Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire 8/24-8/30by Sam Schneider August 23, 2020 0 comments
Welcome back, Champions! The clock is ticking on your fantasy baseball season. September is knocking and most teams are awfully close to 30 games played, meaning we (collectively) are about halfway through this crazy MLB year.Time flies.
Here’s hoping that thus far you have made enough moves to put yourself in position to make a run at your fantasy baseball title. Fantasy managers who lose this season will put an asterisk on it and move on. I would argue the opposite; if you win this season, you have conquered a battle of attrition and deserve every penny or accolade given by your respective leagues. This is not an easy road to hoe and the managers riding the hot hand/bat should be rewarded for the hard work that has been put in during a difficult season to navigate.
We have had a good run on waiver pickups in this series so far. Guys who were hot are staying hot but there is always work to be done. In the interest in keeping those eyes on the prize, here are some guys that may help you get there.
Joey Bart, C, San Francisco Giants – 46% owned
Fans both in and outside of San Fran have been waiting on Bart to get the call. The second overall pick in 2018 has been demanding attention to the tune of 16 long balls and a .824 OPS in just 79 games in the minors in 2019. The Giants are in a rebuild but are rattling off wins at an impressive rate with their young core. Bart settles in just when everyone is already hitting so the pressure is off. Given his position, he is an immediate must-add in all formats. Since his debut on Thursday, Bart is 3-for-8 so the early jitters are out of the system and there’s nowhere to go but up.
Robbie Grossman, OF, Oakland Athletics – 37% owned
At this point, you cannot do much better than adding anyone from the Athletics’ offensive lineup and expecting a positive return is realistic. Grossman, who is little-known, has thrived in the number six spot of that lineup where he has equal chances to score runs and rack up RBIs. He has received a few more days off than preferable (69 at-bats thus far) but Oakland has little choice but keep rolling him out there because of his performance. Grossman is sitting on a cool .290 average with four ding-dongs and even more valuable is a solid 15 walks and four bags swiped. At the very least, he is a plug-and-play when your outfielders take a week off. At best, he is an instant start if you are weak at the position. Go get him.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Toronto Blue Jays – 54% owned
We might as well be talking about Dylan Bundy here because Grichuk is another player that we keep waiting for to have a consistent season. Well, Bundy is looking pretty good right now and Grichuk is no different. Always a home run producer but rarely hitting for average, he is a favorite of mine since I saw a different swing from him on Live At-Bats during the layoff this year and when baseball resumed, he came to play. I have him rostered in multiple leagues and am starting him consistently in two of them. After a two-homer night on Aug 19, here are the numbers for the season: .293/.341/.549 with 13 runs scored, six round-trippers, and 16 teammates sent home. He’s batting second in an extremely potent offense, don’t expect those numbers to drop.
Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland Indians – 37% owned
McKenzie made his highly anticipated MLB debut on Saturday and all he did was pick up a W and drop 10 Ks on the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers’ bats have cooled but they still have veterans that should not be welcoming to a youngster in his first start. Unfortunately, the young right-hander (who’s wiry build demands Chris Sale comparisons) is in an organization loaded with talent on the bump. Zac Plesac and Mike Clevinger will return soon to a loaded pitching roster, but McKenzie demands a speculative add if your roster has room. He will get another start next week (potentially against the Cards) and if he impresses again, the Tribe would be hard-pressed to move him out of the rotation.
Brad Keller, SP, Kansas City Royals – 51% owned
At some point the intangibles become extraneous and you cannot ignore the earned run column of a scouting report. Keller has not allowed a run in his last 16 2/3 innings (three starts, three wins) and while he is not mowing down opponents via the strikeout (15 Ks in those starts), he is giving up a 2.4% barrel average to opposing hitters. He just gets outs. He belongs in the same category as Dylan Cease, who I touted here last week. It’s not flashy, but it’s working. If you’re ready to cut bait on an underperformer but don’t know who to grab instead, here’s your guy.
Elieser Hernandez, SP, Miami Marlins – 35% owned
People avoid Marlins like the plague, which is ironic enough in 2020. Hernandez demands attention and pickups in lineups across the board and is a lock for NL-only leagues. With a K/9 of 11.44 and a WHIP sitting comfortably at 0.76, the wins will come regardless of the Fish hitting the ball. He is going to be a big deal for years to come but this is your chance to say, “I remember him when”. In 89 innings in 2019, his K/9 was over nine and the 5.03 and 1.24 WHIP wasn’t too shabby of a showing for a first meaningful season and he is getting better and better. Hernandez is free in most leagues and can only help your numbers regardless of league format and scoring. Run, don’t walk.
Worth Mentioning: Taylor Williams, RP, Seattle Mariners
Big reliever mention in this space last week and he is still only at 37% ownership. If you need saves and Ks, here is a freebie closer.
Worth Mentioning: Tony Gonsolin, P, Los Angeles Dodgers
This is a watch list/stash pick. Gonsolin has been sent to the alternate site but he will be back soon enough. He has pitched well in limited opportunities because of the depth in LA. He will be an MLB starter, but I would snatch him up this year if he came back to the Dodgers as a reliever. Keep an eye on him.
Andrew Benintendi: Buh-bye
Francisco Mejia: What happened?
Steven Matz: No reason to roster
Sean Manaea: Not fooled by one win
Good Luck this week. Let’s meet back here next Sunday.