Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of July 26, 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 25

GRADUATED

  • Batters
    • Luis Urias, 2B/3B/SS, MIL (42% to 53%)
    • Ty France, 1B/2B/3B, SEA (41% to 53%)
    • Akil Baddoo, OF, DET (33% to 51%)
  • Relievers
    • Daniel Bard, RP, COL (50% to 52%)
    • Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL (50% to 51%)

50% OR UNDER

Jameson Taillon, SP, NYY (44%: returning)

On June 12 against the Phillies, Taillon managed to retire just one batter while allowing five hits and 4 ER. Since then, he has a 2.59 ERA (4.43 FIP) across seven starts. He allowed more than 2 ER in just one of those starts. Taillon, who traditionally gets hit harder by lefties, has a promising 0.249 wOBA against LHB during that time. Taillon’s next two starts line up against subpar offenses: the Marlins and Orioles.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (49%: returning)
    • Eric Haase, C/OF, DET (47%: new)
    • Max Kepler, OF, MIN (46%: new)
    • Robbie Grossman, OF, DET (37% to 45%)
  • Starters
    • Shane McClanahan, SP, TBR (43% to 48%)
    • Jon Gray, SP, COL (32% to 45%)
    • Jake Odorizzi, SP, HOU (44%: new)
  • Relievers
    • Ranger Suarez, RP, PHI (49% to 48%)
    • Heath Hembree, RP, CIN (21% to 46%)
    • Gregory Soto, RP, DET (46%: returning)

40% OR UNDER

Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, CWS (37%: returning)

It makes sense that it took some time for the 23 year old to break out considering he had not played above High-A ball before this year. Since June 28 (pardon the cherry-picked start date), MLB.com’s #17 prospect has 5 HR, a 0.356 BA, and a 1.024 OPS. His 50.5% HardHit% ranks among the top 11% in the league. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • CJ Cron, 1B, COL (35% to 36%): THE BAT X projects 13 home runs for him from here on out. If he gets traded, the projections drop but roster him until that happens.
    • Jed Lowrie, 2B, OAK (17% to 32%)
    • Joey Votto, 1B, CIN (36% to 34%): Please check out what I wrote about Votto in my Fantasy Baseball trade target article earlier this week.
    • Kolten Wong, 2B, MIL (28% to 32%)
    • Justin Upton, OF, LAA (37% to 31%): Upton, activated from the IL this week, has an impressive StatCast page. His 116.5 MPH Max EV ranks among the top 2% in the MLB. His HardHit%, Barrel %, and BB% are all 80th percentile or better.
  • Starters
    • Zach Thompson, SP/RP, MIA (40% to 34%)
    • Patrick Sandoval, SP, LAA (27% to 31%): Sandoval came two outs from a no-hitter on Saturday night.
  • Relievers
    • Chad Green, RP, NYY (45% to 39%) 
    • Andrew Kittredge, SP/RP, TBR (31% to 36%): Kittredge ranks 77th overall in Yahoo standard 5×5. He has six wins, two saves, and a 0.87 WHIP.
    • Joakim Soria, RP, ARI (22% to 32%)

30% OR UNDER

Daulton Varsho, C/OF, ARI (26%: new)

Varsho, named after Phillies legend Darren Daulton, has finally been given a run of starts for the Diamondbacks. He has started nine of the last eleven games for Arizona. He has 4 HR and a 1.229 OPS during that time. Carson Kelly remains on the IL and Stephen Vogt got traded, giving Varsho the starting catcher role for now. While Kelly started a rehab assignment, Varsho can play the outfield and should stay in the lineup from here on out. Varsho ranks as the 76th prospect according to MLB.com and has a career 0.899 OPS in the minors.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Paul DeJong, SS, STL (29%: new)
    • Max Stassi, C, LAA (26% to 24%)
    • Josh Harrison, 2B/3B/OF, WAS (11% to 23%)
    • Cesar Hernandez, 2B, CLE (23%: new)
  • Starters
    • Alex Cobb, SP, LAA (22% to 30%)
    • Josiah Gray, SP, LAD (2% to 28%)
    • Merrill Kelly, SP, ARI (20% to 27%)
    • Tylor Megill, SP, NYM (23% to 24%)
    • Tanner Houck, SP, BOS (7% to 22%)
  • Relievers
    • Paul Sewald, RP, SEA (17% to 26%)
    • Hansel Robles, RP, MIN (23% to 26%)
    • Greg Holland, RP, KCR (25%: returning)

20% OR UNDER

Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (18%: returning)

Smith has hit the ball hard all season (69th percentile HardHit%) but has struggled to turn it into power (30th percentile Barrel %). However, he has hit four home runs in July and has a 0.899 OPS for the month. Looking at his rolling GB% and FB% chart, a clear shift in the launch angle of his batted balls stands out.

On the chart above, Smith’s rolling ground ball rate starts to drop from around 56% to 40%. Conversely, his fly ball rate has gone from 14% to 37%. His average launch angle has crept up, allowing his raw power to translate into results. If Smith continues to hit like this, he will hit first or second in the batting order more frequently and rack up runs.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Tyler Stephenson, C/1B, CIN (19%: returning)
    • Brian Anderson, 3B/OF, MIA (12% to 11%)
  • Starters
    • Kyle Muller, SP, ATL (19%: new)

10% OR UNDER

Harrison Bader, OF, STL (10%: new)

Bader has been on fire since returning from the injured list on July 1. He has 4 HR, two steals, and a 1.030 OPS for the month. While he needs to keep his strikeouts below his career 27.5% rate to truly break out, he could contribute a Robbie Grossman-esque line–maybe 15 home runs plus steals–the rest of the way.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, COL (16% to 10%)
    • Elias Diaz, C, COL (8%: returning)
    • Alejandro Kirk, C, TOR (5%: returning)
    • Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT (4%: new)
    • Harold Ramirez, OF, CLE (4% to 3%)
    • Brent Rooker, OF, MIN (0%: new)

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