Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire 5/8

fantasy baseball waivers

It is Sunday night, and you know what that means: Time to hit those fantasy baseball waivers hard in an effort to improve your squad en route to a championship. Walking the Waiver Wire has had tremendous success thus far, and the aim is to keep it that way throughout the season. Sit back and relax, my brothers and sisters in arms, but don’t let your guard down. It is time to reload after nearly a month into the 2022 season as we continue our peregrination towards a title.

The recommendations listed below apply to all fantasy baseball formats. Many players will not be available for especially deep leagues. Shallow league may find that they all are, and you will have to decide who your best adds are based on the needs of your squad. Remember, this is a marathon, not a race. Names below may be valuable only as bench players at present but often have high ceilings that could crack your lineup on a regular basis down the line. Just like in real life, depth is key to victory. Injuries happen, and an abundance of high-value players also turn into trade bait.

You can find previous editions of Walking the Waiver Wire right here. Be sure to follow all of our baseball content here.

***All availability percentages are from Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.***

Upside Adds

George Kirby (SP – SEA) 29% owned

It’s always fun when high-end prospects’ phones start ringing. Seattle sent “starter” Matt Brash (1-3, 7.65) to Triple-A to focus on working from the bullpen. Probably nothing to be excited about for Brash, but that’s what 19 strikeouts to 17 walks and a high earned run average will do to you. Enter Kirby, who is the 34th overall prospect in baseball according to ESPN and a former first round pick. He bypasses Triple-A completely and goes from Double-A to the bigs. Prior to his callup from Arkansas, Kirby was 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA and 32 Ks in 24.2 innings pitched. As of the time of this writing, he has yet to get his first start underway against Tampa Bay, but he is worth an add regardless of his performance today. He will stick in the rotation and should be a capable starter consistently in mid-to-deep leagues. He’s also worth a speculative add in shallow league with a spot available.

Wilmer Flores (1B, 2B, 3B – SFO) 35% owned

Flores is one of those guys whose name you always see creeping by on the bottom line, but don’t really pay attention. In truth, who doesn’t need this guy? The positional flexibility alone makes him exactly the valuable bench piece needed on a winning roster. He is hitting .269 (his career average is .268), which in 2022 is virtually a godsend when you look at other averages around the league. In fact, he is hovering right around his career averages in nearly every category. Flores is slashing .269/.340/.419 (that’s a .759 OPS, math wizards) with three moonshots with the boomstick, 19 runs batted in, and 14 runs scored. In short, the 30-year-old produces. Add to that the fact that a batter hitting third in any MLB lineup is available in 65 percent of leagues, and he’s a must-add.

Drew Rasmussen (SP – TB) 53% owned

This is a deep league add only, but a good one. Rasmussen will likely never give owners anything more than six innings, but he has been more than efficient in his starts thus far. While a five inning, three strikeout game brought his average down a bit, he can be relied on for nine K/9 easily. Rasmussen carries a 0.5 WAR at 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA over six starts. His WHIP sits at 0.96 and his walk rate is 2.3/9 as he has issued just seven free passes in 28 innings. Shallow leagues looking for a reliable but not flashy starter could roster him, but there are likely better candidates for the slot. In deeper leagues and rotisserie, he’s a perfect “set it and forget it” starter until further notice.

Rowdy Tellez (1B – MIL) 67% owned

I know, I know. You’re tired of me recommending a first baseman every week. It’s tough, though, with all the players that have gained eligibility at the position. Tellez doesn’t have positional flexibility as he is solely at first or at DH, but that does not make him any less desirable. A 67 percent ownership rate is likely too high for many of you in deep leagues to race to, but shallow leagues might find the husky Californian easier to come by. Tellez is not just a bench add, the way he is hitting makes him starting-lineup worthy and his ownership is ridiculously low. He is sporting a .925 OPS on the strength of seven dingers and eight doubles, while batting .270 overall. Tellez leads the league with 24 RBI and has scored 15 times. He is an auto-add in any league format.

Closing Time

It’s slim pickings in the closer pool, as it always becomes a month into the season. However, there are a couple of pseudo-battles to keep an eye on. If you have a roster spot and are in need of save chances, there are names to know. Scott Barlow (KC, 76%) blew a save on May Day, but it was an inherited runner. He still carries a 1.59 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and Josh Staumont‘s 4.50/1.50 doesn’t appear threatening.

In Oakland, Dany Jimenez (54%) and Lou Trivino (49%) may be splitting duty in the role going forward, it’s just a matter of whether you choose the right one. Trivino is the incumbent, but while he was on the IL, Jimenez went 4-for-4 in opportunities. The intriguing part here is whether you are in a league that values holds. If your roster allows it, you can add both of these pitchers (who have each thrown the ball well), and basically stack a hold and a save for every reasonably close game, regardless as who finishes.

Just 12 miles away across the water, San Francisco is also having issues at the back end. Jake McGee is getting a little long in the tooth, and although he’s a savvy pitcher, his velocity is down. That has led to a 1-1 record with an 8.64 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP. A change will need to be made, even if it is a timeshare. Tyler Rogers would be the favorite to take over the role, with Camilo Doval possibly sharing duties. McGee would likely be relegated to a seventh-inning role. They simply cannot make changes without addressing the closing duties, as well.

Roster Immediately if Available

Tyler Stephenson (C – CIN) 85% owned

He’ll be unavailable for you deep-leaguers, but a 15 percent availability suggests someone has a slot for him. Stephenson is a budding superstar on a terrible team, but that’s not stopping his production. .302/.392/.558 (.950 OPS, geniuses) with three long balls, seven runs, and 12 RBI in just 43 at bats. He spent two full weeks on the injured list.

Jeff McNeil (2B, OF – NYM) 78% owned

How DFS darling McNeil is not rostered in 99% of leagues (shallow or deep), is beyond me. This is a player that can stuff the stat sheet in every single category on any given day. He’s an ideal utility player, and likely better than most of the second basemen starting in lineups right now. The Met has a 1.3 WAR, is batting .348, and has 15 runs scored and 10 RBI while lugging a heavy-duty .891 OPS.

Stash/Watch List

Royce Lewis (SS – MIN) Positional flexibility hurts Lewis. Great to see him come up, but Carlos Correa‘s finger is only a contusion, meaning Lewis is likely headed back to the minors. He’ll be a star when he gets his chance.

Colin Moran (OF – CIN) Moran swings for the fences, though he has little power. He started 2022 slow but has proven the ability to hit consistently at times. He is heating up for Cincinnati and is worth watching as the Reds return their starters.

Jarren Duran (OF – BOS) He came up for a cup of coffee (one game) before being sent back to the minors when Kiki Hernandez was activated. Duran is the future in Boston. In Triple-A, he’s slashing .397/.478/.638 with two ding-dongs, 11 RBI, seven stolen bases and 15 runs scored. He’ll be back in short order and is a perfect stash.

See you next Sunday, and may you score all the guys you request. Good luck.

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