Here are some waiver wire targets ahead of Week 23 that you should consider adding. The following recommendations are organized as deep and shallow league targets. Of course, the players you choose to add and drop from your team should largely depend on your league size and the roster construction of your team.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Recommendations
Deep League Targets
C Connor Wong – BOS
Connor Wong has been super-hot in the last 15 days, with two homers, eight runs, five RBI, a steal, and a .303 AVG during that span. On the season, Wong has eight home runs, 49 runs, 36 RBI, six steals, and a .253 AVG.
Wong has hovered around a .240-.250 AVG for most of the season, which also matches his rest of season projections for batting average. His near 33% strikeout rate and 39% chase rate limit his AVG. But his 23% line drive rate and 47% pull rate have helped keep his BABIP elevated at .361. That has kept his AVG from dipping too far and has helped keep him fantasy relevant.
Wong’s hard contact is above league average, at 8.5% for his barrel rate and 39.5% for his HardHit rate. With such good pull and line drive rates, combined with the quality of contact, Wong should continue to rack up hits. He is 15th in hits among all catchers and is fourth in doubles.
Wong presents a great deep league option at catcher. Fantasy managers should consider adding him from the waiver wire for the week ahead.
1B Ryan Noda – OAK
Ryan Noda landed on the injured list in mid-July due to a broken jaw. Since returning to the lineup on August 21, Noda has a home run, five runs, three RBI, and a steal, with a .241 AVG. On the season, Noda has tallied 12 homers, 48 runs, 41 RBI, three steals, and a .230 AVG. Here he is reaching base and knocking in a run:
Ryan Noda comes through 💪pic.twitter.com/XrXnifMi9m
— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 30, 2023
Noda has such an odd plate discipline profile, very similar to Kyle Schwarber. Noda does not qualify, but if he did, his 17.2% walk rate would rank second in baseball, .1% ahead of Schwarber. Noda’s 21.7% chase rate also ranks among the best in baseball. It would be eighth best in the league if he qualified.
Unfortunately, those positive plate discipline metrics come with some negatives. He has a 32% K rate and a 66% contact rate, both of which are among the worst in baseball.
For Noda, the good has outweighed the bad so far, partially due to the quality and type of contact that he makes. He possesses elite hard contact, with a 12% barrel rate and a 46% HardHit rate. He has a 24% LD rate and a 44% pull rate. Those skills have allowed him to pick up 70 hits in 304 at-bats, compared to 90 hits in 480 at-bats for Schwarber. Noda should be able to keep his BABIP and AVG elevated above the Mendoza Line as the season ends. More so, he should be able to outperform his .207-.215 rest-of-season projections for AVG.
Noda is a great depth piece for those in deep leagues and should be a waiver wire consideration for the week ahead.
2B/SS/3B/OF Zach McKinstry – DET
Zach McKinstry has started to heat up again, notching a home run, six runs, three RBI, three steals, and a .293 AVG in the last 15 days. On the season, he has eight homers, 50 runs, 30 RBI, 15 steals, and a .243 AVG. Here is his latest nuke:
Zach McKinstry – Detroit Tigers (8)
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) August 27, 2023
What makes McKinstry a great deep-league fantasy option is his ability to play all over the diamond. Not only that, the Tigers give him the opportunity to play daily, and in fantasy sports, opportunity is king. McKinstry has done well this season, despite lacking eye-popping numbers.
Still, McKinstry has improved each season in the bigs and has improved throughout this season as well. His walk and strikeout rates, as well as his AVG, are significant improvements over last season. His 30% chase rate and 83% contact rates are career bests. This means he could improve on that .243 AVG as the season continues.
McKinstry could also send a few more balls out of the park in the last few weeks of the season. His 43% flyball rate is a career-high, but his 6% HR/FB rate is lower than last season and his career average. With improved barrel and HardHit rates over last season, he should see more homers. This could be a patch of bad luck in the home run department, and some positive regression could be on the way.
With multi-position eligibility and the potential to improve his average and hit more homers, McKinstry makes for an excellent waiver wire add where available.
OF Parker Meadows – DET
Parker Meadows earned the call from Detroit on August 21. Since then, he has a home run, three runs, six RBI, and a stolen base, with a .333 AVG. With Detroit out of contention, they have given a shot to young players like Meadows. He has been in the lineup every day since his call-up. Here is Meadows coming in clutch:
PARKER MEADOWS THREE-RUN BOMB TO WALK IT OFF pic.twitter.com/pTjenZLwmb
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 26, 2023
Meadows already has two barreled balls and seven hard-hit balls in just 32 PAs. With a 25% LD rate and a 50% pull rate complementing his hard contact, Meadows should maintain a solid AVG the rest of the way. Though his 34% K rate is ugly, Meadows never ended a minor league stint with his strikeout rate above 30%. In AAA this season, he had a 23% K rate, while walking 11% of the time.
Meadows has shown good plate discipline so far, especially for a rookie. He has a 25% chase rate and a 70% contact rate. That should help him perform similarly to how he did in the minors. In five of eight minor league stints, Meadows left with a batting average of .256 or higher.
Meadows also flashed some nice pop in the higher levels of the minors. He had 16 home runs at AA in 2022, and 19 at AAA this season. He also stole double-digit bases in three out of the last four minor league seasons, including 2023. The power/speed combo is something we could see as we roll into September.
Fantasy managers looking for depth in the outfield should look for Meadows on the waiver wire.
SP Kyle Harrison – SF
Kyle Harrison’s debut on August 22 saw him complete just 3.1 innings. He gave up two earned runs and allowed a walk and five hits while striking out five. Harrison looked far more impressive in his second start against the Reds last Monday. He struck out 11 batters and allowed two walks and three hits across 6.1 scoreless frames. If he is not already, Harrison should be on your radar after that win.
Harrison has been incredibly effective at getting strikeouts throughout his time in the minors. Here he is striking out the side in his latest outing:
Kyle Harrison, K'ing the Side. pic.twitter.com/K2ren4xixR
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 29, 2023
He never left a minor league stint with a K/9 rate under 13. His worst season in terms of ERA was this season, his first in AAA.
Much of his strikeout success is thanks to a pitch mix that includes a fastball and slurve combo that have induced 39% and 43% whiff rates respectively. He also tosses a changeup, slider, and cutter, but far less frequently. Perhaps he should use his changeup more, though. Harrison has thrown his changeup eight times, exclusively to righty hitters, and it has a 100% putaway rate.
Harrison has struggled with walking batters throughout the minors. His BB/9 rate rose to 6.5 this season before he earned a call to the majors. He has kept that issue under control for the Giants, walking just three batters compared to tallying 16 strikeouts.
Harrison is worth consideration from the waiver wire not just in deep leagues, but in all league sizes.
Shallow League Targets
C Shea Langeliers – OAK
Shea Langeliers has an ugly .207 AVG on the season but has been better across the last 15 days. During that span, he has five homers, six runs, nine RBI, a steal, and a .250 AVG. Here are his stats over this month:
#Athletics Shea Langeliers in August:
– .235/.307/.515 (.821 OPS)
– .279 ISO
– .348 wOBA
– 127 wRC+
– 14% Barrel%
– 58% hard hit%
– Notably cut down K%: 24% (28.7% on the year). Cut down on O-Swing% and SwStr%pic.twitter.com/AFKEc4j9O5
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) August 30, 2023
Despite making some improvements to his plate discipline, his AVG dropped 10 points from last season. He shaved about 6% off his K rate, to bring it to 28% this season. Langeliers also improved his chase rate, and bumped his contact rate up to 68%, 7% higher than last year. His issue seems to be a low BABIP, but his 14% LD rate supports the low BABIP, and in turn, the low AVG.
Even with a disappointing batting average, Langeliers possesses other skills that make him good for fantasy. This season, he has 16 home runs, 42 runs, 47 RBI, and three steals. One of his most fantasy-friendly skills is his hard contact. He has an 11% barrel rate and a 44% HardHit rate. He actually improved his flyball rate from last year, but his HR/FB rate has dropped. Considering the quality and type of contact, that home run rate could increase over the rest of the season.
Also, Langeliers has been in the lineup nearly every day. He is just 30 plate appearances shy of qualifying. Opportunity and skill make Langeliers a great target on the waiver wire for the week ahead.
3B/SS/2B/OF Luis Rengifo – LAA
Luis Rengifo has been on an insane hot streak, with three homers, four runs, six RBI, and a .480 AVG over the last seven days. In the last 30 days, Rengifo has a 4/13/13/.327 stat line. And on the season, he has 14 homers, 52 runs, 45 RBI, five steals, and a .258 AVG. Here is homer number 13:
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) August 29, 2023
Rengifo has been a bit more tame at the plate this season as opposed to last season. He has swung less, which has helped with lowering his chase rate, but may have actually hurt his contact and strikeout rates. Both have worsened from last season. Even still, he has improved in other areas, benefitting him overall.
His barrel and hard hit rates are career bests. That could explain why he is three homers short of last season’s total in 100 fewer PAs. With nearly identical line drive, flyball, and HR/FB rates to last season, the added hard contact could be a huge factor in his power output.
Rengifo also possesses eligibility all over the field, which makes him extremely valuable in fantasy. Believe in the hot streak and make him a waiver wire target for this week wherever he is available.
SS Royce Lewis – MIN
Royce Lewis has also been incredibly hot of late. Over the last seven days, he has four homers, seven runs, 10 RBI, and a .286 AVG. On the season, he has nine home runs, 21 runs, 29 RBI, two steals, and a .315 AVG. Check out this grand slam by Lewis:
ROYCE LEWIS GRAND SLAM 💣💣💣💣
— Twins Talk (@LetsTalk_Twins) August 27, 2023
Lewis seems to be perpetually injured, spending the early part of the season on the IL, then landing there again during the season. But when he is healthy, he is very good.
Lewis has a 10% barrel rate and a 35% hard hit rate, while also driving the ball well (20% LD). He has a 38% pull rate, which is below league average. But he typically had a pull rate in the 45%-50% range in the minors. If he can get his pull rate closer to that this season, while maintaining the hard contact and line drive rate, Lewis could sustain a high BABIP and AVG. Right now, it looks like those will regress some.
Lewis has been very good when it comes to producing runs. His 147 wRC+ could earn him more at-bats in the top third or two-thirds of the lineup. Most of his at-bats have come from the fifth or sixth slot, but if he stays hot, he could move up and be even more productive.
Lewis is clearly undervalued, perhaps because fantasy managers worry about the injury history. Do not be one of those managers. Instead, take a shot on him and add him from the waiver wire.
OF Max Kepler – MIN
Through June, Max Kepler had a .203 AVG and looked to be on the verge of a disappointing season. Since then, he has taken his AVG up to .255, thanks in large part to his performance this month.
In August, Kepler had six home runs, 11 runs, 14 RBI, and a .314 AVG. On the season, he has 21 homers, 53 runs, and 50 RBI. This is arguably his best season since 2019, especially considering his 122 wRC+ is his best since that year. He has also been excellent since the second half:
So far in the 2nd half there are 2 players among qualified hitters with at least a:
– barrel% of 15%
– hard hit% of 50%
– Z-Contact of 85%
50% hard hit%
52.2% hard hit%
88.2% Z-Contact% pic.twitter.com/jOUigsGnhf
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) August 31, 2023
Kepler has improved in significant ways from a disappointing 2022 season. His 12% barrel rate and 47% HardHit rate are not just better than last year, but are career bests. He added some loft, getting his flyball rate closer to his career norm than last season.
His contact rate has dropped slightly from last year, and his K% has increased a little, but he has balanced that out by avoiding grounders, driving the ball well, and pulling the ball 44% of the time.
Kepler has improved throughout this season, making adjustments to produce more. He is definitely worth a waiver wire add where available.
SP Javier Assad – ChC
The Cubs brought in Javier Assad from the bullpen to fill a rotation spot. He has appeared in 24 games as a reliever and six as a starter. In five starts this month, Assad has 20 strikeouts to nine walks, while allowing eight earned runs across 29 IP. His ERA this month is 2.48 and sits at 2.96 on the season.
My worry when Assad was named a starter was that he would be used more as an opener. That has proven incorrect; in fact, he has earned three quality starts and reached 7 IP twice. He is also 2-0 as a starter.
Assad’s strikeout rate sits at a low 6.8 K/9, and his walk rate is 3.6. Both are worse than league average. He has balanced those out by inducing an above average groundball rate at 46% and stranding runners 82% of the time. His curveball has been working for him lately:
Javier Assad, Dirty 77mph Curveball. 😨 pic.twitter.com/1CWZoFmisB
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 21, 2023
While he has avoided pulled balls, he has allowed a 19% LD rate, which means his .245 BABIP could go up some. That could lead to regression to his ERA. Hopefully, he can mitigate that by continuing to induce grounders.
While he may not be the perfect pitcher, Assad is a great depth piece that could be available on your waiver wire. He should be a target if available.
Other Players to Add from Waivers
Here are a few other players available in a range of league sizes that you should consider adding if they are on your waiver wire.
- C: Cal Raleigh, Gabriel Moreno, Yainer Diaz, Elias Diaz, Mitch Garver
- CI: Josh Rojas (2B), Spencer Torkelson, Ryan McMahon (2B), Ke’Bryan Hayes, Joey Meneses (OF), Harold Ramirez (OF), Brandon Drury (2B), Osleivis Basabe (SS), Garrett Cooper, Brandon Belt
- MI: Jorge Polanco (3B), Wilmer Flores (1B/3B), CJ Abrams, Ezequiel Tovar, Pablo Reyes, Zack Gelof, Elvis Andrus, J.P. Crawford
- OF: Nolan Jones (1B), Kole Calhoun (1B), Mauricio Dubon (MI), Dylan Moore (MI), Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, Kerry Carpenter, DJ Stewart, Chas McCormick, Tommy Pham, Charlie Blackmon, Andrew Benintendi, Austin Hays, Brent Rooker, Brandon Marsh, Matt Wallner, Nick Martini
- SP: Grayson Rodriguez, Eury Perez, Mike Clevinger, Graham Ashcraft, Cole Ragans, Paul Blackburn, Braxton Garrett, Christopher Sanchez, Dean Kremer, Logan Allen, Griffin Canning, MacKenzie Gore, Tarik Skubal, Bryan Woo, Brayan Bello, Bobby Miller, Hyun Jin Ryu, Seth Lugo, Bryce Miller,
- RP: Andres Munoz, Kyle Finnegan, Adbert Alzolay, Evan Phillips, Pete Fairbanks, Trevor May, Alex Lange, Yennier Cano
Prospect Waiver Wire Watch
A number of prospects are worthy of consideration for waiver wire claims due to being called up or potentially being called up. Here are a few to consider adding.
- NYY SS/3B Oswald Peraza – has four steals, but batting below the Mendoza Line
- COL 1B Hunter Goodman – 34 homers in the minors this season
- TOR 2B Davis Schneider – in weak side of platoon, but crushing; 5 HR, 9 R, 12 RBI, .425 AVG
- BOS OFs Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela – likely limited due to depth of BOS outfield
- ChC SP Jordan Wicks – 99:32 K:BB ratio in 91.1 IP in minors this season; earned another start
- LAD SP Ryan Pepiot – has been sent up and down a few times, but 2.00 ERA and 11 Ks in 9 IP for Dodgers
- The Mets are promoting Ronny Mauricio, the Yankees are promoting Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells – all are worth consideration in deep leagues