Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of April 11, 2022): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%, and 5% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of April 10

50% OR UNDER

Akil Baddoo, OF, DET (44%)

Of the seventeen players ATC projects for at least 19 steals, only Baddoo is rostered in less than 50% of leagues on Yahoo. The 23 year old finished last year with 13 HR and 18 steals to go along with a 0.766 OPS in 124 games. Baddoo was a Rule 5 pick by the Tigers and had never played above high-A ball before last season. To have the sustained success he did in his first season is remarkable. The changes he made throughout the year also showed he is able to adjust and improve on the fly against the toughest pitching he had ever seen.

Baddoo was the talk of the MLB last April when he homered in his first two career games and in four of his first eight. However, he struck out 43.9% of the time and had just a 3.0% BB rate in April 2021. From May on, he struck out 23.9% of the time while upping his walk rate to 10.9%. Those final five months were also when he got 17 of his 18 steals, meaning he could eclipse 20-25 steals if he gets on base like he did in those five months. If Baddoo can approach 20 HR, he will be a steal for a player you might not have had to draft.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Patrick Wisdom, 1B/3B/OF, CHC (47%)
    • Jeff McNeil, 2B/OF, NYM (45%)
    • Tommy Pham, OF, CIN (43%)
  • Starters
    • Hunter Greene, SP, CIN (50%)
    • Corey Kluber, SP, TBR (50%)
    • Huascar Ynoa, SP, ATL (49%)
    • Tylor Megill, SP, NYM (47%)
    • Bailey Ober, SP, MIN (42%)
  • Relievers
    • Paul Sewald, RP, SEA (49%)
    • Anthony Bender, RP, MIA (49%)

40% OR UNDER

Kike Hernandez, 2B/OF, BOS (39%)

If I were the Red Sox manager, I would have Alex Verdugo lead off against righties and Hernandez lead off against lefties. Verdugo has a career 0.367 OBP vs RHP compared to Hernandez’s 0.294. Alas, Alex Cora is the manager and I am not, and Kike Hernandez is the Red Sox leadoff hitter every day. In 2021, Hernandez lead off just about every day and had 20 HR and 84 R. His heavy flyball approach seems to keep his BABIP and thus BA down (0.250 in 2021; 0.241 career), but no one would be surprised if he finished this year with 100 runs.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, TEX (40%)
    • Mike Zunino, C, TBR (39%): Don’t forget he hit 33 HR in just 333 AB last year.
    • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIA (38%)
    • CJ Abrams, SS, SDP (38%)
    • Jeremy Pena, SS, HOU (32%)
  • Starters
    • Matt Brash, SP, SEA (38%)
    • Jesus Luzardo, SP, MIA (33%)
    • Zach Eflin, SP, PHI (31%)
  • Relievers
    • Chad Green, RP, NYY (39%)
    • Drew Steckenrider, RP, SEA (33%)
    • Jonathan Loaisiga, RP, NYY (31%)

30% OR UNDER

Harrison Bader, OF, STL (25%)

Similar to Baddoo, Bader represents a widely available steals option who won’t be a zero for you in other categories. The 2021 Gold Glover might just be a healthy season away from being a top 100 pick next year. Bader has never surpassed 427 PA in his career, but some of that is due to being considered a fourth outfielder early in his career. If you combine Bader’s last two years, you get about a full season’s worth of games (153) with 20 HR, 12 SB, and a 0.784 OPS.

His 116 OPS+ over those two years means he’s already a good real-life hitter (16% above league average) and could be a great fantasy player. He also dropped his K% from 32% in 2020 to a career best 21%. From 2020 to 2021, his O-swing% dropped six points and his SwStr% dropped 4.5%, meaning he swung less at balls out of the zone and he swung and missed less in general. Elite defense to ensure a starting role? Check. Power/speed combo? Check. Improvements in contact skills? Check. Go get him.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Jeimer Candelario, 3B, DET (25%)
    • Diego Castillo, 2B/3B, PIT (23%)
    • Jesus Sanchez, OF, MIA (21%)
  • Starters
    • Nick Lodolo, SP, CIN (28%)
  • Relievers
    • Tony Santillan, RP, CIN (30%)
    • Diego Castillo, RP, SEA (25%)
    • Lucas Sims, RP, CIN (23%): Currently on the IL, Sims should start a rehab stint this week. He could be turned to for saves instead of Santillan and Art Warren. He had 7 SV and a scorching 39.0% K rate last year. 

20% OR UNDER

Steven Kwan, OF, CLE (11%)

Kwan has started his MLB career going 8-for-10. He was a dynasty and deep league target for many this offseason. He slashed 0.328/0.407/0.527 across AA and AAA last year and walked almost twice as much as he struck out. Fangraphs tagged him with an almost unheard of 70/80 hit tool and have him as the 58th best prospect going into 2022. While Kwan might not be above average in HR or steals, he should contribute an elite average right out of the shoot. He should be an absolute priority in points leagues where walks are valued and strikeouts are negative points.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Nicky Lopez, SS, KCR (20%)
    • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (18%)
    • Bryson Stott, SS, PHI (17%)
    • Seth Beer, Util, ARI (11%)
    • Connor Joe, 1B/OF, COL (11%)
  • Starters
    • Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL (16%)
    • Reid Detmers, SP, LAA (16%)
    • Kyle Wright, SP, ATL (16%)
  • Relievers
    • Daniel Bard, RP, COL (20%)
    • Spencer Strider, RP, ATL (14%)
    • Art Warren, RP, CIN (11%)
    • Tyler Duffey, RP, MIN (11%)

10% OR UNDER

Paul DeJong, SS, STL (7%)

DeJong was originally expected to platoon at SS with Edmundo Sosa, but he had a strong spring and has started all three of the Cardinals’ games so far. 2017’s NL Rookie of the Year runner-up had below average 2020 and 2021 seasons, but he did suffer from COVID-19 and a cracked rib, respectively, in those seasons. This offseason, DeJong worked with the popular hitting instructor Lorenzo Garmendia, whose past clients include JD Martinez, Francisco Lindor, Willy Adames, and Mookie Betts among others. DeJong’s elite defense will help him keep a hold of the starting shortstop job if he hits anywhere close to his 2017-2019 when he had a 162 game average of 31 HR.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Lorenzo Cain, OF, MIL (6%): If you’re reading this deep in the article, you might be in a really deep league. Cain hit 8 HR and had 13 SB in just 78 games last year. There just are not many 20/20 threats rostered in just 6% of leagues.

5% OR UNDER

Tanner Rainey, RP, WAS (4%)

He picked up his first save today while Kyle Finnegan worked the 8th inning. Rainey went from a 0.74 WHIP in the shortened 2020 season to a 1.71 WHIP last year as he battled injuries and command issues. However, Nationals manager Dave Martinez singled out Rainey during spring training as a potential closer. “I’m going to be honest with you, I would love for Rainey to take that role if he’s ready,” Martinez said, “…[H]e’s got to pound the strike zone and he’s got to stay healthy.” So far, so good. After his putrid 16.6% BB rate last year, he has yet to walk a batter in two innings in 2022.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Danny Jansen, C, TOR (5%): If you punted catcher or are in a two catcher league, don’t sleep on Jansen. He had 11 HR in just 184 AB last year (0.772 OPS) and has two homers in two games this season.
    • Yoshi Tsutsugo, 1B/OF, PIT (4%)
    • Ha-seong Kim, 2B/3B/SS, SDP (4%)
    • Rowdy Tellez, 1B, MIL (4%)
    • Brad Miller, 1B/2B/OF, TEX (3%): I won’t overreact about Miller’s hot start (4-for-8, 2 HR, 5 RBI), but he should start against most righties while offering power and position flexibility.
  • Starters
    • Nick Martinez, SP, SDP (4%): Martinez has a tough matchup in San Francisco for his first start in the majors since 2017. But keep an eye on the 31 year old who had a 1.62 ERA in Japan last year.

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