Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of June 13, 2022): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of June 12

GRADUATED

  • Batters
    • MJ Melendez, C, KCR (35% to 56%)
    • Santiago Espinal, 2B, TOR (23% to 51%)
  • Starters
    • Edward Cabrera, SP, MIA (43% to 61%)
    • Michael Wacha, SP/RP, BOS (33% to 54%)

50% OR UNDER

Tanner Houck, SP/RP, BOS (46%: returning)

Houck has the Red Sox’s last two saves and might just run with the closer role. Despite 32 wins, the Red Sox have only had 12 save opportunities. Seven different pitchers have combined for those 12 saves. The leader with three saves is Matt Strahm. The lefty Strahm also had two saves earlier this week and could close some games if some tough lefties are due up and Alex Cora thinks that’s the best probability of ensuring a win. Still, Houck has thrived as a reliever with a K-BB% nine points better than it was as a starter this year. Always pretty much a two-pitch pitcher, his elite slider will play better as a one inning guy. Expect the Red Sox to have more save opportunities than they have had so far and for Houck to get the lion’s share of those opportunities.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Manuel Margot, OF, TBR (50%: returning)
    • Connor Joe, 1B/OF, COL (49%: returning): About to return home to Coors Field for two series so it’s a good time to stream him.
    • Randal Grichuk, OF, COL (46%: new): Ditto for Grichuk, with maybe more potential of holding onto him long-term if his power starts taking off.
    • Tommy Pham, OF, CIN (33% to 42%)
    • Riley Greene, OF, DET (26% to 41%): Made his AAA debut after recovering from a foot injury and the big-time prospect could get called up sometime in June.
  • Starters
    • Lance McCullers, SP, HOU (49% to 50%): Could return in July.
    • George Kirby, SP, SEA (50%: returning)
    • Michael Lorenzen, SP/RP, LAA (45%: returning)
    • Dakota Hudson, SP, STL (13% to 45%)
    • Spencer Strider, RP, ATL (41% to 45%)
    • Josiah Gray, SP, WAS (42%: returning)
  • Relievers
    • Jhoan Duran, SP/RP, MIN (49%: returning): He’ll help you in strikeouts and ratios but he’s not the closer. He will get a save every once in a while, but it seems like Pagan’s job.
    • Tanner Rainey, RP, WAS (41% to 44%)

40% OR UNDER

Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, CLE (48% to 39%)

His rostership has dropped and I’m not too sure why. Sure, he had a 0.641 OPS in June coming into today, but that’s a pretty small sample size. On the year, he still has a wRC+ 28% above league average with 7 HR in just 137 AB. According to Pitcher List, Naylor’s K%, HC% (Hard Contact), xAVG, and xwOBA are all in the top 50 among qualifying batters. As a bonus, Naylor gets three games in Coors Field starting on Tuesday.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Josh Rojas, 2B/3B/SS/OF, ARI (46% to 39%)
    • Christian Walker, 1B, ARI (39% to 36%)
    • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (34%: returning)
    • Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK (30% to 33%): He is warming up and hit his second homer today. His slugging percentage has been lagging but he has contributed five steals
  • Starters
    • Roansy Contreras, SP, PIT (38% to 40%)
  • Relievers
    • Emilio Pagan, RP, MIN (42% to 40%)
    • Paul Sewald, RP, SEA (34% to 39%)
    • Diego Castillo, RP, SEA (36%: returning)

30% OR UNDER

Jake Burger, 3B, CHW (21%: new)

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t blown away by the options in this ‘30% or under’ so it was hard to pick a pickup of the week. But let’s go with the hot hand. Gavin Sheets was sent down so Burger should basically be in the lineup every day. Since being called back up on May 24, Burger has 6 HR in just 15 games. He’s not just hitting homers; he has five doubles and six multi-hit games. Burger’s 0.343 BABIP doesn’t seem too unsustainable and his 22% K rate would be very promising if he can keep it up. 

Burger’s Max EV and Barrel % are both in the top 10% in the MLB. It’s also worth noting the former 11th overall pick has never had a wRC+ below 112 at any minor or major league stop since being drafted. Sure, he won’t keep up these results and strikeouts could be an issue, but his eligibility at the second shallowest position (3B) means he should be rostered if you are looking for a power boost.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Brendan Donovan, 2B/SS/OF, STL (17% to 28%)
    • Gabriel Moreno, C, TOR (27%: new)
    • Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA (27%: new)
    • Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS/OF, BAL (32% to 26%)
    • Michael Harris II, OF, ATL (32% to 26%): I’m not prioritizing him in most formats, but he does have stolen base upside. 
    • Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, TEX (26%: new)
  • Starters
    • Jon Gray, SP, TEX (23% to 30%)
    • Marco Gonzales, SP, SEA (26% to 22%)
  • Relievers
    • Daniel Hudson, RP, LAD (20% to 30%): Hudson has the Dodgers’ last two saves since Kimbrel last saved a game on June 2 and now has five saves on the year. Kimbrel came off the paternity leave list this week but could see himself losing more save opportunities if he continues to be so hittable. The 0.356 BABIP will come down, but we’ve seen bad Kimbrel before in 2019 and 2020.

20% OR UNDER

Jon Berti, 2B/3B/OF, MIA (3% to 11%)

Berti has 7 SB in just 10 games in June. Enough said! He’s like Jorge Mateo with slightly better stats everywhere else. Berti’s multi-positional eligibility is an added bonus. When Joey Wendle (hamstring) comes back from the IL, Berti could lose some at bats but enjoy him for the time being and reassess whenever Wendle comes back.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Jonathan Villar, 2B/3B/SS, CHC (19%: returning)
    • Steven Kwan, OF, CLE (20% to 18%)
    • Alek Thomas, OF, ARI (21% to 17%)
    • Ezequiel Duran, 2B/SS, TEX (2% to 13%)
    • Bryson Stott, 2B/SS, PHI (13%: returning)
  • Starters
    • Nick Lodolo, SP, CIN (14%: returning): Lodolo is starting a rehab assignment. The starting pitcher is arguably a bigger prospect than Hunter Greene. Keep him on your radar.
  • Relievers
    • Colin Poche, RP, TBR (15% to 20%)
    • Tanner Scott, RP, MIA (14%: new): Scott has three saves over the past 10 days and seems to be locked in as the Marlins closer.

10% OR UNDER

Luis Garcia, 2B/SS, WAS (7%: new)

Garcia came into 2022 with a 0.680 career OPS in 370 AB across 2020 and 2021. What might have been missed by some people is that Garcia was 20 and 21 years old in those seasons. The Nationals started Garcia at AAA this year, and he had 8 HR and a 134 wRC+. He has a 140 wRC+ through 11 games in the majors so far with a 0.372 BA. The 0.417 BABIP will regress but don’t be surprised if this post-hype sleep is finally ready for The Show.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Tyrone Taylor, OF, MIL (27% to 10%)
    • Luis Gonzalez, OF, SFG (10% to 9%)
    • Jose Miranda, 1B/3B, MIN (8%: new)
    • Oscar Gonzalez, OF, CLE (8%: new)
    • Jack Suwinski, OF, PIT (6%: new)
  • Starters
    • Alex Faedo, SP/RP, DET (6% to 9%)
  • Relievers
    • Seranthony Dominguez, RP, PHI (10%: new)
    • Matt Strahm, RP, BOS (9%: new): Two saves earlier this week before Houck got the last two. It might be a matchup situation as Strahm is a lefty or it might be Houck’s job now.

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