For those competing for a fantasy title, it cannot be overstated how critical each at-bat or inning pitched is at this point in the season. Every hot streak is worthy of jumping on as we are truly living in the short term as the 2022 MLB season comes to a close. For those in head-to-head leagues, the stress takes on an even greater meaning. With that being said, here are some MLB waiver options that help your fantasy teams over the next few weeks. 


MLB Waiver Wire Hitters

Harrison Bader, OF (NYY); FAAB Bid: 1-2%

The Yankees have been waiting for over a month and a half for Bader to be healthy enough to take the field, and Jordan Montgomery’s success has only made it worse. With New York struggling offensively, especially in the outfield, they certainly can use Bader so it is good news that his minor league rehab has begun from a foot injury. While Bader is not at risk of reinjuring himself, pain could be in play so it is unclear how much he will run after stealing 15 bases in 72 games this season. Regular playing time should be plentiful for Bader who had hit .256 with five home runs, 21 RBI, and 35 runs scored prior to his injury and he could be helpful to fantasy squads down the stretch. 

Oscar Gonzalez, OF (CLE); FAAB Bid: 2%

The Guardians are in the midst of fighting for the division title and the outfielder is a large part of that as a consistent part of the middle of Cleveland’s batting order. Over the last seven days, Gonzalez has gone deep four times while driving in nine runs and batting .417. In 70 games this season, Gonzalez is hitting .298 with nine home runs and 35 RBI. While it is a welcome development, I am not sure the home run production will continue at the same pace as Gonzalez’s average launch angle is still just 5.9 degrees along with a barrel rate of 8.4%. At the same time though, he has proven to be a capable offensive contributor. 

Tony Kemp, 2B/OF (OAK); FAAB Bid: 1%

The multi-positional eligibility that Kemp brings to the table is always valuable, but that fact is accentuated even more so as the season draws to a close. In 10 games so far in September, Kemp is hitting .333 with 11 runs scored and nine RBI, and with regular playing time, he certainly can plug a hole in your lineup. 

Bubba Thompson, OF (TEX); FAAB Bid: 3%

I want to make this really simple here. No offense to Thompson but we are only after one thing from the outfielder. Yes, you cannot steal first base but Thompson is hitting .278 in 37 games this season with a .331 OBP, so for our purposes, it certainly is sufficient. The number to focus on is Thompson’s 15 stolen bases and if that is a category in which you need to make a move, he can prove to be a valuable addition. 

Danny Jansen, C (TOR); FAAB Bid: 1-2%

If you need help behind the plate, Jansen is available in 86% of Yahoo leagues and there is value to be found in his bat. Over the last seven days, Jansen has nine hits in 19 at-bats to bring his average for the season up to .247 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI in 56 games. Jansen keeps the strikeouts to a minimum, 15.8%,  and his 15% barrel rate certainly generates some optimism. 

Waiver Wire Pitchers

José Quintana (STL); FAAB Bid: 2%

Quintana has been a dependable option since being traded to St. Louis with a 3.38 ERA in August and then he continued that success with a 1.69 ERA through his first two starts in September. With his next start coming against the Reds, Quintana is in line to continue his success with a favorable matchup. The left-hander has done a good job of limiting the damage allowing just 0.50 home runs per nine innings while posting a 3.34 ERA (3.15 FIP) on the season and striking out about eight batters per nine innings. Opposing hitters have a barrel rate of just 6% against Quintana which also contributes to his success. 

Drew Smyly (CHC); FAAB Bid: 1-2%

Smyly is not going to give you much strikeout upside, 89 in 103.1 innings, but he is not a complete liability and it is hard to argue with the success we are seeing out of the veteran. Since the calendar turned to August, Smyly has posted an ERA of just 2.23 which brings his mark for the season down to 3.48 to go along with a solid WHIP of 1.19. At an 8.6% barrel rate, opposing hitters have not been squaring Smyly up and a hard-hit rate of just 33.4% also reflects that. 

Clarke Schmidt (NYY); FAAB Bid: 1%

Schmidt is not in line for saves, but the Yankees will continue to utilize him in multi-inning, high leverage roles which could bring his totals for the week close to what it would have been if was a starter. For those in leagues with keeper or dynasty implications, Schmidt and his young arm could be a name to know heading into next season after proving himself in multiple roles with New York this year. Schmidt has 47 strikeouts this season in 48.2 innings while picking up five victories to go along with a 2.59 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. In 11.1 innings so far in September, Schmidt has allowed just one run as he moved past his previous health issues that forced him to the Injured List. 

José Leclerc (TEX); FAAB Bid: 3%

With three saves in his last four appearances, at this point, the assumption is that LeClerc is the Rangers’ closer and that puts him on the radar in the ever-continuing quest for saves. LeClerc does have experience in the role previously, and now that he is healthy again it is possible he takes control of the job once again on a more permanent basis. Entering action on Wednesday, LeClerc had five saves and a 3.02 ERA (3.03 xERA) while striking out more than a batter an inning and putting up a WHIP of just 1.06. Of course, LeClerc did pick up the loss on Wednesday, but he once again was used in a high leverage situation. 

Brandon Hughes (CHC); FAAB Bid: 3%

Not only have the Cubs committed to Hughes as their closer, but each of his last two saves has required more than three outs. Hughes is the go-to option in Chicago’s bullpen as it is clear they rely on him in high leverage situations as the left-hander has gotten five outs in each of his last two games. In 51.2 innings this season, Hughes has 62 strikeouts with a 3.31 ERA (3.37 xERA) and 1.03 WHIP as he looks to finish out the season strong. 


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