It’s Sunday night and you know what that means, my fellow waiver wire scavengers. We’re back to digging deep to find some upside in the barren wasteland of fantasy baseball free agents, in an effort to make up for underperformers and players lost to the injured list. Never fear, there are always upside players out there on waivers, dying to be snatched up and given a chance to contribute. Let’s see if we can’t find a few.
We’ve had plenty of luck on the wire thus far, and you can find those past recommendations here. Some of the players that I have brought up in the past may still be available in your leagues, so have a look. In the meantime, as always there will be no repeating of previous suggestions unless specifically noted.
We’re looking for upside to add to the bench that can contribute to the lineup in either the short- or long-term, so let’s go get ‘em.
Steven Duggar (OF – SF) 27% owned
The speedy center fielder in San Francisco has quietly amassed dependable stats thus far in a pseudo-platoon situation. At this point, it’s fair to assume that he’ll continue to get a majority of the starts, although he’ll frequently sit when there is a southpaw on the mound. At this point in the season, finding upside in the form of a guy who offers no alarms and no surprises can actually set your mind at ease.
In 129 at bats this season, Duggar is smacking the ball to all fields to an average of .326 with a silly .400 on-base percentage and is slugging .574. Again, it’s in limited duty, but there are not a whole lot of players so lightly owned in leagues that are carrying a .974 OPS. He’s added six dingers and six swipes to 27 runs and 24 runs batted in. You could do a lot worse as a fill-in.
Johnny Cueto (SP – SF) 27% owned
Let’s keep it in the Bay area and at the same ownership percentage. Cueto has lost some of the high strikeout upside that carried him so often during his career, but he’s far from washed. While not putting up Cy Young numbers, he is the owner of six wins and a surprisingly attractive 3.63 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. That’s pretty much in line with his career numbers.
Adding Cueto to a thin fantasy rotation is not a bad idea, even if you may want to bench him in H2H leagues when he faces off the likes of the Dodgers and the Astros (upcoming). However, during the next few weeks he also has several dates with the anemic Arizona Diamondbacks offense as well as favorable matchups with St. Louis and the New York Mets.
Didi Gregorius (SS – PHI) 45% owned
Gregorius should return to the Phillies in short order and should slide into the lineup often (probably not daily) immediately. Let’s be real, here. It’s Gregorius season. It seems like every year he misses significant time only to burst onto the scene halfway through the season to wreak havoc on opposing pitching. It’s worth mentioning that as long as it feels like the shortstop has been around, he’s still just 31 years old and has plenty of gas left in the tank. In 32 games of limited duty before hitting the IL, he smacked four homers and had 22 RBI. Take a screenshot of his pre-injury triple slash (.229/.266/.364), as I expect he’ll turn that around quickly.
Amir Garrett (RP – CIN) 31% owned
I recognize the ultimate irony here: I am forever recommending Cincinnati relievers when they have the worst bullpen in the majors. We’re going back to the well with Garrett here because circumstances have changed (again). Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone have both landed on the IL and they were (for all intents and purposes) sharing the closing duties in the Queen City. Garrett’s numbers this season are pretty putrid as he works his way back, but he picked up his fifth save Saturday and still holds an 11.19 K/9 ratio.
If this were a terrible team, I’d avoid the situation at all costs, but the Reds will continue to win games. If you’re in need of saves it’s worth trying the crystal ball approach. Manager David Bell likely will keep fantasy managers guessing and he’s notorious for playing percentages. Look no further than veteran Brad Brach (7% owned) who has a sub-3.00 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 15.1 innings as Garrett’s late-game compliment who is also likely to vulture saves.
Roster if Available
Ross Stripling (SP/RP – TOR) 47% owned
C.J. Cron (1B – COL) 48% owned
These players are worth rostering in leagues across the board, but they may start on your watch list to begin.
Dalton Varsho (C – ARI) 8% owned
Varsho has spent the majority of the season on the roster but was blocked at catcher by Carson Kelly. Consequently, Varsho found himself back in the minors to get consistent at bats. Well, Kelly is sidelined with a broken wrist and is in for a lengthy absence, opening the door. Varsho needs to play every day to gain consistency with his numbers (he’s batting just .161) but also has intriguing speed on the basepaths from a position you don’t usually expect to get stolen bases. We all know how hard it is to find a decent catcher, here’s a desperation play.
LaMonte Wade Jr (1B/OF – SF) 2% owned
Whoah, three Giants in one waiver article? Crazy. However, this one needs a qualification. Wade is a must-add if it’s decided that Brandon Belt will require surgery. Knee inflammation just sent him back to the IL. If so, Wade likely slots in for a majority of starts and he has tremendous breakout potential. Stash him on your watch list until we know Belt’s status.
Best of luck with all your bids and waiver claims this week, here’s hoping you find that upside and snag some guys that can contribute.
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