Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Madness (9/5/22 - 9/11/22)
We killed it again last week on the waiver wire picks with L Nootbar, J McCarthy, P Sandoval, B Hughes, and more! With just about a month to go until the trophies are handed out, let’s do it again and bring home a championship. 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:
Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks:
So it begins! Earlier this week, the Dbacks promoted Corbin Carroll, who is the #1 overall prospect remaining in the minors according to some prospect gurus. And its hard to quibble with such a ranking – across AA and AAA in 2022, Carroll hit .307/.425/.610 with 24 HR/89 R/62 RBI/31 SBs in 93 games . . . just sick skills. And Carroll wasted no time in making his presence felt at the major league level. He won't play every game through the end of the year (because the Dbacks will want to keep him under 130 ABs to preserve his 2023 rookie status), but he has started 4 of his first 5 and scored a combined 4 runs with 5 RBI in those four games. Carroll is a true potential lottery ticket for the rest of the season – he has an exceptional hit tool, good power, and amazing speed. While there is risk for any rookie making the leap, Carroll is about as good a bet as any and is worth a flyer.
Tyler O’Neill, OF, St. Louis Cardinals:
Few players disappointed this year as thoroughly as Tyler O’Neill through the first month or so of the season. Through May 17th (32 games), O’Neill was hitting .195/.256/.297 with just 2 HR/14 R/20 RBI/3 SBs – tough to swallow for a guy that was expected to be a substantial power source and was being drafted—on average—in about the 5th round. But O’Neill has been surging lately and looking much more like the guy everyone dreamed on before the 2022 season. Over his last 19 games, O’Neill is slashing .277/.377/.569 with 6 HR/15 R/17 RBI/3 SB (165 wRC+) and with an average exit velocity of 92.5 – in other words, he is back to crushing baseballs. O’Neill impacts the ball with authority, lifts the ball (very good FB + LD rate), and has some speed to contribute SBs. If he can stay hot, he is a difference maker down the stretch, so don’t let him sit on the wire if he’s out there in your shallower leagues.
Kolten Wong, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers:
Although prone to hot and cold spells, the Brewers Kolton Wong has quietly produced a strong line for his 2022 campaign. So far this season, Wong has hit .250/.333/.424 with 11 HR/55 R/37 RBI/13 SBs in 105 games, and that will play at a relatively weak 2B position this season. Wong is clearly better in OBP and points leagues thanks to his strong 8.8% BB% and low 17.6% K%. But he has really turned things on of late, with a .370 avg., 240 wRC+, 3 HR, 5 R, and 5 RBI in his past 7 games. Wong has a tendency to run hot and cold and, at this time of year, you have to be ready to play the hot streaks if you’re in the hunt for a title. Wong can provide contributions to your team across the board and has significantly more upside if he can stretch this hot streak further. He’s a good replacement for a middling or underperforming 2B or MI.
Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers:
After an IL stint delayed Riley Greene’s debut with the Tigers, the highly-touted prospect played in his first big league game on June 18th and collected 2 hits and 2 RBI in that game. So, he was off to the races, right? After that he was, well, I mean . . . okay, not great. From his debut through August 19th, Greene hit just .224/.282/.325 with 3 HR/27 R/23 RBI/1 SB (4 CS) and a 30% K% across 55 games. He has, however, looked much better since August 20th – and by much better, I mean that he is a man on fire. In the 8 games since, Greene is hitting .422/.490/.689 with 2 HR/10 R/6 RBI, a 25% K%, and a 91.2 average EV. Greene has top-tier prospect pedigree and profiles as a player with an above-average hit tool and power. Rookies often struggle when they first arrive in the bigs and what we are seeing now could be, hopefully, Greene starting to figure it out and come into his own. If that is the case, you’ll want him on your squad rather than letting him get snapped up by the competition. Get your shares now.
Joey Meneses, 1B/OF, Washington Nationals:
Ever since the Nationals promoted Joey Meneses about a month ago, all he has done is hit and, somehow, he still remains drastically under-rostered. The 30 year-old rookie has garnered skepticism, but at this point, you cannot allow a bat like this to remain on the wire if you have an underperforming player clogging up your roster. Through 26 games with the Nats in 2022, Meneses is now slashing .350/.385/.612 with 7 HR/19 R/15 RBI and just a 17% K%. He also hits the ball hard (91.5 avg. EV and 46% HardHit%) and gets enough lift to make that power play (roughly 57% combined LD% and FB%). He has earned the Nats respect, starting in each of the team’s last 19 straight games and, what's more, he provides valuable multi-position eligibility for max roster flexibility. Meneses may not be a household name, but names don’t win fantasy championships, statistics do – and Meneses is filling up the stat sheet.
Trevor Rogers, SP, Miami Marlins:
In pre-season fantasy drafts, Trevor Rogers was a darling, the next big thing, and an all-formats frontline starter being drafted around Alek Manoah, Shane McClanahan, Luis Castillo, and many others. But 2022 has been a tough season for Rogers, putting it lightly. So far this year, he has made 20 starts for the Marlins and has an unsightly 5.57 ERA (4.41 FIP) with over 4.0 BB/9 and less than 9.0 K/9. When compared against his 2021 ERA of 2.64 and his impressive 10.62 K/9 and 3.11 BB/9 that same year, you can see the issue. But Rogers is back after about a month on the IL and he says that he used the time to work on some mechanical issues that he feels were causing his struggles this year. And that may be more than just a rosy outlook – in his first game back on the bump last Wednesday, Rogers posted the following line against the Rays: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks. This after tossing 6 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 12 Ks in his final rehab start in AAA. Rogers has plenty of talent and these consecutive performances should have your eyebrows raised for a guy that has fallen off a lot of fantasy radars. If he can return to his 2021 form, Rogers could very well be a league winner for owners down the stretch. Invest now.
Jimmy Herget, RP, Los Angeles Angels:
The human glitch is now the man in the 9th for the Angels. After a short period of a closer committee in Los Angeles, Herget seems to be settling into the closer role, securing three saves in the last week for the Angels. Herget has video-game like stuff, which earned him the “human glitch” moniker – earlier in the season, the internet was abuzz when Herget struck out a batter on a swinging third strike that hit the batter. On the season, Herget has 53.1 IP, 38 H, 16 ER, 12 BB, 52 Ks, 2.70 ERA (2.94 FIP), and a 0.94 WHIP . . . gotta love those relievers that get strikeouts and carry a low BB% as well. The Angels aren’t a great team, but there will be save opportunities and it certainly seems as though Herget will get the first chance to secure them. Grab him if you need saves.
Deeper Leagues (15+ team or AL/NL Only)
Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles:
Other than Corbin Carroll above, the Orioles Gunner Henderson may be the most exciting prospect that is now making his appearance on the major league stage. Henderson is an exceptional talent with tools to drool over. Across AA and AAA in 2022, Henderson has produced the following insane line: .297/.416/.531 with 19 HR/101 R/76 RBI/22 SBs in 112 games. And in his first three professional games, Henderson has not disappointed, going 5 for 12 with 2 2B, 1 HR, and a SB. Add this to a lineup in Baltimore that has been much better than expectations and you have the potential for Gunnar Henderson to be a fantasy savior for some teams down the home stretch. Note, however, that he is likely to sit at least once a week or so - the Orioles want to ensure he preserves his rookie status for 2023. All rookies have the risk of underperformance (it took a while for Adley Rutschman to come around too), but Henderson has nothing left to prove in the minors and has the kind of tools that are worth the risk in hopes of reaping the reward.
Garrett Mitchell, OF, Milwaukee Brewers:
Garrett Mitchell made his debut with the Brewers last weekend to, no surprise, far less fanfare than Carroll or Henderson. And while he may not have been a top 10 overall prospect, Mitchell also posted very strong numbers in AA and AAA this year: .287/.377/.426 with 5 HR/49 R/34 RBI/17 SBs in 68 games. While the 6’3” Mitchell has power, he hits the ball on the ground far too much for it to play at the moment (60% GB% at AA and 57% GB% at AAA). The speed could prove to be an asset and I like the plate discipline he displayed in the minors (10.4% BB%), which should make Mitchell more valuable in OBP leagues. He has started 5 of his first 7 games as a pro, so playing time could be an issue, but if you are need of an OF and some speed in deeper leagues (18+ team or NL only), Mitchell is worth a shot. If he can make some swing changes over time to lift the ball, Mitchell could become a legitimate all-formats fantasy asset.
Nick Gordon, 2B/SS/OF, Minnesota Twins:
This is not the first time that Nick Gordon has made the waiver wire column this year, but he can provide value in deeper leagues, so I’ll keep hyping him! Without much pub, Gordon is top 20% in all of MLB in the following key Statcast categories: Avg EV, HardHit%, xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, and Barrel% . . . yep, for real. Oh, and add to that top 30% in Sprint Speed – excellent combo. And his batted ball profile has changed this season to help him take advantage of the authority with which he is striking the ball. Specifically, he is hitting far fewer ground balls than he has in years past. In 2021, Gordon had a 52% GB%, while this year he is hitting more line drives and fly balls and has just a 39% GB% - this is an underappreciated change for a guy with a 48% HardHit% and 11.3% Barrel%. And you want hot? In his last 5 games, Gordon is hitting .471 with 1 HR, 6 R, and 11 RBI (with an over 93 mph avg. EV) - smokin! I like Gordon because he can provide some speed and pop and is playing close to everyday for a very good team.
Michael Toglia, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies:
As someone who covers fantasy baseball, I am legally required to include any new Colorado Rockies hitter in the waiver wire column. For deeper leagues, there should always be interest in a guy that has flashed power in the minors and is now going to play half of his games in Coors Field. This year across AA and AAA, Toglia smashed 30 HR and drove in 83 in just 117 games, so he clearly can put the hurt on a baseball (and he now has 1 HR in his first 4 pro games). The risk here lies in Toglia’s strikeout rate, which was 30% this year in the minors. That is a big number for the minors and there is a chance that Toglia simply does not make enough contact at the big league level to remain in the lineup. That said, he does know how to draw a walk (12% BB% in the minors) and could be the next three true outcomes player to make his debut in the majors. In deep leagues, he is worth an add to see what he can do with regular playing time in Colorado.
We're almost there gang, but keep pressing down the home stretch and don't forget, now is not the time to worry about cutting "bigger names" that are not producing. It's time to ride the hot hand and ensure your roster is contributing to the bottom line. Good luck and feel free to DM me on Twitter @fantasybbguru.