With the MLB Trade Deadline in the rearview we can turn our attention toward the home stretch and the fantasy baseball playoffs. Players have found new teams, prospects have been dealt, and the New York Mets have reportedly already mailed it in on the 2024 MLB season with the hope of being competitive again in 2025. Once again, the fantasy baseball waiver wire will feature some younger players worth grabbing as we either look to better our season-long lineups and/or just find a bit of depth. Don’t forget to check out everything else we have to offer including the latest MLB Injury Report, the Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report, and the Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire article that was published earlier in the week if you’re looking to expand your free agent pool a little bit. Here are this week’s top fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups – Hitters
Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, Baltimore Orioles; FAAB Bid: 7-8%
Mountcastle kicks off the waiver wire this week. He’s no stranger to fantasy baseball managers as he notched 55 total home runs between 2021 and 2022. Mountcastle has missed some time this year as he’s only played in 79 games and only has 13 ding dongs on the season. However, since July 17th he’s slashing .449/.491/.694 with six extra base hits, 11 runs scored, and nine RBI in that span. He has four multi-hit games since Monday so definitely get him while you can if he’s available in shallower leagues.
Matt Wallner, OF, Minnesota Twins; FAAB Bid: 5%
Like clockwork, Alex Kirilloff has ended up on the IL again. Wallner’s been crushing the ball when he’s made contact as he has five home runs since July 25th. He touts a .375 on-base percentage and a .534 slugging percentage, but he does strike out 29.5% of the time. The power he’s flashed the last two weeks is enough to force my hand in picking him up, especially if you’re in a league that starts five outfielders.
Tyler O’Neill, OF, St. Louis Cardinals; FAAB Bid: 4-5%
It hasn’t been a banner year for O’Neill. The past few seasons he’s been a player that was inquired about quite often in the MLB Seasonal Discord. This year? Not so much. He’s been hurt and has only played in 42 games. Currently he is riding a seven-game hitting streak and collected home runs on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since returning to the lineup on July 20th he’s slashing .304/.396/.522 with 14 hits, the previously mentioned pair of home runs, six runs scored, and six RBI. Keep an eye on him in case we see a semblance of power from two years ago where he hit 34 home runs in 138 games.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Chicago Cubs; FAAB Bid: 3-4%
Candelario has played in four games for the Cubs and already has nine hits, three of which have been doubles. At this point, the only knock on Candelario with the Cubbies is that he’s hit in the bottom half of the order, but he can still collect plenty of extra base hits and should be considered in points leagues where he’s played like a top 15 hitter all year.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Los Angeles Angels; FAAB Bid: 2-3%
Fun fact about Randal Grichuk: he was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2009 MLB Draft when the Halos had back-to-back compensatory picks with the 24th and 25th selections. Grichuk didn’t pan out with the Angels back then, but the player they took after him has done okay. His name is Mike Trout. You may have heard of him. But Grichuk was traded, alongside C.J. Cron, from the Colorado Rockies to the Angels last weekend. In five games he has five hits including a home run in his debut with the team against the Boston Red Sox earlier this week. Obviously Grichuk and Cron are getting a ballpark downgrade being traded out of Colorado but playing time is abundant for Grichuk.
Curtis Mead, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays; FAAB Bid: 1-2%
Mead got the call to the show yesterday and came in to pinch hit in the eighth inning of Friday’s win against the Tigers.
Mead profiles as a decent hitter and fits the profile of a young, promising prospect that could be a popular waiver wire commodity this weekend. He slashes .291/.379/.453 at Triple-A this season with only three home runs in 46 games. He did hit 13 home runs in 76 games across two levels of minor league ball last year. Overall, he makes quality contact and could contribute to the Rays lineup even if he’s mostly at the bottom of the order.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups – Pitchers
Andres Munoz, Seattle Mariners; FAAB Bid: 6%
With Paul Sewald getting traded earlier in the week, Munoz has been a big winner. He collected back-to-back saves on Wednesday and Thursday before getting the night off on Friday where Matt Brash got the save. Munoz is also great for ratio numbers as well consider he has 39 strikeouts and 11 walks in 26.2 innings of work and he’s only allowed one home run all season long. He’s only available in shallow leagues but with some bullpens still in flux, Munoz does seem to be Seattle’s preferred option in the ninth inning.
Steven Matz, St. Louis Cardinals; FAAB Bid: 4%
Matz had a pretty awful start to the 2023 MLB season, but has bounced back since being brought back into the rotation after working long relief out of the bullpen for a stretch. In his last five starts he has a 1.69 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run to score in his last 13 innings of work, so I hope I’m not jinxing him because he gets a good matchup on Saturday at home against the Colorado Rockies who recently dealt some of their best offensive weapons. Matz’s revival has led to back-to-back quality starts heading into this weekend and he’s lined up to take on the Kansas City Royals next weekend.
Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox; FAAB Bid: 2-3%
After a couple months of long relief, Pivetta got his first start since mid-May against the Mariners on Monday. He ended up taking the loss but looked pretty good all things considered. He worked 7.1 innings and recorded ten strikeouts, but he did surrender a pair of home runs. It’s likely he starts Sunday to close out the series against the Toronto Blue Jays and he could take the mound on Friday against the Detroit Tigers. If the strikeout upside that he’s had most of his career flashes on Sunday, I’d look to grab him ahead of next week’s start.
Yusei Kikuchi, Toronto Blue Jays; FAAB Bid: 2-3%
With the Blue Jays currently running with a six-man rotation, we likely won’t see too many of them getting two starts going forward. Kikuchi touts a 9.29 K/9. That’s low to some fantasy analysts, but to me if you can average a strikeout per inning you’re doing just fine in my books. He also keeps the ball in the ballpark pretty well and doesn’t allow too many free passes. He has back-to-back quality starts and he’s yielded just three earned runs in his last 22 innings of work. He’ll get a road start next week against the Cleveland Guardians.
Mike Clevinger, Chicago White Sox; FAAB Bid: 1-2%
I don’t have too many nice things to say about Mike Clevinger because, by all accounts, he sounds like a terrible human being. So, if your moral compass detracts you from rostering him in fantasy baseball, I wouldn’t blame you at all. He recently returned to the rotation for a pair of starts against the Cleveland Guardians collecting a win and a loss while only lasting five innings in each start. As the schedule currently shows, he has a start next week against the New York Yankees. Then he draws the crosstown Chicago Cubs the following week. Then it looks like he gets two starts against the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. Not the worst matchups on the horizon if we’re being objective.
Carlos Hernandez, Kansas City Royals; FAAB Bid: 1%
I felt better about Hernandez heading into Friday night but overall he’s still a good option in saves + holds leagues. Hernandez got a save on Sunday and then a win on Tuesday and he seemed in line to work the ninth inning for the Royals after the team trade Scott Barlow. However, Hernandez ended up working the seventh inning on Friday which was odd because it looked like, at the worst, he’d appear in the eighth inning. Austin Cox ended up getting the save. It’s possible the Royals go with a committee approach, and that’s the thing, we’re discussing the Royals bullpen. Saves won’t be abundant but I do think Hernandez is still viable if he’s getting holds and averaging over a strikeout per inning.