Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Don’t Look Back Angrily
Did you enjoy the mini half-week break to not create an alignment? Even though we all love this game, we all need a break. Especially when that break includes an All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, Future’s Game, and MLB Draft. Not a bad “break” from setting up some fantastic baseball lineups. Now, the theme of this week’s Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire article is forgetting the past. Or as Noel Gallagher from Oasis would say, “Don’t look back in anger.” It’s a valuable life lesson and something to keep in mind for fantasy baseball as well. Several of the players below have burned fantastic managers in the past, some just a month or two ago. Alright, let’s go to an Oasis for a minute, then get down to business!
PS – Hey, Noel and Liam, if you’re reading this I’ll give you free access to my Patreon if you get together for one last tour. I know you despise yourself, but think about it.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire
Calls for prospects: Jarred Kelenic (OF – SEA) & Jarren Duran (OF – BOS)
If either of these two is available in one of your fantastic leagues, change that immediately. Look, I know Jarred Kelenic’s surface stats were atrocious on his first stint in MLB, but forget about it all. Many of Kelenic’s metrics were around the league average, but the successes just weren’t diminishing. In Triple-A, however, Kelenic was doing his usual damage, slicing .320 / .392 / .624 with nine doubles, nine homers and six interceptions in 30 games. He’s still my No.1 dynasty prospect with a 25 + / 20 + hike and he’s got to be on the list after being promoted to Seattle.
Jarren Duran must also be registered in all 12+ team leagues. After undergoing a mechanical change that altered his swing, Duran has been a very different hitter over the past 12 months, making Worcester his own personal launching pad. In 46 Triple-A games this season, Duran has hit 15 home runs for a pair with 12 interceptions and a .270 / .365 / .561 slash line. In 199 games leading up to 2021, Duran has amassed just eight home runs. It’s not just a normal Triple-A offensive breakthrough, either. If you’ve seen a video of Duran hitting moon shots or seeing the upper body strength he has now, you know his newfound power is legitimate. It remains to be seen where he will fit in the roster (probably around 7th), but Duran’s power / speed mix makes him very appealing for fantastic purposes.
Jarren. Duran. 😱
– MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 22, 2021
If you only have room to add one, I would go with Kelenic. The Red Sox have a lot of options that can play on the pitch, so I imagine them sitting Duran against a tough southpaw every now and then.
The Rookies: Alex Kirilloff (OF / 1B – MIN) & Andrew Vaughn (OF / 1B – CHW)
Both Alex Kirilloff and Andrew Vaughn have been through what many would consider “normal” rookie seasons. There have been ups and downs, periods of adjustment and brilliant flashes. And some of those flashes have arrived recently, hence their inclusion in this week’s article. In July, Kirilloff cut .289 / .372 / .500 with two doubles, two homers, seven runs batted in and seven runs scored in 43 appearances at home plate. His quality of contact measurements also remained impressive throughout the season. Kirilloff currently has a 13.1% barrel rate (85th percentile), hard hit rate of 43.1% (62nd), average exit speed of 90.7 mph (74th), 0.545 xSLG (95th) and a .464 xwOBACON with a 95th percentile xBA. Basically, Kirilloff is performing exactly as expected, showing off his ability to strike for both power and a good average.
– White Sox Daily (@dailywhitesox) July 11, 2021
Vaughn’s rookie season has been a bit more eventful. He doesn’t quite have the same level of metrics as Vaughn, and his meltdowns have been deeper and more prolonged. However, Vaughn has really turned it on over the past few weeks. After a 0/2 game on June 27, Vaughn’s average stood at 0.222. But since then, Vaughn has reached 0.370 with four home runs, nine RBIs and 10 runs in 51 home plate appearances. As with Kirilloff, Vaughn comes across as a plus-hit, plus a power bat, and it’s starting to show up over the last few weeks. He must be registered in many other leagues.
Jed Lowrie (2B – OAK)
Jed Lowrie is another player who has burned his fantastic managers in the past, usually through injury. However, the 37-year-old second baseman is preparing for another great season at home, returning to 2017-18, his last two healthy seasons. In 338 home plate appearances, Lowrie was down 0.269 / 0.340 / 0.436 with 11 home runs, 45 RBIs and 41 runs scored. He was also on a tear in July, cutting .395 / .422 / .744 with four home runs in 45 home plate appearances. There’s nothing flashy about Lowrie, but as long as he’s healthy he’s proven to be a solid bat at second base. At the very least, you can get over the hot streak.
Kolten Wong (2B – MIL)
It would be Wong of you not to take Kolton Wong for now if he’s available in your league. A calf injury sidelined Wong for about two weeks, but he made his comeback on Friday night, recording three hits in first place. Very quietly, Wong has had a very productive season here in 2021. In 54 games, Wong has reduced by 0.299 / 0.352 / 0.488 with seven home runs, six interceptions, 21 RBIs and 32 runs scored. For anyone who likes to extrapolate, it’s a full season pace of 0.299 / 96/21/63/18. What kind of production from 2nd base? Damn hot! If you see this and aren’t going to add Wong, I don’t know what to tell you.
JD Davis (3B / OF – NYM)
Another player returning from an injury that deserves your attention is JD Davis. A middle finger sprain (driving in New York will cause you to) caused Davis to miss more than two months of action, but before the injury, Davis was raking in. In 15 games, JDD has reduced by 0.381 / 0.469 0.595 with three doubles and two homers in 49 AP. The 2020 season didn’t go as planned for Davis, but don’t forget how productive he was in 2019 when he had a .307 / .369 / .527 line with 22 homers in 453 home plate appearances. .
Apart from his higher strikeout rate, Davis’ quality of contact measurements has been very good this season. It currently sports a 19.2% barrel rate, an average exit speed of 92.9 mph, 0.576 xSLG, 0.625 xwOBACON, and a hard hit rate of 50%. Yes, that’s an extremely small sample size, but Davis’ performance earlier in the season coupled with the fact that he will likely start regularly for the Mets who are dying for an offensive spark right now (29th in points
Oscar Mercado (DE – CLE)
I’m sure some of you have a bitter taste in your mouth because of the way Oscar Mercado burned those who entered him in 2020 and used a top 150 pick on him. The 26-year-old outfielder reduced a putrid .128 / .174 / .174 with just one homerun and three interceptions in 93 appearances at home plate. His leash was strangely short, however, especially after posting a .269 / 15/15 line in 115 games the previous season.
Cleveland, hungry for offscreen production, recalled Mercado on June 28. After a 0/9 start, Mercado picked it up with nine hits in his last 27 at-bat, along with one homerun and two interceptions. He’ll likely be seated against a tough right-hander, but Mercado looks to be back as a regular starter for Cleveland, and his power / speed mix has earned him a detour in the deeper leagues.
Tanner Houck (SP – BOS)
He is back! Right in time too, as the Red Sox rotation could really use a spark right now. Houck returned Friday night, recording a save in three innings and allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out three. And let me tell you, Houck looked sharp. This has been the case for almost all of his brief Major League career. In 30.1 innings combined between 2020 and 2021, Houck recorded a 1.78 ERA, a WHIP of 1.06 and a strikeout rate of 30.3%. His slider has been almost untouchable during his professional career with just two hits allowed in 30 AB with a puff rate above 40% each season. The mid-90s lead isn’t bad either, as you can see below.
Tanner Houck, Filthy Sinkers. 😷 pic.twitter.com/mN1eknGGgT
– Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 17, 2021
It looks like Houck will join the rotation on July 23 against Toronto and has a good chance of staying there due to the struggles of Garret richards which has not recorded a quality start since June 1st. Houck’s strikeout makes him an intriguing target for the waiver wire right now and he could be in the top 50 SP ROS if he can keep his ratios under control.
Ranger Suarez (RP – PHI)
Several teams have had a revolving door to their closest position in 2021, and the Philadelphia Phillies are one of them. Phillie’s last reliever to get a shot to close games is 25-year-old southpaw Ranger Suarez. Suarez has started very well this season with a 0.75 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and a 27.7% strikeout rate in 36 innings. It currently ranks in the 92nd percentile or better in barrel rate, exit speed, xBA, xSLG, wOBA, xwOBA, xwOBACON, hard hit rate, and xERA.
Suarez doesn’t have an elite speed (93.5mph on 4SFB), but mixes up his throws well and has a puff rate of over 40% on his slider and shift. Hitters also only average .111 on his lead, which he throws 46.2 percent of the time. Will he keep the role for the rest of the season? Who knows. But Suarez has the role right now (converted the last two saves for PHI) and throws really well. He must be registered in all leagues.
Media credit: Rob Friedman, White Sox Daily, MLB Pipeline, Baseball Savant
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