We would all love to win our league on Draft Day, but that’s simply not possible. The fantasy baseball waiver wire is a necessary tool for fortifying your roster. How much FAAB should you be willing to spend on some of the hot adds? Here’s a look at some of the players, generally owned in 50% or less of leagues, who may be worth considering.
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Fantasy Baseball FAAB Recommendations
Andrew Abbott – Cincinnati Reds
Abbott has had a meteoric rise in 2023:
- Double-A – 15.2 IP, 1.15 ERA, 20.68 K/9, 1.72 BB/9
- Triple-A – 38.1 IP, 3.05 ERA, 12.68 K/9, 3.29 BB/9
- Majors – 6.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 9.00 K/9, 6.00 BB/9
He did struggle with home runs at Triple-A (1.88 HR/9), and that will be something to keep a close eye on. Opposing hitters do need to hit the ball if they are going to do damage, and Abbott has quickly shown an ability to miss bats. Throw in being left-handed and with Graham Ashcraft hitting the IL, and there should be ample opportunity.
Abbott threw 128.0 IP last season and is currently at 60.0 in 2023. That should leave nearly 100.0 innings to work with, so an innings limit also isn’t a concern. It all comes together for a pitcher who could prove to be a difference-maker. All young starters carry risk, but sometimes you have to just roll the dice.
FAAB – 15-20% (Abbott’s strikeout stuff carries enough upside to bid big)
Infielders – Additional Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Mitch Garver – Texas Rangers (FAAB – $0) – No longer holding catcher eligibility, that’s going to limit the potential value Garver holds. A career .250 hitter with no speed, his value lies solely in his ability to hit the ball over the fence. He continues to prove capable of that (26 HR over 431 AB in the past three years). The problem is that he’s a one-trick pony who often misses significant time. Cash in while you can, but you can’t throw money around to get him.
- Darick Hall – Philadelphia Phillies (FAAB – 2%) – Hall is closing in on his return from the IL, as he’s 27 AB into his rehab assignment. He’s shown his power at the highest level, with 9 HR over 142 PA in ’22. Philadelphia’s first basemen have combined to rank 18th in OPS (.722), including just 7 HR. There’s little doubt that the opportunity will be there, and while he likely won’t hit for a strong AVG there’s value in a strong lineup. Don’t be afraid to big $20-25 in a $1,000 FAAB.
Outfielders – Additional Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Will Brennan – Cleveland Guardians (FAAB – $0) – Since May 29 Brennan has hits in eight out of nine games, going 16-35 with 2 HR and 1 SB. Overall he’s hitting .267 with 4 HR and 5 SB over 155 PA. Of course, he hasn’t shown significant power potential, with an 86.5 mph average Exit Velocity. He also has shown a propensity to chase far too many pitches out of the strike zone (42.9% O-Swing%). He’s the type of player to use while he’s hot, but not to grow attached to.
- Jake McCarthy – Arizona Diamondbacks (FAAB – 3-4%) – Welcome back to the Majors Mr. McCarthy! He’s put his stolen base ability on full display, with 10 SB over 40 PA. He’s hitting .184 overall this season, but he brings a strong approach and there should be an improvement in his luck (.215 BABIP). Better days are ahead, and with his speed, he should continue to be a significant fantasy asset. While there’s risk, I wouldn’t be scared to bid as much as $50 in $1,000 FAAB leagues.
- Joey Wiemer – Milwaukee Brewers (FAAB – 1%) – Wiemer has 8 HR and 9 SB over 205 PA this season and with 12 doubles you would think that there is value. However his average home run distance of 403 feet doesn’t seem appealing, and his approach is subpar (15.5% SwStr%). You have to wonder if ultimately a trip back to the minors is going to come, and the risk outweighs the reward (though there is value in the short-term).
Pitchers – Additional Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Reese Olson – Detroit Tigers (FAAB – 0-1%) – Olson has been terrific over his first 10.0 IP, with an 8.10 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, and 44.4% groundball rate. He struggled with his control at Triple-A prior to his recall (5.40 BB/9 in 36.2 IP). He’s also never shown that he’s an extreme groundball artist. While he may have long-term appeal (the bid would be significantly higher in dynasty formats), he’s a match-up play currently.
- Justin Lawrence – Colorado Rockies (FAAB – 5-7.5%) – While there was a stumble recently, Lawrence appears primed to assume the full-time closer’s role in Colorado. He’s not your prototypical closer (9.2% SwStr%), but he does induce groundballs (52.9%), and that will help him thrive in Coors Field. Obviously, there’s risk, but saves are saves and you are always going to need to pay for them.
- Mark Leiter Jr. – Chicago Cubs (FAAB – 2.5%) – Leiter is a little different than Lawrence, because he’s not the closer yet. Instead, you are trying to preemptively buy, and that could save you FAAB dollars in the end. Despite his 3.33 ERA, Leiter has shown elite strikeout stuff (14.05 K/9, courtesy of a 15.4% SwStr%). He’s throwing his split-finger fastball more (35.0%), and that’s likely led to the improvement. Don’t be surprised if he’s closing before long.
- AJ Smith-Shawver – Atlanta Braves (FAAB – 1-2%) – Smith-Shawver looked good in his first MLB start. Over 5.1 IP he allowed 2 R (0 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 2. While Washington isn’t a great offense, it was still impressive. His lack of groundball stuff could ultimately cost him, as he was consistently just over 30% in the minor leagues. That risk, as well as a ticket back to the minors, limits the FAAB bid for those outside of dynasty leagues.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, MILB.com, MLB.com