Weekly Waiver Wire Report
Note: My waiver wire report digs a little deeper and is slanted toward high-stakes leagues (15 teams)
Mike Zunino, TB
Heading into the fourth week of the baseball season, there is a minefield of emptiness in the free-agent pool in 12 and 15 team leagues. The only player that provided help over the last week was Mike Zunino (3-for-11 with one home run and four RBI). His profile is well known in the fantasy market (high-strikeout power hitter with plenty of batting average risk). Zunino is hitting only .184 with nine runs, three home runs, and eight RBI over 38 at-bats on the year. He is only a week-to-week filler until a better-looking option comes along. Over the last two weeks, Tampa started him in back-to-back games only once.
Daulton Varsho, ARI
Finding minor league player news with no games being played might be more challenging than hitting the lottery. I remain steadfast in my commitment to Varsho as a 'buy and hold' at C2 in 15-team leagues. The Diamondbacks had a couple of injuries in centerfield, which should have cleared the way for a call-up. Last year Varsho was in the major for 62 days, so his service time shouldn’t hold him back. Stephen Vogt only has two hits over his previous 17 at-bats, and he hasn’t been an asset over the last two seasons (.168 over 101 at-bats with 11 runs, three home runs, and 13 RBI). At the very least, Varsho would be a player to keep a close eye on next week when the minor league players start playing games. Let’s get him to the big leagues where he can hit his way to more playing time.
Mitch Moreland, OAK
After starting the year with four hits in 24 at-bats with no runs or home runs, the A's gave Moreland almost a week off with a slight hamstring issue. His bat flashed over the last week (5-for-14 with three runs, two home runs, and five RBI). He will sit against most lefties (0-for-7 on the year and .190 over his last 92 plate appearances with two home runs and 10 RBI). Moreland will have the most value in deep leagues as a corner infield or DH option. He has 20+ home run upside even with 450 at-bats.
Pavin Smith, ARI
The injury to Christian Walker increased Smith’s ability to earn at-bats. He’s started six of the last seven games for the Diamondbacks while seeing time at first base and the outfield. Smith hit .276 over his previous 29 at-bats with six runs, one home run, and four RBI. He had an excellent approach in the minors, but Smith only hit 23 home runs with 148 RBI over 1,074 at-bats. His highest completed level in the minors is AA in 2019. I view him as only a stop-gap cover for a team looking to fill an injury void.
Freddy Galvis, BAL
Galvis started the season with only five hits over 35 at-bats with two RBI and 14 strikeouts. His swing had been on point over his last eight games (11-for-24 with eight runs, two home runs, and three RBI). When at his best, Galvis will be a drag on batting average with a chance to be a neutral player in runs, home runs, and RBI. His value in steals had been diminishing off the sheet over the past three seasons. Galvis looks only playable long-term in deep leagues.
Jonathan Schoop, DET
Timing a waiver wire bat can have some reward if your indicators turn green at the right time. Schoop offered almost all zeros over his first 49 at-bats (8-for-49 with six runs, two RBI, and 18 strikeouts). He strung together a three-game hitting streak (4-for-10 with one run, one home run, and two RBI) against Pittsburgh, which may be the signal to get him in your lineup if your team needs power from a middle infield position.
Brad Miller, PHI
The injury to Jean Segura (quad) opens up the door for Brad Miller to start. Over the past two seasons, his bat has played well at times off the bench. Miller picked five hits in nine at-bats in his first two starts at second base for the Phillies with a home run and three RBI. A trip to Coors Field should add to his value this week on the waiver wire. Miller may only have one week to offer fill-in stats.
David Bote, CHC
Bote makes his second appearance on the free-agent pick-up list this year. He looked lost at the plate out of the gate (3-for-28 with a run, one home run, and two RBI), but Bote started to break out of his slump over his last five games (5-for-14 with two runs, one home run, and eight RBI). Over his last 167 at-bats with the Cubs, he only hit .198 while being productive in home runs (9) and RBI (39). Only a "ride him while he is hot" player if your team has an injury at second or third base.
Jose Iglesias, LAA
Typically, a player with minimal upside in power and speed is dismissed as a hole in your fantasy starting lineup. That has been the case for Iglesias most of his career. He had a spike in steals (15) in 2018 while setting a career-high in home runs (11) the following season. Over his last eight games, Iglesias hit .355 with five runs, one home run, one RBI, and one steal. A back-end middle infielder’s target stats in the fantasy market would be to score close to three runs and three RBI per week with a combined total of more than one steal/home run. Iglesias would only reach that goal if he had the best season of his career. He is playing well, which should lead to more production in the critical counting categories.
Adolis García, TEX
García emerged as a viable pick last week in 15-team leagues in the high-stakes market after the Rangers moved him into their starting lineup in center field. He has a swing and miss approach (12 strikeouts over 36 at-bats), but García does offer power (32 over 491 at-bats in 2019 at AAA) while chipping in with some steals. He already has five runs, three home runs, and eight RBI, making him a viable starting option in shallow leagues, while García has a starting job. He will have batting average risk for sure based on his trailing approach.
Alex Dickerson, SF
I benched Dickerson in some of my draft championship leagues over the last week after an empty start to the year (5-for-32 with four runs, two home runs, and four RBI). He responded with six hits over his last 15 at-bats with one run, one home run, and five RBI while striking out only once. Dickerson looks poised to find his rhythm at the plate, making him worthy of a start in shallow leagues over the short term.
Alex Kirilloff, MIN
With Max Kepler and Miguel Sano on the injured list, the Twins called up Kirilloff on Friday. His bat shined at Single-A and High-A in 2018 (.348 with 75 runs, 20 home runs, 101 RBI, and four steals over 512 at-bats) before regressing at AA in 2019 (.283 with nine home runs, 43 RBI, and seven stolen bases over 375 at-bats). Kirilloff will have a chance to seize a starting job if his bat comes out hot. He is a 20/80 type player with upside in batting average.
Drew Rasmussen, MIL
With the Brewers possibly losing Brett Anderson with a hamstring injury, Rasmussen may get a chance to move into the starting rotation. His season started with three disasters showing in four contests (seven runs, 10 baserunners, and two home runs over 3.1 innings). Over his last three appearances, he pitched three shutout innings with one hit, no walks, and three strikeouts. Rasmussen has an upper 90s fastball with a swing and miss slider while developing his curveball and changeup. For now, he is just a player to follow in all formats.
Garrett Whitlock, BOS
The Red Sox snatched up Whitlock in this year’s Rule 5 Draft from the Yankees. He missed all of last season after having TJ surgery in 2019. His average fastball sits at 95.2 mph while offering a plus, developing changeup. Whitlock hasn’t needed to use his slider out of the bullpen. Over his first four appearances in the majors, he tossed nine shutout innings with three hits, no walks, and 11 strikeouts. Whitlock hasn’t allowed a hit over his last 5.2 innings. Boston wants him to be a starter, but he needs two arms to pitch their way out of the starting rotation before earning an opportunity.
Logan Gilbert, SEA
The Mariners have a couple of shaky options in their starting rotation, which gives Gilbert a window to be in the majors over the next month. He made one appearance (one run over two innings with four strikeouts) in spring training before getting shipped to minor league camp.
Gilbert looked to be on the fast track to Seattle after pushing his way from A-Ball to AA in his first year in the minors in 2019. After five great starts at A-Ball (1.59 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 22.2innings), Gilbert held form at High A (1.73 ERA and 73 strikeouts over 62.1 innings). His arm did perform well at AA (2.88 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 50 innings). In the end, Gilbert tossed 135 innings with a 2.13 ERA and 165 strikeouts. His walk rate (2.2) was elite, along with his strikeout rate (11.0).
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