Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of May 24, 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 23


  • Ian Happ, 2B/3B/OF, CHC (49% to 70%)
  • Gavin Lux, 2B, LAD (46% to 62%)
  • Tyler Rogers, RP, SFG (32% to 60%)
  • CJ Cron, 1B, COL (50% to 54%)
  • Robbie Grossman, OF, DET (49% to 53%)


Alek Manoah, SP, TOR (43%)

One of the most exciting pitching prospects in the MLB will make his debut @NYY on Wednesday. The 6’6” thicc fella struck out 27 and allowed just one run in 18 IP (three starts). The innings are exciting too in an era where starters often come up and pitch three or four innings at first. He has two fastballs, a great slider, and a good changeup. Reasons for concern include a tough debut at Yankee Stadium and his home games in hitter-friendly Dunedin for the time being. You should definitely add him and tune in to his debut though.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Alex Kirilloff, OF, MIN (49%)
  • JD Davis, 3B/OF, NYM (47%): He started a rehab assignment and should be activated soon.
  • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (44% to 46%)
  • Omar Narvaez, C, MIL (41% to 46%)
  • Bryan Reynolds, OF, PIT (42% to 45%)
  • Keston Hiura, 1B/2B, MIL (45%): Hiura got the call up after hitting 0.438 with 3 HR and 2 SB in just nine games. However, he still struck out 34.2% so beware.
  • Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF, BAL (41%)
  • Framber Valdez, SP, HOU (48% to 49%): Valdez has allowed one earned run but has a 1.57 WHIP through seven AAA rehab innings (two starts). The most important thing is his health and building up his strength and stamina. 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).
  • Brady Singer, SP, KCR (45% to 47%): The former 18th overall pick and #54 prospect on MLB.com has a solid 4.03 ERA (4.19 SIERA) through 109.1 major league innings. He gets the Rays next who have the fourth best wOBA vs RHP a quarter of the way through the year. Monitor Singer but don’t feel the need to stream him in that one.
  • JT Brubaker, SP, PIT (48%): While he has had two straight stinkers, Brubaker should get the Rockies and Marlins at home for his next two starts and should be considered a streaming target.
  • Jon Gray, SP, COL (47%): He has been better at home than on the road but gets a solid matchup at Pittsburgh this week.
  • Rich Hill, SP, TBR (47%)
  • Yusei Kikuchi, SP, SEA (47%)
  • Casey Mize, SP, DET (42%): Your buy low period for Mize in dynasty has probably closed. Mize now has his ERA down to 3.25 for the year, including a 1.97 ERA over his last five starts. Reasons to be cautious include a poor 6.84 K/9 contributing to a 4.47 xFIP.
  • Jameson Taillon, SP, NYY (41%): Taillon has been a headache and that could continue. However, he did put it together for five scoreless innings against the White Sox today (Sunday). I wrote in previous weeks that K rate around 30% and BB rate around 6% portend future success. His proneness to homers is a tricky one because he has suppressed them throughout his career. However, he now relies on a four seamer more than a sinker. Also, he plays his home games in homer friendly Yankee Stadium. Pick him up to stream at Detroit then go from there.
  • Jordan Romano, RP, TOR (50% to 48%): Still just one saves (argh) but if Dolis continues to struggle, he should get more save chances.
  • Josh Staumont, RP, KCR (41% to 48%)
  • Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL (45%)
  • Michael Fulmer, SP/RP, DET (42%): He blew a save Sunday but now has 4 saves in the last three weeks for the Tigers and should keep the closer job for now. Failed starters sometimes make the best relievers.
  • Tejay Antone, RP, CIN (37% to 41%): Antone has a 0.73 WHIP, a 0.108 BAA, and 31 K in 23.1 IP.


Jonathan Villar, 2B/3B/SS, NYM (37%)

I have neglected Villar in these articles up to now, but he starts every day for the Mets and has led off the last four games. The Mets have an injury crisis with Davis, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Kevin Pillar out. Wow! While Villar probably will probably not hit much better than a 0.700 OPS, we play fantasy baseball not real baseball. Villar had 24 HR and 40 steals in 2019. That same power/speed combo could benefit you again given his current playing time situation. His three-position eligibility only adds to his value.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, SFG (44% to 33%): 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. 
  • Josh Fuentes, 1B/3B, COL (32%): Even with CJ Cron’s return from the IL, Fuentes has started nine of the Rockies’ last ten games while mostly manning third base. Over his last eight games, he has 2 HR, 14 RBI, and a 0.438 AVG.
  • Tony Gonsolin, SP/RP, LAD (41% to 39%): 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 threw three scoreless innings during a rehab game at AAA on Sunday. Once he comes back and builds his pitch count up, he should be relied on fairly heavily. The Dodgers do not have the same depth they have had in previous years.
  • Kwang Hyun Kim, SP, STL (42% to 34%): 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.
  • Shane McClanahan, SP, TBR (32% to 34%): He pitched five innings of one run ball on Saturday against a scary Blue Jays lineup in the bandbox stadium in Dunedin. He should be rostered in most leagues.
  • Daniel Bard, RP, COL (31%): His 1.83 WHIP ain’t pretty but there are team-specific situations where you will do ANYTHING for saves. He still has the closer role for the Rockies.


William Contreras, C, ATL (16% to 24%)

He starts almost every day with Travis d’Arnaud on the 60-day IL and has 4 HR in 62 PA this year. He already has seven barrels and 18 hard hit balls (>95 MPH), and his Max EV (111.7 MPH) ranks in the 83rd percentile. His brother Willson thinks William is better than him, and the 23 year old deserves your attention right away. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, CWS (37% to 29%): My prediction he would “graduate” from this article certainly did not come true. Still, MLB.com’s #14 prospect has homered in two straight games and walks over 10% of the time.
  • Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL (26% to 27%): 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.
  • Jeimer Candelario, 1B/3B, DET (27%): 
  • Tyler O’Neill, OF, STL (34% to 26%): Currently on the IL with a fractured finger, he has already started swinging a bat. Scoop him up soon, especially if your team is solid and you can afford to wait a little.
  • Lorenzo Cain, OF, MIL (30% to 29%)
  • Tyler Anderson, SP, PIT (31% to 25%): Anderson got roughed up big time, his second straight bad outing. Don’t give up on him completely but consider him more of a stream in favorable matchups going forward. He gets the Cubs next in Pittsburgh so he can be streamed, but I would not blame you for sitting that one out.
  • Logan Gilbert, SP, SEA (25%): Be patient with Gilbert who, like Manoah and McClanahan, represents one of the most exciting pitching prospects in the MLB although the results have not been pretty so far.
  • Chad Green, RP, NYY (26% to 25%): Green has a 154 ERA+, 0.96 WHIP, and 11.9 K/9 since 2017. During that time, he has earned a sneaky 20 wins. 
  • Jonathan Loaisiga, RP, NYY (26% to 23%): He has 3 wins and 2 saves on the year. Since he goes multiple innings at times, he gets those chances to pick up decisions more often.
  • Stefan Crichton, RP, ARI (26% to 21%): The Diamondbacks keep losing and losing although they did finally get Ketel Marte back this week. Despite being the closer all year, Crichton has just 4 saves and has burdened you with a 5.54 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. He is hanging on in this article by a thread.
  • Joakim Soria, RP, ARI (27% to 23%): Crichton’s teammate has a similar stat line (5.40 ERA, 2.10 WHIP) but has a very solid track record of late inning dependability. I still feel the Arizona closing role is eventually his job.


Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (20% to 16%)

Smith ranks 10th in the league (Min: 100 PA) in HardHit/PA (see chart below), a statistic coined by Alexander Chase (@chase_rate on Twitter). However, his 49% GB rate is not optimal. Still, he continues to hit leadoff for the Diamondbacks and should provide runs as long as he hits the ball this hard.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Austin Hays, OF, BAL (16% to 20%): Hays bats second for the Orioles every day and has a solid 5 HR and 13 XBH this year.
  • Wilson Ramos, C, DET (22% to 18%)
  • Jurickson Profar, 2B/OF, SDP (18% to 17%): Profar has 6 steals but just one homer. He has yet to hit a barrel this year. It is possible that as a batter who already did not hit the ball hard consistently, he has been negatively affected by the new ball.
  • Vidal Brujan, 2B, TBR (14% to 17%): Willy Adames got traded to the Brewers, but alas Taylor Walls not Brujan (or Wander Franco) got the call up.
  • Willie Calhoun, OF, TEX (17% to 16%): Calhoun ranks 20th in the league (Min: 100 PA) in HardHit/PA.
  • Zach McKinstry, OF, LAD (16%): McKinstry should be activated soon as he currently rehabs in AAA. Remember, he will soon get 2B as he has played seven games there so far this year.
  • Luis Garcia, SP/RP, HOU (17% to 21%): The Astros pitching factory continues to churn guys out. Jake Odorizzi, Framber Valdez, and Jose Urquidy could all come back by the beginning of June, but Garcia (minors career: 2.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 12.5 K/9) should get at least one more start hosting the Dodgers. He has impressed in 40 IP with a 3.38 ERA, 3.75 SIERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 47 K. 


Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (7% to 8%)

Let’s run it back and try to will this into existence once again! Duran has 7 HR and 4 steals in just 18 AAA games so far. The 24 year old power/speed combo would instantly become the second best outfielder for the Red Sox. They are in three-horse race for the AL East and could use all the help they could get.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Jacob Stallings, C, PIT (10%)
  • Corey Dickerson, OF, MIA (10% to 9%)
  • Willy Adames, SS, MIL (10% to 9%)
  • Michael A Taylor, OF, KCR (9%)
  • Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, COL (7%): Rodgers made his 2021 debut on Friday, May 21. This likely spells decreased playing time for the aforementioned Fuentes as Ryan McMahon will play more third base. While Rodgers has just a 0.476 OPS in 104 career AB, he also has never gotten an extended chance to show what he can do. He holds a  0.858 career OPS in the minors and peaked as high as #10 on MLB’s top prospect list. And oh yeah, he plays his home games at Coors Field. Now is the time to pounce.
  • Harrison Bader, OF, STL (7%)
  • Josh Naylor, OF, CLE (5% to 6%)
  • Matt Beaty, 1B/3B/OF, LAD (6%)
  • Tyler Stephenson, C, CIN (5%)
  • Jose Iglesias, SS, LAA (5%)
  • Taylor Walls, SS, TBR (5%)
  • Brad Miller, 2B/3B/OF, PHI (3%)
  • Garrett Cooper, 1B/OF, MIA (2% to 3%): Cooper hit 21 HR with a 0.281 AVG and an 0.806 OPS in 554 PA across 2019 and 2020. He finally woke up this week going 9-for-25 with 2 HR and 12 R+RBI over his last seven games.
  • Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN (3%)
  • Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, SFG (2%): Ruf has a 0.903 OPS in 192 PA over the past two seasons since returning from the KBO. Encouragingly, he has hit righties well in both seasons albeit a small sample. For his career, he has a 0.929 OPS vs LHP and just a 0.670 OPS vs RHP. He has started seven of the last nine games for the Giants, mostly batting in the top half of the lineup. Don’t expect him to continue hitting righties this well, but he deserves consideration in deep, daily leagues.
  • Mike Tauchman, OF, SFG (3% to 2%)
  • Josh Reddick, OF, ARI (0%): This is a DEEP league move but Reddick has started all four games since his contract was purchased from AAA.

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