The 2023 fantasy baseball season will be defined as one with several aggressive MLB top prospect call-ups. Earlier this summer it seemed like there was a prospect getting the call almost every other day as fantasy baseball sleepers emerged weekly. We’ve seen the Cincinnati Reds call up several players like Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Andrew Abbott, and more as they rose up fantasy baseball rankings and 2023 MLB projections. The Baltimore Orioles have brought along Grayson Rodriguez, Gunnar Henderson, Colton Cowser, and Jordan Westburg. As would be the case, we have a few more fantasy baseball prospects getting the call recently with Zack Gelof starring for the Oakland Athletics and Kyle Harrison making his MLB debut with the San Francisco Giants. Both will be popular fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups this week as you look to improve your rosters and replace players on the latest MLB injury report. Perhaps one of the more surprising prospect call-ups this season is Nolan Schanuel of the Los Angeles Angels, so it seems only fitting to lead off with him. Check out the top fantasy baseball waiver wire targets for hitters and pitchers.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups – Hitters
The most surprising thing about Schanuel’s ascension to Major League Baseball was how fast he made the transition to the show. Schanuel was the 11th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft just about six weeks ago and here he is already helping with the Angels playoff run. Although as of Monday the Halos were 8.5 games out of the last playoff spot. So maybe he’s being brought up to help sell tickets. Schanuel collected hits in each of the three games he played over the weekend, scoring four runs along the way. I will say that he doesn’t profile as a great power hitter. But he does grade out as an above-average offensive option with great discipline.
Sticking with another AL West prospect, Zack Gelof just continues to hit the ball well. I briefly mentioned him in the introduction of the weekend Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire article, but his rostership is still down a bit. Despite the A’s being routed 12-1 on Sunday by the Baltimore Orioles, Gelof collected two more hits raising his batting average to .308 as Oakland opens a series against the Kansas City Royals and Gelof went yard Monday night as well. Gelof’s rostership could tick up as he seems to be producing on a daily basis and he now touts a .624 SLG following this past weekend.
Ozuna’s ownership is slowly on the rise but at the same time, still too low. His slash line isn’t great at just .251/.324/.492 following Monday’s action where he hit a pair of solo home runs. He still has plenty of pop in his bat with 26 home runs and 62 RBI. It’s still entirely possible he finishes with 30+ home runs this year. He had his 16-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, but he managed to hit .362 during the streak with a .569 SLG. It is a little baffling that he hits in the middle of one of the best lineups in the league and yet he’s rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.
Winn, the St. Louis Cardinals top prospect, was another young star to get the call to the majors this season. Winn had done plenty at the Triple-A level this season so it seemed like an obvious decision for the Cardinals to bring him up and get him more experience with their season pretty much over. This year in the minors Winn had 18 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 105 games where he hit .288 and also scored 99 runs. He went 3-for-11 in his debut over the weekend and should be considered especially if he can start stealing more bases.
Elvis Andrus, 2B/SS, Chicago White Sox
Andrus is one hitter that I don’t get overly excited about recommending because he could cool off at any moment. But I do preach striking while the iron is hot and he’s been outstanding the last two weeks. Since August 4th he’s hitting .383 with a .600 SLG and he even collected his 100th career home run last Friday. He has eight multi-hit games since August 5th with four stolen bases in that span as well. He could easily cool off later this week so he’s not a player to latch on to for very long.
Garrett is a similar waiver wire add to Elvin Andrus. Could cool off at any point, but he’s playing very well heading into this series against the New York Yankees. He has five multi-hit games since August 11th while he’s hitting .438 in that span with a .781 SLG. He’s always profiled as a player that possesses a nice power/speed combo. We haven’t seen too much of the speed in recent weeks but he is getting the job done at the dish.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups – Pitchers
Clevinger has bounced back in his brief tenure with the Chicago White Sox. Since returning from injury at the end of July he’s made four starts and worked 23 innings where he’s allowed just four earned runs, six walks, and collected 18 strikeouts. It is worth noting that in his last two starts he was stretched out longer pitching six and seven innings respectively in each appearance averaging a strikeout per inning. He’s been a far better pitcher at home this season and he gets two starts this week against the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.
Tanner Houck, SP/RP, Boston Red Sox
Houck hasn’t been seen in the big leagues in over two months due to a facial fracture after being struck by a line drive. It was truly a freak incident after he averaged 8.51 K/9. But he did have a 5.05 ERA to that point in the year. Perhaps some positive regression was in store considering his 3.92 xERA and 4.21 FIP. He does make his return this week with a pair of very difficult matchups against the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The San Francisco Giants have a long history of developing elite pitching prospects. The next one in the pipeline appears to be Kyle Harrison, who will make his MLB debut Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. By all accounts his fastball and slider are well above average. The changeup is fine, but his control has been a big concern in the minor leagues. This year at Triple-A he’s worked 65.2 innings and has a 14.39 K/9 but an ugly 6.58 BB/9. Free passes at that rate in Major League Baseball will be unforgiving and it’s a relatively tough matchup on the road in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Elite pitching prospects are always worth grabbing for the strikeout upside and opposing teams don’t have a full scouting report yet. But his control should give you some pause.
Zack Littell, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays
It’s a pretty strong week for SP/RP’s available on the waiver wire and Littell is just as good of a streamer this week as Tanner Houck might be. Since joining the Rays rotation on July 30th, he has a 2.78 ERA and just one walk allowed in 22.2 innings of work. He’s not the greatest option for amassing strikeouts, but he can eat some innings and potentially come away with a win or a quality start. He gets a pair of home matchups this week against the Colorado Rockies and New York Yankees.
With Tony Gonsolin likely to miss the remainder of the season with an elbow injury, there’s a vacant spot in the Dodgers rotation. On Monday night, an article from Sports Illustrated highlighted a few names to fill that void but led off with Pepiot who made his 2023 debut in long relief on Saturday. Pepiot missed time this year with an oblique injury, but in five innings of long relief over the weekend he allowed just three hits, one walk, and one earned run while striking out five. Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, did hint that Pepiot deserves to get other opportunities based on how he looked on Saturday. He hasn’t been announced yet but there is an available starting opportunity for Los Angeles on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox.
Tyler Holton, RP, Detroit Tigers
He’s not the best relief pitcher I’ve included in this series over the last month. But he’s available in deeper formats and has been getting higher leverage work over the last few weeks. So far in August he hasn’t allowed an earned run and he’s yielded just two walks in 11 innings of work with 13 strikeouts. In that span he’s collected a save, two wins, and three holds. He got the night off on Monday while the Tigers bullpen surrendered three runs over the final two innings. Perhaps that just further makes his case for higher leverage work.
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