Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of May 9, 2022): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of May 8

GRADUATED

  • Batters
    • Rowdy Tellez, 1B, MIL (6% to 68%)
    • Sheldon Neuse, 2B/3B, OAK (27% to 55%)
  • Starters
    • Corey Kluber, SP, TBR (50% to 61%)
    • Drew Rasmussen, SP/RP, TBR (25% to 53%)
    • Paul Blackburn, SP, OAK (47% to 53%)
    • Tony Gonsolin, SP, LAD (50% to 52%)
  • Relievers
    • Joe Barlow, RP, TEX (41% to 53%)

50% OR UNDER

Alex Cobb, SP, SFG (44%: new)

Cobb’s rostership is down due to missed time in April (“ack, my groin”) and a poor start on his return from the IL. But you should rush to pick him up if he is still available as you will be getting an elite source of strikeouts. Cobb has a 16% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) which is top 10 for starters with at least 15 IP. He also has some signs of bad luck such as a 0.400 BABIP and a 46.3% LOB% (league average tends to be around 72%). Cobb currently has a 2.31 SIERA and should be able to beat his 3.76 ERA from last year. You can start Cobb with confidence against COL in San Fran on Wednesday.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Adley Rutschman, C, BAL (49%: new): His inevitable debut is creeping closer. He has jumped from A+ to AA to AAA. 2019’s #1 overall pick could be a top 5 catcher instantly.
    • Mark Canha, OF, NYM (44%: no change)
    • Robbie Grossman, OF, DET (47% to 43%): 117th overall player in 2021
    • Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA (43%: returning)
  • Relievers
    • Anthony Bender, RP, MIA (43% to 50%)
    • Lou Trivino, RP, OAK (49%: new)
    • Michael King, RP, NYY (37% to 48%)
    • Ryan Helsley, RP, STL (7% to 46%)

40% OR UNDER

George Kirby, SP, SEA (31%: new)

Kirby jumped from AA to join the Mariners’ rotation and made his first career MLB start today (Sunday). In his debut, he commanded his pitches across six scoreless innings while striking out seven and allowing four singles and no walks. Kirby has a great fastball that averages 96 MPH and recorded 48% called strikes + whiffs (CSW) today. His secondary pitch was his slider (30% CSW), and he worked in a changeup and curveball as well. Unlike his recently demoted teammate Matt Brash, Kirby is known for his command and had a 5.4% BB rate at AA aiding him to a 0.89 WHIP. Brash, on the other hand, had double digit BB% at both minor league stops last year and a 17.9% BB rate in the majors this year. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Tommy Pham, OF, CIN (30% to 40%)
    • Luke Voit, 1B, SDP (40%: new)
    • Kolten Wong, 2B, MIL (39% to 38%)
    • Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK (28% to 37%): Leading off in his first game back from suspension, Laureano has a career 0.800 OPS and could be a four or five category contributor if things go right. Laureano’s best season so far was his 2019 campaign in which he had 24 HR, 13 SB, and a 0.288 BA. In his four year career, his per 162 games averages come out to 25 HR, 18 SB, and a 0.263 BA. The problem is he barely ever plays a full season.
    • Andres Gimenez, 2B/SS, CLE (7% to 37%)
    • Harrison Bader, OF, STL (20% to 31%)
    • Yadiel Hernandez, OF, WAS (31%: new)
  • Starters
    • Jameson Taillon, SP, NYY (38% to 37%)
    • Michael Lorenzen, SP/RP, LAA (21% to 33%)
    • Brad Keller, SP, KCR (27% to 31%)

30% OR UNDER

Royce Lewis, SS, MIN (24%: new)

2017’s #1 overall pick missed all of 2021 with an ACL tear but made it clear his development was not stunted by it with a 0.993 OPS and 8 SB in AAA this year. Lewis got the callup this week due to Carlos Correa’s finger injury (for which he hasn’t gone on the IL yet) and has started three straight games at SS. Lewis had previously hovered around a 7% BB rate but raised that to 16% this year. His power is still below average but he does project to have pop long term, just maybe not this year.

Hopefully, the Twins keep Lewis up when Correa is healthy enough to start again, but he would have to find a different position. Lewis has played SS exclusively in the minors this year but has played some OF in the past. If he is game ready to play LF, Nick Gordon (career 78 wRC+) certainly should not block his path.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIA (30%: returning)
    • Alejandro Kirk, C, TOR (28%: returning)
    • Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS/OF, BAL (27% to 24%)
    • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (21%: new)
    • Santiago Espinal, 2B/3B, TOR (22% to 21%)
    • Andrew McCutchen, OF, MIL (19% to 20%)
  • Starters
    • Tyler Anderson, SP, LAD (23% to 29%)
    • Adrian Houser, SP, MIL (28%: new)
    • Dakota Hudson, SP, STL (17% to 27%)
    • Josh Winder, SP, MIN (23%: new)
  • Relievers
    • Jhoan Duran, SP/RP, MIN (20% to 30%)
    • Clay Holmes, RP, NYY (26%: new): Not the closer of course, but already has 2 W, 2 SV, and 6 HLD to go with his 0.85 WHIP.

20% OR UNDER

Juan Yepez, 1B/3B, STL (12%: new)

The 24 year old was a bit of a “pop-up” prospect last year when he hit 27 HR in just 444 PA with a 154 wRC+ across AA and AAA. While his plate discipline has reverted a bit this year (11.8% BB rate last year to 5.4% this year), he’s kept on hitting (149 wRC+) for power (9 HR) in 93 PA at AAA. So far in the bigs, he’s gone 9-for-19 (0.474 BA) and popped his first homer today. He also walked for the first time in five games so that is definitely something he could improve upon. Of course, he’ll come back to Earth but should provide power and a good BA while batting fifth for the Cardinals. While he’s not a good fielder and has mostly DH’ed, he has played in the outfield twice and could add OF to his 1B and 3B eligibility.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • MJ Melendez, C, KCR (20%: new)
    • Josh Rojas, 2B/3B/SS/OF, ARI (20%: new)
    • Yandy Diaz, 1B/3B, TBR (18%: new)
    • Ji-Man Choi, 1B, TBR (17%: returning)
    • Manuel Margot, OF, TBR (13%: new)
    • Daniel Vogelback, 1B, PIT (12%: no change)
    • Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, CLE (8% to 11%)
  • Starters
    • Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL (19% to 18%): Will he and Rutschman make their debut soon on the same day? That would be pretty cool for the city of Baltimore.
  • Relievers
    • Josh Staumont, RP, KC (34% to 19%)
    • Emilio Pagan, RP, MIN (23% to 18%)
    • Lucas Sims, RP, CIN (25% to 16%)

10% OR UNDER

Alek Thomas, OF, ARI (8%: new)

Fangraphs’ #24 prospect has been good but not great at AAA this year (117 wRC+). However, his upside is a true five category contributor as soon as this year. In his last 130 MiLB games across 2021 and 2022, he had 22 HR and 16 SB. His 13.8% K rate at AAA this year makes it unlikely we’ll see Kelenic-esque whiff issues in the majors.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (8%: new)
    • Triston Casas, 3B, BOS (7%: new): Still in the minors, but Bobby Dalbec is struggling mightily and the Red Sox could use a boost.
    • Diego Castillo, 2B/3B/SS, PIT (9% to 6%)
    • LaMonte Wade Jr., 1B/OF, SFG (5%: new)
    • Ben Gamel, OF, PIT (3%: new)
  • Starters
    • Dane Dunning, SP, TEX (10%: new)
    • Nick Martinez, SP, SDP (5% to 7%)
    • Jakob Junis, SP/RP, SFG (5%: new)
  • Relievers
    • Spencer Strider, RP, ATL (7% to 8%)
    • Hansel Robles, RP, BOS (9% to 7%)
    • Brooks Raley, RP, TBR (4%: new)
    • Trevor Stephan, RP, CLE (4%: new)

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