Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire for Week 4by Sam Schneider April 25, 2021 2 comments
It is still early in the 2021 season, so many stats are still being taken with a grain of salt. Players that aren’t living up to prior expectations have more than enough time to turn it around. Meanwhile, fantasy managers struggle to figure out if other performances are a mirage or if the current pace is sustainable while they peruse the waiver wire.
So we’ll walk that wire with some gems still available in many leagues. As always, it’s never a bad thing to ride the hot hand if you took a shot on someone who just isn’t performing. Here are my top picks for the week.
All availability percentages are for Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.
Danny Duffy (SP – KC) 65% owned
It’s Duffy who leads the American League in ERA so far this season with an eye-popping 0.39 ERA to go with a 1.12 WHIP and a 27/6 K/BB ratio. The Royals have won nine of 12 games and sit atop the AL Central with a club capable of putting runs up behind the pitchers. Duffy cannot possibly maintain a 0.39 ERA, but he has the talent to be a meaningful anchor to fantasy teams as the season continues.
Related: Royals Week in Review
JT Brubaker (SP – PIT) 54% owned
In four starts in 2021, Brubaker has 23 strikeouts in 22 innings; nothing stellar but nine is fine. A 2.01 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, mostly in part to a knee-buckling curve ball with devastating spin and an extremely effective slider. In fact, the righty from Springfield, OH has a full arsenal of pitches that will keep him moving up the ranks for years to come. As long as the Pirates can score behind him, he’s got a chance to win every time he takes the hill.
Jon Gray (SP – COL) 36% owned
Admittedly, your author scoffed at Gray both during the draft and afterwards when he went undrafted. All he has done since then in four starts he tallied two wins, has 21 strikeouts in 22 innings, a 2.42 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. Again, these are not astronomical numbers, but considering half of his games are at Coors Field the ERA and WHIP certainly is enough to raise some eyebrows. You could do far worse than the veteran on the bump, and you probably are, by sticking with one of the bums you just cannot give up on.
Omar Navarez (C – MIL) 46% owned
It’s pretty rare to find a decent catcher on the waiver wire, and it looks like we may have stumbled onto a winner here, owned in under half of leagues. Navarez has been other-worldly for the Brewers so far, moving up the lineup as far as second in the batting order. It was undeniable; his ridiculous .389/.477/.574 triple-slash practically demanded it. Three round-trippers and 11 RBIs. While he does strike out often, it’s because he is always just trying to make contact as evidenced by his spray chart which is all over the field. He can flat-out hit.
Randal Grichuk (OF – TOR) 53% owned
Another year, another time when Grichuk finds himself on a waiver wire list. The Toronto outfielder once again deserves your consideration as he carries a .309 average, four dingers, 10 runs scored, and 16 RBI. Grichuk is one of the best pure hitters in the league, but has always been a victim of managers saying, “he can’t possibly keep this up.” Another hitter that can beat any shift because he sprays the ball all over the field. His real power lies in yanking the ball to left field. At the very least, the righty is worthy of a bench spot or utility start. He is playing in the midst of one of the most productive lineups in baseball.
Carson Kelly (C – ARI) 53%
What is going on? Another catcher? What world is this? It’s usually hard enough to find one decent-hitting backstop to put on a list, let alone two.
Kelly has been nothing short of amazing so far this season. How about .341/.517/.756, with five moonshots from the boomstick, nine runs scored, and 12 RBI. These number won’t hold up for the entire season, but if you’re in need of a catcher (many managers are always in need of a catcher) he just might be available to you. Go get him and ride this wave for as long as it will go.
Waiver Wire Stash of the Week
Wander Franco (SS? – TB) 36% owned
There simply is no way that Tampa Bay can continue letting the 20-year-old No. 1 prospect in baseball wallow in the minors. The expectations continue to build for the 5-tool player ever since he was on the taxi squad for the 2020 World Series roster. Although last year’s minor league season was canceled, last time we saw Franco he was ripping up High-A ball in 2019 to the tune of .318/.390/.506 in 233 at bats.
There are questions of whether he will step right in and play shortstop but make no mistake: When they call him up, he’s going to play. Tampa Bay’s offense is still up-and-down and there are plenty of moving parts that Franco will have regular playing time. Go get him and stash him for two weeks before someone else does.
Best of luck with all of your claims this week, may you get every guy you target.