Welcome to this week’s edition of Waiver Wire Pickups by Category. In this week’s piece, we’ve got a variety of options that will hopefully fulfill your roster needs. Players are broken into categories where they’re most likely to contribute, but many will help out in a multitude of ways. As always, all players listed are rostered in less than (or close to) 50% of Yahoo Leagues, so ideally, a few of them are available.
A new crop of prospects have earned their promotion, and many have already made their presence felt. We’ve previously seen what kind of splash hot rookies can make at the Show, so don’t miss out on this next group!
A few noteworthy names that didn’t make the cut but deserve watching are Masyn Lynn, Osleivis Basabe, and Logan O’Hoppe. Lynn is the second-ranked prospect in the Cardinals organization. Basabe has been an above-average replacement for Wander Franco. And O’Hoppe is finally healthy again after tearing his labrum earlier in the season.
Whatever you’re lacking, we’ve got it. I have little doubt that many of these next players will continue to thrive, so get your bids in quickly and watch your team slowly creep up the standing.
Schanuel was the Angels’ first-round pick in the 2023 draft – as in THIS YEAR. He was taken 11th overall and only spent a total of 21 games in the Minor Leagues. Despite a 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, Schanuel has one of the best eyes at the plate I’ve ever seen. In 21 Minor League games, Schanuel walked 21 times. Since his call-up, the 21-year-old has played in seven games and has already walked, you guessed it, seven times. He also hit for a .370 average down on the farm and is currently maintaining a .348 average in the Bigs. He has struck out a total of 14 times over 127 professional plate appearances and is somewhat of a unicorn for someone his size.
Of course, with an OBP over .500, you’re bound to score runs even if you play for the Angels. He already has six to his credit. Schanuel’s been leading off for the Halos, and even though he’s currently dealing with a bout of food poisoning, expect the young rookie to be back in there in no time. He’s my favorite offensive add this week.
Rojas was extremely solid in April, kicking off the season with a .298 average, 16 RBIs, 15 runs scored, and three steals. Fantasy managers that drafted him were patting themselves on the back, reveling in their genius… and then the wheels fell off. Rojas depleted to the level of demotion and eventually found himself traded to the Mariners.
It took him a few games to get going, but after a slight adjustment, Rojas has been elite. The 29-year-old utility man is hitting .383 since August 11th and has 25 runs + RBIs during that span (13 games). He also has three long balls in his last nine games after not hitting a single homer for Arizona this year. The reenergized Rojas deserves a spot in deeper leagues while he’s hot.
Tommy Pham’s out there getting into arguments with fans, ranting at people on Twitter and is constantly talking trash on podcasts. But you know what else this dude does? He produces on the baseball field. Playing for his fifth team in the last six years, Pham has been incredible over the last three weeks. Since August 6th, the enigmatic outfielder has knocked in 17 runs in 17 games. He’s regularly batting third in the top-heavy D’backs lineup and has been a consistent run producer all month long. Pham also hits for modest power and steals bags. He’s worth rostering in most leagues.
Lewis spent a good portion of his career on the injured list, but when healthy, he’s been terrific. The Twins’ former top prospect is hitting .318 on the season, with six long balls over 132 at-bats. That gives him a total of eight round-trippers in just 172 Major League ABs. Not an eye-popping total, but enough to contribute in fantasy leagues.
Not only is Lewis capable of putting one in the seats, but he can also help boost your batting average and steal the occasional base. His .859 OPS is impressive considering the amount of time he’s misses, and he’s currently on a hot streak launching two homers over his last four games. Lewis is a five-category contributor and should be considered for all league types.
Marte was a top prospect in the Mariners system until he was traded in a package deal for Luis Castillo. Now a part of the Reds youth movement, Marte has been finding his way into the everyday lineup despite Cincinnati’s plethora of options. His bat is passable, but his legs are the reason you’re buying. The 21-year-old Dominican already has four swipes to his credit in just his first week of the Majors. Scouts were always high on Marte’s speed, and now he gets to put it on full display for the world to see (or at least for those watching Reds games).
I highlighted Ragans two weeks ago, but he bears mentioning again. Ragans now leads the AL in strikeouts over the last 30 days (44). Over his last five starts, the Royals’ hottest arm is averaging an outlandish 16.05 K/9 while allowing just one home run. He held opponents to just seven runs over that span and is boasting a fantastic 2.08 ERA and 1.18 WHIP since joining the Royals rotation.
Sometimes it just takes a change of scenery or coaching philosophy (he was traded by the Rangers for Aroldis Chapman) to turn a player’s production around. The southpaw from Florida has been throwing his curveball and changeup more, and the results have been optimal. He’s scheduled to take on the Pirates next. Ragans is a no-brainer if you’re short on strikeouts.
Blackburn plays for the worst team in baseball, but there’s no denying his performance over his last six starts. After missing the first two months due to injury, Blackburn struggled with his mechanics and release point early in the summer. Now fully settled in, the former first-rounder has shown good command of all six of his pitches. He’s only allowed nine runs over his past six games – good for a 2.25 ERA – and that included games against Houston and at Colorado. Blackburn’s ERA for August currently stands at a crisp 2.19 with a solid 1.18 WHIP. He was an All-Star in 2021 after a stellar first half and looks to be on a similar path once again. Blackburn’s worth a look in deeper leagues.
I featured Lugo on this list earlier in the year for strikeouts, and while he will earn you plenty of those this week, he could possibly score you two victories. The former Met is coming off of back-to-back excellent performances where he allowed just one run over 12 innings. His ERA for the year is 3.70, and his FIP is nearly identical at 3.74. The 33-year-old also strikes out nearly a batter per inning. The Padres have been mediocre at best, but Lugo’s projected to face the Cardinals and Giants this week, both winnable matchups. He hasn’t faced St. Louis yet this year but did hold the Giants to just three hits and one run over five innings back in June. Lugo’s worth picking up this week if you’re chasing wins.
Crawford’s WHIP has been exemplary all year. The second-year starter has posted a WHIP of 1.00 or below in five out of his last six games. He limits walks, strikes out a batter per inning, and is not on any type of innings limit since he pitched out of the bullpen earlier this year. His WHIP stands at a sterling 1.09, and he should be rostered everywhere.
Cano is the obvious answer here, with Felix Bautista suffering possibly a season-ending injury. Cano was already good enough to be active on fantasy rosters, but now as the Orioles likely new closer, he immediately becomes a must-start option. His sinker/changeup combination is one of the best in the game, and when he’s not striking guys out (20% K-BB%) he’s inducing a ton of weakly hit ground balls (3.10 GB/FB, 27% Hard Hit). He won’t last more than a day or two more on the waiver wire, so act quickly.
Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.