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

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of July 5

GRADUATED

  • Keston Hiura, 1B/2B, MIL (36% to 64%)
  • Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL (50% to 51%)

50% OR UNDER

Logan Gilbert, SP, SEA (38% to 41%)

Gilbert, MLB.com’s 31st ranked prospect, was one of my pickups of the week at 6% rostership on April 26. He got called up shortly thereafter then “graduated” two weeks later when his rostership went over 50%. Gilbert did not last longer than four innings in his first three starts (7.59 ERA, 4.38 FIP). Since then, he has a 2.90 ERA (3.19 FIP), a 1.00 WHIP, and 34 K across 31 IP in six starts. The Yankees’ wOBA vs RHP is in the middle of the pack, though their lineup is more potent with Luke Voit back at 100%. I would not be too scared to start Gilbert against them unless you are conservative with your starts.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Omar Narvaez, C, MIL (48% to 49%)
  • Tyler Naquin, OF, CIN (47%: new)
  • Eloy Jimenez, OF, CWS (45% to 46%): Cleared to do baseball activities in mid-June, stash him on your IL if you have the spots available.
  • Willy Adames, SS, MIL (19% to 42%)
  • CJ Cron, 1B, COL (48% to 42%)
  • Ty France, 1B/2B/3B, SEA (42%: no change)
  • Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL (41%: no change): With 15 HR and 4 steals on the year, he ranks 98th on Yahoo’s player rater in 5×5. Garcia’s xwOBA (0.357) suggests his 0.329 wOBA might even be unlucky. He has a 7.8% Brls/PA which is 35th among qualified batters. While he does chase and whiff too much, his xBA is still in the 77th percentile. 
  • Tarik Skubal, SP, DET (45% to 50%): I would bench him at Minnesota, who have the 6th best wOBA against LHP in the MLB.
  • Shane McClanahan, SP, TBR (45% to 47%)
  • Daniel Bard, RP, COL (47% to 48%)

40% OR UNDER

Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF, MIN (31%: new)

Kirilloff, MLB.com’s #26 prospect (2019: #9), has just a 0.755 OPS but his StatCast numbers point to future success. His Brls/PA ranks 20th among batters with at least 100 BBE, and he is one of 13 players whose Sweet Spot % and HardHit% are both over 40% (min: 100 BBE). This profile shows why his expected stats are so promising. His xBA is 0.304, forty points higher than his actual batting average. His xSLG (0.574) is a whopping 123 points above his actual 0.451 SLG. Pick up Kirilloff now before his results catch up to his quality of contact.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA (39% to 38%): From last week’s article: Kelenic has not been called back up yet, but it could come soon. His first stint in the majors was terrible (8-for-83), but he has hit 5 HR in his last 12 games in AAA. His xwOBA (0.263) in the majors seems to show he wasn’t as bad as his results (0.178 wOBA). Still, Kelenic simply did not make great contact while he was up, alternatingly hitting the ball too high in the air or into the group (see image below). This is not bad luck per se but potentially means a player as talented as Kelenic is a tweak away from making more solid, consistent contact. While in the majors, Kelenic’s 12.5% Line Drive was well below league average around 21% and is due for positive regression. He could instantly be a five category contributor when he comes back up.
  • JD Davis, 3B/OF, NYM (36% to 37%)
  • Luis Urias, 2B/3B/SS, MIL (21% to 34%)
  • Akil Baddoo, OF, DET (18% to 31%): Since May 19, Baddoo has just one HR but a 0.320 BA and nine steals including five in his last seven games. 
  • Joe Ross, SP/RP, WAS (39%: new)
  • Drew Smyly, SP, ATL (37%: new): Smyly has a great matchup at Pittsburgh this week. Over his last four games, he has four wins and a 1.21 ERA (2.08 FIP).
  • Ross Stripling, SP/RP, TOR (47% to 33%): Stripling has a 2.35 ERA, 3.92 FIP, and 0.91 WHIP with 44 K over his last 46 IP.
  • Amir Garrett, RP, CIN (40%: new): He got the save on July 4th and has pitched much better than he did at the start of the year.
  • Jonathan Loaisiga, RP, NYY (34% to 35%)

30% OR UNDER

Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (27%: returning)

Duran’s exclusion from the USA Olympic team signified the Red Sox want to call him up some time in the next few weeks. When I wrote about Duran for these articles earlier this season, I mentioned he revamped his approach to tap into his raw power last year at the alternate site. That power has only improved this year. Duran, currently MLB.com’s 86th-ranked prospect, has 15 HR and 10 steals in just 41 games as he missed a few weeks for the USA Olympics qualifying tournament in May. He might swing and miss a little too much when he debuts but not to an extreme extent (23.5% K rate at AA this year). 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Brandon Nimmo, OF, NYM (21% to 30%): One of last week’s article’s pickups of the week has gone 7-for-18 since returning. 
  • Joey Votto, 1B, CIN (26%: no change)
  • Max Stassi, C, LAA (35% to 24%)
  • Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (25% to 22%)
  • Patrick Sandoval, SP, LAA (28% to 27%)
  • Chad Green, RP, NYY (27% to 28%) 
  • Hansel Robles, RP, MIN (29% to 27%): Robles currently shares the Twins’ closer job with Taylor Rogers.
  • Adam Ottavino, RP, BOS (24%: new): He has five saves in the last month and seven on the year. The Red Sox win so many games they have room for two closers, apparently.

20% OR UNDER

Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, COL (12% to 18%)

Last week, I said the ‘20% or Under’ section had a lot of intriguing names. They almost all moved up. 

Rodgers peaked at #10 on MLB.com’s prospect list in 2019 and has finally got a starting role and been allowed to run with it. He played SS while Trevor Story was on the IL and now plays 2B just about everyday since Story’s return. If and when Story gets traded, Rodgers’s playing time would be even more secure albeit in a weakened lineup. While Rodgers has not blown you away with his results, he did have a great June (0.927 OPS, 4 HR). The Rockies go on the road this week and I certainly like Rodgers more when he plays at home, but I could see Rodgers having a few good games which result in a rostership jump.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Jake Fraley, OF, SEA (15%: new)
  • Scott Barlow, RP, KCR (18%: new): He seems to have claimed the Royals closer spot.
  • Jose Cisnero, RP, DET (16%: new)

10% OR UNDER

Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN (3% to 4%)

Larnach has three two-hit games in his last four starts but his rostership has barely budged. MLB.com’s #80 prospect has actually outhit his more highly touted teammate Kirilloff in terms of results (0.791 OPS vs. 0.755 OPS). The 6’4”, 223 pounder has a Max EV in the 97th percentile, showing his elite power potential. While his 30.1% K rate could put a ceiling on his BA, fantasy teams searching for a power boost should look no further.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Jesus Sanchez, OF, MIA (12% to 8%)
  • Garrett Cooper, 1B/OF, MIA (6% to 7%)
  • Abraham Toro, 3B, HOU (12% to 6%)
  • Harold Ramirez, OF, CLE (4% to 5%)
  • Taylor Ward, OF, LAA (5% to 4%)
  • Alejandro Kirk, C, TOR (4%: no change): Kirk has dominated with a 1.166 OPS and 21.1% BB rate in his five games at AAA so far. He has a 0.868 OPS in 71 career PA in the majors. However, Danny Jansen was activated from the IL and Kirk, though healthy, will remain in AAA for now. So at this time Kirk is just a stash in deep leagues.
  • Tylor Megill, SP, NYM (2%: new)
  • Ranger Suarez, RP, PHI (6%: new): He got a save this weekend and the Phillies’ closer job is up for grabs.
  • Heath Hembree, RP, CIN (2%: new): Hembree got two saves for the Reds last week.

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