As we near the end of matchup number two, here are some players on the fantasy baseball waiver wire that you should consider targeting. They are organized here as deep and shallow league targets. The players you choose to add and drop from your team should largely depend on your league size, roster construction, and team need.
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Deep League Waiver Wire Targets
MIA 1B Garrett Cooper
Yes, Garrett Cooper has been day-to-day with a leg injury, but it should not keep him out long. You might even be able to get him cheaper now!
Cooper already has three homers on the season and looks like he could easily surpass his offseason projections. He has a 48.3% hard hit rate and a 44.8% FB rate, which have likely combined to result in the early home run output.
The Marlins first baseman has increased his launch angle as well, which supports the power increase.
The pace of home runs may slow down, and his batting average may come down as his BABIP levels out, but the swing adjustments make him an interesting waiver wire target in deep leagues for those needing sneaky power.
PIT 1B Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana has clearly benefitted from the lack of a shift, with a 53% pull rate and a .250 AVG. He was a major shift victim for years, but no more!
The result has been a return to some normalcy for the veteran. Do not be too worried about the .294 BABIP (Santana’s career BABIP is .258) – without the shift, BABIPs are expected to increase.
Santana is a better waiver wire target in points leagues or leagues that value OBP than in traditional roto or categories leagues, and he should only get better without the shift.
WAS OF Alex Call
As of this writing, Alex Call has appeared in nine of 11 games for the Nationals and has been impressive. In that time, he had a homer, seven runs, seven RBIs, and a .290 AVG.
The outfielder has walked more than he has struck out and has the seventh-lowest chase rate among qualified hitters in baseball.
Not only that, he has the 21st-highest contact rate and sixth-lowest swinging strike rate. His discipline should keep him in the lineup and makes him a great deep league waiver wire target, especially in points leagues.
CIN SP Graham Ashcraft
In 2022, Graham Ashcraft finished with six strikeouts per nine innings. In two starts in 2023, he has a 9 K/9 rate and a 58.8% GB rate. His ERA sits at 2.08 after tilts with the Pirates and Braves.
Ashcraft either has dropped his changeup from his arsenal or has yet to throw it, and has instead leaned on his cutter and slider in his first two starts. Both pitches have a .150 batting average against or better, and a .192 xBAA or better.
Out of a combined 159 cutters and sliders thrown, batters have whiffed a total of 49.5% of the time against Ashcraft.
The Reds pitcher has the second-best overall Stuff+ in the league, with the second-highest Stuff+ on both his cutter and slider.
He is widely available on waivers and is a must-add across the board.
Shallow League Waiver Wire Targets
ChC SS Nico Hoerner
Despite not having a single barrel yet, Nico Hoerner makes for an excellent target in shallow leagues for those that need steals, runs, and batting average.
Hoener already has four steals, a fifth of his 2022 total. His .341 AVG is buoyed by a .389 BABIP, but the shortstop is hitting the ball harder than ever (38.9% HH), and has a career high line drive rate (25%), both of which suggest a high BABIP is sustainable.
He might not surpass 10 home runs, but a .300 AVG, 20+ steals, and 74+ runs are not out of the question.
Go get him now if he is on your waiver wire.
MIL OF Garrett Mitchell
Garrett Mitchell’s 33.3% K rate makes his .300 AVG unsustainable, but the early returns on his hard contact data make him an enticing waiver wire target anyway.
He has a 15.8% barrel rate with a 52.6% HH rate, resulting in three homers in 33 plate appearances.
The outfielder is also driving the ball extremely well, and has been exceptional early on at avoiding ground balls.
If he can continue hitting the ball hard and avoiding ground ball outs, Mitchell should continue to earn a starting role in the Milwaukee outfield and keep producing solid fantasy stats.
ChC SP Justin Steele
Justin Steele should be rostered across the board in every type of league and in every size league. He has benefitted from some early luck – .226 BABIP – but he has performed well otherwise.
His BB/9 is already down marginally from last season, and he is stranding runners at a 91.7% clip, while also inducing a career best 54.8% GB rate.
Steele has faced Texas and Milwaukee to start the season, both of which are in the top half of all MLB teams in runs scored. The Cubs pitcher allowed just one earned run in 11 IP against them.
He has done so well by leaning on the combination of his fastball and slider, allowing just six hits (all on his fastball) in a combined 169 pitches thrown.
He should be added from waivers immediately if he is available in your league.