Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Madness (8/22/22 - 8/28/22)
Follow me on Twitter @fantasybbguru
Another week down, another week closer to a championship! We hit on some valuable waiver wire adds again last week (Vinnie Pasquantino, Alexis Diaz, Vaughn Grissom, Justin Steele, and more!), so let's do it again. And I can't say it enough - at this time of year, it is important to look closely at your league standings and know where you can make up ground. If you have the chance to collect 3 points in the saves category but have a lead in Wins and Ks, grab a closer instead of a starter that might be "ranked higher." This time of year is about knowing where you have a cushion and where you can close a small gap, so do the homework and use that to target the best free agents for your squad. All right, let's jump in!!
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:
Tommy Pham, OF, Boston Red Sox:
Tommy Pham has been a fixture in the Red Sox lineup ever since coming over in the trade with the Reds. Not only that, Pham has hit leadoff or second in every game. Since joining the Red Sox, Pham has hit .271/.292/.500 with 3 HR/12 R/13 RBI with a, check this out, average 95.9 mph exit velocity during that time . . . yes, that should get your attention. And Pham's expected stats suggest his numbers should have been much better during this time period. The Red Sox have clearly not been a good offence over the past few weeks, ranking in the bottom third in runs scored since Pham joined the club. That said, there is always room on the roster for a guy that is swinging the bat effectively, batting at the top of the order, and can contribute counting stats across the board. On the season, Pham has 14 HR/69 R/52 RBI/7 SB in 107 games and, on top of that, a nearly 10% walk rate, which only increases his value in OBP and points leagues. Pham will provide you consistent enough production that you can feel confident swapping him out for an underperforming OF in 5 OF leagues.
Franmil Reyes, OF, Chicago Cubs:
The Franimal is back and, after being DFA’d in a surprise move by the Guardians, he is now with the Cubs. Franmil Reyes has had a tough season, especially compared to the high expectations for him coming into 2022. After smashing 30 HR in just 115 games in 2021, Franmil has had a rough go of it this season – the strikeout rate has gone up, the walk rate has gone down, and the ground ball rate is still far too high for a guy that can impact the ball like Franmil. On the latter point, Reyes is, as usual, top 6% in the league in both avg. EV and Barrel% and is top 12% in max EV and Hard Hit% - put simply, he crushes. And even as tough as this season has been for Franmil, the truth is, you are not going to find a better power source on the wire than him. If you need HRs, Franmil is the kind of guy that is worthy of a hail mary in the hope that he can turn things around and, fingers crossed, that may be happening. Since joining the Cubs, Franmil has been better, hitting a robust .368 with a .711 SLG and 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI in just 9 games. Maybe his release from the Guardians was a wake-up call that will get Franmil right and, again, he’s worth a speculative add if you need HR and RBI.
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Detroit Tigers:
Talk about a forgotten pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez has been out of action since mid-May for personal reasons, but the Tigers plan to activate him for a start on Sunday against the Angels. ERod is a very good pitcher that has previously enjoyed fantastic seasons – in 2019, he logged 19 wins while hurling over 200 innings and striking out 213 for the Red Sox. And even last year, considered to be a down year for ERod given his 4.74 ERA, he still had a 3.32 FIP and 3.43 xFIP and registered 10.56 K/9. In a nutshell, you aren’t going to find anyone with as much talent as ERod on your wire and that alone makes him worth a pickup. While there are certainly question marks about how he will perform (and if he’ll have any pitch limitations) after such a long layoff, the ceiling here warrants a flyer to see if ERod can reclaim some of his former glory.
Kyle Gibson, SP, Philadelphia Phillies:
At first glance, Kyle Gibson’s numbers don’t jump out at you as someone you should rush to add off the wire – 8-5, 4.30 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 102 Ks in 127 IP. But over his last 4 starts, Gibson has been particularly impressive, going 3-1, 26 IP, 18 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 22 Ks, 2.77 ERA (3.53 xFIP), and a 0.88 WHIP. I have always liked Gibson and felt he was capable of another level of production than we have seen from him. While Gibson doesn’t have overpowering stuff, he does a very good job of mixing up his pitches to keep hitters off balance – throwing six different pitches will help you do that! Of those many offerings, Gibson primarily relies upon a sinker/cutter/slider combination, which he throws a combined 70% of the time (39% whiff rate on that slider). In addition, he has a 45% ground ball rate this season, which is very good and actually a little below what we have come to expect from him. Overall, I think Gibson is a solid starter on a good team that can help your squad secure some wins down the stretch. He's a worthy choice if you're in need of a starter.
Jason Adam, RP, Tampa Bay Rays:
Yes, I realize it is a fool’s errand to try and pick the next Rays closer, but Adam has been flat out impressive this season and, not to jinx it, but he looks to be getting the majority of the Rays’ save opportunities right now. Jason Adam is in the midst of an excellent and underappreciated RP season – 48.2 IP, 21 H, 6 ER, 10 BB, 58 Ks, 1.11 ERA, and 0.64 WHIP . . . yeah like, for real good. So, saves aside for the moment, Adam is going to be a fantasy asset for your team in the ratio categories, but Adam also already has 3 saves this month for the Rays, including the last two consecutive save opportunities. If you need saves, there is a good chance Adam is still on the wire and he is a good spec add to help in the category AND your ratios.
Ian Kennedy, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks:
No doubt about it, the closer situation in Arizona is a mess and it is unlikely that one guy is going to emerge as the clear-cut closer. That said, Kennedy and Mark Melancon appear to be the two favorites and there have been plenty of opportunities already this month, with Kennedy securing four saves in August and Melancon securing three. But while Melancon may already be rostered in your league, Kennedy is widely available and essentially free. While I don’t like either nearly as much as, for example, Jason Adam, Kennedy’s four saves in August is tied for second in the majors behind only Liam Hendriks. At this point in the fantasy season, that can’t be ignored if you need to make up some ground in the saves category. Kennedy is a legitimate saves source that has pitched well this season (3.38 ERA in 40 IP), so grab him if closers on the wire are thin.
Deeper Leagues (15+ team or AL/NL Only)
Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets:
Injuries always have a way of opening the door, and such is the way with Mets 3B Brett Baty. The highly-touted prospect in the Mets farm system had played just 6 games above AA when the injury to Eduardo Escobar forced the Mets to make the call. Although playing primarily in AA this season, Baty looked fantastic, slashing .312/.406/.544 with 19 HR/73 R/59 RBI/2 SBs with an 11.5% BB%. The 22 year old has shown good plate discipline and grades out to have exceptional raw power and game power that will develop over the next couple of years. That said, Baty wasted no time making a name for himself at the major league level, crushing a HR in his first MLB game and logging 4 RBI in his first 3 games. Given that he is making the jump directly from AA, I have some reservations and there will likely be some bumps in the road as Baty adjusts to major league pitching. That said, he is a talented young prospect that will get some run at 3B for a very good Mets team struggling with injuries. He is worth a flyer if you need a 3B to see what he can do in the next couple of weeks.
Shea Langeliers, C, Oakland Athletics:
Another highly-ranked prospect received the call in Oakland, as C Shea Langeliers was promoted from AAA by the A’s last Tuesday. He is likely to get some run behind the plate to spell Sean Murphy but appeared in the lineup his first few games at DH. Langeliers posted impressive numbers at AAA this year, hitting .283/.366/.510 with 19 HR/62 R/56 RBI/5 SB with a 10.7% BB% and 21.9% K% across 92 games. He hits the ball with authority, although does have a tendency to hit too many infield fly balls (a/k/a pop ups), as he has had an elevated IFFB percentage across each of his minor league seasons. Catchers are always scarce and Langeliers should be scooped up in all two-catcher leagues and also very deep single catcher leagues. With a HR, 3 runs, and 3 RBI in his first four games with the A's, Langeliers is showing he has something to offer. As well, he should easily get playing time in that subpar A’s lineup and will only lose it if he has a prolonged slump, which is possible, but shouldn’t be expected given Langeliers’s pedigree.
Jake Fraley, OF, Cincinnati Reds:
Jake Fraley was one of my favorite sleepers coming into the 2022 season and why not? A power/speed combo moving to play in one of the best hitter parks in the majors . . . what’s not to like? Fraley looked to be a late round steal the first few weeks of the season, but unfortunately, went to the IL with knee inflammation on May 1st and didn’t return to the lineup until the very end of July. He’s now back and is playing regularly against righties—and batting leadoff or second in each of the last 5 games—although he is riding the pine often (not every time) when a lefty is on the mound. In the 15 games Fraley has played since coming off the IL, Fraley has been nothing short of fantastic, slashing .370/.423/.674 with 4 HR/9 R/9 RBI (195 wRC+). Even more impressive has been Fraley’s plate discipline during this run. He has struck out just 11.5% of the time, while still posting a nearly 10% BB%. Overall, Fraley has made great strides in reducing his strikeout rate in 2022, which helps his power and speed play. He has just a 18% K% this season compared with a 26% rate for his career, which helps to explain the improvements he has made. Fraley has the tools to succeed and if he can keep the strikeout rate down, Great American ballpark will only help to boost his numbers.
Sam Haggerty, OF, Seattle Mariners:
Sam Haggerty is turning heads with his on-field performance lately. While the 28 year old has largely been a bench bat over the last three years that he played in the majors, Haggerty has now started 13 of the last 15 for the Mariners and deservedly so. Over that time, Haggerty has hit .349/.396/.535 with 2 HR/7 R/7 RBI/3 SBs (161 wRC+) and just a 20% K%. If you need SBs with a little pop, you could do a lot worse than Haggerty - I already picked him up in one of my AL only leagues. Across AAA and the majors so far in 2022, Haggerty has 10 HR/23 SB in 89 games . . . that will play. With Kyle Lewis and Jarred Kelenic in the minors for now, Haggerty’s playing time looks to be solid. And certainly he’ll stay in the lineup for as long as he continues to produce. I like Haggerty as a deep league option for consistent contributions across the board.
Christian Arroyo, 2B, Boston Red Sox:
Christian Arroyo is back from the IL and has carved out an everyday spot in the Red Sox lineup, starting 17 of the last 18 for the squad. In deeper leagues, Arroyo can add value for your fantasy team and he has been hitting particularly well lately. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that in the 17 games he has played since July 30th, Arroyo has hit .365/.403/.524 with 5 2B/1 3B/1 HR/8 R/7 RBI (162 wRC+) – he’s hot and that is the kind of production that can propel you up the standings in deeper leagues. Arroyo is another grinder – he isn’t going to smash a bunch of HRs or steal you a ton of bases, but he is going to be in the lineup on a regular basis, have a good batting average (.274 on the season), and consistently contribute to your counting stats. As you know, in deeper leagues, not every guy in your lineup is going to be an all-star, but the secret to building a winning squad is finding these grinders that will add regular value. Arroyo is doing that and more now and is definitely worth an add.
Kerry Carpenter, OF, Detroit Tigers:
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of all the high-profile prospect promotions was the Tigers’ promotion of slugger Kerry Carpenter. While not atop any top 100 prospect lists, Carpenter has more than shown his ability to crush baseballs in the minors this season. Across 97 games in AA and AAA this season, Carpenter slashed .313/.380/.645 with 30 HR/60 R/75 RBI/3 SB and with a strong proclivity for hitting line drives and fly balls (i.e., he doesn’t pound the ball into the ground). Carpenter didn’t play much when he was first promoted, but he has started the last three straight for the Tigers (2 DH/1 OF), going 5-13 with 2 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI in those three contests. The question for Carpenter—as with many rookies—will be how well he can adjust to major league pitching and if strikeouts will be an issue. It’s hard to tell in this small sample size, but if you’ve been hit with injuries in a deeper league, Carpenter has plenty of pop and could turn into an asset for your squad. High risk/high reward, as with many young hitters, but worth a speculative add if you need an OF.
David Peterson, SP, New York Mets:
Don’t look now, but recent injuries to both Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker (not clear how much time, if any, Walker will miss) have quickly caused a pitching concern in the Big Apple. That could make room, however, for David Peterson to be recalled from AAA – indeed, I think that is a very likely result [note: After writing this section, Peterson was recalled from AAA to start on Saturday]. Peterson was very good during his time in the rotation earlier in 2022. This season, he has made 18 appearances for the Mets (14 starts) and has an impressive line: 6-2, 79 IP, 63 H, 29 ER, 38 BB, 91 Ks, 3.30 ERA (3.53 xFIP), 1.28 WHIP, and 10.37 K/9. Add to these numbers the fact that Peterson induces ground balls at an excellent 52% rate and you have the recipe for fantasy success. The likelihood is that Peterson was dropped in your league after he lost his rotation spot and, if that is the case, grab him in deeper leagues. As you can see, Peterson has exceptional underlying metrics and the Mets are a good team, increasing the chance that Peterson will get more wins. He’s a good spec add now before everyone jumps on board.
Good luck down the home stretch all! Once again, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with any roster, trade, or waiver wire questions.