Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire 6/19by Sam Schneider June 19, 2022 0 comments
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Sunday Funday is here, and brings with it fantasy baseball waiver claims. “Walking the Waiver Wire” has been instrumental to deepening benches, regardless of league style. Reminder: This column is for all fantasy managers. For those in deep leagues, some picks won’t apply. To those in shallow leagues, picks may not crack your starting lineup. Regardless, we’re going to roll through some valuable guys that are able to contribute in every league. They could be starters, bench rotation, or injury fill-ins. Let’s roll.
***All availability percentages are from Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.***
Corey Kluber (SP – TB) 63% owned
For those in shallow leagues who are in need of pitching help, Kluber may be available. He’s still sitting out there in 35 percent of leagues. Kluber certainly is not as dominant as he once was, but he has been flying under the radar in 2022 and putting together a respectable season. This could backfire on me, as this is going to be published before he completes Sunday’s start, but Kluber is worth a long look. Heading into Sunday, he’s amassed a 3-3 record with a 3.50 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The 36-year old has 54 strikeouts in 61.2 innings.
Riley Greene (OF – DET) 53% owned
Greene made his much awaited major league debut on Saturday and promptly went 2-for-3 and added a pair of walks. He would have been on the Tigers roster by now (likely to open the season) if not for a foot fracture. A highly touted prospect, in 2021 Greene played 84 games in Double-A and 40 in Triple-A. During that time, he slashed .301/.387/.534 (that’s a .921 OPS, math geniuses). Greene smacked 25 doubles, eight triples, and 24 homers to go along with 84 RBI, 16 stolen bases, and 95 runs scored.
Taijuan Walker (SP – NYM) 49% owned
How Walker is only rostered in half of Yahoo! leagues is beyond me. He had a miserable second half in 2021 and it seems to have scared many fantasy managers off. Meanwhile, all he has done is cruise to a 5-2 record with a 2.88 ERA pitching in front of a solid defense and an offense with pop. In his last two times out, he went 2-0 while allowing a total of eight hits and two runs. What’s more, he struck out 19 in 12.2 innings, which is bringing his K/9 up after starting the season low.
Matt Carpenter (1B, 2B – NYY) 13% owned
Carpenter will likely add third base to his eligibility soon as he works his way around the diamond when he plays. That’s the key: “When he plays”. Carpenter won’t be in the lineup daily (barring an injury), but could be a great depth piece for those in deeper leagues. He’s only recently joined the Bombers, and although in his last two appearances he went 0-for-8, he was scorching hot to start. In just 12 games for New York, Carpenter is hitting .250 with six ding-dongs, 10 runs scored, and 13 RBI. How’s that for a pinstripe debut?
Oneil Cruz (SS – PIT) 36% rostered
Stash Alert! Cruz has passed by his allotted time in the majors to accrue “Super Two” status. If that’s confusing, think of when the Cubs refused to call up Kris Bryant. Basically, he can now be called up without the team having to go through arbitration prior to three years of service time. In short, this means there is no reason for the Pirates to leave him in the minors anymore. With their eyes on the future, expect Pittsburgh to make the move sooner than later.
The 6’7″, 220 pound behemoth is a future five-tool superstar. When he is called upon, he’ll be snatched up lickety-split, so if you have the ability to spare a roster spot, it might be advantageous to get him now on the ground floor. It means you may have to sit on your hands waiting to see him get the call, but your squad could be handsomely rewarded for doing so. Cruz has nine major league at bats and has already hit his first homer (in 2021). In addition to flashing power that should only get better, he could sneeze and steal double-digit bases.
Ezequiel Duran (2B, 3B, SS – TEX) 34% owned
Duran is probably not worth a roster spot in shallow leagues, as his numbers can be duplicated (if not bettered) by others who likely available. In deeper leagues, he’s an intriguing option. Duran was called up to Texas almost quietly, and is just 13 games in. Entering Sunday, he was on a seven-game hitting streak and hasn’t shown much issue adjusting to the changes of the majors. Duran is batting .308 with two longballs, nine runs scored and eight RBI. He’s also swiped two bags for good measure… all of that in 13 contests.
Not a whole lot going on in closerville these days. At least, nothing to get terribly excited about. Most notable is that Corey Knebel (at least for now) has been – ahem – relieved of his duties as closer. Seranthony Dominguez (31% owned) appears to have the inside track on the job over veteran Brad Hand (17% owned). Hand booked a save on Friday and then turned around and blew one on Saturday. Dominguez has more zip to his pitches and should be looked on more favorably, although some sort of timeshare is certainly a high possibility. If you’re going to jump, Dominguez is probably the guy. However, his excellence in setup roles may work against him. Don’t rule out the chance of a Knebel return to the back end, either.
For what it’s worth, in Oakland, Dany Jimenez (45% owned) is still the guy. He’s had his ups and downs, but bullpen mate Lou Trivino was supposed to compete with him for saves a month ago. That did not go as planned, as Trivino’s ERA has ballooned to 8.66 with an enormous 1.98 WHIP. Jimenez may not be a sexy closer (4.38/1.26) or get tons of opportunities for Oakland, but could find himself traded to a better team in the future.
Worth a Look
1B Rowdy Tellez (51%) – 10 homers, 39 RBI, .777 OPS in a powerful offense
OF Adam Duvall (41%) – Heating up and has hit five dingers in his last 11 games
2B, 3B, OF Jon Berti (50%) – 12 hits in 11 games, .283 average, 18 stolen bases
Best of luck with all of your claims. Here’s hoping you get all your guys.