Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Madness (9/19/22 - 9/25/22)
Our waiver wire picks were on point again last week, and I hope you picked up one or more of E Andrus, H Brown, A Cobb, N Lodolo, or J Jung. With only two weeks of the season left in roto leagues, its time to push all your chips to the center of the table. Be sure that you are scouring your roster to ensure that ALL of your players are producing. If someone is slumping, it's time to cut them loose and ride the hot hand to a championship. All right gang, 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).
Keep those questions coming and follow me on Twitter @fantasybbguru. Good luck!
Shallow Leagues – 10/12 team mixed leagues:
Eduardo Escobar, 1B/2B/3B, New York Mets:
In case you haven't noticed, the Mets' Eduardo Escobar is out of hibernation and currently enjoying a fabulous September. If he's available on your wire, scoop up this multi-position eligible gem and see if you can ride him to a title. Escobar has been in the lineup every day since the end of August and, so far in September, he is slashing .393/.444/.786 with 2 2B/1 3B/6 HR/13 R/12 RBI (239 wRC+) in just 16 games. Add in an under 16% K% and a 9.5% BB% and you can see that Escobar is completely locked in at the moment and an be an asset for your team, especially considering that you can slot him in nearly anywhere up and down your roster to replace a struggling player. Snag him.
Harrison Bader, OF, New York Yankees:
Harrison Bader has been on the shelf with a bad wheel since the end of June, when he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Now, as a member of the Yankees, he’s expected to step into the starting centerfield job and he could be completing a rehab assignment by early this week. Bader was good for the Cardinals in 2022, hitting .256/.303/.370 across 72 games. But where he really added fantasy value was in the 15 SBs he stole in that same time period. Bader is an excellent defender, which—while we don’t get fantasy points for defense—is very likely to keep him in the Yankee lineup nearly everyday (that, and a lack of competition). While he should not be considered a substantial source of HR or RBI, Bader could provide your squad with an injection in the runs and SB categories. Grab him while he’s still available, particularly if you can make up some ground in steals.
Oscar Gonzalez, OF, Cleveland Guardians:
This may be the third time I have profiled the Guardians’ Oscar Gonzalez during this season, but somehow his roster rate remains low, so I’ll try again! Gonzalez has not only a very good hit tool, but plenty of pop and speed to go with it. So far this season, he ranks in the 91st percentile in MLB for max exit velocity, has a 42% HardHit%, and ranks in the 90th percentile in sprint speed . . . tools that cannot be ignored. On the season, Gonzalez is slashing .299/.332/.478 with 9 HR/27 R/36 RBI/1 SB across 74 games, but the rookie has steadily improved since his call-up to the majors and he has now batted 4th or 5th for the Guardians in each of the last 15 consecutive games. Across his last 16 games, Gonzalez is hitting a robust .364/.417/.621 with 5 2B/4 HR/8 R/13 RBI (195 wRC+) and is a key reason that the Guardians have a lead in the AL Central. In the home stretch, you need to play the hot bat and, as Mugatu said in Zoolander, Gonzalez is “so hot right now.”
Dylan Floro, RP, Miami Marlins:
If you’re scrambling for saves as we move toward the end of the season, take a shot on the Marlins Dylan Floro. Although the closer situation in Miami is far from settled, it has been three weeks now since Tanner Scott recorded a save for the Marlins and Floro is looking to take the role – he has now recorded the Marlins last two saves on both Sept 9th and 15th. Floro is not a typical high-strikeout closer, but he has respectable numbers nonetheless. On the season, Floro has 5 saves and 5 holds, a 3.45 ERA (3.35 FIP), and a 1.20 WHIP. And over his last 7 appearances, Floro has been money: 1 W, 2 SV, 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks. The save opportunities may not be plentiful in Miami, but Floro has as good a chance as anyone to secure a few saves for your squad down the stretch. He’s worth an add.
Deeper Leagues (15+ team or AL/NL Only)
Edward Olivares, OF, Kansas City Royals:
I’ve been hyping Edward Olivares since last year and I just can’t quit him. He’s back of the 60 day IL and I’m hoping that the Royals finally give him everyday playing time in their youth movement. Olivares has a very fantasy-friendly profile – some pop and speed, a relatively low K%, and good plate discipline. Prior to his injury, Olivares was playing well in a part-time role, posting a 2022 line of: .311/.368/.447 with 3 HR/16 R/12 RBI/2 SBs in 37 games (134 PAs), good for a 132 wRC+. Olivares also had a nearly 90 mph avg. EV and a 35% HardHit% per Statcast. I would like to see him elevate the ball more consistently, but a slight swing tweak could transform him from a double-double guy (maybe 15-20 HR and SBs/year) to a fantasy stud. I continue to be high on Olivares and he will be one to watch as we prepare for 2023 fantasy drafts as well.
Stone Garrett, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks:
Although his playing time had been sporadic until very recently, I’m hoping that Stone Garrett has played his way into regular PT for the Dbacks – and it is well-deserved. Across his first 17 MLB games, Garrett is slashing .333/.382/.608 with 3 HR/10 R/7 RBI/3 SBs with a 93.6 mph avg EV and 51.2% HardHit% - ridiculous. This after a truly impressive AAA campaign in 2022 in which Garrett hit 28 bombs and stole 15 bags in 103 games. Garrett has now started 5 of the last 7 games for the Dbacks and the hope is that will continue, despite the fact that the Dbacks now have a logjam of very talented young OFs in Garrett, A Thomas, J McCarthy, and C Carroll (not to mention D Varsho playing OF regularly now). Garrett is hot and profiles as a guy with good pop and speed and that is worth taking a shot on in deeper leagues. He’s a buy.
Bailey Falter, SP, Philadelphia Phillies:
He may not be a flashy name yet, but when a pitcher posts 5 consecutive wins with a 2.43 ERA across those starts, you sit up and take notice. Bailey Falter has just been flat out good for the Phillies lately, going 5-0 with 35.2 IP, 28 H, 10 ER, 3 BB, 30 Ks, 2.52 ERA (3.67 FIP), and 0.87 WHIP across his last six starts going back to the end of July. As you can see from his line, Falter has exhibited exceptional control recently, walking just 3 batters in his last 35.2 innings. And while he is a good deeper league option, it is important to point out that the level of competition across Falter’s last 6 starts has been far from intimidating. Of those 6 starts, 4 were against the Marlins and Pirates, and another was against the Dbacks. As it lines up now, it appears as though Falter’s next two starts could be against the Braves, which would be much tougher competition. That said, if you need a starter in a deeper league, Falter has done well enough recently that I would give him a shot and see if he can help your team bring home the hardware.
Drew Smyly, SP, Chicago Cubs:
If you’re looking for a good SP streamer for the upcoming week, take a hard look at the Cubs’ Drew Smyly. While he has been solid this season overall (7 W, 3.48 ERA), Smyly has—other than one bad start—excellent over the past month+ of the season. Since August 6th, Smyly is 4-2 with 44.1 IP, 32 H, 11 ER, 12 BB, 41 Ks, 2.23 ERA, and a 0.99 WHIP. More importantly, Smyly lines up for a mouth-watering matchup against either the Marlins or Pirates next week. A streaking pitcher against a toothless offense? Yes, please! Get Smyly into your lineup for the week and you could be richly rewarded with an excellent start.
Adrian Sampson, SP, Chicago Cubs:
Adrian Sampson isn’t flashy, but he has definitely been producing lately and, more importantly, he appears to be in line for two starts next week against the Marlins and Pirates. Yeah, exactly. Although not a strikeout pitcher, Sampson currently sports a respectable 3.48 ERA and he has very good control (just 2.50 BB/9), which helps to limit his downside somewhat. And over his last 4 starts, Sampson has been particularly good at limiting hard contact, leading to strong results. During that time, Sampson has 1 W, 20.1 IP, 16 H, 4 ER, 7 BB, 10 Ks, 1.77 ERA (3.80 FIP), and a 1.13 WHIP. He is a risky play, but if you need wins or a two-start pitcher in a deeper points league, Sampson is worth a shot – you don’t get two great matchups like the Marlins and Pirates often.
Ryne Nelson, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks:
The Dbacks promoted pitcher Ryne Nelson just after Labor Day in a move that didn’t attract much attention. And why would it, given that Nelson’s 2022 season at AAA had seemed largely uninspiring: 136 IP, 5.43 ERA (5.50 FIP), 128 Ks, and a 1.39 WHIP. But Nelson has made his presence felt with the big club through two starts now, posting a very impressive line: 1-0, 13 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 13 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.62 WHIP. Oh, and did I mention that these two starts were against the Padres and the Dodgers?? Nelson has a good fastball, as well as a slider and curve that have each graded out well. He has, however, historically allowed more fly balls that you would like to see (under 40% GB% in AA and AAA across 2021/22) and that is likely to bite him in the form of HRs allowed at some point. While the Dbacks are slated to face the Padres and Dodgers again in the near term, Nelson has certainly done enough to be worthy of a flyer in very deep leagues if you need a starter.
Good luck gang and keep those fantasy questions coming! Lets close out 2022 strong and then jump into prep for 2023!