Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Madness (8/1/22 - 8/7/22)
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It’s that time again folks and, once again, we nailed it last week with recommendations on Hunter Renfroe, Merrill Kelly, Cole Irvin, Kutter Crawford, and more – did you scoop them up? If you missed out in your league, don’t sweat it because I’ve got another list of guys on the rise that help your squad as you march toward a title in these last two months of the season. In addition to the below, be sure to scour the wire for injured players that may have been dropped in a roster crunch but who are on their way back in the near future, such as Jesus Luzardo, Chris Taylor, Lance McCullers, and Mitch Haniger. This is also crunch time for trades as people take stock of their teams, so keep hitting me up on Twitter with your trade proposals!
As always, the recommendations below are divided among shallow leagues (10/12 team mixed) or deeper leagues (15+ team mixed or AL/NL only). Good luck!
Shallow Leagues – 10/12 team mixed leagues:
Brady Singer, SP, Kansas City Royals:
Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I am—and have been—a big fan of the 18th overall pick in the 2018 draft, and it looks like we are witnessing a full-blown breakout. Singer is in the midst of an excellent season that is largely going unnoticed given that he pitches for the Royals; check out this 2022 line: 4-3, 84.2 IP, 91Ks, 3.51 ERA (3.22 xFIP), 1.13 WHIP, 9.67 K/9, 2.23 BB/9, and 47% GB%. Those numbers are all exceptional, but to highlight just how good he has been, other than Singer, there are only 4 other SPs in MLB (min 80 IP) with a K/9 > 9.00, a BB/9 < 2.50, and a GB% > 45% and they are Shane McClanahan, Frankie Montas, Tarik Skubal, and Chris Bassitt . . . yes, exactly! Those season numbers are exceptional, but Singer has really showed what he can do in his last two starts (against the Rays and Yankees): 13 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 22 Ks. The team context is obviously not good for wins, but this is a pitcher on the rise that should definitely be rostered in all leagues.
Jeffrey Springs, SP, Tampa Bay Rays:
This isn’t the first time Springs has appeared in the column, but he is still wildly under-rostered given the skills, so I’m going to preach on! The reliever-turned-starter has hurled 73.1 innings this year and is 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA (3.33 xFIP), 1.12 WHIP, and 77 Ks. If he qualified, he would be one of only 7 MLB starting pitchers with a K/9 > 9.0 and a BB/9 < 2.0 – the others? McClanahan, Gausman, Nola, Wheeler, Cortes, and Verlander . . . elite company. Springs is also in the top 20 among SPs (min. 60 IP) with a 13.3% SwStr%. Unless you have top-tier starters up and down your roster, you should have room to add Jeffrey Springs – you simply can’t allow this kind of talent to remain on the wire because if you don’t grab him, your competition will. Strong buy recommendation.
Jose Miranda, 1B/3B, Minnesota Twins:
I am guilty of sending a lot of Jose Miranda tweets this year hyping the young slugger, but somehow he remains widely available in a number of leagues. Hopefully, you have already picked him up, but if not, take a close look because the man is on fire! Miranda’s 2022 headline numbers are good - .276/.318/.467 with 9 HR/23 R/38 RBI in 63 games, but they are even more impressive given how he—like many rookies—struggled during the first few weeks of his time in the majors. Since June 1st (40 games), Miranda is hitting .331/.377/.544 (.922 OPS) with 7 HR/18 R/31 RBI – and this guy is still sitting on a lot of waiver wires. Miranda was exceptional in AAA last year and he is showing that he can thrive at the major league level as well. Grab him while you can.
Alec Bohm, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies:
Bohm was featured in this column as a deeper league add early in the season and I continue to like his profile. He has had his ups and downs this year, but seems to be settling in over the past six weeks or so (to say the least). Since June 14th, Bohm has slashed .362/.382/.478 with 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 19 R, and 19 RBI (139 wRC+) in 35 games – undeniable production. Bohm is a high contact guy (19% K%) that also hits the ball hard (42.3% Hard Hit% per Statcast), although that hasn’t translated to as many HRs because of his higher ground ball and line drive rates (the latter being good for batting average). I think the HRs will tick up, but Bohm profiles as maybe a 20-25 HR guy that can hit for a high average and provide consistent counting stats across the board. Right now, he is swinging a particularly hot bat and shouldn’t be left out there on the wire, especially considering how weak the 3B position has been in fantasy this year.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Detroit Tigers:
As a guy who has Candelario on more than one team, I can tell you first-hand how disappointing he has been (along with the entire Tigers lineup). On the season, he is hitting a measly .213 with 10 HR, 32 R, and 32 RBI in 79 games; just horrendous. But he has done this with a low BABIP (.249 v. .300 career) and with expected stats that indicate, at least to some extent, that he has underperformed so far this year. Could we be on the front end of that positive regression now? Over the past 16 games, Candelario has looked . . . dare I say . . . great. He has hit .321/.367/.661 with 5 HR/8 R/13 RBI (189 wRC+) and that will play at, once again, a very weak 3B position. Part of having success in shallow leagues is playing the hot hand and, right now, Candelario is swinging a hot bat, so ride the wave while it lasts.
Dustin May, SP/RP, Los Angeles Dodgers:
Dustin May is currently on a rehab assignment from Tommy John, but recall that he was thoroughly dominant in 2021. In the four starts he made prior to going down with injury, May tossed 21.1 innings and allowed just 15 hits, 6 earned runs, and 5 walks, while striking out 32 . . . a 13.5 K/9 to go along with his 2.53 ERA (1.76 xFIP). It could take a couple of additional weeks for May to ramp up and be ready for the majors (even then, it is not clear what his workload will be), but scooping and stashing him now is the smart play if he is available on your wire and you have the roster space. He could provide a boost to your pitching staff in the September stretch run to a title.
Reid Detmers, SP, Los Angeles Angels:
Reid Detmers is another deep league recommendation from earlier in the season. He had some bright spots (to put it mildly, I mean, he threw a no-hitter), but overall the rookie struggled with major league hitting and was sent down after a string of subpar outings. Well, he’s back and whatever he did during his brief time on the farm paid dividends. Detmers is now throwing a harder slider and getting great results – in the three July starts he has made since returning to the Angels, Detmers has posted the following line: 1-0, 17 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 19 K, 1.06 ERA (2.12 FIP) . . . not to mention that two of those starts were against the Braves and Astros. Detmers’s offspeed pitches—curveball and the new harder slider—are his best offerings and the hitability of his fastball will lead to moments where he struggles, but for now, he looks locked in and worthy of a backend spot on your rotation unless you are stacked at starting pitching.
Deeper Leagues (15+ team or AL/NL Only)
JJ Bleday, OF, Miami Marlins:
The prospects just keep on coming and JJ Bleday is yet another highly-touted rookie that is being given his chance in the show in 2022. Bleday developed impressive power in the minors and has an elite walk rate, but he is likely to struggle with strikeouts at the major league level. Prior to his promotion this year, Bleday was having a very productive season at AAA, hitting: .228/.365/.470 with 20 HR/54 R/52 RBI/1 SB across 85 games. The low batting average is concerning and is the product of a 27% K% combined with a very high 20% IFFB (infield fly ball rate). Bleday, however, appears to be prone to infield pop-ups as he has always run high rates in the 18% - 27% range (currently at over 14% in small MLB sample). Bleday does impact the ball with authority and he already has 1 HR in his first 8 MLB games and an avg. EV of over 90 mph. If you can stomach what will likely be a low batting average, Bleday provides the opportunity for some HR and RBI (hitting 3rd and 5th in the lineup already). In OBP leagues, Bleday is an easier roster given his high walk rates in the minors that should translate.
Chas McCormick, OF, Houston Astros:
Anytime you can get access to one of the high-powered offenses like the Dodgers, Yankees, or Astros, you have to take a close look because the counting stats on those offenses are hard to pass up. Chas McCormick was scuffling earlier in the season and fell out of favor with Dusty Baker, but he has been hot lately and has started 11 of the Astros last 13 games. In July, McCormick has produced, hitting .277/.382/.492 with 4 HR, 10 R, and 10 RBI in 21 games, due in no small part to improved plate discipline (14.5% BB% and 22% K% in July v. career numbers of 9.8% BB% and 28.7% K%). As long as McCormick stays hot at the plate, he should remain in the lineup until, at least, Michael Brantley is back in action. He is worth a shot in deeper 5 OF leagues.
Ezequiel Duran, 2B/3B, Texas Rangers:
Ezequiel Duran was promoted to the bigs in June and was serviceable during his first time around with the Rangers, hitting .258 with 2 HR, 9 R, 8 RBI, and 2 SBs in 16 games. He was, however, sent back to AAA and just recently recalled again on July 21st. Duran is a good hitter with some pop and speed that would benefit from hitting the ball in the air more often. Although a small sample, his 58% GB% at the major league level is very high and seems out of line with the numbers he posted in the minors (more in the 30-40% range). If that normalizes, I think Duran’s production could improve and lead him to be a more valuable deep league asset - deeper than 15 teams or AL only.
Nick Pratto, 1B, Kansas City Royals:
The youth movement in Kansas City continues with the Royals calling up yet another highly-touted prospect that was tearing up the minor leagues. Nick Pratto has been a regular in the Royals lineup since he was called up in mid-July (when half of the Royals roster was unable to play in Toronto) and stayed with the big club since. He is a guy with big power that is truly a three true outcomes type of player – in 74 games at AAA this year, he hit 17 HR, walked 15% of the time, and struck out over 30% of the time. That profile seems to be carrying over to the show, albeit in a small sample, as Pratto has played in 12 games and is hitting .222/.341 with 1 HR/1 R/2 RBI, a 13.6% BB%, and a 29.5% K%. If you need power in a deep league, Pratto is worth a speculative add to see if he can make enough contact to stick around because he can crush a baseball. But the key will be whether he can adapt to major league pitching and keep his strikeout rate at or under 30% so that he is making enough contact to be an impact.
Alexis Diaz, RP, Cincinnati Reds:
It wouldn’t be a waiver wire column without a speculative saves add and the volatile Reds bullpen is a good place to start. Hunter Strickland assumed the closer role in Cincinnati on a full-time basis at the end of June and it is safe to say he has not performed well, recording 2 saves and 3 blown saves while carrying a 7.59 ERA (6.93 xFIP) over that time period. Diaz, on the other hand, has been lights out and has not given up an earned run since June 12th. In that time, he has 1 save and 3 holds with 11 Ks in 8.2 IP and a 0.00 ERA (1.97 FIP). On Friday, Strickland was placed on the bereavement list, opening the door for Diaz to step into the closer duties. My guess is that Diaz runs with the role and Strickland does not get it back – now is the time to buy Diaz before his price gets too high.