Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of June 7, 2021): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of June 6

GRADUATED

  • Luis Garcia, SP/RP, HOU (41% to 70%)
  • Bryan Reynolds, OF, PIT (49% to 61%)
  • Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (28% to 58%)
  • Casey Mize, SP, DET (50% to 57%)
  • Adbert Alzolay, SP, CHC (34% to 59%)
  • Tony Gonsolin, SP/RP, LAD (42% to 53%): Last call to grab Gonsolin! He gets the Pirates and Rangers in his first two starts of the season this week, and you could not ask for a better way to ease into his major league season.
  • Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL (39% to 53%)
  • Luis Severino, SP, NYY (48% to 52%)

50% OR UNDER

Shane McClanahan, SP, TBR (43% to 42%)

Despite a 3.1 IP, 4 ER stinker @NYY, McClanahan remains a pick-up/hold. He still had 6 K and a 30% CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) on the night. His CSW ranks 5th among starters with at least 30 IP behind Corbin Burnes, Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber, and Gerrit Cole. Expect better days ahead starting with his next scheduled start at home versus the middle-of-the-pack Nats offense.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • AJ Pollock, OF, LAD (45% to 47%): Pollock has played three games since returning from the IL. Pollock’s whole career has been riddled with injuries; he has not played more than 113 games since 2015! However, his 162 game average since 2017 is 32 HR. So as long as he stays healthy, plug him in.
  • Patrick Wisdom, 1B/3B, CHC (46%: new): Out of 21 batted balls, Wisdom has a 38.1% Barrel rate and 81% HardHit%. Incredible. Sure, try to ride this hot streak, but expect regression soon (0.500 BABIP, 36.1% K rate). Wisdom had 85 HR and an 0.808 OPS in 427 games in AAA so he can definitely mash but pitchers will ultimately be able to exploit his extreme K%.
  • CJ Cron, 1B, COL (50% to 43%): Speaking of 162 averages, Cron’s extrapolate to 33 HR, 90 RBI, and 0.805 OPS since 2018. Coors Field is a huge BABIP booster so Cron has a solid average floor (0.268 BA, 0.273 xBA).
  • Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS, MIN (45%: new): Rostering Polanco never feels sexy and he has appeared and disappeared from this list throughout the year. However, he holds a 0.857 OPS since May 1 and has 6 HR and 3 steals. His StatCast numbers suggest his results have been a tad unlucky. Polanco’s 0.351 xwOBA is 37 points higher than his actual wOBA. His 9.5% Barrel % is the best of his career.
  • Jonathan Villar, 2B/3B/SS, NYM (40% to 42%): I have emphasized Villar’s power/speed appeal and playing time the last two weeks. He has not started four straight games due to a tight hamstring, but was healthy enough to pinch hit and stay in the game for three at bats on Saturday. His rostership is still way too low.
  • Jonathan Schoop, 1B/2B, DET (42%: new): Schoop has 6 HR in his last 10 games, hitting 0.424 during that time. He has a 0.343 BA over his past 25 games. While Schoop can be streaky and his poor BB% limits his upside, his 115.3 Max EV (95th percentile) displays his excellent power.
  • Wade Miley, SP, CIN (49%: new): Did you know Miley has a 3.58 ERA (4.07 FIP) in 312 innings since 2018? Yes, it comes with a lackluster 7.0 K/9, but he remains a solid stream in certain situations and gets the Rockies in Cincinnati next.
  • Tejay Antone, RP, CIN (43% to 49%): Antone has a 0.71 WHIP and 41 K in 31 IP. His 25.8% CStr% (Called Strikes) and 38.5% CSW both lead the league among pitchers with at least 30 IP. 
  • Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL (47% to 48%)
  • Jake Diekman, RP, OAK (47%: no change)
  • JP Feyereisen, RP, TBR (47%: new)

40% OR UNDER

Omar Narvaez, C, MIL (38%: no change)

Narvaez has homered in back-to-back games so snatch him up before it is too late. The lefty batter, who has an 0.848 OPS in the 15 games since returning from the IL and a 0.916 OPS on the year, is simply one of the best offensive catchers in the MLB. His 49% Sweet Spot % leads the league, and his K rate (17.2%) has dropped from 31.0% last year. These factors combined mean his 0.317 average has not been overly lucky (0.294 xBA).

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Jurickson Profar, 2B/OF, SDP (41% to 36%): This, from last week’s remains applicable: “Profar’s limited overall upside must be emphasized. He helps you with steals and does often bat second for the Padres. However, expect below average power and batting average moving forward.”
  • Alex Cobb, SP, LAA (6% to 32%): While Cobb allowed five runs across seven innings against the Mariners, he only allowed four baserunners. A grand slam undid him in this one. Before that game, Cobb had allowed one run over his previous 17 innings. His FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and xERA are all 3.29 or lower, suggesting he may be one of the unluckiest pitchers in the league so far. He gets the Diamondbacks in Arizona next and can be streamed.
  • Daniel Bard, RP, COL (33% to 38%): Bard has upped his performance lately with six straight games with multiple strikeouts, eight straight games with no ER, and three saves during that time. Alexander Chase had a 10 tweet thread (see below) about what Bard does well (elite CSW/PA and K%) and not so well and points out he could be a trade target for a competitor this season.
  • Josh Staumont, RP, KCR (35%: returned from IL): Staumont is back from the IL and will likely regain the closer role.

30% OR UNDER

William Contreras, C, ATL (23% to 21%)

Contreras’s 53.8% Hard Hit rate is tied for 12th in the MLB among batters with 50 or more batted ball events. There is reason to believe he has been unlucky in his results despite a respectable 101 wRC+. According to StatCast, his xSLG on breaking balls and offspeed pitches are 137 and 254 points higher, respectively, than his actual SLG. His average launch angle has been creeping up lately as well. A breakout is close.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Garrett Cooper, 1B/OF, MIA (34% to 29%): Cooper’s per 162 game averages from 2019-2021 are a solid if unspectacular 22 HR, 76 R, 78 RBI, and a 0.275 BA.
  • Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, CWS (29% to 23%): Vaughn returned from a precautionary visit to the COVID IL on Saturday. Vaughn’s season has been underwhelming in some senses, but maybe that was to be expected after never playing above high A ball before this year. Still, I am not ready to quit him and his 87th percentile Hard Hit %. I think he will grow in comfort as the year goes on and the results will follow.
  • Willy Adames, SS, MIL (18% to 22%): Adames has improved in every offensive facet since coming to the Brewers, including raising his BB rate to 11.9% and lowering his K rate to a more respectable 28.8%. His Brls/PA ranks 29th among qualifying batters at 8.0%.
  • James Kaprielian, SP/RP, OAK (36% to 30%)
  • Chad Green, RP, NYY (26% to 27%) 
  • Jonathan Loaisiga, RP, NYY (24%: no change): He has 4 wins and 2 saves on the year. Since he goes multiple innings at times, he gets those chances to pick up decisions more often.
  • Hansel Robles, RP, MIN (22% to 23%): Robles currently shares the  Twins’ closer job with Taylor Rogers.

20% OR UNDER

Jonathan India, 2B/3B, CIN (13%: new)

India represents an example of the post-hype sleeper we should look to acquire in dynasty leagues. Not to say everyone had given up on him, but his prospect stock had dropped coming into the year as he had never hit above 0.800 OPS at any stop in the minors. However, looking at park- and league-adjusted wRC+, he never had a wRC+ worse than 114 since rookie ball.  That shows he played in pitcher-friendly leagues and emphasizes the importance of looking at wRC+ for minors stats.

India got a starting job to begin this season and after a blistering start slowed down and lost playing time. To start the year, his issue was power as he had just one homer in his first 92 PA. Since then, however, he has four homers to go along with a 0.997 OPS over his past 79 PA. His rolling xwOBA (per 50 PA; see below) indicates a young player becoming more comfortable hitting in the majors.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Hunter Dozier, 1B/3B/OF, KCR (19%: new)
  • Joshua Fuentes, 1B/3B, COL (18%: new)
  • Justin Upton, OF, LAA (14%: new)
  • Willi Castro, 2B/3B/SS, DET (12%: new)

10% OR UNDER

Luis Urias, 2B/3B/SS, MIL (7%: new)

With Keston Hiura optioned and Kolten Wong on the IL, Urias has the second base job to himself for the foreseeable future. He has also batted leadoff in three straight games. Urias, who just turned 24, had an underwhelming 0.320 career SLG in 422 PA before the year began. MLB.com’s former #23 prospect has 7 HR to start this year. His 11.1% barrel rate, 42.7% Hard Hit rate, and 12.2% BB rate are all career highs.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Willie Calhoun, OF, TEX (11% to 9%)
  • Jacob Stallings, C, PIT (8% to 7%)
  • Tyler Stephenson, C/1B, CIN (6% to 7%): Stephenson’s playing time will take a hit when Votto, who started his rehab assignment, returns. Still, he should split catching duties with Tucker Barnhart and give Votto a rest once or twice a week. He ranked in many Top 100 prospects lists to start the year and his calling card is his elite power potential. He raised his OPS 43 points this week.
  • Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, COL (7% to 5%)
  • JP Crawford, SS, SEA (4%: new)
  • Yonathan Daza, OF, COL (4%: new)
  • Josh Naylor, OF, CLE (4%: no change)
  • Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN (3% to 4%)

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