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
Catchers – Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Luis Campusano – San Diego Padres (FAAB – 1-2.5%) – It would appear that Gary Sanchez has turned back into a pumpkin… Is anyone surprised? While he has continued to hit for some power, he’s hitting .207 with a .284 OBP with San Diego. Enter Compusano, who was recently activated from the IL. The 24-year old is hitting .298 with 2 HR over 49 PA. It’s easy to forget that he hit .298 with 14 HR in 358 PA at Triple-A last season. He’s showing an improved approach (9.9% SwStr%), and thus far he’s showing improvement across the board (a 14.29% Whiff% against offspeed pitches is his worst mark). Thus far in ’23 all of his success has come against fastballs (.409 AVG), which is something to watch. There is still too much upside to ignore, putting him on radars even in one-catcher formats. In two-catcher formats, it would be wise to increase this bid by 5%. The only reason it isn’t higher is Sanchez’presence and potential to steal AB.
Infielders – Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Marco Luciano – San Francisco Giants (FAAB – 1%) – Luciano is the latest youngster to arrive in the Majors. While it’s easy to get excited, there are a few significant warnings for fantasy owners. First, keep in mind that he only has 27 PA at Triple-A, so he hasn’t been exposed to much upper-level pitching. Second, and maybe more important, he carried a 29.8% strikeout rate in 242 PA at Double-A this season. While he does draw a lot of walks, his 12.9% SwStr% ballooned to 17.3% in his brief Triple-A stint. While he has a little bit of pop, is that really enough for a current investment? Obviously, it’s different for keeper leagues (there’s a lot of long-term value), but he’s young, inexperienced at the upper levels and strikeout prone. That’s a scary combination.
- Luis Rengifo – Los Angeles Angels (FAAB – $0) – It feels like Rengifo has been around for a while, doesn’t it? Still just 26 years old, Rengifo has felt like a consistent disappointment since debuting in 2019. However, in 63 PA in July he’s hitting .298 with 5 HR. A 27.8% HR/FB doesn’t seem repeatable, and his overall average home run of 388 feet doesn’t make one believe. We have a long enough track record to realize this isn’t something to fully buy into. Take advantage while he’s hot, but don’t become infatuated.
- Carlos Santana – Milwaukee Brewers (FAAB – 1-2%) – Santana was dealt from the Pirates to the Brewers. The 37-year-old has been his normal, dependable self in 2023. Over 393 PA for the Pirates, he was hitting .235 with 12 HR and 53 RBI. It will be interesting to see the Brewers’ plan once Rowdy Tellez returns from the IL. Santana owns a better SLG against RHP (.423) than against LHP (.380), so a platoon doesn’t make sense. Instead, Santana should get the chance with a better supporting cast. We know what he is, but he’s worth adding for it.
Outfielders – Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Will Benson – Cincinnati Reds (FAAB – 2-3%) – With all of the Reds callups, Benson is somewhat flying under the radar. The 25-year-old is hitting .292 with 7 HR over 196 PA and has shown a great ability to draw a walk (14.4%). Sure the strikeouts are high (28.2%) and his BABIP is due for a regression (.376)… The bigger issue is he appears to be nothing more than a platoon player. He’s had just 15 AB against southpaws, hitting .067 against them. While he should be on the favorable side, there are going to be weeks where he is completely unusable. That’s not ideal. If he was a full-time player the value would be significantly greater, so keep that in mind. As is, and with a regression likely, it makes sense to be cautious in your bidding with ’23 in mind.
- Ronny Mauricio – New York Mets (FAAB – 5%) – When the Mets dealt David Robertson it sent a signal that they were ready to sell. Among those likely to be traded now are Mark Canha and Tommy Pham. If both are dealt as expected, a need in the outfield would suddenly exist. Why not take a look at a youngster to see if he is a part of your future plans? Mauricio is hitting .296 with 16 HR and 15 SB over 397 PA at Triple-A this season. His strikeout rate is actually down (17.4%), though he continues to struggle to draw walks (5.5%). Still, that too is up from his time at Double-A in ’22 (4.4%). He’s also added 25 doubles and 2 triples. It’s possible that it is Jeff McNeil that goes out to the outfield, leaving Mauricio to man second base. Either way, a sell-off should lead to an opportunity. The savvy owner will pounce preemptively before it’s too late. The 5% bid is definitely aggressive, and it would be understandable to go under that in redraft formats. That said, finding this type of upside isn’t easy.
Starting Pitchers – Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Graham Ashcraft – Cincinnati Reds (FAAB – 1%) – I had high hopes for Ashcraft in the preseason. Unfortunately, he fell flat in May and June. July has been a different story, with a 2.31 ERA over 23.1 IP. The difference has been the long ball, as he was strong in April (0.30 HR/9) and July (0.77) but awful in the middle (1.91 and 3.12 in the middle months). It shouldn’t be surprising, but his groundball rate has been north of 50% in both months where he’s thrived. While we wouldn’t want to pay a premium to gamble on him finding consistency, there’s enough upside to own him.
- Lance Lynn – Los Angeles Dodgers (FAAB – $0) – He’s never going to be a great option, but Lynn’s problem has been home runs in ’23 (2.11 HR/9). We’d love to say that getting out of Chicago will help solve that, but he’s allowed 19 HR on the road (only 9 at home). Things should improve, but he’s still not a pitcher we’d recommend buying.
- Jose Quintana – New York Mets (FAAB – $0) – Quintana finally made his ’23 debut, and has looked solid thus far. Over 11.0 IP he owns a 3.27 ERA, lacking strikeouts (6.55 K/9) but showing good control (2.45 BB/9). Of course, the home run ball will eventually bite him, and the lack of strikeouts will also catch up to him. More interesting, can we say for sure he’ll be playing in New York this time next week? His ceiling is low, making him more of a streaming option,
Relief Pitchers – Waiver Wire/FAAB Options:
- Adbert Alzolay – Chicago Cubs (FAAB – 10-12.5%) – The market has been slow to react to Alzolay, likely due to a lack of save chances. He’s 11-for-12 in saves this season, to go along with a 2.40 ERA and 10.20 K/9. His 14.4% SwStr% is impressive and he’s shown control (1.40 BB/9, after a 1.35 last season) and enough groundballs (45.9%). With 4 SV since July 21, the market should start reacting extremely quickly now. You’ve lost your chance to buy cheap, but if you need saves he’s worth the premium.
- Brooks Raley (FAAB – 1-2%) – New York Mets – Raley got the save chance after the David Robertson trade. Will he be “the guy” though? It’ll likely be a committee, including Adam Ottavino. Plus, if the Mets somehow hang around the chatter is growing that Edwin Diaz could return. There’s too much uncertainty to bid high here.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Savant
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