Monday kicked off another week of the marathon that is the 2023 fantasy baseball season. Most of the headlines surrounding Major League Baseball were in regard to Wander Franco being placed on the Restricted List by the Tampa Bay Rays. I won’t dive into the inappropriate nature of why he was placed on the Restricted List because by now, we all know what’s going on with that investigation. But there is a spot in that lineup for more plate appearances and playing time. I do offer up a familiar face from the Tampa Bay Rays down below, but we’ll likely have a better idea of who might stick in that lineup, as well as at shortstop, in the coming days. As always, be sure to check out Saturday’s Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire piece to cast a wider net when building your player pool for free agent pickups.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups – Hitters
About a week ago, Gelof made a previous version of the fantasy baseball waiver wire article. Since that article, Gelof hasn’t quite cooled off. In fact, he’s been outstanding as he’s hit three home runs and a trio of doubles since last Wednesday. Unfortunately, the Oakland Athletics can’t put anybody else on base for him. He’s hit eight home runs since July 22nd and seven of them have been solo shots. His .635 SLG likely won’t hold up but he’s getting regular playing time and hitting toward the top of the lineup.
Jose Siri, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Here’s a player that’s been written up ad nauseam in this column already this year. He’s only hitting .220 on the year but he has 23 home runs and 49 RBI. With everything going on with Wander Franco, this might help solve Siri’s playing time issue. At the very least, it may allow him to hit higher in the lineup as we saw Monday night when he hit fifth against the San Francisco Giants, collecting a pair of hits and one RBI. He’s a bit of a hazard in points leagues with a 37.2% strikeout clip but let’s see what he can do hitting in a better part of the lineup.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Hayes is always at risk of getting hurt. Heck, even this year he pretty much missed all of July with the exception of one game. Gone is the luster and flair of what he did upon initial callup three years ago as a top prospect. But over the last week we can’t deny that he’s playing incredibly well. Since last Tuesday, he has 11 hits including three home runs, a triple, and two doubles. In that span he also has 11 RBI. Sure, it’s an incredibly small sample size but he’s still only 26 years old and was an elite prospect when he made his way to the big leagues. He likely costs you nothing and you can cut him if he cools off or gets hurt.
Carpenter has been a very productive player for the Tigers this year. Entering Monday he had only appeared in 75 games but did have 15 home runs and 41 RBI. Moreover, he also held on to a ten-game hitting streak entering Monday’s action and the playing time has seen a steady uptick. He won’t do much on the basepath for your fantasy baseball lineup, but he had a hell of a weekend against the Boston Red Sox and has done a lot to increase his stock in the free agent pool.
Jake Burger, 3B, Miami Marlins
Burger has been hitting the ball so well for Miami since he was acquired at the MLB Trade Deadline nearly two weeks ago. Entering Monday’s series against the Houston Astros, Burger was hitting .317 with Miami and he extended his hit streak to six games since joining the fish. He hasn’t flashed a ton of power since the ballpark shift, but he still possesses some pop in his bat evidenced by the 25 home runs he had prior to being dealt.
Butler is behind Gelof in the prospect rankings for the Oakland Athletics, but he’s still being given an opportunity to play. He went 2-for-12 over the weekend but both hits were doubles. He collected another hit on Monday and scored a run as well. Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2023, Butler racked up 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 89 games. It’s possible there are growing pains regarding his plate discipline, but the playing time is there for him even if it is in a lineup like Oakland’s.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups – Pitchers
I haven’t acknowledged Williams all that much since I’ve taken over covering the fantasy baseball waiver wire articles. He just hasn’t been too widely available, but I guess he is still floating around in shallower leagues. So if you’re in a ten-teamer or if you play in eight-team leagues and need more friends, do yourself a favor and pick up Gavin Williams. The bad news? He has one win in ten starts. The good news? He’s awesome in every other aspect. In his last two starts he’s racked up 22 strikeouts in 12 innings of work pushing his season average to over a strikeout per inning. The Guardians haven’t given him an exceptionally long leash, but it does look like he could be stretched out and become a candidate for quality starts. Either way, he has tremendous strikeout potential and should be rostered. He gets a home start against the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
We’ll go from a rookie in Northeast Ohio named Williams to another in Southwest Ohio named Williamson. Brandon Williamson has taken his licks as a starter in his rookie season, but he’s been pitching better of late save for his start against the Chicago Cubs on August 2nd. But since July 1st (42.1 innings of work in eight starts) he has a 2.98 ERA, 8.72 K/9, 2.98 BB/9, and the appearance against the Cubbies is the only start he’s allowed over two earned runs. He gets a start at home against the Toronto Blue Jays before drawing the Angels in Southern California next Wednesday.
Silseth was mentioned a week ago, but given that things are still going well I think it’s fine to write him up again. On Sunday he tossed five scoreless innings with five strikeouts while grabbing the win against the Houston Astros. In 22.2 innings of work in four consecutive starts he has a 1.59 ERA and 31 strikeouts. Now in four of his starts he’s collected four and five strikeouts in two starts. In the other two he posted double-digit strikeouts so there’s some variance in that regard. He’ll get a home start against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday who will likely still be without Wander Franco.
Dane Dunning, SP/RP, Texas Rangers
Dunning is likely only available in shallower leagues since he’s been getting some juice in a lot of ESPN leagues. I think he’s a fine pickup off the waiver wire, but not my favorite this week. He has a 3.10 ERA on the season but a 4.46 xERA so be aware of some late-season regression. However, in his last three starts he has a quality start in each outing with 29 strikeouts in 20.2 innings of work, but he’s also been more prone to giving up the long ball in his last handful of starts. Dunning gets a real test on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
I was initially going to feature Steven Matz in this article but with Matz hitting the IL, and possibly done for the year, I’ll pivot to another arm in the Cardinals rotation. Liberatore found some extra velocity in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday where he tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits while recording seven strikeouts. A mechanical adjustment seems to have done the trick, but we’ll need more than one start to buy in. He still has a 5.72 ERA on the year. He’ll draw the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday before getting two road starts next week against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies. I will say there’s also some intrigue (and name recognition) with teammate Miles Mikolas in shallower formats. He doesn’t rack up a ton of strikeouts, but he does eat a lot of innings and can possibly help in ERA and WHIP.
Not a ton of analysis needed here but it’s odd that he’s rostered in only a quarter of ESPN leagues. Since July 5th, Alzolay boasts a 2.20 ERA, averages nearly a strikeout per inning and he has a dozen saves in that span. The Cubs are still in the thick of it fighting for that last NL Wild Card spot so there will be some winnable games and close battles for the organization down the stretch and Alzolay’s clearly getting the ball in the ninth inning.