Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson, Jake McCarthy (2022)
If you thought all the biggest rookie call-ups would have already happened by late August, you were in for a present surprise this week. Not one but two of the best prospects in baseball made their Major League debut this week, plus we got another one of this year’s top prospects finally showing some signs of life after a frustratingly-slow start.
Add it all up, and it’s a fun edition of the FantasyPros waiver wire. Let’s get to it.
Note: Rostered rates are from Yahoo leagues as of Friday.
FAABulous Four: Top Waiver Targets
Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI): 52% Rostered
Carroll’s call-up may feel like old news at this point — it happened two days after last week’s waiver wire ran — but he’s still free for the taking in nearly half of Yahoo leagues. Widely considered the top fantasy prospect left in the minors, the Diamondbacks’ 22-year-old outfielder hit .307 with 89 runs, 24 HRs and 31 SBs over 362 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A this year while also drawing a walk in 15 percent of his plate appearances.
Carroll has only played 91 games in the upper minors thanks to Covid wiping out the 2020 minor league season and shoulder surgery wiping out his 2021 campaign. But he certainly looks the part of a polished hitter who can provide across-the-board fantasy production right away. He’s already accounted for four runs scored and five RBIs in just his first three games in Arizona. He’s one of the most exciting pickups of the year.
Corbin Carroll JUST missed his first MLB homer.
Instead, MLB’s No. 3 prospect collects a 439-foot two-run double: pic.twitter.com/Lw5179hThT
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 31, 2022
Gunnar Henderson (SS – BAL): 44% Rostered
As if the Carroll promotion wasn’t enough of a reason to get excited, Henderson also got the call this week, joining the most unlikely playoff contender in MLB history. The Orioles’ prized 21-year-old infielder actually ranks one spot ahead of Carroll in MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings.
After struggling to make consistent contact in High-A ball in 2021, Henderson took a massive step forward this year, cutting his strikeout rate to 18.3 percent in 47 games at Double-A and a still-palatable 26.4 percent in 64 games at Triple-A. The end result was pristine five-category fantasy production: a .297 average, 101 runs, 19 HRs, 76 RBIs and 22 SBs. Like Carroll, Henderson doesn’t look like he will shy away from the bright lights of the Major Leagues — and in his case, the playoff chase. He homered in his Big League debut and then stole his first base in the second game of his career. He’s right there with Carroll as an absolute must-add waiver wire pickup for the final month.
Welcome to the show, Gunnar Henderson! His first hit is a homer!!! pic.twitter.com/degCCLZTHP
— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2022
Jake McCarthy (OF – ARI): 45% Rostered
While his teammate Corbin Carroll gets all the press, McCarthy is quietly having a heck of a season. Since becoming a regular member of the Diamondbacks’ lineup on July 22, McCarthy is hitting .315 with 21 runs, 3 homers, 22 RBIs and 10 SBs in 36 games. He’s been the sixth-most valuable outfielder in standard 5×5 leagues over the last month, according to Baseball Monster. McCarthy has remained a fixture in Arizona’s lineup following Corbin’s arrival, and rightfully so. He may not have an elite prospect pedigree, but results are results.
Jake McCarthy is on fire! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/CIiYaeg8nw
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 31, 2022
Riley Greene (OF – DET): 40% Rostered
Before there was Carroll and Henderson, there was Greene. The Tigers’ talented 21-year-old outfielder was one of the most anticipated rookies this spring after hitting a combined .301 with 95 runs, 24 HRs, 85 RBIs and 16 SBs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021. Unfortunately, Greene’s MLB debut was delayed until mid-June after he broke his foot in Spring Training, and then he got off to an ice-cold start in Detroit, hitting just .224 with three homers and one steal over his first 55 Major League games.
Greene still isn’t running like he did in the minors, but the rest of his offensive game is starting to come together. Over the last 10 games, he’s hitting a robust .439 with two homers and two triples. His high strikeout rate remains a concern, but it’s always worth riding the hot hand at this point in the season, especially when the player in question could be showing early signs of a legitimate breakthrough. Perhaps Greene’s recent success can boost his confidence at the plate and lead to further improvements in his approach over the final month. It’s worth finding out.
Riley Greene just hit the longest home run ever against Shohei Ohtani — 448 feet. The previous longest was 430 feet. pic.twitter.com/JZubmNGZnM
— Woodward Tigers (@WoodwardTigers) August 21, 2022
Priority Pickups: <40% Rostered
Justin Steele (SP – CHC): 34% Rostered
Drew Smyly (SP – CHC): 24% Rostered
Steele was one of the headliners in last week’s waiver wire and this is my third week in a row recommending Smyly as a pickup. Do people have something against rostering Cubs starters? I get that the win potential won’t be great, but Steele and Smyly have both been top-25 fantasy starters in standard 5×5 formats over the last month. Steele is the stronger bet of the two, considering he has a superior strikeout rate and better peripherals, but both are worth trying in you need reinforcements for the stretch run.
Jimmy Herget (RP – LAA): 11% Rostered
If it’s saves you’re looking for, there are a few options to consider this week. Herget tops the list. The Angels haven’t had a set closer since shipping off Raisel Igelsias at the trade deadline, but Herget looks to be emerging, having picked up three saves over the last week. The 28-year-old journeyman had limited Major League experience entering 2022, but he’s pitched very well this season, posting a 2.70 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, impressive ratios that are mostly supported by the underlying numbers. Even bad teams like the Angels win more than 40 percent of the time, so don’t discount Herget as a saves source just because he doesn’t pitch for a contender.
A.J. Puk (RP – OAK): 21% Rostered
I first floated Puk as a possible waiver wire addition back in June, when then-A’s closer Dany Jimenez first started showing cracks in his armor. It took a while for Puk to ascend to the ninth inning, but with Jimenez and Zach Jackson both shelved with shoulder injuries, it should finally be Puk’s time to shine. A’s manager Mark Kotsay compared him to Josh Hader in the spring, back when such a comparison would have been meant as a compliment! Standing 6’7″ and averaging nearly 97 miles per hour with both his fastball and sinker, Puk has long looked the part of a shutdown closer, and now he should get his chance.
Adam Ottavino (RP – NYM): 14% Rostered
As someone who shares a locker room with Edwin Diaz, Ottavino doesn’t have nearly as clear a path to save chances as Herget and Puk. However, the Mets should win a lot more games than the Angels and A’s over the rest of the season, and with Mets skipper Buck Showalter not afraid to use Diaz in the eighth inning, Ottavino could continue to garner some saves here and there. He’s earned three of them since August 25, and his 2.01 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 10.9 K/9 rate are also the kind of numbers that can help fantasy teams.
Hunter Brown (RP – HOU): 22% Rostered
At this point, Brown is admittedly a speculative add, so he may not make sense for every roster. But if you are interested in a pitcher who could dominate in middle relief and eventually get a few starts by season’s end, give him a look. The Astros’ number one prospect, Brown dominated Triple-A batters to the tune of a 2.55 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 11.38 K/9. Armed with a 99-plus mph fastball and nasty curve, his upside is tantalizing, even though his fantasy potential probably won’t be fully realized until next season.
— Sugar Land Space Cowboys (@SLSpaceCowboys) August 30, 2022
Joey Meneses (1B, OF – WAS): 32% Rostered
This marks the third time that Meneses has appeared in the waiver wire in four weeks, but given that he is still rostered in less than a third of Yahoo leagues, I evidently need to keep talking about him! All he’s done since joining the Nationals on August 2 is rake. He’s hitting .358 with 17 runs, six homers, and 14 RBIs over the last month, good enough to rank as a top-16 overall hitter in standard 5×5 leagues. Meneses is a 30-year-old journeyman with little prospect pedigree, but that is not something you need to concern yourself with as you try to chase down a fantasy championship.
Nick Gordon (2B, SS, OF – MIN): 13% Rostered
With several of the Twins’ Opening Day regulars lost to injury, Gordon has found his way into an everyday role. He’s more than held his own, batting .279 with six homers and six steals over 319 plate appearances, and he’s been particularly good of late, hitting .313 since the All Star Break. He’s not going to stand out in any particular category, but his steady across-the-board production can be useful, especially when it comes with eligibility for three different positions.
Deep-League Targets: <10% Rostered
Nick Pratto (1B, OF — KC): 8% Rostered
While his teammate Vinnie Pasquantino has the more polished game, Pratto is a high-end first base prospect in his own right. The 23-year-old slugger hit 36 home runs in just 124 minor league games last season and smacked another 17 HRs in 74 Triple-A games this season before getting the call to Kansas City. He also demonstrated double-digit stolen base ability in the minors, although he’s yet to attempt a steal with the Royals.
Pratto strikes out far too much at this stage of his career to be a dependable source of batting average, but the power alone could be useful in deeper leagues. His upside was on full display in a recent four-game stretch in which he hit three homers and four doubles while driving in 10 runs.
Nick Pratto notches his first career multi-homer game with this 375-foot blast. His first home run tonight was 457 feet.#Royals rookies have now hit 57 home runs this year, which is a new franchise record, passing the 1969 club’s 56 home runs by rookies. pic.twitter.com/HELKJf33eX
— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) August 31, 2022
Bubba Thompson (OF – TEX): 6% Rostered
If you need steals, it’s hard to imagine a better waiver wire option than Thompson, who nabbed 49 bases in 80 games in Triple-A and has already stolen another nine in 24 games with the Rangers. Thompson got off to a rough start in Texas, but he’s hitting a healthy .314 since I last recommended picking him up on August 13. It remains to be seen if he can continue to hit for average and contribute much of anything in terms of power, but steals are steals.
Oswald Peraza (SS – NYY): 6% Rostered
It could be tough for Peraza to find regular at-bats in the Yankees’ lineup, but his minor league numbers are impressive enough to at least merit a look in deeper leagues or those with daily lineups. Currently the number 53 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, Peraza put up 19 HRs and 33 SBs in just 99 games for Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. The speed at a minimum should translate right away, and perhaps his defensive skills can help get him into the lineup with some frequency.
Jose Siri (OF – TB): 3% Rostered
Siri is another hitter who is striking out too much to hit for a decent batting average, but that’s why he’s a deep league add. He certainly brings an intriguing blend of power and speed to the table, as demonstrated by his 14 HRs and 12 SBs over 314 plate appearances between Triple-A and the Majors this year. Siri struggled to find playing time in Houston, but he has settled in as the Rays’ regular center fielder following Kevin Kiermaier’s season-ending hip surgery.
TJ Friedl (OF – CIN): 5% Rostered
After posting a solid .278 average with eight homers and 10 steals across 64 games at Triple-A Louisville, Friedl has worked his way into the strong side of an outfield platoon in Cincinnati. While he typically sits against left-handed pitchers, he’s been swinging a hot bat when in the lineup, batting .359 with three homers, nine RBIs, and a steal over his last 13 games. He’s only striking out in 15.3 percent of his plate appearances since joining the Reds, so his .261 batting average shouldn’t completely crater, and the stolen bases could come in bunches at any time.
Alright, that’s it for this week. If you like what you see here, you can get more of my thoughts on waiver wire pickups, buy-low/sell-high candidates, rest-of-season player values, and more by subscribing to the Rest of Season Rankings podcast and going to ROSrankings.com. I’m also always happy to talk about anything fantasy-related on Twitter @andrew_seifter.
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