Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of April 26, 2021): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%, and 5% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell


  • Jazz Chisholm, 2B/SS, MIA (48 to 78%)
  • JT Brubaker, SP, PIT (18 to 54%)
  • Lou Trivino, RP, OAK (48% to 61%)
  • Colin Moran, 1B/2B/3B, PIT (38 to 63%)


Omar Narvaez, C, MIL (45%)

He had an abysmal debut (60 wRC+) for Milwaukee in 2020, but the early returns are excellent (3 HR, 0.389 AVG). Narvaez’s early xwOBA (grain of salt) is in the 94th percentile. His K% is down from 31% last year to just 11.7%. He got too pull happy last year. This year, his Pull% and Oppo% are an even 37.8% and his spray chart (see below) shows this as clear as day. The lefty batter has a career 111 wRC+. Like Carson Kelly who was spotlighted last week, Narvaez is currently one of the 12 best catchers in the league. He should therefore be rostered and started in most leagues.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Carson Kelly, C, ARI (24 to 46%): Get him!
  • Kendall Graveman, RP, SEA (38 to 48%): To the chagrin of those who roster Graveman, Rafael Montero got a save and a win this week and continues to get results. This appears to be a committee with two solid options. He is generally a hold.
  • Daniel Bard, RP, COL (50%): He’s still a closer!
  • Bryan Reynolds, OF, PIT (50%): He looks back to his 2019 self. He would be more appealing if he either had above average power or steals. He should provide a good average, though.
  • JD Davis, 3B/OF, NYM (47%): His wRC+ is up to 223 after a dinger today. Davis crushes the ball and while the 0.588 BABIP will come back down to earth, he could flirt with 30 HR if allowed to play every day.
  • Huascar Ynoa, SP, ATL (42%): There are certainly concerns as he is a two-pitch pitcher with a history of questionable command. But the slider-fastball combo has worked in three of his four starts.
  • Ryan Weathers, SP, SDP (42%): Weathers might be the trendiest pickup of the week after 5.2 excellent innings against the Dodgers. It is still a small sample and there might be growing pains for a pitcher whose highest level was A ball before this year.
  • Wade Miley, SP, CIN (43%): Miley’s next three starts should be against the Cubs, Cleveland, and the Pirates. 
  • Brandon Nimmo, OF, NYM (48%)
  • Giovani Gallegos, RP, STL (43%)


Alex Wood, SP, SF (32%)

It might surprise you to hear Wood has a career 3.41 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He has allowed just one run over 12 innings to start this year, both starts coming against the Marlins. He has replaced the curveball with a slider with excellent early results (27.4% SwStr%). Wood gets the Rockies next in San Francisco, and he should definitely be streamed for that one. After that, it looks like a trip to Colorado and you should probably bench him there.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Joakim Soria (40%): Coming off the IL soon, he should slide back into the closer role pretty quickly.
  • Taijuan Walker, SP, NYM (37%)
  • Austin Riley, 3B/OF, ATL (40%)
  • CJ Cron, 1B, COL (40%)
  • David Peralta, OF, ARI (40%)
  • Tejay Antone (34%)
  • Jacob Diekman (32%)


Nick Senzel, OF, CIN (29%)

Senzel’s rostership has dropped about ten percent over the past week, and it is understandable on the surface. However, Senzel’s xwOBA (0.374) is a full 100 points higher than his actual wOBA so far. In a 0-for-4 start on Thursday, he hit three balls with expected averages of 0.810, 0.770, and 0.510 according to StatCast and somehow came up empty.

He also faces the Dodgers on Monday through Wednesday of this week, and Dodgers catchers have allowed a whopping 21 steals so far this year, six more than any other team. Lastly, Senzel has been getting reps in the infield in practice lately and multiple position eligibility would only be an added bonus.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Evan Longoria, 3B, SFG (30%)
  • Raimel Tapia, OF, COL (28%)
  • Jurickson Profar, 2B/OF, SDP (26%)
  • Bobby Dalbec, 1B, BOS (24%)
  • Kole Calhoun, OF, ARZ (21 to 20%)
  • Manuel Margot, OF, TBR (20 to 23%)


Kolten Wong, 2B, MIL (19%)

Wong, who is walking 15% of the time and has a 0.425 OBP, has batted leadoff for the Brewers in the three games since he returned from the IL. He gets the Dodgers in the second half of the week. As mentioned above with Senzel, the Dodgers cannot throw out base stealers at the moment. If he continues to get on base like he has been, I expect him to swipe a bag or two in that series. For this reason, Wong’s teammates Avisail Garcia and Keston Hiura also get a slight bump.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Josh Staumont, RP, KCR (13%): Greg Holland’s stint on the IL for undisclosed reasons lasted just one day so maybe we have to pump the breaks on Staumont, who recorded his first save in Holland’s absence this week. Still, Holland has a 2.29 WHIP, and Staumont sports a 0.64 WHIP and an exciting fastball that can touch 102 MPH.
  • Lucas Sims, RP, CIN (20%): While he has a 6.43 ERA, it comes along with a 0.86 WHIP so better days are ahead. Amir Garrett’s ERA is still north of 13 so Sims has him beat. Keep an eye on this closer role.
  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIA (17%): His power finally showed up with 2 HR in the last 2 days. 
  • JA Happ, SP, MIN (10 to 12%)
  • Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL (9 to 19%): His results have not matched his hard hit numbers so far. He did steal his second bag today and gets the Dodgers later this week (see Senzel and Wong above).
  • Jordan Luplow, OF, CLE (11%): He crushes lefties but has not had success against righties in his career. Cleveland seems to want to give him an opportunity and start most days. Definitely someone to keep an eye on.
  • Luis Patino (12%): Patino faced nine batters, striking out three, and allowing just one baserunner in his first start for the Rays after being traded for Blake Snell. Unless he gets stretched out further, Patino will just be a ratio and strikeout play and not someone you can rely on for a lot of wins or quality starts.
  • Jonathan Loaisiga, RP, NYY (13%): Like Patino, Loaisiga can help solidify your ratios and strikeouts with one or two typically excellent innings every few days.
  • Gregory Soto (19%): Saves, maybe?


Logan Gilbert, SP, SEA (6%) 

In the infamous speech that got former Mariners executive Kevin Mather fired, he said, “You won’t see him on April 1, but by mid-April you will see a young man named Logan Gilbert. He’s the real deal.” MLB.com’s 38th ranked prospect is not up yet and did not replace James Paxton after his season ending injury. However, it seems likely he will be up at some point in May. The 6’6” soon to be 24 year old had a 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 11.0 K/9 in his only minor league season in A & AA ball. It is reasonable to temper expectations with a rookie starting pitcher, but he will likely be a positive contributor when he is called up.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Austin Slater, 1B/OF, SFG (6%): Power/speed combos are rare and he offers that.
  • Willians Astudillo, C/1B/3B (6%): La Tortuga has started 5 straight games. He has catcher eligibility and consistent playing time going for him at the moment. Plus, he is a blast to root for.
  • Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, SFG (10%)
  • Corey Dickerson, OF, MIA (6%)
  • Spencer Turnbull, SP, DET (6%): Eno Sarris is an admirer of Turnbull. Stream him versus the Royals on Monday then go from there.
  • Adbert Alzolay, SP, CHC (7%): Monitor him for now. He has a good slider and not much else and has the Braves and the Dodgers coming up.


Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (3%)

Smith has batted leadoff for the Diamondbacks in six straight games. In today’s doubleheader, Smith hit his second HR of the year, raised his average to 0.288. Smith, who has 50 grade power according to FanGraphs, had a solid track record in the minors with wRC+ of 136, 101, and 142 in 2017 through 2019. It is useful to look at wRC+ when looking at minors stats because of the variance of ballparks and leagues in terms of offensive output.

He has good plate discipline with a BB% over 10% and a K% under 20% in 2017 through 2020, including last year’s MLB debut in which he had a respectable 0.746 OPS in 44 plate appearances. I expect Smith’s roster percentage to jump in coming days and he should especially be targeted in points leagues.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Ryne Stanek, RP, HOU (3%): The second best reliever in the Astros’ pen is someone to monitor.
  • Sam Haggerty, OF, SEA (1%): He has been getting starts consistently late and has 2 HR and 3 SB so far.
  • Robbie Grossman, OF, DET (4%)

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