Another week, another Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire report here on FantraxHQ. Regardless of what style league you play in and what point of the season it is, we should always be looking to improve our fantasy teams. Whether you’re looking to catch the next red hot breakout, find an injury replacement, or improve in a specific statistical category, the waiver wire can help you accomplish all of those. This week’s report features undervalued veterans, exciting rookies, and a surprising pop up arm in Boston.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire
Miguel Vargas (3B – LAD)
With Justin Turner on the IL, the Dodgers needed to fill his spot at the hot corner. Max Muncy? Nah. Top prospect Miguel Vargas? Heck yeah! Vargas more than earned this promotion with how he performed in Triple-A this season. In 437 PA, Vargas slashed .291/.382/.497 with 24 doubles, 15 home runs, and 12 steals. Vargas has consistently proven to be a high contact bat (83% in AAA) with an advanced approach, above-average power, and solid/underrated speed as well. Zero time was wasted showcasing those skills either as Vargas had two hits, a double, two RBI, and a steal in his Major League debut on Wednesday before sitting out Thursday. That wasn’t ideal but Vargas should play regularly while Turner is on the shelf with an abdominal issue.
Jean Segura (2B – PHI)
After more than two months on the IL, Jean Segura has finally returned to the Phillies lineup. And due to that extended layoff coupled with the fact that he’s not a “star” player for fantasy, Segura was dropped in a considerable amount of leagues and is still available in around 55% of fantasy leagues. Segura was quietly having a very productive season before getting hurt back in late-May, racking up six home runs, eight steals, and a .274 AVG. This after hitting .290 with 14 homers and nine steals in 131 games last season. Segura’s ability to provide a high average with some power and speed in a good Phillies lineup makes him worth rostering in 12+ team leagues and some deeper 10s as well.
Tommy Pham (OF – BOS)
As with Segura, Tommy Pham is hanging out around the 40-45% rostered threshold in fantasy leagues but that number should be much higher now that he’s in Boston. Acquired for a PTBNL at the deadline, Pham’s best years are behind him, but the 34-year-old outfielder is still putting up solid numbers this season. In 397 PA, Pham is hitting .240 with 11 homers, seven steals, and 59 runs scored. Many of his metrics have been promising as well, highlighted by his 46.8% hard-hit rate, 91.9 mph AVG EV, and 10.6% walk rate. With Boston, he’s started all three games and has been in the extremely-favorable #2 spot in the lineup ahead of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and JD Martinez. Expect a solid power/speed blend, an average and OBP you can live with, and a ton of runs scored.
Michael Massey (2B – KCR)
This is more of a sneaky deep-league add, but I have the feeling that Michael Massey is going to be a 12-team commodity soon. So, why not get ahead of the curve? Massey has never received as much hype as others in this system, but the offensive skillset sets him up nicely for fantasy purposes. Massey is an above-average hitter with at least average power and average speed as well. That’s a lot of “average” verbiage, but for fantasy, this could translate to a .275/15+/10+ type of hitter in an up and coming Kansas City lineup. In the upper minors this season, Massey slashed .312/.371/.532 with 28 doubles, 16 home runs, and 13 steals in 391 plate appearances. With Whit Merrifield gone, Massey should get a chance to stick at 2B ROS and could provide sneaky all-around value.
Bubba Thompson (OF – TEX)
Another sneaky add this week is outfielder Bubba Thompson. After a disappointing 2019 and the missed 2020 season, Thompson’s prospect stock fell considerably. However, he’s regained that lost value and then some with how he’s performed over the last two seasons. Thompson slashed .275/.325/.483 with 48 extra-base hits, 16 home runs, and 25 steals in 470 Double-A plate appearances in 2021 and .304/.355/.474 with13 home runs and a whopping 49 steals in 80 Triple-A games this season. He’s always been an aggressive hitter, so I’m not expecting much AVG this season (maybe around .240), but Thompson’s speed could be a significant boost to fantasy managers if he can settle into regular playing time over the next two months. And with the current state of Texas’ outfield, that shouldn’t be too difficult.
Seth Brown (1B/OF – OAK)
One of the pleasant surprises on a bad Oakland team this year has been Seth Brown. The 30-year-old has racked up 16 home runs, 46 RBI, 35 runs, and eight steals in 345 plate appearances with a .236/.293/.459 slash line. He’s not going to add value in the AVG/OBP department, but Brown has demonstrated solid power with a .223 ISO, 11.1% barrel rate, and 40.6% hard-hit rate, and is on a 25/12 pace this season. He’s also eligible at both 1B and OF in most leagues which is an added bonus for those waiting for one of their starters to return from the IL.
Dustin May (SP – LAD)
This just serves as your reminder to go pick up Dustin May in your league if he’s still available. The red-headed Dodgers’ fireballer is due back in the next week and a half or so following two more rehab outings in the upper minors. After a pitch usage alteration early in 2021, May took off, posting 2.74 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 38% strikeout rate across five starts before getting hurt and subsequently going under the knife. May’s innings will almost certainly be limited down the stretch, but the upside and talent here is too enormous to leave on the waiver wire.
Jose Quintana (SP – STL)
Honestly, I never thought I’d see Jose Quintana’s name in one of my waiver wire articles, but here we are. For the season, Quintana has a solid 3.50 ERA, but he’s been even better lately, allowing just one earned run combined in his last three starts spanning 18.2 innings. That includes his St. Louis debut on Thursday where he allowed just one hit, two walks, and one earned run in six innings while striking out seven Cubs. He’s still in the same division, but with a much better team and defense around him now, giving him decent mixed league appeal while he’s pitching this well.
Kutter Crawford (SP – BOS)
Another thing I didn’t expect was Kutter Crawford being Boston’s most effective pitcher for a whole month of the season. Crawford has pitched 34 innings since the beginning of July with an impressive 2.38 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and .216 BAA. And out of the 75 qualified starters in this timeframe, Crawford’s 20.6% K-BB rate ranks 23rd best. He’s been sitting right around league-average or a tad above with his 24.4% strikeout rate, but it’s Crawford’s ability to limit walks (3.8%) that has been especially impressive. He’s gone with mostly a four-seam, cutter, curveball mix as a starter with the occasional slider and changeup mixed in as well. And while none are massive whiff pitches, all but his changeup had a whiff rate above 23% in the month of July.
Other Starters to Consider: Edward Cabrera (MIA), Mitch Keller (PIT), Hunter Greene
Make Sure They’re Not Still Available: Reid Detmers (LAA), Braxton Garrett (MIA), Nick Lodolo (CIN)
Relievers to Target
Per usual, we have several new relievers with heightened fantasy value following a crazy trade deadline. Here is how I would prioritize them if they’re available in your leagues.
1. Felix Bautista, BAL | 2. Dany Jiménez, OAK | 3. Rowan Wick (CHC) | 4. Jose Quijada (LAA),
Media Credit: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sports
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