It was a massively successful week for the offense last period, so hopefully, we can keep it going with this next round of studs. More prospects have been called up, which means more decisions are to be made in fantasy leagues. Are the young players worth adding? Are there any diamonds in the rough still available? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered in this week’s “Pickups by Category” edition.
All players listed are rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues and are broken down into categories of where they’re most likely to aid you. Most of these players will help in multiple ways, but their primary contributions should come under the category in which they are listed.
Without further ado, here are this week’s top waiver wire adds based on category.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Category Targets
With Adolis Garcia hitting the IL with a bum knee, the Rangers have turned to Mitch Garver to fulfill their cleanup spot in the order. The veteran backstop has been starting every day (mostly at DH) and has knocked in six runs over his last 18 at-bats. For the week, Garver is hitting .500 with a mouth-watering 1.625 OPS. As long as Texas is relying on Garver to drive in runs, so should you. Add The former Twin now to help boost your RBIs.
Garver’s not the only one who’s stock improved after Garcia’s injury. Evan Carter was called up in a corresponding move, finally giving him a shot at the Big Leagues.
The Rangers second-ranked prospect has been productive in the Minors all season long. He’s an on-base machine who hits the ball well to all fields and excels at working the walk (.413 OBP). Carter’s also quick on the base paths (26 steals) and possesses decent to modest power (36 XBH, including 12 home runs).
He’ll likely hit at the bottom of the order, but with Marcus Semien and Corey Seager batting behind him, Carter could be in an ideal spot to score runs. That is, if he can continue to get on base like he did in the Minors. Even if he doesn’t walk 15% of the time or hit over .300, a modest average with a decent amount of free passes should allow him to score often. Plus, he’ll likely earn you a handful of stolen bases. All that, combined with a solid batting average and the possibility of a few homers, makes Carter a worthwhile add.
Nelson Velazquez was more of a fill-in player for Chicago, but now, as a regular in KC, the 24-year-old Puerto Rican is thriving. Since joining the Royals, Velasquez has nine home runs and 17 RBIs in just 81 at-bats. The 24-year-old was actually off to a hot start in Chicago, slugging .621 over 13 games as well, but the Cubbies just didn’t have the space for him, so they shipped him off for Jose Cuas at the trade deadline.
Velazquez’s power output shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, considering he clubbed 31 homers over the last two partial Minor League seasons. He doesn’t walk much and will strike out a bit, but the .618 SLG on the year will play nicely in fantasy leagues. His average also won’t drag you down much, hovering around .250. The Royals’ newest slugger is worth a flier in deeper leagues or for anyone desperate for home runs.
Austin Hays is on fire, and now he gets to face the Cardinals’ pitching staff. The O’s veteran outfielder has 13 hits over his last eight starts and has scored an outrageous 11 times. His average is now .286 on the year, and his OPS is closing in on .800. He hits both righties and lefties well and has connected for more power lately, recording a .521 SLG since the beginning of August. The Orioles have one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league, and Hays has been a significant part of that production. He deserves a spot in all but possibly the shallowest of leagues.
Jordan Lawlar was the sixth-overall draft pick in the back in 2021. He’s a five-tool player who does virtually everything well on the baseball field. His only glaring weakness is his lack of experience. At just 22 years old, Lawlar has barely over 200 professional games under his belt. Still, we’ve seen rookies find success with even less experience, so don’t discount the phenom just yet. Torey Lovullo’s already stated he’s going to “lean on him a bit and continue to do so,” so Lawlar should have every opportunity to produce.
Arizona’s top prospect and MLB’s fifth-ranked overall crushed Triple-A pitching to the tune of .358/.438/.612 before earning his call-up. Lawlar also stole 36 bases this year (combining Double-A and Triple-A). He may struggle at times with strikeouts, but his ceiling is enormous. He also just stole his first MLB base last night against the Cubs. The former prep school standout deserves a look in deeper leagues.
Between injuries and legal troubles, the Dodgers pitching staff looks to be in trouble. Don’t tell Ryan Pepoit, though, who’s now riled off back-to-back scoreless outings. Since returning to the rotation on Aug. 19, the second-year pro has allowed just two runs over 21 innings. Even more impressive has been his pinpoint control. After walking 27 batters in 36.1 innings last year, the changeup specialist has only surrendered two free passes this year over four starts. He’s also only allowed one home run. The Dodgers usually find a way to get the most out of their young arms, and it seems like they may have done it again. Pepiot is a must-add with the Padres and Tigers on tap.
Michael King has been thrust into the starting rotation, where he’s been an absolute menace. Over 18.2 innings, including a five-inning outing in his latest start, King has registered a 1.93 ERA with a 32% strikeout rate. He racked up nine K’s on Saturday against the NL Central-leading Brewers and is set to take on Boston or possibly Pittsburgh in his next time out. He could struggle to earn wins, but the rest of his numbers should be exemplary. King deserves a roster spot in all leagues.
John Means is set to return this week after missing a full year and a half following Tommy John surgery. He lasted five innings in both his latest rehab outings and finished his assignment with a 3.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 22 K’s in 21 innings.
It’s always a bit of crapshoot starting pitchers after a long layoff, especially coming off elbow surgery. However, Means was and still is arguably their best starter. The southpaw from Kansas offers a changeup that is second to none, and when he’s feeling it, it’s almost unhittable. Means will very likely be on a pitch limit, but considering Baltimore is trying for their first division title since 2014 (and second since 1997!) Means and his career 1.08 WHIP could be put to the test right away. He’s worth adding now, but it’s not a horrible idea to keep him on the bench in his first game back against the Rays.
Jose Quintana is as steady as they come, and now he’s set up for a two-start week. I’ve featured him before, and although he’s rather boring regarding overall statistics, he generally gets the job done. Seven out of his last eight outings have been quality starts (six innings or more while allowing three runs or less), and his only bad game came against Atlanta on the road. The Mets don’t have the strongest bullpen, but as long as Quintana continues to keep runs off the board, he’s a candidate to win every time out. He’s worth adding for his two-start week.
Ryan Helsley is an option in shallow leagues, but for those where he’s already taken, Matt Brash may be an option. He’s not the Mariners’ first choice for saves, but the man has been lights out lately, and Seattle has been winning a ton of games. With a 14.16 K/9 and Andres Munoz struggling a bit (by his standards), the M’s could turn to Brash in some late-inning situations. He collected two saves in mid-August. With such slim pickings among the waiver wire, Brash and his strong peripherals may be your best bet. Plus, he comes with the added bonus of being able to start in an SP spot which can prove handy in daily leagues.
Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.