I’m not sure about the rest of you, but during the all-star break, I was hoping that the 2nd half of the season wasn’t going to be as frustrating as the first when it came to injuries. And that maybe we wouldn’t have to rely on the waiver wire quite as heavily as we did in the first half. Well, so much for that. As we head towards August, the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire remains as important as ever with injuries still popping up (Why Jacob deGrom? Why?). And, of course, there’s never a bad time to improve your team. This week, there are plenty of targets available on both sides of the ball that can help give your team a boost where needed.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire
Brandon Marsh (OF – LAA)
For the last few years, I’ve considered Brandon Marsh to be one of the most underrated prospects in baseball. He’s primarily been in Jo Adell’s shadow, but the Jayson Werth looking outfielder has plenty of offensive talent, and might be the safer bet for solid fantasy production. Marsh has displayed above-average contact skills, a rock-solid plate approach, and around plus speed throughout his professional career and those tools showed in his minor league numbers. In 295 games, Marsh slashed .288/.371/.440 with an 11.2% walk rate, 24.3% strikeout rate, and 45 steals in 56 attempts.
Despite being 6’4 with good contact skills, Marsh hasn’t hit for as much power as you’d expect when you see him, mostly due to a line drive approach and more linear swing path, but that raw power has started translating into games more consistently over the last couple of years. Long-term, Marsh profiles as a .270+ hitter with 15+ homers and 20+ steals annually. The track record with prospects this season hasn’t been glowing, but Marsh is definitely worth a shot now that he’s up with the Angels.
Kolten Wong (2B – MIL)
I’m breaking a personal rule of mine by including the same player for two straight weeks, but it’s criminal how under-rostered Kolten Wong is right now. He was already a fine target last week and all he’s done in his four games since then is collect six hits and five runs. Wong will never be a statcast darling, but hey, neither has Francisco Lindor for basically his entire career. I’m not comparing the two so calm down, but Wong is a player that can provide decent power and speed to go along with a good average and plenty of runs as Milwaukee’s primary leadoff hitter. GO ADD THIS MAN.
Patrick Wisdom (3B – CHC)
When you take a gander at Patrick Wisdom’s Baseball Savant page, you’ll see plenty that excites you along with some major red flags. Let’s start with the positives. Wisdom has been crushing baseballs all season. He currently sports a 93.9 average exit velocity, 19.2% barrel rate, and a 61.5% hard-hit rate. All three of those metrics rank among the elite hitters in the game this season and are a big reason why Wisdom has cranked 14 HR in just 152 plate appearances.
Daily Wisdom. @BinnysBev pic.twitter.com/C833veU4Ur
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 2, 2021
Now for the negatives. I wish we could just ignore them, but we can’t. The two major red flags in Wisdom’s profile are his 40.5% strikeout rate and 41.7% whiff rate. The only three players with a higher whiff rate this season are Mike Zunino, Taylor Trammell, and Keston Hiura. Ouch. Yuck. His free-swinging ways will keep the AVG in check, but if you can work around that, Wisdom’s power and run production could provide your team a big boost ROS.
Akil Baddoo (OF – DET)
A few weeks back, Akil Baddoo was one of my main recommendations in this very waiver wire article. He was a good target then and an even better one now since all he’s done since his last inclusion here is hit .275 with three home runs, 15 RBI, 13 runs, and six steals in 20 games. And still, he remains a free agent in more than 50% of fantasy leagues. Why? Are power/speed threats not your thing? Baddoo is on a near 20/30 pace right now and has been a top-50 player over the last month while leading off for Detroit. If he’s on your waiver wire right now, it would be wise to scoop him up before someone else inevitably does.
Robbie Grossman (OF – DET)
Another player that should be rostered in WAY more leagues is Robbie Grossman. Do people just have something against rostering players from the Detroit Tigers or something? That must be it because Grossman is on a near 100/30/90/20 pace this season. Yes, that has come with a difficult .224 average which is likely the leading reason for his roster rate hovering around 40%. However, that four-category production more than offsets the batting average drag in my eyes, and Grossman has walked at an elite 15.1% clip this season which has kept his OBP at a solid .352. Those of you in OBP leagues have no excuse. That pace with a .352 OBP? Yes please! And those of you in AVG leagues should still give Grossman a look for that four-category production, especially if you have some high-AVG bats to offset him with.
Greg Allen (OF – NYY)
Never in a million years did I think the New York Yankees would need Greg Allen to be an everyday player, but here we are. Injuries and poor performance have opened an opportunity for Allen and he’s run with it. Literally. Since entering the starting lineup this past weekend, Allen has already picked up three steals and has hits in four of five games. If you’ve followed along with Allen’s career, you’ll know that he’s not very potent with the bat, but you’re not picking him up for home runs or run production. You’re picking him up for the speed he provides, which has been there consistently in his career, racking up 35 steals in 634 plate appearances. If you need a speed boost right now, Allen is a fine target.
Luis Patiño (SP – TBR)
He’s back! Possibly for good this time too. It’s sounding like the Rays are going to give Luis Patiño a chance to stick in the rotation moving forward and that makes him highly intriguing for fantasy purposes. Patiño posted a stellar 2.43 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 29.9% strikeout rate in the minors across his 263.1 innings, dominating with his elite fastball and nasty slider. Those two pitches alone are a phenomenal combination, but Patiño will also mix in a curveball, changeup, and added a sinker this season as well. It’s been a small sample size (20.1 IP), but Patiño’s slider has been deadly thus far, producing a .097 BAA, .194 SLG, 51.9 whiff rate, and 36.5% putaway rate. With his upside and the opportunity to stick in the rotation, Patiño needs to be rostered in all 12+ team mixed leagues right now.
Luis Patiño, K'ing the Side. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/AZlo2TQtJg
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 25, 2021
Wily Peralta (SP – DET)
Don’t look now, but we have two pitchers with the last name Peralta pitching well right now. Granted Wily doesn’t nearly have the stuff of the long-term excitement that Freddy has, but Wily has quietly been one of the best pitchers in the American League over the last month or so. In his five starts over the last month, Peralta has allowed just one earned run in 26.2 innings of work.
Some (many) will say he’s been lucky this season, and they wouldn’t be wrong as his xERA is more than double his current 1.64 ERA. But at the same time, all three of his offerings (FB/SL/CH) have a BAA under .230, a SLG of .400 or less, and he’s yet to allow a hit off his changeup which also has registered a 41.7% whiff rate. Peralta gets a great matchup today with Kansas City and is worth rolling out there until he cools off.
Dodger Duo: David Price & Josiah Gray
With two spots open in the rotation, the Dodgers have called upon a prospect and a seasoned veteran to step in, both of which warrant fantasy consideration depending on the depth of your league. Both should remain in the rotation for at least the next couple of weeks as well as it doesn’t sound like Clayton Kershaw is nearing a return to action.
With Price, he’s been pitching mostly out of the bullpen this season and has mostly been good. The ERA sits at a respectable 3.12 and his 22% strikeout rate won’t hurt you, but Price also has a bloated 1.55 WHIP on the season. However, a look under the hood makes that WHIP appear a bit fluky. Price is limiting barrels and walks incredibly well this season while posting his lowest xSLG since Statcast began back in 2015. On top of that, Price’s 55.6% groundball rate and 20.4% flyball rate are encouraging. Don’t expect him to go deep into games, but Price can be a serviceable fantasy starter that you can continue to slot in at RP if you so choose.
If you’ve been burned by Price in the past (likely) and want to go with a fresh face, Josiah Gray is also a fine target this week. He very well might be the odd man out once Kershaw does return, but Gray’s minor league performance makes him enticing in 14+ team leagues. In 198 minor league innings, Gray recorded a 2.41 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 6.4% walk rate, and 29.2% strikeout rate. He features a plus fastball, and a trio of secondaries headlined by an above-average slider that he had a 53.3% whiff rate with in his Major League debut earlier this week. In that debut, Gray did allow a trio of taters, but also struck out seven of the 17 batters he faced. As with Price, don’t expect a ton of innings from Gray, and this could be a short-term add, but he’s worth a look.
Media Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire, Chicago Cubs, Rob Friedman
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