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

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of May 9

GRADUATED

  • Andrew Benintendi, OF, KCR (45% to 70%)
  • Raimel Tapia, OF, COL (37% to 64%)
  • Madison Bumgarner, SP, ARI (40% to 55%)

50% OR UNDER

Framber Valdez, SP, HOU (48%) 

Still on the IL, he threw 20 pitches to live batters this week. He was able to throw all his pitches and had good command, according to Dusty Baker. Baker today said he could return in June. If he is available in your league, this is the rare chance to get a borderline ace for free. Valdez sports one of the best curveballs in the game, suppresses home runs (0.86 career HR/9), and limits walks (5.6% BB rate in 2020). Last year, Valdez once struck out 11 batters in a start…all with the curveball (see image below).

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Tyler O’Neill, OF, STL (21% to 45%)
  • Adolis Garcia, OF, TEX (50%)
  • Tyler Naquin, OF, CLE (48%): The early start hype wore off but he continues to start most games and has a 0.876 OPS with a steal so far in May.
  • Bryan Reynolds, OF, PIT (47%)
  • Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF (42%)
  • Jameson Taillon, SP, NYY (48%): Taillon’s 28.8% K rate, 5.1% BB rate, and 3.30 SIERA suggest his 5.02 ERA should not worry you too much. Taillon generally also keeps homers in check (Career: 1.00 HR/9) despite his current 2.20 HR/9, although lefties at Yankee Stadium will sneak some out on him. Having pitched just 66 innings since the end of the 2018 season, he will only get more comfortable. I love him in favorable road matchups going forward.
  • Taijuan Walker, SP, NYM (47% to 45%): Walker’s rostership decreased this week despite a 7 inning, 8 K gem in Saint Louis. He gets the Orioles at home then travels to Atlanta for his next two starts. He should be streamed against the Orioles but I will not fault you for benching him against the Braves.
  • Wade Miley, SP, CIN (39% to 44%): Last week, Bumgarner. This week, Miley. Who from this article will have a no hitter this week?? Even including his poor 14.1 innings in 2020, Miley has a 3.44 ERA (6.9 K/9) since the start of 2018. His next two starts line up to be @COL and at home versus the Giants. With his low strikeout ceiling, he is obviously a bench against the Rockies and do not feel the need to hold him if you have a roster crunch.
  • Jacob Diekman, RP, OAK (35% to 43%): This remains a platoon between Diekman and Lou Trivino that depends on the matchups. Both will get saves going forward.
  • Jordan Romano, RP, TOR (47%): Still no saves (grr) but with Rafael Dolis joining Julian Merryweather on the IL, Romano seems to have won this game of closer musical chairs for the time being. Keep an eye on Tyler Chatwood (0.79 ERA, 34.9% K rate) too.
  • Tejay Antone, RP, CIN (42% to 41%)
  • Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL (44% to 48%)

40% OR UNDER

Tyler Rogers, RP, SFG (32%)

After Jake McGee had another bad performance this week, Giants Manager Gabe Kapler said Rogers would get more save opportunities going forward. Rogers has just 10 K in 19.2 IP but his ERA and WHIP are both below 1, and saves are saves!

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Brandon Nimmo, OF, NYM ( 44% to 31%): While Nimmo went on the IL for a finger contusion, there is hope he will return after the minimum stay on May 13.
  • Christian Walker, 1B, ARI (45% to 39%)
  • Lorenzo Cain, OF, MIL (33% to 32%): Cain went 4/16 with a HR and a SB in his return from the IL, pretty much what you can expect going forward.
  • Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS, MIN (38%): Polanco has slashed 0.309/0.377/0.500 in 77 PA since April 14.
  • Tony Gonsolin, SP/RP, LAD (35%): Gonsolin, who has been on the IL since the start of the year, owns a career 0.92 WHIP in 86.2 IP across two seasons. He will throw a bullpen and a simulated game this week barring any setbacks.
  • Yusei Kikuchi, SP, SEA (35%): Kikuchi gets a tough matchup in Dodger Stadium before everybody’s favorite streaming opponent: Cleveland.
  • Kwang Hyun Kim, SP, STL (38% to 37%): In a 56.2 IP sample size in the MLB, Kim has a 2.06 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a 6.67 K/9. The swinging strike percentage (SwStr%) on his slider has risen from 10.7% last year to 20.5% in 2021. I am not getting too excited, but he is a matchup-dependent streaming candidate.
  • Joakim Soria, RP, ARI (39% to 35%): Soria finally came off the IL this week, and yet his rostership decreased.
  • Ryan Weathers, SP/RP, SDP (43% to 34%)

30% OR UNDER

Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, SFG (14% to 24%)

Belt has made my waiver wire list for four straight weeks and rewarded believers this week. His rostership continues to rise after a 6/16 week with 3 HR, 5 R, and 8 RBI. He quietly has an 0.858 OPS despite his 0.233 AVG. Belt had the rare “3-4-5” slash line last year (0.309/0.425/0.591) and has chipped in two steals this year. While my dream of seeing him play his prime at a home hitters’ park will never happen, he can still help your fantasy team, especially in deep leagues.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Clint Frazier, OF, NYY (27%): After no home runs in his first 19 games, Frazier has three in his last nine. Things are not peaches and gravy just yet but he continues to walk at an elite rate. He is too talented to stay in a funk forever.
  • Jurickson Profar, 2B/OF, SDP (26% to 23%): The Padres like Profar enough to start him most days. He already has five steals and finally homered this week. His track record (20 HR in 2018 and 2019; 7 HR in 2020) suggests he is a 20 HR guy.
  • Nick Senzel, OF, CIN (28% to 26%)
  • JA Happ, SP, MIN (22% to 35): Happ has been on my pickups of the week for four straight weeks. However, he gets the White Sox next who have the best wRC+ (137) vs LHP in the league. Sit him for that one.
  • Shane McClanahan, SP, TBR (28%): He still has not gone more than four innings(and got a little roughed up as I write this today). He should not be owned in quality start leagues but hopefully the Rays let him go one more inning in coming starts so he can pick up some deserved wins.
  • Zach Davies, SP, CHC (24%): After seven scoreless innings against the Pirates, Davies gets Cleveland next. The strikeouts have dried up but he can be streamed in certain situations.
  • Chad Green, RP, NYY (27%): Green has a 153 ERA+, 0.97 WHIP, and 12.1 K/9 since 2017. During that time, he has earned a sneaky 20 wins. He always seems to end up in the top 100 in value at the end of the year.
  • Jonathan Loaisiga, RP, NYY (21% to 26%)
  • Stefan Crichton, RP, ARI (14% to 21%): The ratios are not great but he has the closing job for the Diamondbacks at least until Soria gets back in high leverage situations.

20% OR UNDER

Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, CWS (19%)

Now’s your time; go and get him! Since Luis Robert’s potential season-ending hip injury, Vaughn has started all six games and batted 0.318. He (or should I say Tony La Russa?) frustrated those who rostered him in April as he started just 15 of the White Sox’s first 25 games. However, MLB.com’s #14 prospect entering the season now only has to compete with Billy Hamilton (heh)  as Robert and Eloy Jimenez will remain out for most or all of the remaining regular season.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (10% to 14%)
  • Willie Calhoun, OF, TEX (4% to 17%)
  • Austin Hays, OF, OF (16%): Hays bats second for the Orioles every day and has a 0.316 AVG and 2 HR over his past nine games.
  • Evan Longoria, 3B, SFG (31% to 27%): If he can continue to make hard contact like he has at the top of the Giants’ lineup, it should translate to four-category success.
  • Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL (10% to 14%): Garcia went 10/19 this year with 2 R, 1 HR, and 6 RBI. His batted ball numbers point toward continued success, and he seems to be in a groove.
  • William Contreras, C, ATL (14%)
  • Corey Dickerson, OF, MIA (11%)
  • Adbert Alzolay, SP, CHC (8% to 12%): Alzolay now had four straight starts with a WHIP of 0.86 or lower. He gets Cleveland and the Nats next. Roll him out there.
  • Tyler Anderson, SP, PIT (14%): Anderson put up respectable numbers as a Rockie from 2016-18 (4.30 ERA) then had a 4.36 ERA last year for the Giants. In a great pitchers’ park, he has come through this year with a 3.05 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 37 K in 41.1 IP. He gets the Giants at home next and deserves your attention.
  • Adrian Houser, SP, MIL (11%): Sure, he makes the list after a 10 K night but his next three starts line up against Atlanta, Cincinnati, and San Diego so only pick him up in deep leagues.
  • Luis Patino, RP, TBR (15% to 13%): Patino has dominated in relief 2 to 3 inning stints and picked up a win after piggy-backing after McClanahan’s four inning start this week.
  • Archie Bradley, RP, PHI (20%)
  • JP Feyereisen, RP, MIL (17%)

10% OR UNDER

Robbie Grossman, OF, DET (4% to 7%)

Grossman went 7/19 this week with 1 HR, 5 R, 4 RBI, and 3 steals. He has been on this waiver wire list week after week like Austin Slater (below) for his power/speed appeal. Don’t forget: Grossman had 8 HR and 8 steals in last year’s shortened season.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Austin Slater, 1B/OF, SFG (7% to 5%): 2 HR and a steal over the past two days represents why Slater, a deep league power/speed option, stays on this list from week to week despite generally underwhelming.
  • Luis Urias, 2B/3B/SS, MIL (4% to 8%)
  • Willy Adames, SS, TBR (10%)
  • Logan Gilbert, SP, SEA (7%)

5% OR UNDER

Tyler Chatwood, SP/RP, TOR (3%)

Both his ERA and WHIP are under 1 and he has 15 K in 11.1 IP. If the Blue Jays continue to use Romano as a fireman, Chatwood could get some save chances.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN (3%): Full name: Trevor John-Ikaiakaloa Larnach. With Byron Buxton, Alex Kirilloff, and Luis Arraez all on the IL, Larnach got the call-up and should see regular playing time in the outfield. The 6’4″, 223 lb lefty has 50/60 game power and 65/65 raw power scouting grades according to Fangraphs. He has never had a wRC+ below 139 at any stop in the minors. He hit 2 HR but struck out 8 times in 15 PA to start the AAA season. Hopefully, the career 0.306 hitter in the minors can get his K rate under 30% to increase his chances of having a good average.
  • Garrett Cooper, 1B/OF, MIA (2%): Cooper has scuffled to start the year but he hit 21 HR with a 0.281 AVG and an 0.806 OPS in 554 PA across 2019 and 2020. He can hit.
  • Sam Haggerty, OF, SEA (3% to 2%)
  • Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (4%)
  • Vidal Brujan, 2B, TBR (3%)
  • Jeter Downs, SS, BOS (3%)
  • Josh Naylor, OF, CLE (3%)
  • Luis Garcia, SP/RP, HOU (5%): The Astros pitching factory continues to churn guys out. Odorizzi could come back fairly soon (and Framber Valdez is rehabbing as well) but Garcia (minors career: 2.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 12.5 K/9) should get about two more starts versus LAA and TEX and has impressed in 24.2 IP with a 3.28 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 28 K. 
  • Ryne Stanek, RP, HOU (5%): He vultured a save this week when Ryan Pressley needed a rest and that may happen from time to time.

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