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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Targets: Willi Castro, Zach McKinstry, Ben Lively

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Targets: Willi Castro, Zach McKinstry, Ben Lively

Just in case you happened to be unaware, we are creeping up to the halfway point of the fantasy baseball season. I swear I blinked and nine weeks have already gone by. Hopefully, for you, those nine weeks have been highly successful. Whether or not they have been, though, it’s never too late to make a move and climb up the standings.

Remember, your main focus at this point should be what needs to be done to make the playoffs. Once you get that situated, you can then focus on what’s needed to win. One good way to take a step in the right direction is to utilize the waiver wire. Thankfully we’ve entered the point of the season where you can really get a grasp on who’s hot and who’s not. Whether you want season-long waiver wire options, or guys who will be hot just long enough to fill in for an injury. You’ve come to the right place.

MLB Daily Lineups

Waiver Wire Pickups & Targets

Let’s take a look at players you should be targeting on the fantasy baseball waiver wire for this week.

Priority Waiver Wire Additions

Willi Castro (2B/3B/SS/OF – MIN)

If there’s one thing that will always hold a little extra value in the fantasy world, it’s multi-position eligibility. A lot of the time, two-position eligibility is amazing. Castro brings you the rare four-position eligibility which makes him the perfect roster piece. His production as of late makes him even more enticing. Since May 16th he’s hitting .352 with three home runs, seven RBI, scored 12 runs, and stolen nine bases.

In 2023 he’s seen a pretty impressive uptick in his underlying numbers. While he does strike out a bunch which hinders his points league value, everything else looks great. He’s currently putting up career highs in barrel rate, average exit velocity, sweet spot rate, and hard-hit rate. He’s pulling the ball at a career-high rate as well, and when you combine all those things, it points towards sustained production for Castro going forward.

Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF – MIN)

I swear every time I write these I end up with multiple people from the same team. It’s not on purpose, I swear. Kirilloff has been hot as of late and has quietly been putting up a pretty productive season overall. Despite not homering in his last seven games, he’s still managed to hit .409 with four runs scored, three RBI, a 12.5% strikeout rate, and an absurd .594 OBP. Batting in the heart of that Twins offense, he offers a lot of upside in terms of rest-of-season value.

Zach McKinstry (2B/3B/SS/OF – DET)

Another quadruple position eligibility player and also one of the hottest names in fantasy baseball at the moment. McKinstry has burst onto the scene and proven to be a multi-category contributor batting routinely at the top of the Tigers lineup. He doesn’t make the hardest contact, but he does just about everything else at a very high level.

McKinstry currently has an xBA of .298, 10.3% barrel rate, .480 xSLG, and xwOBA of .387. Those have led to him not only hitting for power (11 XBH) but a very sustainable .279 batting average as well. His 14.5% walk rate and .390 OBP make him even more valuable in points leagues. Not only has he been productive, but all signs point to even better production moving forward. He should be owned in all leagues.

Ben Lively (SP/RP – CIN)

Some people may still be wondering if he’s strictly a streaming option at this point, but to be honest…he’s more than that. He fits into the category of guys too good to be considered streamers, but they consistently get overlooked. In his last three starts, he’s struck out 22 in 17.1 innings with a 2.08 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. He’s done it against excellent competition as well facing the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals.

A ton of Lively’s success has come from the evolution of his slider. It was something he’d hardly utilized in years prior. Now it’s his second most thrown pitch at 26.1% and brings with it a 50% whiff rate thus far and just one hit against. With the new pitch mix, he’s registered a 25.4% K-BB% which is an elite-level number. As long as Lively keeps with the slider usage, he should continue to put up good numbers.

Deep League Additions

Jeimer Candelario (3B – WAS)

Candelario may be the player flying under the radar the most so far this season. Rostered in 54% of Fantrax leagues but just 13% of Yahoo and 8% of ESPN leagues which is surprising. Especially when you take into account his production over his last 16 games. In those games, he’s hit .410 with eight doubles, two triples, three home runs, scored 13 runs, and driven in 14. Numbers that are viable in every league size and type.

Much of Candelario’s success in this 16-game stretch has come from his vastly improved contact. He’s managed a 12.2% barrel rate, 42.9% hard-hit rate, and 1.240 OPS. If he can keep up his increased fly ball rate (42.9%) and pull rate (44.9%), Candelario has a chance to put up top-15 production at the third base position.

Mark Canha (OF – NYM)

To get straight to it, Canha is hot right now and the numbers he’s putting up should be taken advantage of. In his last seven games, Canha has hit .368 with a pair of home runs, six RBI and even stolen a base. He’s cut his strikeout rate down to 16% while raising his walk rate to 20%. He’s making more quality contact as well, evident by the 53.3% hard-hit rate. He’s been known to be streaky in the past, so capitalizing on his hot streaks is crucial. This current hot streak is making him extremely viable in all league formats.

Joey Wiemer (OF – MIL)

After being pushed into a starting role this season, Wiemer has had his ups and downs. His .2o1 batting average this season leaves something to be desired, but his production as of late has turned up the heat on his fantasy radar. In his last six games, Wiemer is hitting .333 with two doubles, a home run, and three stolen bases.

One big improvement he’s made is his lowered strikeout rate. Since the 21st he’s striking out just 23% of the time while also walking at a 10% rate. It sounds obvious, but getting on base is a huge key to Wiemer’s success. His 92nd percentile sprint speed becomes very useful. He stole 30 bases in 2021 and 31 in 2022. If he can continue to get on base at a reasonable rate this season, he could eclipse the 30-steal benchmark once again and have that deeper league value many are looking for.

Braxton Garrett (SP – MIA)

Someone who’s always had the potential but has never been able to capitalize on it. That pretty much sums up Garrett’s young career so far. And after giving up 15 runs in two games at the beginning of May it felt like that was going to continue. Since then, though, Garrett has really turned a corner. In his last four starts, he has yet to win a game but has struck out 26 in 21.2 innings while rocking a 1.66 ERA.

Much of that recent dominance has come from the renewed dominance of his slider. He’s thrown it 91 times in that span and given up just two hits off of it. On the season, his slider has a 41% whiff rate and has become the type of pitch most other pitchers dream of. He lines up for two starts in week 1o and should reward fantasy owners handsomely.

Fantasy Baseball In-Season Waiver Wire & Trade Advice

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