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Waiver Wire Report: Austin Meadows Finally Gets the Call

Sorry, folks. No snazzy title today. This week’s waiver wire report was going to follow a similar path to last week in that the sexiness was yet again lacking. Then, in an 11th hour move last night, the Pirates decided to call-up Austin Meadows to fill in for the injured Starling Marte. So I fired up the old lap top and added Meadows to this week’s report.

He might not be on the level of Ronald Acuna or Gleyber Torres, but Meadows is still a top-50 caliber prospect who has a chance to provide some decent value moving forward. In addition to Meadows, there’s another batch of solid waiver wire pickups for your fantasy team. We have a good mix this week, too, ranging from some unheralded prospects, former top prospects, and a powerful veteran getting another chance at regular playing time in our nations’s capital.

Waiver Wire Pickups: Pitchers

DISCLAIMER: I’m not including Alex Reyes here as he’s already owned in most leagues, but just in case he’s available in your league, scoop him up immediately. The upside here is massive regardless of the role he takes on once he returns in the next couple weeks.

Andrew Heaney (SP – LAA)

Ownership: Fantrax 54%, Yahoo 32%, ESPN 14%

Is Andrew Heaney back in the fantasy baseball circle of trust? Maybe not fully, but he’s at least dancing around the edge of the circle, asking us to forgive the last few years and let him back into our lives. Through Heaney six starts in 2018, he has a 3.93 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 10.2 K/9. That ERA is a little inflated, too, as his FIP is sitting more than a run lower at 2.88.

The talent has always been there, but unfortunately, the health hasn’t cooperated. Heaney has been limited to six combined starts over the last two seasons with various arm ailments. Nothing has changed about him, either. He’s still the same pitcher, throwing the same three pitches at basically the same velocity with all three. One minor aspect that has changed is the command on his change-up, which has helped that pitch become a true asset so far this season. If you’re in need of some pitching help, Heaney’s current performance and past pedigree make him an intriguing target in all standard mixed leagues.

Jordan Lyles (SP – SD)

Ownership: Fantrax 26%, Yahoo 15%, ESPN 5%

It’s not very often you’ll see me recommend a pitcher with a career 5.30ERA, but with how Jordan Lyles is pitching this season, I kind of have to. In 32 innings, Lyles has a sparkling 2.53 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, and 9.0 K/9. Those 32 innings have come across 13 relief appearance and two impressive starts against St. Louis and Colorado. A big reason for his success this season has been a much-improved fastball that he is commanding and throwing harder than ever.

With Lucchesi now on the DL, Lyles is arguably the best pitcher in this rotation. Damn, that’s a scary yet hilarious thought. I’m not guaranteeing that this run will last the entire season, but Lyles is worth a look while he’s pitching this well.

Dan Winkler (RP – ATL)

Ownership: Fantrax 26%, Yahoo 21%, ESPN 6%

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. That’s the theme song for the Atlanta Braves bullpen. Arodys Vizcaino hasn’t lost his job yet, but Braves manager Brian Snitker mentioned on Tuesday that Dan Winkler will likely be in the mix for saves going forward. It’s very easy to see why, too. Winkler’s ERA sits at 0.98 and his 13.3 K/9 ranks amongst the league leaders. A dynamic 90 mph cutter is the key to his success, as he uses it to offset his 93 mph heater. Winkler has the stuff to succeed as a closer and can help your fantasy team right now with his high strikeout rate and low ratios. Any added saves he picks up are just the icing on the cake.

Waiver Wire Pickups: Hitters

We interrupt this waiver wire report for an important announcement.

Before I get into the hitter pickups for the week, let me say a quick blurb about Dustin Pedroia. I’ll go over him more in depth in the coming weeks, but if you’re in deeper leagues or have deep benches, the time is now to add the former MVP. He’s currently rehabbing with Triple-A Pawtucket and there’s a chance he returns before the end of May. Knowing Pedey, he’s chomping at the bit to get back in the Red Sox lineup.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled waiver wire report.

Austin Meadows (OF – PIT)

Ownership: Fantrax 39%, Yahoo 9%, ESPN 5%

Thank you Pittsburgh, this was perfect timing. With Marte hitting the DL with an oblique strain, Meadows finally gets the long-awaited call to the majors. The long wait wasn’t due to poor performance, either, but rather a long string of health issues. In 1,626 career minor league at-bats, Meadows has a .292/.357/.454/.811 slash line and has averaged 40 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs and 23 steals per every 600 at-bats. There’s a little more power potential in there too as Meadows continues to add strength and loft to his swing. He’ll never be a middle of the order masher, but 20-plus home runs annually is a fair expectation, along with a solid batting average and above-average speed.

For this season, expectations should be tempered. Meadows is an above-average hitter with a bright future, but hasn’t exactly been tearing the cover off the ball at Triple-A. In 126 at-bats, Meadows was hitting .294 with eight steals and one lone home run. This after a injury-filled season where he finished with just five home runs. Long story short, don’t expect much power. But if you need an outfielder with a solid average and some speed, Meadows is a great fit.

Franmil Reyes (OF – SD)

Ownership: Fantrax 39%, Yahoo 3%, ESPN 19%

In this corner, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 275 pounds, Franmil Reyes. The man is a defensive lineman in a baseball uniform and has the power to match. Since the beginning of last season, Reyes has accumulated 39 home runs, 140 RBI, and 113 runs scored while hitting a respectable .276, including .346 this season in 130 at-bats. That was all the Padres needed to see to give Reyes the opportunity to help a depleted outfield.

This one is strictly for deeper leagues of 14-plus teams due to the playing time uncertainty for Reyes. But if you’re in one of those deeper leagues or in need of a power boost, Reyes is your guy. The FRANmil, and FRANchy era has begun.

Travis Jankowski (OF – SD)

Ownership: Fantrax 23%, Yahoo 11%, ESPN 7%

Two Padres outfielders in one article? How dare I do such a thing. The only reason why either Reyes or Travis Jankowski are seeing extra playing time is that Wil Myers can’t stay healthy and Hunter Renfroe can’t hit anything to save his own life. Now, Jankowski couldn’t be any more different from his outfield compadre above. Most of the spectators watching Jankowski play have more pop that he does. Seriously. In 2,075 combined minor and major league at-bats, Jankowski has combined for nine home runs. Josh Hamilton once hit nine home runs in a single week back in 2012.

[Related: Fire & Ice: Will Jankowski Steal Your Heart?]

The power is not why you want Jankowski on your team, though. You want him because he’s got plus speed and solid contact skills. Another reason? He’s looking like the leadoff man in San Diego for the foreseeable future and has performed better than anyone could expect in the role, hitting .370 with a homer and four steals in 46 at-bats. That .370 average is due for some major regression once that .421 BABIP normalizes, but Jankowski was a .294 hitter in the minors and should provide a solid average moving forward.

Mark Reynolds (1B – WAS)

Ownership: Fantrax 19%, Yahoo 17%, ESPN 8%

Reynolds is the second Nationals first baseman I’ve recommended over the last couple weeks. But, hey, opportunities have presented themselves with the injuries to Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman, the latter of which opens up regular playing time for Reynolds at first base. Reynolds is coming off his best season since way back in 2011. In 520 at-bats, he had 30 home runs, 97 RBI, and a .267 average, which for him, is basically a miracle.

Even with that strong season, Reynolds struggled to find a job this season until the Nationals finally came coming. I don’t need to tell you what you’re going to get with Reynolds. Everyone knows it’s all about the power with him and you just need to cross your fingers and hope the batting average doesn’t kill you. As long as Zimmerman is out with his oblique injury, Reynolds should provide decent back-end fantasy value, especially if you’re lacking in the power department.

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B – DET)

Ownership: Fantrax 15%, Yahoo 15%, ESPN 8%

Remember that scene from Space Jam when basically all the Looney Tunes were on the bench injured and Michael Jordan has to have Newman from Seinfeld sub in? That’s basically the Detroit Tigers lineup right now. I’m waiting for them to bring Bill Murray out to play first base or something. But in the meantime, Niko Goodrum has stepped in and provided solid value while guys like Miguel Cabrera, Leonys Martin, Nicholas Castellanos, and Jeimer Candelario have been sidelined.

In 76 at-bats, Goodrum has racked up four homers and four steals with a .263 average and .833 OPS. The great thing about him is that he can play all four infield spots as well as both outfield spots. That flexibility should keep him in the lineup more often than not until the Tigers get their regular starters back healthy.

Have a question about a player who wasn’t covered here? Ask below or find me on Twitter. Check back next Friday for more waiver wire recommendations.

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