Weekly Waiver Wire Report
Note: My waiver wire report digs a little deeper and is slanted toward high-stakes leagues (15 teams)
The catching pool is a minefield of emptiness at the end of May. The only player of value to help looks to be Alfaro, who returned from the injured list on May 25th. Over his first 45 at-bats, he only hit .222 with one home run and five RBI. His bat did flash power in 2019 (18 home runs and 57 RBI over 465 at-bats). Alfaro is a free agent in 72 percent of leagues in the high-stakes market.
After missing about four weeks with a broken left thumb, Votto looks close to swing a bat. He hit .261 with five home runs and 14 RBI over 69 at-bats before landing on the injured list. The free-agent options remain dull in all formats, and Votto should be available in 75 percent of 12-team leagues.
An injury to Marcell Ozuna may create starting at-bats for Sandoval if the Braves are willing to push Austin Riley to left field. Working primarily as a pinch hitter in 2021, Sandoval has been productive in power (four home runs and 10 RBI over 46 at-bats). His only value will be in deep leagues as possible short-term injury cover.
Since returning from a wrist injury, France has a five-game hitting streak (7-for-18) with one run and two RBI. His power stroke has been missing over the first third of the season (three home runs and 16 RBI over 149 at-bats). His tease year came in 2019 at AAA (.399 with 27 home runs and 89 RBI over 296 at-bats). France falls into the steady category with no help in steals.
The Rockies called up Rodgers last week, but he has yet to flash an explosive bat (5-for-22 with two RBI). His excitement will come if/when Colorado starts to play better offensively at home. From 2016 to 2019 in the minors, he hit .299 with 225 runs, 63 home runs, 225 RBI, and 20 stolen bases over 1,383 at-bats. Rodgers has a high ceiling bat once he finds his rhythm at the plate.
After an injury to Paul DeJong, Sosa made 11 starts, leading to 13 hits over 34 at-bats with seven runs, three RBI, and two steals. His bat flashed in 2019 at AAA (.291 with 17 home runs, 62 RBI, and two steals over 453 at-bats), giving him a chance to earn playing time at second base DeJong returns (Tommy Edman shifts to centerfield). Sosa looks to be only a flier in deep leagues, but there is sneaky upside if he can keep a starting job.
Two months into 2021, Andrus has come up empty on too many nights. He is on his second churn in the free-agent pool while still looking for his first home run over 164 at-bats. His bat showed a spark over his last five games (8-for-18 with two runs and one RBI). The chase with Andrus comes from a possible bump in steals.
I own Longoria on one 15-team league, and I've been looking for an upgrade for a month. Over his last nine games, he has 13 hits over 34 at-bats with seven runs, four home runs, and 12 RBI. The Giants continue to create scoring chances, and Longoria hit close to the middle of the starting lineup. He is a free agent in about two-thirds of 12-team leagues.
The Diamondbacks turned to Reddick in right field over the last nine games. He is 9-for-27 with three runs and two RBI over the past week. Reddick hit .258 with 35 home runs and 126 RBI over his last 1,112 at-bats, pointing to only a fill-in option in deep leagues.
The Angels have Ward in their starting lineup most nights over the last three weeks. He responded with 11 runs, four home runs, and 14 RBI over his last 67 at-bats while hitting only .224. In 2019 at AA, Ward hit .306 with 27 home runs, 71 RBI, and 11 steals over 421 at-bats, suggesting there is more here than meets the eye. He is only an option in deep leagues.
The Yankees called up Andujar on May 7th. Quietly over the previous two weeks, he has 12 hits in 41 at-bats (.293) while coming up short in production (three runs and two RBI). His bat looked good over his first five games in the minors (7-for-20 with three home runs and seven RBI). When at his best in 2018 with New York, Andujar hit .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBI. His path to playing time will come in left field or first base after Luke Voit landed back on the injured list.
Atlanta needs a fifth starter next week, which gives Wilson a double start opportunity. He pitched well in his last two starts (three runs over 12.2 innings with two walks and nine strikeouts) with the Braves. His major league career started with struggles over 15 games (5.91 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over 42.2 innings with 37 strikeouts). In his last start at AAA, Wilson allowed two runs over six innings with five strikeouts. Over five seasons in the minors, he went 31-20 with a 2.95 ERA and 442 strikeouts over 427.1 innings.
New York lost Corey Kluber to the injured list with a shoulder issue. Garcia flashed for the Yankees over six starts (4.98 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts over 34.1 innings). Walks (12 over 15.2 innings) have been a problem this year at AAA (5.17 ERA and 1.64 WHIP). In his two starts in New York, Garcia allowed six runs and 12 baserunners over 8.1 innings. Possible wins are the drawing card, but consistency will be a problem early in his career.
The action player in the free-agent pool this week will be Manoah. He dominated over his three starts at AAA (one run over 18 innings with three walks and 27 strikeouts), which fell in line with his first seven appearances in the minors in 2019 (2.25 ERA and 34 strikeouts over 20 innings). Manoah also had an impressive major league debut (no runs over six innings with seven strikeouts). He works off a mid-90s fastball with a plus slider. His changeup has developed into a playable pitch. Go big or go home investment.
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