Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups of the Week (Week of July 25, 2022): Best Players Available Under 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10% on Yahoo

by Mickey Bell

*Stats and Roster % as of the morning of July 24

GRADUATED

  • Batters
    • Leody Tavares, OF, TEX (37% to 60%)
  • Starters
    • Johnny Cueto, SP, CHW (42% to 51%)

Please check out last week’s article here if you missed it.

50% OR UNDER

Nico Hoerner, 2B/SS, CHC (40% to 48%)

Sometimes you miss out on players in fantasy, and I have definitely missed out on Hoerner this year. If you are lucky enough to be in the 52% of Yahoo leagues where he is still available, jump on the opportunity. The reason I missed out on Hoerner was because I thought his current ceiling was an empty 0.300 hitter with not much else. After all, he hit 0 HR across 92 major league games in 2020 and 2021. 

But this year, along with a 0.303 BA, Hoerner has added 6 HR and 10 SB. Over the past 30 days, he is the 38th best player in 5×5 roto with 3 HR, 4 SB, and a 0.347 BA. While his Barrel rate is still a miniscule 3.1%, he has raised his launch angle and is pulling the ball more, leading to some homers over the shallow part of left field. Pitcher List tracks a stat with a fun name, IPA% (Ideal Plate Appearance %: Barrel + Solid + Fl&B / Total PA), and Hoerner ranks 24th in the league.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, TEX (50%: returning)
    • Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK (45% to 50%): For what it’s worth, 10 HR and 9 SB in 66 games extrapolates to a 25 HR, 22 SB pace in 162 games. 
    • Christian Walker, 1B, ARI (49%: no change): Should a guy projected for 38 HR really be on the waiver wire?
    • Harrison Bader, OF, STL (47%: no change): The breakout player was hoping to get activated for tomorrow’s games in Toronto but felt added soreness after his rehab game. Hopefully, he returns this week.
    • Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, CLE (36% to 46%): According to PitcherList, he STILL ranks 22nd or better in SLG, xAVG, and xwOBA among all qualifying batters. His HC% (Hard Contact %: Hard Hit/PA) is 39th among qualifiers. ROSTER HIM!
    • Ramon Urias, 2B/3B/SS, BAL (8% to 45%): He hit another homer Saturday. Urias’s 35.4% HC% ranks 12th in the MLB, putting him next to elite batters like Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper. Camden Yards’ new dimensions might cap his power, but he should be rostered for his eligibility at 3B alone.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, BAL (43% to 45%)
    • Riley Greene, OF, DET (44%: returning)
  • Starters
    • Ross Stripling, SP/RP, TOR (38% to 42%)
  • Relievers
    • Jhoan Duran, SP/RP, MIN (46% to 49%)
    • Seranthony Dominguez, RP, PHI (43% to 45%)

40% OR UNDER

Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA (31%: returning)

Lewis has only played 118 major league games across four seasons but has never had a wRC+ worse than 107 in any season. In fact, in those 118 games, he is 22% better than league average (122 wRC+) with 24 HR, 7 SB, and a 0.256 BA. Take these 162 games averages with a grain of salt, but that’s a 33 HR and 10 SB pace. His career Barrel % (14.1) and Sweet Spot % (39.7%; League average: 32.6%) back up the numbers. Grab Lewis and hope he stays healthy for once!

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • MJ Melendez, C/OF, KCR (41% to 40%)
    • Andrew McCutchen, OF, MIL (32% to 38%)
    • Joey Votto, 1B, CIN (38% to 37%)
    • Isaac Paredes, 1B/2B/3B, TBR (50% to 36%)
    • Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF, MIN (36%: new): The issue here is he’s more valuable in points leagues than roto. He’s hitting 0.321 over the past 30 days but has just 3 HR and 0 SB on the year. Unless he’s an elite average guy, the roto value is limited.
    • Kolten Wong, 2B, MIL (34%: no change)
  • Starters
    • Jesus Luzardo, SP, MIA (38% to 40%): Watch list or IL-stash him if you can. He should make a rehab start this week.
    • Alex Cobb, SP, SFG (35%: returning): 2.20 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in six starts since an IL stint. Strangely, the Ks have evaporated (5.79 K/9). He gets the Dodgers today, which I would bench him for. 
    • Jake Odorizzi, SP, HOU (38% to 35%)
    • George Kirby, SP, SEA (31% to 33%)
  • Relievers
    • Brett Martin, RP, TEX (38% to 39%)
    • Lou Trivino, RP, OAK (30% to 32%)
    • Dany Jimenez, RP, OAK (30% to 31%)

30% OR UNDER

Braxton Garrett, SP, MIA (6% to 24%)

The soon to be 25 year old lefty has a 3.42 ERA (3.50 SIERA) and 1.14 WHIP with almost a strikeout per inning in 47.1 IP. In four starts in July, Garrett has a 0.64 WHIP with a 22% K-BB rate, 21st in the MLB during that span. Garrett’s slider has a 22.2% SwStr% and a 44.7% O-Swing. Overall, his Chase Rate is in the top three percent in the league according to StatCast. 

According to Nicklaus Gaut of Fangraphs, all his pitches have seen velo and movement bumps this year and he has honed in his new sinker to get lots of ground balls (54.5%) and make his vertical and horizontal plane of attack more unpredictable. Garrett’s BB rate also ranks among the top 20% in the league.

To pour a little cold water on the hype train’s steam engine (and to butcher metaphors), Garrett did just dominate the Pirates, one of the worst teams versus lefties, in back to back games. Still, he gets the Reds next (95 wRC+ vs LHP) and he’s worth a speculative pickup to see if he can keep up the dominance. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS/OF, BAL (25% to 30%): Mateo has been the 54th best player over the past 30 days with 3 HR, 6 SB, and a respectable 0.246 BA.
    • Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, SFG (29% to 30%): Belt’s Barrel % and BB% both rank in the top 10% in 2022. When healthy, he is a beast. In 148 games combined in 2020 and 2021, he hit 39 HR with 179 R+RBI, a 0.285 BA, and a 0.988 OPS. 
    • Nolan Jones, 3B, CLE (32% to 27%): The Legend from Bucks County, PA has a 147 wRC+ and a 0.409 OBP through 13 career MLB games.
    • Steven Kwan, OF, CLE (22%: returning)
    • Aaron Hicks, OF, NYY (17% to 22%)
  • Starters
    • Cole Irvin, SP, OAK (24%: new)
    • Jakob Junis, SP/RP, SFG (22% to 21%)
    • Brady Singer, SP, KCR (19% to 21%)
  • Relievers
    • John Schreiber, RP, BOS (32% to 30%)
    • Jason Adam, RP, TBR (25% to 30%)
    • Diego Castillo, RP, SEA (23% to 26%)
    • Colin Poche, RP, TBR (20% to 21%)

20% OR UNDER

Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, KCR (21% to 20%)

Albeit in a small sample size and with subpar results so far, Pasquantino is making consistent hard contact and it should ultimately show itself in the stat line. Despite a 630 OPS through 95 PA, Pasquantino is second in the league in HC% (amount of balls hit >95MPH / plate appearances) to Yordan Alvarez. Alvarez’s HC% is 41.5% and Pasquantino’s is 40%. While this might go down as the sample size grows, he should still be well above average in this stat and start to see better results.

Along with hitting the ball consistently hard, The man nicknamed the Italian Breakfast limits his strikeouts and in fact walked more than he struck out at AAA this year. Currently, he has a 10.5% BB rate with a 16.8% K rate. This type of plate discipline is rare in a young player with such power upside.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (26% to 19%)
    • Eddie Rosario, OF, ATL (21% to 19%)
    • Jose Miranda, 1B/3B, MIN (19% to 18%)
    • Danny Jansen, C, TOR (12% to 18%)
    • Alek Thomas, OF, ARI (14% to 13%)
    • Austin Slater, OF, SFG (3% to 11%): Slater has a 122 OPS+ since the beginning of 2020. His 45.9% Sweet Spot percentage ranks 5th in the MLB among batters with at least 100 BBE (batted ball events). Slater has a 145 OPS+ overall this year, without big splits differences (134 vs RHP, 154 vs LHP) and he’s getting more starts versus righties.
  • Starters
    • Nick Lodolo, SP, CIN (29% to 19%)
    • Roansy Contreras, SP, PIT (18% to 17%)
    • Reid Detmers, SP, LAA (13% to 16%)
  • Relievers
    • Andres Munoz, RP, SEA (17%: returning) 
    • Alexis Diaz, RP, CIN (14%: no change)
    • Brooks Raley, RP, TBR (9% to 13%)

10% OR UNDER

Nick Pratto, 1B, KCR (3%: new)

I’m eschewing the guy who probably got more news (JJ Bleday, listed below) for Pratto who does some similar things, good (power and OBP) and bad (strikeouts), while adding in the occasional steal. Similar to Pasquantino, Pratto is a lefty-hitting 1B prospect with excellent minors stats. Unlike Vinnie P, he strikes out too much (30.6% at AAA). That could surely be a problem in the pros, but he might be worth a lotto ticket. Last year, the Royals #2 prospect had a 156 wRC+ between AA and AAA and this year he managed a 130 wRC+ with 17 HR and 8 SB in 74 games.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Batters
    • Luis Garcia, 2B/SS, WAS (8% to 7%)
    • Luis Gonzalez, OF, SFG (8% to 6%)
    • Ezequiel Duran, 2B/3B/SS (5%: returning)
    • Tyler Naquin, OF, CIN (5%: no change)
    • JJ Bleday, OF, MIA (2%: new)
  • Starters
    • Mitch White, SP/RP, LAD (8%: no change)
    • James Kaprielian, SP, OAK (5%: new)
  • Relievers
    • Zach Jackson, RP, OAK (9%: new)

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