Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire 5/22by Sam Schneider May 22, 2022 3 comments
Sunday Funday has come and gone, which means it’s time to take our weekly look at the fantasy baseball waiver wire. There seem to be a bevy of options available this week, but which ones could be the most productive? Recommendations are listed below, along with some must-roster players that may or may not be available in your leagues. Keep in mind, this column is for people in all types of leagues, whether H2H or rotisserie, and whether shallow or deep. Here’s hoping you find some guys to provide depth to your respective teams. Batter up, my fellow fantasy baseball deviants.
***All availability percentages are from Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.***
Aaron Ashby (SP, RP – MIL) 12% owned
Ashby is a curious case. Although his role for the Brewers is not clearly defined in 2022, he has too much talent to be rostered in just 12 percent of leagues. He has appeared in nine games this season, starting three. That’s a year after he made 13 appearances while starting four. The Milwaukee endgame for the talented lefty is in a starting role. He has, however, already nearly matched his innings total from 2021, so the trust factor is there. Ashby recorded a four-inning save recently, but also went winless in his starts this season. None of that sounds particularly sexy, but he still holds a 3.49 earned run average (and dropping) and is striking out 10.8 batters per nine innings. At the moment, Ashby can be utilized to keep ERAs in fantasy down. He’ll get an occasional save, and likely start gaining holds for leagues that count them.
The real reason Ashby is a solid add is that as he finds his footing and gets more comfortable, he’ll end up being a rotational piece. That should happen more sooner than later. (Editor’s note: Freddy Peralta is likely headed to the IL with a shoulder injury after this was written). Ashby is constantly improving and has tremendous upside. Injuries happen often, and he’ll be first in line for spot starts to earn a permanent spot this season. I’m rostering him over players like Nick Pivetta and others.
Luis Arraez (1B, 2B, 3B, OF – MIN) 28% owned
The red-hot hitting for Arraez continues, as he went 3-for-5 on Sunday. Coming into the game, he was slashing a tremendous .324/.430/.402 (that’s an .832 OPS, math geniuses) and is clearly not slowing down. To be putting up those types of numbers at the top of a lineup loaded with talented hitters is a huge benefit. Expect his runs to increase (currently he’s scored 16 times), as he hits his way on base and takes a lot of walks. Add to that one of the most versatile plug-and-play players at multiple positions, and he should be a mainstay on any roster. Arraez could be the bench guy you lean on when necessary, but if he keeps hitting this way, he might crack your starting lineup. He holds a 0.6 WAR thus far in 2022.
Bailey Ober (SP – MIN) 46% owned
We’re still “feeling Minnesota” as we move into the rotation. Ownership for Ober is skyrocketing again now that he has returned from injury. He is still getting stretched out after his return from his rehab assignment, but in his Sunday return, he spun a five inning, three-hit, one-run game. Ober set down four via strikeout while lowering his season ERA to 2.55. The 26-year-old has a long career ahead of him and a potent offense that should provide run support. He’ll need a little help from the bullpen, as today he missed out on his second win because the guys behind him could not keep it together. He is a must-add in medium-to-deep formats.
MJ Melendez (C – KC) 35% owned
The Royals’ backstop may just be filling in for All-Star Salvador Perez, but Melendez is getting a chance to show his stuff. Not only is he filling in for Perez, but he was inserted straight into the cleanup spot which demonstrates Kansas City’s faith in the 23-year-old rookie. While his time may be short, there still has not been much reported about Perez’s strained thumb (10-day IL). Either way, the talented rookie has a chance to carve out a roster spot. Anytime Perez misses time or has a day off, Melendez could suit up and he’s already been used at the DH position. Kansas City would be wise to keep him on the roster, and quality fantasy catchers are always tough to come by via waivers. He is currently sitting on a .240 average in just 50 at bats and recently went yard in back-to-back games.
Speaking of Catchers…
While we’re on the subject, Melendez is likely catcher No. 3 this week on waivers. He’s an ideal candidate thanks to the low ownership percentage. Melendez has largely flown under the radar thanks to the promotion of bopper Adley Rutschman (68% owned) who tripled in his first game. Also lingering is Gary Sanchez for the Twins (66% owned). All he’s done is had a hit in seven of his last nine games, 10 hits, three dingers, and 11 runs batted in. Three of those seven efforts were of the multiple-hit variety. Sanchez is hitting .229 (seems about right), but the pop in the bat makes him worth an add if he’s available in a league where you need help behind the plate.
Mike Yastrzemski (OF – SF) 36% owned
After a woeful start to the season, Yastrzemski appears to be heating up at the plate. As I noted in a DFS recommendations article, maybe a trip to Colorado would help wake up the lumber. Turns out, in that three-game series, Yaz went 6-for-12 with a homer and five RBIs. he followed that up going 2-for-5 in a pair against San Diego. The San Francisco outfielder is prone to streakiness, and won’t likely become a fixture in your fantasy outfield. That said, his numbers are better than you’d expect. Yastrzemski carries a triple-slash of .296/.383/.459 (OPS of .842) with three long balls and 13 RBI. He’s also crossed the dish 17 times and carries a 1.1 WAR. This could be a great bench player and fill-in on days with a heavy number of players beginning to earn days off.
Roster Immediately if Available
Adley Rutschman (C – BAL) 68% owned
One of the game’s biggest prospects tore up the minors and is here to stay
Nolan Gorman (3B – STL) 58% owned
Went 3-for-5 Sunday and has a hit in each of his first three games, batting .400 early. Positional availability will broaden soon
Adolis Garcia (OF – TEX) 77% owned
Batting average leaves much to be desired, but has six home runs, 23 runs, 25 RBI, four SBs
Best of luck in your waivers adventure. May you get every one you put a claim on.