out to be quite profitable. Tony Gonsolin, Nestor Cortes, Brandon Drury, and Merrill Kelly quickly come to mind as players who were barely rostered when featured on this page. There were countless others, too, including some quality mid-season pickups, as well as a few late-season call-ups that hit the ground running. And as is the nature of fantasy sports, some didn’t pan out, but hopefully, overall, this was a valuable tool for you.

I hope you enjoyed following the column as much as I did writing it. I live and breathe this stuff, so in a perfect world, it helped, and you won all the trophies, bragging rights, and money!

Well, enough about that. Let’s get to it! Here are your final waiver-wire pickups, broken down by category for 2022.

MLB DFS Lineup Optimizer

RBI

Harrison Bader (OF – NYY): 36%

I actually mentioned Bader before (I try not to repeat players for this column), but when I highlighted him last month, I believed he was much closer to returning. Now fully healed, the ex-Cardinal has become the everyday center fielder in the Bronx and has contributed handily.

In five games (four starts) since returning from the IL, the Yankees’ newest addition has reached base in every game and scored three times. He’s registered four hits during that span, including a double and six RBIs. Batting in the seven-hole, the New York-native, has been put in an ideal spot to drive in and score runs for the potent Yankees lineup.

Bader offers that rare power and speed combination, and while he won’t blow you away in any category, he can safely be counted on to contribute across the board. He’s worth adding for RBI or runs scored.

Runs

Jarred Kelenic (OF – SEA): 22%

With Julio Rodriguez on the shelf, the Mariners have turned to their previous overly-hyped prospect, Jarred Kelenic. Kelenic has already been labeled a bust in some circles, but at just 23 years old, he really shouldn’t be written off just yet. Obviously, he hasn’t been good up to this point, but with a playoff birth weighing in the balance, the Mariners wouldn’t put him out there if they didn’t think he could contribute and contribute he has.

Granted, it’s a very small sample size, but in three games since joining the big league club, Kelenic has gone five for 12 with three doubles and a home run. Remember, he closed out last year with a strong September, so it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see him perform well again under late-season pressure.

He looks extremely confident at the plate, and with Texas and Oakland up next on the schedule, take a stab at Kelenic and hope for more quality production.

Batting Average

Myles Straw (OF – CLE): 23%
Tony Kemp (2B, OF – OAK): 28%

Tony Kemp and Myles Straw are basically the same players at this point, just at different positions (although Kemp qualifies at OF too). Kemp has a bit more power, while Straw is more likely to steal you a bag, but really what you’re after when adding these guys now is batting average.

Obviously, they’ve been terrible for most of the season, but they have had some success in the past and are both currently hitting well. Straw had his 11-game hit streak snapped yesterday, and Kemp has a .292 average for September and a .854 OPS with only six strikeouts over 72 plate appearances.

Neither player will bring much excitement to your roster, but for those in deeper leagues where the batting average category is down to a few decimal points, either one of these guys could make a difference.

Home Runs

Oswaldo Cabrera (SS, OF – NYY): 15%

With all eyes on Aaron Judge, a few of his lesser-known teammates have also been hot. Bader’s looked great, but it’s been his 23-year-old teammate that’s been on fire for the last two weeks. Since September 10th, the rookie utility-man has gone 13 for 42 (.309 BA) with four home runs and 13 RBIs. He also slugged three doubles during that stretch and even stole a base.

Cabrera got off to a slow start in Pinstripes but has been one of their best hitters of late. He deserves your attention in most leagues where you’re only a few behind in home runs or RBIs.

Stolen Bases

Nate Eaton (3B, OF – KC): 8%

Nate Eaton has looked like one of the fastest players in all of baseball over the past seven days. The rookie speedster wrapped up an impressive five-game stretch where he stole at least one base, bringing his total on the year to 10. He’s also been hitting a bunch, raising his average to a respectable .264 while scoring a decent amount of runs. He doesn’t offer much in the power department but for those searching for steals, look no further.

ERA

Luis Ortiz (SP – PIT): 11%

Luis Ortiz is a relatively unknown stud who averages 99 on his heater and keeps hitters guessing with an above-average slider. He blanked the Yankees on the road over five innings in his previous start and shut down the Reds the week before that. He allowed no hits over six innings in a Triple-A game before his call-up, so whatever he’s doing lately seems to be working. That’s 16.2 straight shutout innings, and now he takes on the Cubs in his next start. He is worth a spot in all league types.

WHIP

Aaron Civale (SP – CLE): 27%

Civale’s rostership sits below 30 percent because of his three trips to the IL and his bloated ERA and WHIP due to some early season struggles. However, since the calendar flipped to July, the four-year veteran has put together some praise-worthy stretches. His WHIP for July was 1.07; in August, it was 0.90; and in his lone start for September, he finished with a 1.00.

Civale’s curveball has been unhittable at times and as long as he continues to throw strikes, expect the WHIP to stay beneficial. He’s scheduled to take on Texas and KC to close out the year, and with Cleveland in a dogfight to win the division, Civale could earn you some tough wins as well. Take a chance on him in all leagues.

Wins

Jose Quintana (SP, RP – STL): 46%

I’ve posted about Quintana when he joined the Cardinals, but how can I not include him here again when he’s on tap to face the Pirates? Competing for the division and coming off of back-to-back scoreless outings, Quintana is a no-brainer to likely pick up a cheap win for your squad. Nothing’s guaranteed, of course, but the Cards and Quintana will be heavy favorites in that game. Plus, in H2H leagues, he’s a steal at RP. Add him soon if he’s available in your league.

Strikeouts

Mitch Keller (SP – PIT): 15%

Mitch Keller’s been throwing like a boss, and he gets to face the Reds his next time out. Cincinnati has averaged 12 K’s over their last three games (offensively) and strikes out more often than nearly any other team.

The Pirates staff has been sharp of late, and Keller’s been no different. Over his last five starts, the former top-100 prospect has struck out 31 batters over 31 innings. He allowed just seven earned runs during that stretch (2.03 ERA) and recorded a WHIP well below 1.00. During his five quality-start stretch, Keller faced the Mets twice and shut out the hard-hitting Cardinals.

Keller’s been known to blow up from time to time and has not been reliable throughout his young career. However, with the Reds on tap and his recent bout of success, Keller becomes an excellent addition for those chasing strikeouts.

Saves

Domingo Acevedo (RP – OAK): 17%
Dylan Floro (RP – MIA): 11%

Both of these guys are far from reliable, but if you’re in a tight race for saves, they could be worth adding. Neither of their respective teams will win more than a handful of games, but the positive is that both pitchers seem to have a firm grasp of the closer’s role and are both coming off of two converted saves. There is always the chance the hurt your ERA or WHIP a bit, but with so few games left, a save or two may be worth the risk.

See you guys next year!


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Whether you’re new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy – like Maximizing Your Potential in Multi-Lineup Contests – to learn more.

Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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