Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Joey Votto Resurgent Since IL Return

Five-time high-stakes champ Shawn Childs helps you at the waiver wire to bolster your fantasy squad
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Weekly Waiver Wire Report

Note: My waiver wire report digs a little deeper and is slanted toward high-stakes leagues (15 teams)

Catcher

Joey Bart

Over his last 17 games at AAA, Bart went 24-for-68 with 12 runs, four home runs, and 18 RBI. Unfortunately, his strikeouts (24 over 77 at-bats) remain high, which may be a problem if/when San Fran calls him up to the majors. Possible upgrade at C2 in deep leagues later in the season.

Alejandro Kirk

A hip injury in early May led to Kirk missing the past six weeks. He progressed to batting in extended spring training games over the past week. The Blue Jays can’t activate him off the injured list until early July, putting him into the buy and hold category for now. Kirk has an excellent approach with developing power. Based on the current free agent catching pool, I would target him in leagues this week.

First Base

Joey Votto

Since returning from the injured list, Votto has four hits over 17 at-bats with three runs, two home runs, and six RBI. His production over 118 at-bats projected 500 at-bats comes to 30 home runs and 97 RBI. He hits in a favorable part of the order, and the Reds have the second-best offense in the National League in mid-June. Votto is a free agent in 66 percent of 12-team leagues in the high-stakes market.

Second Base

Danny Mendick

The White Sox lost Nick Madrigal for what looks like the season over the past week. His injury creates a starting job for Mendick. His bat played well in 2018 and 2019 between AA and AAA (.263 with 31 home runs, 123 RBI, and 39 steals over 930 at-bats). In his limited playing in the majors, he hit .245 with seven home runs and 21 RBI over 208 at-bats. Mendick has a sneaky balanced skill set, giving him a window to prove his worth in fantasy leagues.

Bobby Witt

Over his previous 11 games, Witt hit .349 with 11 runs, one home run, seven RBI, and two steals. His early struggles at AA came from a high strikeout rate (27 over 82 at-bats). If Adalberto Mondesi has another setback, Kansas City may turn to Witt to replace him in the starting lineup.

Shortstop

Wander Franco

Franco continues to state his case to be in the majors at AAA. Over his last 15 games, he hit .367 over 60 at-bats with 13 runs, four runs, 21 RBI, and three stolen bases. His bat has been special over his first 794 at-bats in the minors (.332 with 153 runs, 27 home runs, 141 RBI, and 26 steals) with more walks (94) than strikeouts (70). Franco is a franchise player who belongs in the majors.

Third Base

Isaac Paredes

The Tigers called up Paredes over the past week after Jeimer Candelario landed on the injured list with a Covid issue. Since 2018 in the minors, he hit .279 with 144 runs, 30 home runs, 150 RBI, and seven steals over 1,018 at-bats. His walk rate (10.3) grades well while having a low strikeout rate (13.1). Paredes only makes sense in deep leagues until his bat starts to produce winning stats.

Outfield

Jake Fraley

Since his call-up, Fraley has 10 hits over 40 at-bats with nine runs, two home runs, 10 RBI, and four stolen bases. His approach (18 walks and 12 strikeouts) has been the best of his career at any level. Between AA and AAA, he hit .302 with 73 runs, 21 home runs, 82 RBI, and 24 stolen bases over 404 at-bats. His game looks improved while trending toward a helpful five-category player.

Oscar Mercado

Cleveland hasn’t found the right player in centerfield heading into the middle of June. Mercado struggled over his first 20 games at AAA (.150 with no home runs, five RBI, two steals, and 17 strikeouts over 80 at-bats). He found his rhythm at the plate over the past two weeks (16-for-45 with 10 runs, three home runs, 11 RBI, and three stolen bases). With Bradley Zimmer about to whiff (16 strikeouts over 32 at-bats) his way back to the minors, Mercado should be the next man up while offering a power/speed combination.

Kevin Pillar

Since earning a starting job for the Mets in early May (missed 10 games after getting hit by a pitch), Pillar hit .310 over 84 at-bats with 12 runs, four home runs, 13 RBI, and one steal. However, his window to start lasts until Brandon Nimmo returns from his finger injury. Pillar is a better fit in deep leagues as a short-term injury cover.

Starting Pitching

Drew Rasmussen

Before his trade to Tampa, Rasmussen posted a 0.66 ERA over 13.2 innings with six hits, nine walks, and 20 strikeouts out of the Brewers’ bullpen. The Rays decided to ship him to AAA despite his arm trending upward. In his first six appearances in the minors, he tossed nine shutout innings with five hits, two walks, and 18 strikeouts. Rasmussen still needs to be stretched out. Fantasy owners need to pay attention to his progress as he looks ready to give Tampa good innings in the majors.

Sammy Long

In 2019, Long split time between starting and the bullpen leading to 3.06 ERA and 112 strikeouts over 97 innings. The Giants started him at AA this year. After four appearances, San Francisco pushed him to AAA then to the majors. Over his three stops, he has a 2.03 ERA with six walks and 44 strikeouts over 26.2 innings. Long has yet to throw over four innings in 2021, making him a tough start in any format. Worth a bench spot until he works his way to five innings pitched.

Bailey Ober

Over his four seasons in the minors, Ober went 18-3 with a 2.41 ERA and 244 strikeouts over 197.2 innings. He gains his edge by elite command (26 walks). After struggling in his major league debut (four runs, six hits, and two home runs over four innings), Ober allowed three runs and 13 base runners over nine innings with one walk and 11 strikeouts. His edge in WHIP sets the tone for his upside. Ober should be picked up in deep leagues this week. 

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