Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire 5/16by Sam Schneider May 16, 2021 1 comment
It’s that wonderful time of year when injuries begin to mount, and crashing the waiver wire is the norm in a game of attrition. If you are one of the lucky few who have dodged the injury bullet thus far, consider yourself lucky. And if you’re one of the fewer who have avoided underwhelming performances by your starters, even more so.
For the rest of us, this is when adding depth becomes even more key. The season is creeping along to the time of year when one realizes that poor performance on the diamond is not an anomaly. No better time like the present to hedge your bets on a few players with upside down the line, so that’s what we’ll do today.
You can check out last week’s waiver picks here.
Shane McClanahan (SP – TB) 32% owned
While his stats this season are not mind-blowing (17.1 IP, 22 K, 4.67 ERA, 1.27 WHIP), McClanahan came up as the fourth overall prospect in the Rays’ organization. Management has been cautious in stretching him out and getting his pitch count higher to enable the 24-year-old to pitch deeper into games. He has a fastball that can hit 100 on the gun and nasty slider that also comes with extremely high velocity. In his four starts, he ranks above the 80th percentile in the power categories: Velocity (98th percentile), whiff percentage (92nd), strikeout percentage (81st), and chase rate (82nd). Those numbers are hot. Once they take the reigns off, you’ll want him on your side.
Michael Fulmer (SP, RP – DET) 8% owned
Remember a few years ago when everyone scrambled for Fulmer as he was set to make his big league debut? Life comes at you fast, and Fulmer is now stashed in a late-inning role for the Tigers bullpen. Fulmer has responded with a 3.45 ERA and has stuffed the sheet with three wins, two saves (in the last seven days), and three holds. Fulmer is sitting on a 8.48 K/9 that should increase as the season goes along. As of right now, he is still the second choice to close behind Gregory Soto, but Soto has had issues of his own. If you count holds or are desperate for a potential save chances down the road, he’s a great flier for you.
Andrew Vaughn (1B, OF – CWS) 37% owned
Vaughn is slowly getting more playing time, and it’s not that difficult to see why. The 23-year-old with availability at first and in the outfield grass has some enormous power potential. The .236 average is a bit of an eyesore, but Vaughn has good plate discipline and will draw more walks as he increases his power numbers. The warmer it gets outside, the hotter his bat will get. Vaughn is a speculative add based on pure potential alone. One look at his breakdowns shows red all over the place, and red is a very good thing. His metrics show an extreme expected trend upwards; his hard-hit percentage, barrel percentage, expected batting average and expected on-base percentage are all due for an increase throughout the summer. Lastly, there are a lot worse lineups than the White Sox to be hitting in.
Joc Pederson (1B, OF – CHC) 24% owned
Believe it or not, this is likely this article’s favorite pickup of the week. Pederson suffered through an abysmal start at the plate and has only recently gotten his average over the Mendoza line. With that said, he has a pair of three-hit games in the past week. Additionally, in his last 30 days, the former Dodger went 19-for-54 (.352) with sevens runs scored, five RBI, and five walks.
Aside from his lumber awaking from slumber, when you talk about the Cubs you cannot ignore the elephant in the room. The trade deadline is a ways away, but the questions about whether the Cubs will be sellers continue to loom as they hover in the middle of the NL Central standings. Chicago sufficiently overhauling a terrible pitching staff enough to make a run seems like a pipe dream. A guy like Pederson could benefit by players being moved and expanding his role or as a veteran, he himself could be moved to a contender as a key piece. The upside is there, regardless, and Pederson is worth a spot on the bench.
Stash of the Week
Brendan Rodgers (2B, SS – COL) 5% owned
Rogers was due to start in the middle infield of the Rockies in 2021, but instead found himself rehabbing a hamstring injury he was dealt on March 13. He’s finally in Triple-A now, getting innings in and testing it out at game speed. He should join the Rockies in the next 10 to 12 days. The Rockies do a lot of shuffling of their lineup, but he’s expected to see plenty of starts, and that’s while Trevor Story is still on the team. Once they deal the All-Star, everything opens up. Rodgers has only moderate power, but moderate power in Colorado still checks all the boxes.
Best of luck to everyone on your waiver claims and bids this week. Now is the time to play for upside. If you swing and miss this early in the season, it won’t bury you. There is, however, plenty of potential to hit one out of the park.
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images