Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of May 16, 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 15

GRADUATED

  • Batters
    • Manuel Margot, OF, TBR (7% to 68%)
    • Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, CLE (11% to 61%)
    • Andres Gimenez, 2B/SS, CLE (36% to 54%)
    • Adley Rutschman, C, BAL (49% to 51%): Still not up but has a 130 wRC+ at AAA.
  • Starters
    • George Kirby, SP, SEA (20% to 64%)

50% OR UNDER

Kolten Wong, 2B, MIL (38% to 44%)

Brandon Marsh is a better player and, if he’s still available in your league, go get Marsh. But Wong had 2 HR and 4 SB this week. Batting leadoff everyday for the Brewers, he should be a great source of runs as well. Wong has raised his launch angle by six degrees and is hitting way fewer ground balls. Could he tap into more power or will it just result in more lazy fly balls? The two homers in back-to-back games are intriguing but he does only have one Barrel on the year. Regardless, the runs and stolen bases should have your attention.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA (43% to 50%): Last call for Marsh!
    • Juan Yepez, 1B/3B, STL (12% to 45%): In the pros, Yepez has a 193 wRC+ through 44 PA. 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 reverted a bit this year (11.8% BB rate last year to 5.4% this year), he kept on hitting (149 wRC+) for power (9 HR) in 93 PA at AAA. After barely walking his first week in the majors, he has his BB rate up to 9%. Yepez just gained OF eligibility in Yahoo, adding some more versatility to your roster.
    • Tommy Pham, OF, CIN (42% to 44%)
    • Harrison Bader, OF, STL (30% to 43%)
    • Mark Canha, OF, NYM (44% to 41%)
  • Starters
    • Alex Cobb, SP, SFG (44% to 47%): Last call for Cobb before he graduates from this article!
    • Jameson Taillon, SP, NYY (37% to 43%)
  • Relievers
    • Ryan Helsley, RP, STL (46% to 50%)
    • Michael King, RP, NYY (48% to 47%)
    • Anthony Bender, RP, MIA (50% to 45%)
    • Clay Holmes, RP, NYY (25% to 42%): Not the closer of course, but already has 4 W, 2 SV, and 7 HLD to go with his 0.73 WHIP. He’s this year’s Jonathan Loaisiga.
    • Jhoan Duran, SP/RP, MIN (29% to 41%)

40% OR UNDER

Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, COL (39%: returning)

After an abysmal April in which he had four hits and a 0.270 OPS, he has 17 hits (7 XBH) in just 11 games in May. His K rate has dropped over 10% in May as well. The 25 year old broke out last year with 15 HR and a 0.284 BA in 415 PA. He was ranked as high as #10 back in 2019 on MLB.com’s prospect lists before he graduated in 2020. As an added bonus, Rodgers’ next six games are at home in Colorado.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK (36% to 40%)
    • Luke Voit, 1B, SDP (40%: no change)
    • Yadiel Hernandez, OF, WAS (29% to 38%)
    • Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS/OF, BAL (24% to 37%)
    • Alejandro Kirk, C, TOR (27% to 36%): Danny Jansen is back, and Kirk is still getting starts.
    • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIA (30% to 33%)
  • Starters
    • Bailey Ober, SP, MIN (40%: new)
    • Josh Winder, SP, MIN (22% to 36%)
    • Michael Lorenzen, SP/RP, LAA (40% to 31%)

30% OR UNDER

Emilio Pagan, RP, MIN (18% to 29%)

Bender (45%) and Pagan appear to be the only clear cut closers rostered under 50% of leagues. Pagan has 3 SV over the past 10 days and five on the season. He has pitched a scoreless inning in three straight days and got a save today. His WHIP has finally dropped below 1.50, but he NEEDS to get the 7.71 BB/9 way down. The silver lining is that walks aren’t usually a problem for him. He has a career 6.9% BB rate and a career 1.05 WHIP.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Alek Thomas, OF, ARI (8% to 30%): Thomas has a 201 wRC+ in his first 20 PA in the majors. Fangraphs’ #24 prospect was 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.
    • Santiago Espinal, 2B/3B, TOR (21% to 22%)
    • Royce Lewis, SS, MIN (25% to 21%): Lewis has a 0.282 BA and 1 HR in his first 32 PA in the MLB. He 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 previously hovered around a 7% BB rate but raised that to 16% this year. He does project to have pop long term, just maybe not this year. Hopefully, the Twins keep Lewis up when Carlos Correa returns from the IL, 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.
  • Starters
    • Tyler Anderson, SP, LAD (31% to 30%)
    • Brad Keller, SP, KCR (31% to 30%)
  • Relievers
    • Paul Sewald, RP, SEA (26%: returning): Probably not the closer, but he did get his first save this week. His 0.47 WHIP and the strikeouts make him an option for people who don’t mind rostering non-closers.

20% OR UNDER

Reid Detmers, SP, LAA (20%: returning)

Coming off a no-hitter, Detmers’s rostership has jumped from 8% to 20%, but he’s still widely available. The lefty 22 year old has a 0.84 WHIP on the season. While his 0.174 BABIP won’t stick, he is getting great results on all three of his pitches: curveball (25 wRC+), slider (60), and changeup (18). He changes vertical and horizontal planes well to keep hitters guessing. The curious thing about Detmers so far is his meager 16.8% K rate. He had just 2 K in his no-hitter. That’s just not sustainable. 

His CStr% (Called Strike %) is 18%, good for 22nd in the MLB for pitchers with at least 30 IP. However, his 7.9 SwStr% needs to improve. The good news is he got whiffs on his pitches in the minors and majors last year. His K rates in AA and AAA last year were 43.1% and 34.4%. In the majors, his SwStr% on his curveball, slider, and changeup were 12.1%, 17.6%, and 16.1%, respectively. While the lack of whiffs is worrying, it’s also a little exciting he can have this type of success without them. Detmers is young but he’s a smart pitcher. What if he continues his development by upping his whiffs from here on out?

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (21% to 19%)
    • Josh Rojas, 2B/3B/SS/OF, ARI (20% to 19%)
    • MJ Melendez, C, KCR (20% to 18%)
    • Danny Jansen, C, TOR (18%: returning)
    • Ben Gamel, OF, PIT (2% to 15%)
    • Yandy Diaz, 1B/3B, TBR (18% to 13%)
  • Starters
    • Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL (19%: no change)
    • Dakota Hudson, SP, STL (25% to 17%)
    • Dane Dunning, SP, TEX (8% to 17%): Still could be a hold, but maybe bench him against the Angels.
  • Relievers
    • Brooks Raley, RP, TBR (6% to 19%)
    • Josh Staumont, RP, KC (19% to 13%): he’s close to being removed from these articles. He’s sharing saves with Scott Barlow, and it’s tough to hold a guy without elite ratios who is in a closer committee on a bad team.
    • Spencer Strider, RP, ATL (8% to 13%)

10% OR UNDER

LaMonte Wade Jr., 1B/OF, SFG (5% to 6%)

“Late Night” LaMonte made his season debut on May 6 after hurting his knee in spring training. To refresh your memory, Wade had 18 HR and 6 SB in just 336 AB last year. Since returning from the IL, he has batted leadoff in all but one start for the Giants. It’s early days, but Wade has almost doubled his BB% while striking out less so far this year. He should help you in runs, homers, and steals at the very least.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Ji-Man Choi, 1B, TBR (17% to 10%)
    • Daniel Vogelback, 1B, PIT (12% to 9%)
    • Triston Casas, 3B, BOS (7%: no change): Still not up.
    • Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (8% to 5%)
    • Diego Castillo, 2B/3B/SS, PIT (6% to 5%)
  • Starters
    • Jakob Junis, SP/RP, SFG (2% to 8%)
    • Jeffrey Springs, SP/RP, TBR (3%: new)
  • Relievers
    • Rowan Wick, RP, CHC (10%: new): Saved three games this week with Robertson out. This could be a short-term situation.
    • Hansel Robles, RP, BOS (7% to 5%)
    • Trevor Stephan, RP, CLE (4%: no change)

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