Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Baby Yaz Channeling Grandpa Yaz
This week’s Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report has a much different look to it. Last week, outfielders and pitchers dominated the report. Usually, I hate when the report heavily favors a position or two, but some weeks, that’s just how it worked out. It would’ve been great to get more variety in the article but I’m never going to recommend players strictly due to their position. You got to earn your way on to this report. There are no participation medals for this report! With that being said, there’s a lot more variety this week, but all of the below players earned their spot here. There is one common theme, though, as a bunch of Mariners weaseled their way onto the list. Must be something in the water up there this week.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Hitters
Mike Yastrzemski, OF, San Francisco
It’s not often that I can include the grandson of a Baseball Hall of Fame member in this article. Let alone, the grandson of one of the greatest hitters to ever play for my beloved Boston Red Sox. Baby Yaz has been one of the lone bright spots for a San Francisco offense that ranks near the bottom of nearly every offensive category this season. In 74 games, Yastrzemski has .282 with 35 extra-base hits, 17 home runs, 47 RBI, and 46 runs scored. Both his walk and strikeout rate have declined some in the Majors, but not to the point where either are a concern.
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 22, 2019
When you look at his body of work with San Francisco, nothing jumps out at you as a reason to not believe in his success. Yaz’s BABIP sits at a sustainable .316 and he’s been making plenty of hard contact while using the whole field to his advantage. The minor league numbers won’t inspire much confidence, but Yastremski might just be a late-bloomer at the age of 29. Only 22 hitters have more home runs than Yastrzemski does since he hit his first dinger back on May 31st. Add Baby Yaz with confidence in mixed leagues.
For more on Yastrzemski, check out the latest Fire & Ice Report from Nathan Dokken.
Jake Fraley, OF, Seattle Mariners
When the 2019 season began, Jake Fraley wasn’t a player many expected to be getting a shot at regular at-bats at the Major League level this season. Mostly because he had yet to play above Advanced Class-A. But after slashing .298/.365/.545/.910 with 51 extra-base hits, 19 home runs, and 22 steals combined between the Double-A Texas League and Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Fraley more than earned his shot. Plus, it’s not like there was much standing in his way at the Major League level either.
As I mentioned above, Fraley has really cemented himself as a top prospect this season due to the development of his power. Mostly a hit/speed prospect previously, Fraley’s power has really blossomed this season and he’s driving the ball in the air more than he ever has before. Long-term, he’s still more of a 15-20 homer threat, but when you add in his above-average contact skills and plus speed, it equates to an intriguing all-around profile for fantasy. Fraley should get plenty of run with the Mariners to close out the season and is worth targeting in mixed leagues.
Nick Solak, 2B/OF, Texas Rangers
While a lot of the attention went to the promotions of A.J. Puk and Jake Fraley, don’t you dare sleep on Nick Solak down in Texas. Through his first four Major League games, Solak is 5/13 with two doubles and a home run. This after slashing .289/.362/.532/.894 with 27 home runs in 115 Triple-A games. Solak never ranked overly high on prospect lists but brings a lot to the table that can help fantasy owners down the stretch.
“At the time of his promotion to Texas, Solak had a career .850 OPS while maintaining a 23 homer, 18 steal pace per every 600 at-bats. He’s displayed an average to above-average hit tool, raw power, and speed throughout his minor league career…”
Solak hasn’t been running as much this season, but has the potential to be a solid source of power and average for your fantasy squad moving forward.
Chris Taylor, 2B/SS/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Much to the chagrin of Gavin Lux stashers, Chris Taylor is back and playing well since his return. Before getting the night off yesterday, Taylor was 5/8 with a home run in his first two games back after more than a month on the IL with a forearm fracture. With his multi-positional eligibility and modest power/speed blend, Taylor is worth owning in standard mixed leagues. He should get plenty of playing time in the outfield with Alex Verdugo still nursing an oblique injury.
Tommy Edman, 2B/3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Figuring out what is going on with this St. Louis lineup is about at easy as figuring out which color cup my toddler wants with his dinner. Both usually end with someone being disappointed. How dare I give him the green cup instead of the orange cup! I digress. Edman has been a swiss army knife for the Red Birds this season, making starts at 2nd base, 3rd base, and in the outfield due to Jose Martinez and Tyler O’Neill both being on the IL. Edman has been able to contribute across the board during his time with St. Louis this season, hitting .270 with five homers, eight steals, 20 RBI, and 27 runs in 185 at-bats. This after a .305/7/9 line in 197 Triple-A at-bats.
While Edman might not have the big prospect pedigree, his balanced production and multi-positional eligibility can certainly provide plenty of value to close out the 2019 season. And with not many good options at the top of the order, Edman has been hitting leadoff or 2nd in the lineup consistently of late which has been a big boon to his runs scored total.
Tom Murphy, C, Seattle Mariners
Dating back to his days as a Colorado Rockies prospect, Tom Murphy has always carried intriguing offensive upside due to his raw power. However, subpar contact skills and an extremely high strikeout rate has caused Murphy to be mostly ineffective at the Major League level. Until 2019, that is. Yes, Murphy is still rocking a puke-worthy 34.5% strikeout rate, rarely walks, and has a .373 BABIP aiding his .293 average, but that beautiful power has been on full display this season. In 184 at-bats with the Mariners, Murphy has slugged 16 home runs while nearly doubling his ISO from .161 in 2018 to .321 this season.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 19, 2019
That average is surely to regress, but if Murphy can continue to get 3-4 starts a week, his power makes him worth taking a look at in standard mixed leagues. And unlike the average, the power is no fluke. You could say his 27.1% HR/FB rate is a tad high, but when you see his 43.2% hard contact rate, 50% flyball rate and 50.8% pull rate, it makes sense.
Delino DeShields, OF, Texas Rangers
A wise man once said, “I just wanna go fast.” I’ll let you decide whether that was Will Farrell in Talledega nights or Delino DeShields as he takes his lead off of first base in Arlington. There are no wrong answers here. Sometimes we venture into the wonderful world of the waiver wire looking for one statistical category specifically. If that category you’re seeking is speed, DeShields would like your attention. DeShields has swiped four bags in his last five games and is now up to 20 in 261 at-bats this season to go along with a .261 average. The Nomar Mazara injury has opened up more playing time and those of you seeking speed in standard or deeper mixed leagues should take a long hard look at adding DeShields
Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle Mariners
Even back when he was a steady fantasy performer years ago, no one ever mistook Kyle Seager for an exciting fantasy commodity, even with the solid stat lines he was putting up annually. With just three more home runs, Seager will reach the 20-homer plateau for the eighth straight season. The problem is, his average has dropped down below .250 for three straight seasons now after sitting between .258 and .278 every season from 2011 to 2016. That includes a .243 average so far in 2019. So why am I recommending Seager? Well, if you look at the last month, you’ll be quite impressed with his .348 average, 10 dingers, 24 RBI, and 19 runs scored. If he’s still available, it’s worth adding him to ride this hot streak until it ends.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Pitchers
Logan Webb, SP, San Francisco Giants
I discussed Logan Webb, or The Spider, as I like to call him earlier this week in my prospects report. That’s a lie, I’ve never once called him The Spider, but I did discuss him a couple of days back. Here’s my blurb on him from the prospects report.
“Webb, my #2 pitcher in the Giants system behind Sean Hjelle, was summoned over the weekend to make his Major League debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks and didn’t disappoint. In five innings of work, Webb allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out seven. Webb features a plus fastball in the low to mid-90’s, a plus slider in the low to mid 80’s with big break, and a changeup which is a distant third pitch for him right now. If he can develop that changeup into a consistent third offering, there’s #3 starter upside here with Webb. And for the rest of 2019, there’s some solid back-end value to be had with the Giants likely giving him some run down the stretch.”
Adrian Houser, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Very quietly, Adrian Houser is putting together a damn fine 2019 campaign. After another strong outing versus St. Louis earlier this week, Houser sits with a 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and just over a strikeout per inning. Narrow it down to the last month and those numbers look even better with a 2.40 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts in 30.0 innings. A big reason for Houser’s success has been his dynamic two-seam sinking fastball which has generated a 54.9% groundball rate so far. Houser is really hitting his stride and has more than pitched his way into mixed-league consideration.
Adrian Houser, Filthy 94mph Back Door Two Seamer. 🤮 pic.twitter.com/4adasJMFFW
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 17, 2019
Andrew Heaney, SP, Los Angeles Angels
With 14 strikeouts in his last outing, Andrew Heaney would like our attention. This time, the attention is for something good and not for more inflammation which has led to two separate IL stints this season, one for his shoulder and one for the elbow. In between all that, Heaney has been his typical self with over a strikeout per inning and an ERA around four. And if you dig closer, you’ll see that Heaney has career-best marks in his SwStr% and Contact% this season. In fact, his 14.2 SwStr% would tie him for 9th in the Majors if he had enough innings to qualify. Who is he tied with, you ask? Oh, just a couple fellows named Chris Sale and Shane Bieber. You probably have heard of them. Heaney needs to be owned in more leagues as a back-end starter with elite strikeout upside.
Photo/Video Credit: San Francisco Giants, Robert Robinson, Rob Friedman, Seattle Mariners, Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and a contributor in the best-selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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