Fantasy Baseball Waiver Advice: Turning Back The Clock
Dan Malin highlights the players you need to monitor on your waiver wire including some players from yesteryear that are turning back time and producing in 2021!
I sincerely apologize for a more abbreviated version of the waiver wire for today. I will try to overcompensate on Sunday’s waiver wire with some extra plays as well as streaming and offensive targets specifically for next week. But here are some players to look at on waivers for this mid-week edition!
Jesús Aguilar (MIA) There may not be a hotter hitter at the plate at the moment than Aguilar. He has five home runs on the season, but all five have come since last Friday and he has 11 RBI and seven runs scored in that span. Now all this power has come on the road. He still has to play half his games in Marlins Park, but it’s still impressive that he homered in three straight games in San Francisco, another pitcher’s park. He’s getting plenty of playing time, he’s walking as much as he strikes out, and once Jazz Chisholm comes off the IL there will be more RBI opportunities for him.
Buster Posey (SF) After mentioning Carson Kelly in back-to-back articles, we’ll give some love to Posey for his bounce back season after sitting out in 2020. The Giants weren’t expected to be overly competitive this year, but they sit at 16-9 and Posey is slashing .351/.413/.667 so while he likely regresses, these are still useful numbers for any league and he’s hit five home runs so far on the young season and that’s nearly half his total from 2018 and 2019 (12). It’s not much fun when they hit him seventh in the order but the Giants might be without Mike Yastrzemski the rest of this week as he deals with a mild oblique strain so they might need to hit him a little higher in the order this weekend and you’ll gladly take the offensive production he offers if that’s the case.
Enrique Hernandez (BOS) Always a DFS darling given that he’s usually affordable and hitting leadoff, I’m a little surprised Hernandez is about 50% owned in ESPN leagues. From a leadoff hitter you’d like to see better plate discipline because he strikes out 22.3% of the time and doesn’t balance that out with a 4.9% walk rate. He’s only slashing .240/.282/.417 so there isn’t much power there, but he provides plenty of counting stats which makes him a viable addition in roto or head-to-head category leads. He’s hit safely in 10 of his last 13 games and he’s scored 16 runs on the season. It’s hard to expect him to improve the batting average since he’s a career .241 hitter but given the offensive support behind him he could provide 80-90 runs scored and he could get to about 15 home runs.
Albert Pujols (LAA) I can’t believe I’m actually going this route and I’m sure plenty of people will laugh, but if you can stomach the poor batting average… then why not? He doesn’t walk much but he also doesn’t strike out enough to kill you either. He’s purely a deep league target for power since he’s hit four dingers in the last week or so and he’s almost matched his home run total from 2020’s truncated season. In 131 games in 2019 he still hit 23 bombs with 93 RBI. He’s not a guy deserving of an incredibly long leash given his age, but he’s a very cheap source of power available on waivers in plenty of leagues.
Jake Junis (KC) He recently appeared in Ronis’ latest Ronis Bonus due to his hot start. We should acknowledge that he’s still allowing hard contact, but the key to his recent streak is the new cutter. He’s averaging well over a strikeout per inning and he’s a coveted two-start pitcher next week with both matchups at home against the Tribe and White Sox. Obviously some big concerns with the second matchup, but hard to pass up a streaking pitcher with two starts next week.
Michael Kopech (CHW) Many will flock to waivers to grab Kopech after his last start, and I can’t blame them. His prospect pedigree is well documented as is the velocity of his fastball. He’s actually starting to develop and mature as a pitcher knowing he can dial it back a little bit and opt for command over speed. Are there concerns here? Yes. It’s possible the White Sox could move him back to the bullpen at any time considering Tony La Russa’s been pretty adamant about him working out of the pen. And he’s still relatively young (he turns 25 on Friday) and he’s never thrown 140 innings in a season at any level. So load management will be key with him at some point, but how long can they honestly suppress what he brings to the table? 27 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work is phenomenal and surprisingly the White Sox let him toss 87 pitches in his last start. Dylan Cease has struggled this year. He’s failed to make it out of the fifth inning in all four starts and he’s allowed 12 walks in 17.1 innings of work. At a certain point you have to call it like you see it and go with Kopech over Cease in the rotation, right?
Anthony DeSclafani (SF) After a rough outing against the Phillies, DeSclafani rebounded on Monday night with a complete game shutout against the Rockies. He returned nine strikeouts to just one walk for his third quality start in his last five appearances. His next two starts likely come against San Diego so tread carefully there, but DeSclafani’s had a fantastic start to the season as a reclamation project for the Giants.
Framber Valdez (HOU) Valdez had completely fallen off my radar nearly a month into the season, but as someone who contributes to a decent portion of the updates to the MLB Injury Report (updated daily), I caught wind of Valdez being ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabbing. He’s probably a few weeks away but we’ve seen his ownership drop in ESPN and CBS leagues and as soon as we hear of a potential return date we’ll see the ownership spike. So it doesn’t hurt to be ahead of the curve and stash him. It’s more likely he returns at the end of May but given how speedy his recovery has been, a mid-May return isn’t out of the question.
Josh Staumont (KC) How about some new blood to target for closers? It’s only April and the Royals have seen six different players record a save and Staumont got the last three on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday night. Greg Holland pitched the eighth inning in a losing effort on Tuesday, but that could simply be due to the fact Staumont pitched in two of the previous three days. The Royals have surprised a lot of people out of the gate so if this success is real then then we could see plenty of save opportunities for this bullpen. You just hope that one guy sticks as the closer so ride the hot hand and grab Staumont for now.
Kendall Graveman (SEA) I think it’s time for a Mariners closer update and definitely keep an eye out for Joe Gallina’s bullpen report due out later today. Not one of the more stable bullpens in baseball, but the M’s did start the year 11-7 but have lost five of their last seven games. The Mariners carried a two-run lead into the eighth inning on Wednesday night before Rafael Montero allowed four runs and the Astros took home a win. Kenyan Middleton pitched parts of the seventh inning and Graveman did not appear in Wednesday’s game because he pitched the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game. Truth be told, this is a messy bullpen situation that I’m personally avoiding. But in deeper leagues where Middleton and Graveman (and maybe even Misiewicz) are available this is one that’s worth mentioning. I’m leaning Graveman but it’s also possible the M’s stick with their guy in Montero. The last time we thought there was a changing-of-the-guard in this bullpen, they ultimately went right back to Montero.
Victor González (LAD) Shoutout to Joe Gallina for putting this guy on my radar, but I think he’s worth mentioning for deeper leagues that incorporate holds. The Dodgers bullpen has taken a hit as they’ve lost Corey Knebel for a couple months and on top of that David Price just hit the IL as well. So while the preferred set up man to grab is Blake Treinen (mentioned in this article on Sunday), Gonzalez isn’t an awful look in deeper leagues. He’s collected eight holds and a save on the season so they aren’t afraid to bring him in during high leverage situations. He’s simply a two-pitch pitcher with a plus-fastball and a decent slider. My big concern are the walks as he’s allowed four free passes in his last 3.2 innings of work so he’s asking for trouble right now. He hasn’t given up a ton of hard contact so in deeper saves + holds leagues he’s worth a look.