Welcome to week nine of the waiver wire report. Each week I will dig through the f/a pool to find the best potential free agents on waivers (under 50% ownership). Some are good for a quick boost, others could be good long-term additions, and there will be a few speculative adds thrown in there as well.
For the most part I will deal with hitting; my colleague Marc Goldstein will run down streamable pitching option each Sunday along with listing some of the best under-owned pitching options available. I will, though, on occasion, step on his toes if there is a pitcher that deserves some much-needed attention.
Adam Frazier (Pirates)
Available in 71% of CBS, 83% of Y! and 87% of ESPN leagues
Frazier doesn’t have any fantasy relevant speed or power, but man is he raking. He hit .306 in April and is hitting .442 in May. Lefties (.500), righties (.342), home (.383), away (.356) – it doesn’t matter. This month both his run and RBI totals have reached double-digits adding to his gaudy batting average. The only thing holding him back is more playing time, and I can see his bat pushing somebody aside in Pittsburgh soon.
Hunter Renfroe (Padres)
Available in 52% of CBS, 73% of Y! and 87% of ESPN leagues
A .225 batting average is not what we expected from Renfroe – maybe some did. Over the past two weeks he has shown signs of life, batting .295 with four home runs and 10 each for runs and RBIs. He’s drawing walks this month (13.4%), the strikeouts took a minor dip, and he’s crushing lefties (.319) if you need a few encouraging signs.
Once he figures out righties and improves the contact rate some people will be flocking to get him. Maybe take a speculative stab at him now before that happens.
Mike Napoli (Rangers)
Available in 47% of CBS, 61% of Y! and 65% of ESPN leagues
Is Napoli awaking from his slumber. The .198 batting average will cause owners to move along. However, over the past two weeks he is hitting .324 with six home runs (eight this month) and 11 RBIs. It’s a small sample size, but it is encouraging. I don’t know if he is an immediate add, but if the hitting continues through the weekend you may want to consider finding room.
Max Kepler (Twins)
Available in 60% of CBS, 74% of Y! and 78% of ESPN leagues
Kepler is to the twins what Justin Bour is, or I should say was, to the Marlins – he can’t hit lefties. That should not matter much since he is batting .305 against righties. Over the past two week he is hitting .318 with three home runs, nine RBIs, seven runs scored, and he even chipped in a stolen base.
His power and average play both home and away, and the walks, strikeouts, ISO, hard hit and fly ball rates are all trending in the right direction. Kepler could be more than a short-term addition.
Didi Gregorius (Yankees)
Available in 35% of CBS, 63% of Y! and 52% of ESPN leagues
Judging by the preseason ranks not many gave Gregorius much credit for last season’s breakout. He has missed a little time so his season totals are deceiving at first glance. Gregorius batting over .300 in both April and May, both home and away, and against lefties and righties.
He has three home runs this month along with 13 RBIs, 11 runs scored, and a stolen base. That production ranks him just outside the Top-5 at shortstop – yet he is still on waivers in more leagues than he should be (looking at you Yahoo People).
Deep League Additions
Cameron Maybin (Angels)
Available in 68% of CBS, 77% of Y!, and 80% of ESPN leagues
I would not get overly excited by Maybin’s recent hot streak, but it can’t be ignored either. For the season he is batting .238, but over the past two weeks he is hitting .304 with two home runs, four steals, and 12 runs scored.
Maybin has always been a decent source for steals and runs; it’s the batting average that kills his value. If you gamble on him, keep in mind he is crushing lefties (.333) and doing well at home (.279), but righties (.198) and road games (.200) are like kryptonite.
Whit Merrifield (Royals)
Available in 94% of CBS and 98% of Y! and ESPN leagues
I’m listing Merrifield under deep league adds based on the depth of the second base position in standard 12-team leagues, but he could have value in those leagues as well. Over the past two weeks he is batting .357 with three home runs, two steals, six RBIs and seven runs scored. He’s also batting .387 against lefties and .292 on the road. He had no problem at home or against righties last year so expect things to turn around. Those in need of middle infield help could do worse.
Tyler Flowers & Kurt Suzuki (Braves)
Available in over 90% of CBS, Yahoo and ESPN leagues
There seem to be a lot of catcher combinations to take advantage of this year that can be more productive than just one. Flowers is batting .344 for the season, hits both home and away, and does not see time against lefties. Suzuki is batting just .266, but that’s not bad for a catcher, and he handles the lefties on the slate.
Combined you get a .312 batting average with five home runs, 29 RBIs and 16 runs scored. In comparison, J.T. Realmuto is batting .308 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and 17 runs scored. Similar at bats, similar totals, but you can get this Realmuto clone for the price of two waiver wire additions – perfect for daily leagues.
Minor League Stash
Lewis Brinson (Brewers)
Available in 52% of CBS, 90% of Y! and 97% of ESPN leagues
There will soon come a point to where the Brewers will need to make a decision in regards to Brinson. He is currently in Triple-A batting .308 with four home runs, five steals, an 11% walk rate, and a 21% strikeout rate. Outside of the improved walk rate he showed the same dominance in Triple-A last season.
Broxton, Santana and Perez are all batting .300 over the last 30 days so there is no clear path – odd since Milwaukee doesn’t seem like a team that would have many roadblocks for a minor league player on the verge. The Brewers are currently in the thick of things in the NL Central so once somebody does slump (or go down with an injury) Broxton should be the first man called.
Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations
I like to hold myself accountable for past recommendations so I will monitor my hits
and misses from the previous weeks and adjust the players accordingly.
This is the last week Jose Berrios will appear here. His ownership rate is high enough that he should be owned in all competitive leagues. If he is available in your league – Last Call!
Continue to add
- Continue to add Justin Bour, Josh Bell, Domingo Santana, David Peralta, Justin Smoak, Bradley Zimmer, Ben Gamel and Leury Garcia.
- Michael Taylor hit .304 over the past seven days. I’m cautiously optimistic he is coming around.
- Danny Valencia dealt with a wrist injury last week but should be healthy now (we hope).
- Tim Beckham (4-24) and Tommy Joseph (4-22) had a rough week, but it is a minor slump (again, we hope).
- Wilmer Flores is still a deeper league add and is gaining traction in 12-team leagues.
- Amed Rosario, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada (minor league DL) and Franklin Barreto should be stashed now prior to their call up.
Hold – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
- T.J. Rivera is still cold and now losing at bats. I want to say drop him, but maybe give him one more week in deeper formats.
- Kolten Wong is dealing with elbow issues – monitor his health and playing time.
- Asdrubal Cabrera is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment. Continue to hold if possible.
- Jose Reyes, Lucas Duda and Trey Mancini are hitting well enough to own, but not good enough to not be dropped if there are better options on waiver.
- Jayson Werth will not be listed here after this week. He is what he is, a good player to own when he gets hot, and someone to drop when he cools off (like the past two weeks). He’s a frustrating player to own – you’ve been warned.
- Jesus Aguilar will be a quality player to roster one day (I swear), but he needs an injury or slump to gain a path to playing time.
Need more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.