Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Schoop, There It Is
It’s hard to believe we’re already in the third month of the regular season, but now is not the time to sit back and relax as summer temperatures invade our lives. We’ve now reached the critical part of the regular season where moves need to be made or risk falling out of contention. The month of June has always been the month I consider to be the tipping point for fantasy baseball. If you’re not looking like a contender by the time this month concludes, you likely won’t be for the rest of the season. That means now is the time to really scour the fantasy baseball waiver wire for pickups that can help your team.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire
Jonathan Schoop (1B/2B – DET)
There’s on fire and then there’s whatever Jonathan Schoop has been over the last two weeks. Over that time, Schoop is hitting .412 with a six home runs and 12 RBI. Schoop has proven to be a streaky hitter for his entire nine-year career, but when he’s on, the power can be usable in fantasy leagues. Schoop has recorded 20+ home runs in each of his last four non-Covid seasons and was on pace for another 20+ season in 2020, hitting eight in 44 games. He’s also showing a bit more patience this season, posting a career-best 6.8% walk rate while also having a 97th percentile max exit velocity. To top it all off, he’s currently eligible at both first base and second base which is helpful this year with all these damn injuries.
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) June 5, 2021
Hunter Renfroe (OF – BOS)
We go from the Schoop of the infield to the Schoop of the outfield with Hunter Renfroe. After a slow start to the season, Renfroe has finally found his groove in Beantown, slashing .316/.349/.570 over the last 28 days with four home runs, nine RBI, and 16 runs scored. Like Schoop, Renfroe has been incredibly streaky throughout his Major League career, but him succeeding right now isn’t overly surprising in the situation he’s in. Renfroe has always had a propensity to drive the ball in the air to his pull side, which is usually a good thing for right-handed batters playing their home games in Fenway Park.
With that said, he’s actually posted the lowest fly-ball rate of his career this season and the lowest pull rate since his rookie season, which is odd. Renfroe’s solid defense has kept him in Boston’s lineup through his struggles at the plate and now he’s really begging to heat up. On the season, Renfroe has an 81st percentile average exit velocity and 94th percentile max exit velocity. Will the high average stick? Unlikely. But Renfroe’s power at Fenway is a beautiful thing. Pick him up and ride him while he’s excelling at the plate.
Taylor Trammell (OF – SEA)
Just try to erase his rough stint earlier this season out of your mind. That’s ancient history now. After Taylor Trammell got sent back to the minors in early May, he went on an absolute tear, slashing .384/.413/.726 with seven doubles, six home runs, and three steals in 17 games. And since his return earlier this week, Trammell has gone 4/13 with a home run and three steals while starting all four games. As long as he continues to hit well, Trammell’s playing time should remain consistent with Kyle Lewis out for a while after tearing the meniscus in his right knee.
As a prospect, Trammell profiled as an average to an above-average hitter that could get on base at a solid clip while adding double-digit power and 20+ steals annually. Despite his rough 2019 season in Double-A, those tools are still very much there, giving Trammell a chance to produce like a top-50 fantasy outfielder the rest of the season.
Odubel Herrera (OF – PHI)
While it feels like he either goes 0/4 or records a multi-hit game, Odubel Herrera has posted an impressive overall line over the last month. In 99 plate appearances over the last 28 days, Herrera has a .302/.378/.500 slash line with right around a 20/20 pace. What else do you want from the guy on the field? And as the only legit leadoff hitter and centerfielder on the roster right now, Herrera’s playing time shouldn’t be threatened by Bryce Harper’s eventual return to the lineup. Herrera will likely continue to start in center while leading off in front of Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto which is an ideal spot to be in for fantasy purposes.
Herrera has proven to be a viable fantasy bat in the past with a .276 career average with right around a 15/15 162-game pace. He’s flashing that power/speed blend again this season, even recording the best hard-hit rate and average exit velocity of his career. There’s plenty of reasons to like Herrera in fantasy moving forward this season.
Tony Gonsolin (SP – LAD)
Welcome back Tony Gonsolin. It has been reported that Gonsolin will make his 2021 season debut this week against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. A Pirates team that ranks dead last in runs, home runs, and slugging this season. So even though Gonsolin will likely be limited in his debut, this is a juicy matchup for the 27-year-old right-hander. And with his ability to pitch like a top-40 starter ROS, Gonsolin needs to be rostered in all redraft leagues.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 20, 2020
For his career, Gonsolin has posted a 2.60 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 24.5% strikeout rate across 86.2 innings. While that strikeout rate is only slightly above league average, there’s more strikeout potential to be had here due to Gonsolin’s four-pitch arsenal. Gonsolin’s slider, curveball, and splitter have all recorded whiff rates above 30% both years of his career with the slider and splitter both exceeding 40% in 2020. With the ability to post a good strikeout rate and low ratios, Gonsolin can provide a major boost to fantasy teams moving forward.
Tarik Skubal (SP – DET)
While we welcome Tony Gonsolin back to the Dodgers rotation, we also welcome Tarik Skubal back to fantasy relevance. After posting a 6.14 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in April, Skubal has righted the ship with a 3.33 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over his last six starts. In addition, he remembered how to strike opposing batters out again, raising his strikeout rate from 17.3% in April to 34.2% in May. That’s more like it Tarik!
The first two months of the season have seen Skubal altering pitch usage and even adding a sinker and a splitter to the mix. That now gives him five pitches with a sub-10% usage rate to go along with his fastball and slider which he’s thrown a combined 74.5% of the time this season. You gotta wonder if Skubal will increase the usage of his changeup moving forward though as opposing hitters have recorded a .099 xBA, .169 xSLG, and 56.3% whiff rate on the pitch. With Skubal’s strikeout rate returning to elite levels (6th best K% over the last 30 days) and the ratios dropping, he’s firmly put himself back in the mixed league conversation with the upside for more.
J.P. Feyereisen (RP – TBR)
As a young child, I remember a soap opera my Nana used to watch called “As The World Turns.” Well, in baseball, we have “As The Rays Bullpen Turns.” A total of six Rays relievers have recorded saves recently with the last two going to J.P Feyereisen, whom the Rays acquired in the Willy Adames deal a few weeks ago. Feyereisen has pitched admirably this season with a 2.73 ERA and 1.03 WHIP through 26.1 innings and has only allowed one earned run in seven innings with the Rays.
Feyereisen isn’t a major strikeout source like a lot of top relievers are nowadays (26.2 K%, albeit with a 98th percentile whiff rate), but he succeeds by mixing his three pitches well and limiting the quality of contact for opposing hitters with a below-average 4.8% barrel rate and .299 xwOBACON. Both his slider and changeup have been highly effective offerings this season, especially the changeup with a .065 BAA, .161 SLG, and 54.5% whiff rate. Will Feyereisen remain in the closer mix for the remainder of the season? It’s the Rays we’re talking about, so who knows, but he’s getting save opportunities right now with Diego Castillo and that’s all that matters for the time being.
Media Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire, Bally Sports Detroit, MLB Pipeline,
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