Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of May 23, 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 22

GRADUATED

  • Batters
    • Kolten Wong, 2B, MIL (43% to 64%)
    • Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, COL (36% to 58%)
    • Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA (48% to 56%)
  • Starters
    • Jameson Taillon, SP, NYY (42% to 57%)
  • Relievers
    • Clay Holmes, RP, NYY (41% to 56%)

50% OR UNDER

Harrison Bader, OF, STL (44% to 46%)

Currently ranked the 87th overall player on Yahoo, Bader has been in every one of my waiver wire articles since the beginning of this year, and I made him a “Pickup of the Week” when he was 25% rostered at the beginning of April. His 11 SB are one behind Julio Rodriguez for the MLB lead. Bader’s HardHit% is in the 6th percentile (very bad), but he has made the most of his power, averaging 17 HR per 162 games in his career. Stolen base guys like this need to be rostered in all leagues.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Juan Yepez, 1B/3B/OF, STL (45% to 50%)
    • Tommy Pham, OF, CIN (44% to 42%)
    • Mark Canha, OF, NYM (41%: no change)
  • Starters
    • Bailey Ober, SP, MIN (40% to 47%)
    • Alex Cobb, SP, SFG (47% to 45%)
    • Michael Lorenzen, SP/RP, LAA (32% to 41%)
  • Relievers
    • Michael King, RP, NYY (47% to 50%)
    • Ryan Helsley, RP, STL (50% to 49%)

40% OR UNDER

Alek Thomas, OF, ARI (29% to 35%)

Thomas has 3 HR and a 0.300 BA after 52 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. He hasn’t attempted a steal yet but his sprint speed is elite (94th percentile).

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Yadiel Hernandez, OF, WAS (37% to 40%)
    • Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS/OF, BAL (36% to 37%)
    • Mike Yastrzemski, OF, SFG (36%: new)
    • MJ Melendez, C, KCR (19% to 35%)
    • Wilmer Flores, 1B/2B/3B, SFG (35%: new): Batting in the middle of the order, he will contribute RBI. Because of the shallow 3B position, he’s rosterable in some leagues.
    • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIA (32% to 35%)
    • Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK (41% to 34%)
  • Starters
    • Michael Wacha, SP/RP, BOS (39%: new): While his 1.76 ERA might be an aberration, he gets CWS next, and they have actually been the 3rd worst team versus righties this year.
    • Hunter Greene, SP, CIN (39%: returning): At the beginning of the year, Greene was very fastball heavy in his approach. Lately, he has been throwing his slider slightly more than his fastball and it has made it harder for batters to sit on his fast but straight four seamer. He gets the Cubs next.
    • Tyler Anderson, SP, LAD (31% to 33%)
  • Relievers
    • Anthony Bender, RP, MIA (46% to 39%)
    • Jhoan Duran, SP/RP, MIN (41% to 38%)
    • Emilio Pagan, RP, MIN (28% to 37%)
    • Tanner Rainey, RP, WAS (32%: returning)

30% OR UNDER

Christian Walker, 1B, ARI (28%: new)

Walker was bad last year (87 wRC+), but was a solid fantasy contributor in 2019 and 2020 with 36 HR and an 0.815 OPS across 209 games. This year, he has 10 HR and while it comes with a 0.199 BA, his 0.277 xBA suggests that should rise. His 10.8% Barrel/PA is good for 8th in the MLB among qualifying batters. Lastly, he is showing better plate discipline. His Chase Rate has risen from the 46th to the 84th percentile. Mainly, he’s swinging less; his Swing% is down about 10 percent. But when he does swing, he’s making more contact as his Z-Contact% has jumped about 6 points to 88.4%. And despite being more patient, he’s managed to strike out less.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Jonathan Villar, 2B/3B/SS, CHC (28%: new)
    • Santiago Espinal, 2B/3B, TOR (21% to 27%)
    • Josh Rojas, 2B/3B/SS/OF, ARI (19% to 24%): Got hit in the hand today (Sunday) so hopefully he can avoid an IL stint. He hit 3 HR on Friday night.
    • Danny Jansen, C, TOR (13% to 23%)
    • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (19% to 23%)
  • Starters
    • Taijuan Walker, SP, NYM (24%: new)
    • Wade Miley, SP, CHC (23%: new)
    • Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL (19% to 22%)
    • Reid Detmers, SP, LAA (19% to 21%)
    • Adrian Houser, SP, MIL (21%: new): He gets San Diego next, and they’re not very scary at the moment.
  • Relievers
    • Paul Sewald, RP, SEA (26% to 29%).

20% OR UNDER

Brady Singer, SP, KCR (17%: new)

The Royals haven’t had the most success developing pitchers, but Singer hopes to be the exception. Since rejoining the Royals’ rotation, he’s had back-to-back seven inning scoreless performances. Mostly a sinker and slider pitcher, Singer is an extreme ground ball pitcher and has induced a 60.4% GB% so far in the majors. You shouldn’t expect him to be a big strikeout guy unless the changeup, his third pitch, develops. However, he should be able to keep his pitch counts down with good control and lots of contact, meaning he should get you quality starts. Start him in his rematch against the Twins, then maybe decide whether to keep him after that.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Kole Calhoun, OF, TEX (20%: new)
    • Tyler Naquin, OF, CIN (16%: new): Naquin had a good year in 2021 with an 0.809 OPS in 127 games. In May, he has 2 HR, 2 SB, and an 0.892 OPS.
    • Ben Gamel, OF, PIT (13% to 12%)
    • Brendan Donovan, 2B/SS, STL (12%: new)
    • Yandy Diaz, 1B/3B, TBR (13% to 12%)
  • Starters
    • Chase Silseth, SP, LAA (20%: new): The rookie gets the Blue Jays next so start him at your own risk.
    • Marco Gonzales, SP, SEA (18%: new): Not a strikeout pitcher, but a solid sub-4 ERA guy who gets Oakland next.
    • Dakota Hudson, SP, STL (18% to 15%)
    • Zach Eflin, SP, PHI (15%: returning)
    • Dane Dunning, SP, TEX (18% to 13%): He gets the Angels again next. Although he did just keep them at bay, he might not be so lucky next time.
    • Jeffrey Springs, SP/RP, TBR (2% to 12%)
  • Relievers
    • Brooks Raley, RP, TBR (19% to 16%)
    • Josh Staumont, RP, KC (13%: no change)
    • Spencer Strider, RP, ATL (13%: no change)

10% OR UNDER

Luis Gonzalez, OF, SFG (10%: new)

Gonzalez got sent down temporarily but last week’s “10% or Under Pickup of the Week” LaMonte Wade went to the IL again. Gonzalez has a 0.324 BA with 2 HR and 3 SB. In just 12 games at AAA this year, he hit 4 HR and stole four bags. While he wasn’t a household name as a prospect, the only time he’s had a wRC+ below 111 since rookie ball was a 96 at AA in 2019. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Ji-Man Choi, 1B, TBR (11% to 7%)
    • Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, PIT (8%: no change)
    • Triston Casas, 3B, BOS (7%: no change): Still not up.
    • Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARI (5% to 4%)
    • Willi Castro, 2B/SS/OF, DET (4%: new)
    • Diego Castillo, 2B/3B/SS/OF, PIT (5% to 4%)
  • Starters
    • Alex Faedo, SP/RP, DET (9%: new)
    • Jakob Junis, SP/RP, SFG (11% to 7%)
    • James Kaprielian, SP, OAK (7%: new)
  • Relievers
    • Hansel Robles, RP, BOS (6% to 8%)

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