Welcome back to another edition of fantasy baseball waivers on a Sunday evening. Walking the Waiver Wire has been killing it with immediate starters and depth picks thus far in the season, with no signs of stopping. As always, the players listed may not fit some leagues. The aim is to identify players that may help both shallow and deeper leagues. Whether you need a starter or injury replacement in a smaller league or bench depth in larger ones, this column is for you.
Over a month into the season, things are getting fun. Injuries are a part of the game, and can be expected. The other side of the coin is seeing prospects called up and bench players take off. There is plenty more of that coming this season, and fans will be trying to find diamonds in the rough. Let’s start today, and see what can be done to improve rosters en route to a fantasy baseball championship.
***All availability percentages are from Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.***
Jose Quintana (SP, RP – PIT) 23% owned
Thanks to the ineptitude of the Pirates, it’s hard to recommend players on the bound or with the bat. With that said, the veteran southpaw has demonstrated consistent value in 2022. In fact, if Pittsburgh were able to score more runs early in the game, Quintana’s record would be more impressive than 1-1. His strikeout rate is down significantly from the past three years at 7.5 K/9 (previously as high as 12.3), but he’s backpacking a 2.70 earned run average and 1.20 WHIP through Saturday. On Sunday, he blanked Cincinnati for seven innings, whiffing five batters and had a 0.57 WHIP for the game.
In short, the 33-year-old is not flashy. However, he is consistent and is a set-and-forget player. The Pirates at 4-2 in his starts, and if they start swinging the bats a little earlier, Quintana’s record will reflect that. It’s also notable that he is likely to be traded at the deadline to a team with bigger lumber, and could be a huge factor in the second half of the season.
Brandon Drury (2B, 3B, OF – CIN) 64% owned
I wish that there were installments of this article throughout the week, because the order to add Drury would have come days ago. Alas, a crystal ball is not sitting in front of me, and I was not prepared for him to continue his torrid pace. Don’t look now, but the Cincinnati Reds are actually hitting the ball, and Drury is seemingly right in the middle of everything. As mentioned in a deep dive on the journeyman (you can find that here), Drury has tinkered with his approach at the plate and it is paying dividends.
At just 29 years old, he has already been around the block enough to be called a “veteran”, but could still have his best years ahead starting in 2022. The new dead ball era is a benefit to a hitter like Drury, who hits line drives. He is currently slashing .260/.336/.560 (that’s an impressive .887 OPS for you math wizards) with seven long balls, eight doubles, and 10 bases on balls. Between crossing the plate and driving others in, Drury has accounted for 40 runs scored. The positional flexibility is a pleasant bonus.
Brandon Nimmo (OF – NYM) 34% owned
What’s better than one Brandon? How about two? The Wyoming native is riding a 10-game hitting streak. On top of that, since the start of the season, he’s gone hitless in just seven contests. That’s absurd. The Mets’ outfielder is currently riding an average of .304 (spoiler: that’s pretty good in 2022) and an .887 OPS on the strength of nine extra-base hits. Three of those were moonshots with the boomstick. Perhaps even more impressive is his crossing of the plate. Nimmo has scored 20 runs this year, and that is a product of his .414 OBP, which is the best of his career. Positionally, Nimmo is unlikely to shove another outfielder out of your lineup. With that said, it is easy production as a utility player and certainly a plug-and-play when guys have a day off. He should not be ignored.
Danny Jansen (C – TOR) 17% owned
You want a small sample size? I’ll give you one. The Blue Jays backstop had not played since April 10 thanks to an oblique injury. While he has just 10 at bats so far, he’s hitting .500 and three of his five hits have left the yard. Jansen is a speculative add at this point in deeper fantasy formats. Given the desperation owners often have for a decent catcher, if a team has room he is worth stashing. Keep in mind, however, that Toronto is loaded with potential at the position. Jansen may have to elbow Alejandro Kirk and Zack Collins out of the way while also looking over his shoulder for prospect Gabriel Moreno. Even still, if Jansen continues seeing the ball this well, he’ll get the bulk of the playing time.
Martin Perez (SP – TEX) 28% owned
The veteran lefty is putting it all together in 2022. Perez went six innings, scattering five hits with one run allowed. He also struck out seven Red Sox batters. In total for the season, the Venezuelan is 2-2 in seven starts with a fantastic 2.01 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. In his last three starts, he’s accounted for 20.1 IP while allowing a total of two runs. Not unlike Quintana, Perez is not flashy. However, the numbers cannot be denied. Additionally, although he has been around the league plenty, it’s not that far-fetched to suggest that the newly-turned 31-year-old might have found what works best for him. His run support has been suspect, but if the Rangers start scoring some more runs behind him, that record can go nowhere but up.
The Minnesota Twins appear to have a two-headed attack at the back end of the bullpen. 24-year-old Jhoan Duran looks to be in the driver’s seat with 25 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. With it being his first year in the majors, though, he’s unlikely to get the full workload. With the Twins expected to rattle off plenty of wins in 2022, it’s plausible that both Duran (41%) and veteran Emilio Pagan (29%) can add value to fantasy lineups. Duran has saved two games thus far, and Pagan has five while sporting a 1.54 ERA.
Still watching the closing situation in San Francisco. Camilo Doval (79%) is unlikely to be available in most leagues, but it’s a pretty safe bet he has wrestled away the closer role from the injured (and ineffective) Jake McGee. Neighboring Oakland looks to have settled on Dany Jimenez (62%) to slam the door when they have a lead, though he had a rough go on Sunday.
The Texas Rangers aren’t going to win a ton of games this season, but they are just four games under .500. It’s also a safe bet that the wins they collect will likely be in close games. Joe Barlow (67%) has entrenched himself as the end-of-game option, converting six saves in as many chances. Barlow carries a 0.4 WAR and adds a notch in the win column to go with his saves. He has a sparkling 1.59 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP in 11 appearances. If he available in any league, he should be rostered. The Utah native is in his second year in the majors, and was excellent in 2021. This encore performance will be worth a lot to fantasy teams, though he is unlikely to be traded to a contender.
Worth the Gamble
Jesus Aguilar (1B – MIA) 33% owned
Brendan Rodgers (2B, SS – COL) 38% owned
Kolten Wong (2B – MIL) 44% owned
Jorge Mateo (2B, SS, OF – BAL) 37% owned
Best of luck with all your bargain hunting. Here’s hoping you get everyone on your wish list.