Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of April 19, 2021): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of 4/17/2021


Jazz Chisholm, 2B/SS, MIA (48%)

This one is a no brainer. The 23 year old lefty has started the season on fire with an OPS of 1.161. He has 3 HR and 3 steals, and his plate discipline appears to have improved (18.8% walk rate). Chisholm, the former #60 overall prospect according to MLB.com, struck out 30.1% in his minors career and 30.6% in 62 plate appearances (PA) in his debut season last year (56 wRC+). He has struck out 25% this year.

Chisholm looked overmatched last year, but his StatCast numbers in 2021 paint an entirely different picture. While his 30.8% barrel rate is clearly unsustainable, his average exit velocity (EV) has risen from 87.1 last year to 93.9, and his Max EV has jumped over 5 MPH to 111.7. Chisholm, who has both SS and 2B eligibility, looks to have 25/25 upside in a landscape where steals can be hard to come by. Even if and when he comes back to earth, Chisholm is a potential league winner.

Honorable Mention: 

  • Lou Trivino, RP, OAK


Kendall Graveman, RP, SEA (36%)

When it comes to the pickups of the week, I will tend to spotlight one or two closers. Graveman seems to have forced his way into the Mariners’ closing job at best and a committee with Rafael Montero at worst. Graveman has 2 saves so far and has yet to give up a run in six innings. His trademark sinker is averaging 96.3 MPH, over a MPH faster than his previous career high, and he has touched 99 MPH. Graveman’s career K rate is just 15.3% but a new slider has excellent early results (Whiff%: 44.4%) to buoy his 28.6% K rate. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Dane Dunning, SP, TEX: Dunning’s ownership will surely rise in the coming days after lowering his 2021 ERA to 0.60 on Saturday. Dunning had a successful rookie campaign in 2020 (3.97 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9.26 K/9) for the White Sox before being traded to the Rangers for Lance Lynn in the offseason. He has also succeeded everywhere he has been (college and each level of the minors) and I tend to like those types (e.g., Cristian Javier). Dunning has five pitches but mostly relies on his sinker and slider. He has less than desirable velocity (90.4 MPH) and his pitches tend to all stay low in the zone, but he is getting batters to chase on the slider (38.4% O-Swing; 21.8 SwStr%). 
  • Taijuan Walker, SP, NYM
  • Anthony DeSclafani, SP, SF 
  • Brandon Nimmo, OF, NYM
  • Colin Moran, 1B/2B/3B, PIT


Carson Kelly, C, ARZ (24%) 

Kelly is a favorite of co-host James, and he talked me into the 26 year old catcher before the start of the season. The catchers drafted around Kelly this year tended to be older (Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, Wilson Ramos) so Kelly’s age and upside made him intriguing. Once thought to be the heir apparent to Molina, he peaked as the 39th overall prospect according to MLB.com. He then went to Arizona along with Luke Weaver (see honorable mentions) and Andrew Young in the Paul Goldschmidt trade.

Kelly rewarded the Diamondbacks in his first season with them with 18 HR and an 0.826 OPS in 365 PA in 2019. Kelly scuffled last year; his StatCast numbers plummeted and he had a 0.649 OPS. This year, Kelly’s HardHit% is in the top 10th percentile in the league and his OPS is over 1.200 (he has hit a HR on Sunday as I write this article). While Kelly is struggling to shut down base stealers and his 0.500 BABIP is due for regression, Kelly needs to be rostered and started in most leagues considering the dearth of catching options.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Luke Weaver, SP, ARZ 
  • Zach McKinstry, OF, LAD: McKinstry, who will soon add 2B eligibility, had an OPS of 0.861 or better in the minors in 2018 and 2019 and has started this year raking with a 0.949 OPS.
  • Kole Calhoun, OF, ARZ


JT Brubaker, SP, PIT (18%)

Brubaker currently has a 1.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 18 K in 15.1 IP. He has allowed just one run in each of his three starts so far. He plays his home games in Pittsburgh’s pitcher’s paradise PNC Park, but of course also might struggle to win games for the rebuilding Pirates. Brubaker has a solid slider, two decent fastballs, and a curveball he sprinkles in. Brubaker should not hurt your ratios and his career 9.5 K/9 is nothing to scoff at. He is lined up for the Tigers and Royals in his next two starts. Stream him then see what you have after those two games.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIA
  • JA Happ, SP, MIN
  • Alex Cobb, SP, LAA
  • Manuel Margot, OF, TBR


Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL (9%)

Garcia is a perennial sleeper who rewarded believers in 2017 and 2019 and disappointed in 2018 and 2020. With Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich on the IL, Garcia’s playing time is solidified for now and he has started relatively strongly (he hit his third HR as I write this article, surpassing his 2020 HR total already) and his underlying numbers are even more promising. He is in the top 20th percentile in all of the following StatCast categories (see chart below): Avg EV, Max EV, HardHit%, xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, Barrel %, and Sprint Speed! While it is early and these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt until sample sizes are larger, you have to take the risk on Garcia now. It is a low risk, high reward pickup. Heck, I am going to go pick him up right now.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Alex Wood, SP, SF
  • Bryan Garcia, RP, DET
  • Michael Fulmer, SP, DET
  • Jeff Hoffman, SP, CIN
  • Michael Wacha, SP/RP, TBR
  • Tyler Anderson, SP, PIT
  • Justin Upton, OF, LAA 
  • Maikel Franco, 3B, BAL
  • Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, SF 
  • Miguel Rojas, SS, MIA

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