Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of May 17, 2021): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of May 16

GRADUATED

  • Adolis Garcia, OF, TEX (50% to 81%)
  • Tyler Naquin, OF, CLE (48% to 59%)
  • Taijuan Walker, SP, NYM (45% to 64%)
  • Wade Miley, SP, CIN (44% to 56%)
  • Jake Diekman, RP, OAK (43% to 53%)
  • Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS, MIN (38% to 53%)
  • Logan Gilbert, SP, SEA (7% to 51%)

50% OR UNDER

Tony Gonsolin, SP/RP, LAD (35% to 41%)

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 pitch a two inning simulated game this week barring any setbacks. Once he comes back and builds his pitch count up, he should be relied on fairly heavily as the Dodgers do not have the same depth they have had in previous years. He just got transferred to the 60-day IL but that changes nothing; he can be activated as early as June 1.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • CJ Cron, 1B, COL (50%): Cron is expected to return from the IL on Tuesday. 
  • Ian Happ, 2B/3B/OF, CHC (49%)
  • Robbie Grossman, OF, DET (7% to 49%): Grossman has been on this list every week but his rostership just finally jumped 42%. He has 4 HR, 7 steals, 36 R+RBI.
  • Gavin Lux, 2B, LAD (46%)
  • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (44%)
  • Bryan Reynolds, OF, PIT (47% to 42%)
  • Omar Narvaez, C, MIL (41%)
  • Framber Valdez, SP, HOU (48%): Valdez will make a three inning rehab start in AAA Sugar Land on Monday. 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).
  • Jameson Taillon, SP, NYY (48%): Taillon got beat up by the Rays but had a season high 9 K and 17 swinging strikes in 4.2 innings. His 30.7% K rate, 5.7% BB rate, and 3.12 SIERA suggest his 5.40 ERA should go way down. Taillon generally also keeps homers in check (Career: 1.01 HR/9) despite his current 2.16 HR/9, although lefties at Yankee Stadium will sneak some out on him. Having pitched just 70.2 innings since the end of the 2018 season, he will only get more comfortable. He gets a good matchup at Texas next.
  • Brady Singer, SP, KCR (45%): He gets the Detroit Tigers next. Enough said.
  • Kwang Hyun Kim, SP, STL (37% to 42%): In a 62 IP sample size in the MLB, Kim has a 2.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a 6.97 K/9. But the swinging strike percentages (SwStr%) on his slider and curveball have risen compared to last year. I am not getting too excited, but he is a matchup-dependent streaming candidate.
  • Jordan Romano, RP, TOR (50%): Romano got his first save this week but pitched in setup roles in three other games. AJ Cole picked up a save so this situation is actually pretty messy.
  • Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL (48% to 45%)
  • Josh Staumont, RP, KCR (41%)

40% OR UNDER

Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, CWS (19% to 37%)

This will probably be the last week Vaughn, who hit his first two homers this week, is on this list as he will likely “graduate” to over 50%. Since Luis Robert’s potential season-ending hip injury, Vaughn has started most games. 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 has no competition with Billy Hamilton representing the only backup who is a true outfielder and Robert and Eloy Jimenez hurt for most or all of the remaining regular season.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, SFG (24% to 44%): Belt has made my waiver wire list for five straight weeks and may graduate soon. He quietly has an 0.855 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 in his prime at a home hitters’ park does not seem likely, he can still help your fantasy team, especially in deep leagues.
  • Tyler O’Neill, OF, STL (45% to 34%)
  • Lorenzo Cain, OF, MIL (32% to 30%)
  • Shane McClanahan, SP, TBR (28% to 32%): He has had a 6.75 ERA in his two most recent starts but finally went more than four innings, going 5.1 and getting the win versus the Mets.
  • Tyler Anderson, SP, PIT (14% to 31%): 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 3.50 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 44 K in 46.1 IP. H
  • Tejay Antone, RP, CIN (41% to 37%): Antone, who got his second save this week, has a 0.73 WHIP and a 0.092 BAA.
  • Tyler Rogers, RP, SFG (32%): The right-handed Rogers got 2 saves this week and now appears to share the closer job with lefty Jake McGee. He only has 12 K in 22.2 IP though.

30% OR UNDER

Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL (14% to 26%)

Garcia has a 1.051 OPS in May and 6 HR and 3 steals on the year. His batted ball numbers point toward continued success, and he seems to be in a groove.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Nick Senzel, OF, CIN (26% to 29%)
  • Clint Frazier, OF, NYY (27% to 23%)
  • Wilson Ramos, C, DET (22%)
  • Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (14% to 20%)
  • Chad Green, RP, NYY (27% to 25%): Green has a 154 ERA+, 0.97 WHIP, and 12.1 K/9 since 2017. During that time, he has earned a sneaky 20 wins. And he always seems to end up in the top 100 in value at the end of the year.
  • Jonathan Loaisiga, RP, NYY (26% to 23%): He vultured a save this week while Aroldis Chapman rested. 
  • Stefan Crichton, RP, ARI (21% to 26%): He got one save this week and then gave up three runs in the eighth inning of a 0-0 game. Which leads us to…
  • Joakim Soria, RP, ARI (35% to 27%): Soria’s rostership continues to decrease as Crichton still has the closer role. Keep an eye on him to see if he claims the job.

20% OR UNDER

Jurickson Profar, 2B/OF, SDP (18% to 17%) 

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.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Willie Calhoun, OF, TEX (17% to 16%)
  • Austin Hays, OF, BAL (16% to 18%): Hays bats second for the Orioles every day and has a solid 5 HR and 0.787 OPS this year.
  • William Contreras, C, ATL (14% to 16%): He starts almost every day and had 2 HR this week.
  • Vidal Brujan, 2B, TBR (3% to 14%)
  • Luis Garcia, SP/RP, HOU (5% to 17%): 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 at least one more start at Oakland and has impressed in 35 IP with a 3.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 40 K. 
  • Adrian Houser, SP, MIL (11%)
  • Luis Patino, RP, TBR (13% to 14%)

10% OR UNDER

Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (7%)

Duran has 4 HR and 3 steals in just 12 AAA games so far. The 24 year old power/speed combo seems ready from my outsider perspective. Also, how much longer can the AL East leading Red Sox justify trotting out Franchy Cordero and his 24 wRC+? I am trying to will it into existence at the very least.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Corey Dickerson, OF, MIA (11% to 10%)
  • Willy Adames, SS, TBR (10% to 9%)
  • Josh Naylor, OF, CLE (3% to 5%)
  • 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.
  • Nick Maton, 2B/SS, PHI (3%)
  • Mike Tauchman, OF, SFG (3%)
  • Jeter Downs, SS, BOS (3%)

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