One of the beautiful aspects of the Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire is that you never know what it’s going to look like each week. Some weeks you’ll have a ton of options to choose from, others will be more baron. Some weeks will be filled with exciting young players, while others will be more boring veterans. This week’s report is on the younger side of things with plenty of intriguing options including three Seattle Mariners.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire
Jake Fraley (OF – SEA)
There’s a little risk with this one. Jake Fraley has been a force over the last couple of weeks, warranting his inclusion here, but also has been scratched in each of the last two days for an undisclosed reason. Assuming this doesn’t turn into an IL stint, Fraley definitely needs to be picked up with how he’s performing this season. Since Fraley was recalled to Seattle on May 31st, he’s slashed .280/.438/.540 with four home runs, three steals, and a 21.9% walk rate. For the season, Fraley has more walks (22) than strikeouts (20).
Jake Fraley hits baseball very far: pic.twitter.com/sWSLUm30Gr
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 12, 2021
Despite his Major League struggles in his brief 2019 and 2020 stints, Fraley intrigues me. In 2018 and 2019 combined, Fraley hit .316 in 687 plate appearances with 46 doubles, 12 triples, 23 home runs, and 33 stolen bases. Fraley has shown average to above-average contact skills and above-average speed with enough pop to settle in around 15-20 homers annually. All those tools have been on display this month and Fraley has a clear path to regular playing time moving forward with Kyle Lewis out longterm and Jarred Kelenic back down in Triple-A.
Bobby Bradley (1B – CLE)
Although I do question the contact skills and his ability to consistently hit for a decent AVG longterm, there’s no doubting that Bobby Bradley has the potential to be a big power bat at the Major League level. In the minors, Bradley accumulated 126 doubles and 156 home runs in 673 games with a .503 SLG and 10.9% walk rate. His double-plus raw power has been on full display in the Majors this season as well with a 92nd percentile max exit velocity, 91.8 mph average exit velocity, 23.1% barrel rate, .603 xSLG, and .508 xwOBACOn to go along with his four long balls in 11 games. The opportunity is there for Bradley to play regularly moving forward as well, but just remember that Bradley’s profile is prone to peaks and valleys.
Jesus Sanchez (OF – MIA)
The first of two big prospect promotions on Tuesday happened down in southern Florida with Jesus Sanchez being called up by the Miami Marlins. The top-100 prospect was demolishing Triple-A pitching this season to the tune of a .349/.400/.643 slash line with 17 extra-base hits and nine home runs in 33 games. Some might chalk it up to the hitter-friendly Triple-A level, but Sanchez has shown promising offensive tools ever since he was signed by Tampa Bay back in 2014.
The 6’3 outfielder slashed a solid .299/.345/.471 in the minors while flashing plus raw power and keeping his strikeout rate in check at 18.3%. Sanchez doesn’t walk much (6.4%), so putting the ball in play is going to be key for him. Longterm, he projects as a .270/25 type of bat that can add a handful of steals annually. If you’re looking for an upside grab this week, give Sanchez a look in 12+ team leagues.
Max Stassi (C – LAA)
Last week, Eric Haase was the flavor of the week at catcher. This week, Max Stassi is the name to add. If you stroll on over to Stassi’s baseball savant page, you’re going to be impressed with the metrics you see. In 81 plate appearances this season, Stassi has a whopping 61.2% hard-hit rate, 12.2% barrel rate, 94 mph average exit velocity, .559 xSLG, and .551 xwOBACON. That hard-hit rate is easily tops amongst catchers this season and would put Stassi 4th in baseball for hitters with 25+ BBE. His quality of contact metrics were impressive last season as well, so it’s not like this has come out of nowhere.
Max Stassi is still hot. His fifth home run goes 440 feet. Angels strike first.
2-0 #Angels, T1 pic.twitter.com/NPYVvlhJcp
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) June 13, 2021
Over the last two weeks, Stassi is hitting .361 with four home runs, 14 RBI, and 10 runs scored, pushing his season average up to .310. A catcher with these quality of contact metrics and performing this well needs to be rostered in many more leagues than he currently is.
Ty France (1B/2B/3B – SEA)
Welcome back to fantasy relevance Mr. France. We’ve seen the best of times and the worst of times from Ty France this season. After a two-hit game on April 26th, France’s season slash line sat at an impressive .325/.412/.530. What followed from April 27th through May 24th was a 4/52 slide that pushed his slash line way down to .230/.331/.370. People couldn’t drop him quick enough in mid-May during that slide. But now, France is surging and warrants consideration in 10+ team leagues, especially if he has multi-positional eligibility in your league.
France is currently on a seven-game hit streak with four doubles, two home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored during that span. Even through the ups and downs this season, France has shown improvements as a hitter. He’s been more aggressive and more successful in the zone, raising both his zone swing and zone contact percentages while trimming his whiff rate and strikeout rate.
Logan Gilbert (SP – SEA)
With prospects, especially pitching prospects, patience is crucial. When Logan Gilbert got the call to Seattle in Mid-May, many rushed to the waiver wire or shelled out big FAAB bucks to acquire his services. Then, after a mediocre first three starts of the season, Gilbert found himself back on the waiver wire in most of those leagues. This is why patience is very important. Just take a look at Gilbert’s first three starts compared to his most recent three starts.
- First three starts: 10.2 IP, 7.59 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 22.4 K%
- Last three starts: 17.2 IP, 2.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 25.4 K%
Gilbert’s fastball command has looked a bit sharper over these last three starts and his breaking pitches have both looked better as well, especially his slider. Hitters have an xBA below .150 and xSLG below .300 against Gilbert’s slider and curveball this season, even with his curveball command not quite being where he wants it to be. This is one of the most talented pitching prospects in the game with the upside of a #2 starter. With it looking like he’s found his footing at the Major League level, he’s worth adding in all mixed leagues of 10+ teams.
Matt Manning (SP – DET)
Let me preface this section by saying that I would only be looking to add Matt Manning in 14 team leagues or deeper 12-team leagues. Manning is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball but was enduring a rough season at Triple-A. In seven starts, Manning allowed 11 home runs and posted an unsightly 8.07 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. This after excelling in 2019 in Double-A. The main reasons for Manning’s struggles have been his overall command and the lack of a third reliable offering. Manning will sit in the mid-90’s with his four-seamer and has a plus hammer curveball in the low-80s, but his changeup hasn’t developed into a consistent 3rd offering despite flashing above-average at times. And even though he pitched fairly well in his debut, Manning’s spotty command remained.
I’m fully aware that I’m doing a terrible job selling you on Manning here. So let me end with the positives. When he’s commanding his fastball, Manning has two plus pitches (4SFB & CB) and has excelled in the minors outside of this season. In 77 total starts, Manning had a 3.49 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 29.8% strikeout rate. If you find yourself needing a boost in pitching right now, Manning’s upside is worth a look despite his bad Triple-A stats. Just don’t go overboard to try and acquire him if you have weekly FAAB.
Others to Consider Adding if Available
Steven Duggar (OF – SFG), Adam Duvall (OF – MIA), Brandon belt (1B/OF – SFG), Joey Votto (1B – CIN), J.P. Crawford (SS – SEA), James Kaprielian (SP – OAK), Pete Fairbanks (RP – TBR)
Media Credit: Baseball Savant, John Cordes/Icon Sportswire, Jack Harris, Seattle Mariners
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Fraley’s still having some issues with the hamstring strain that landed him on the IL in April. Hopefully nothing too serious, he made a great catch as a defensive replacement last night.