Hitting the fantasy baseball waiver wire can lead to players making a difference in your season. Many people drafted Christopher Morel of the Chicago Cubs and dropped him when he stayed in the minor leagues longer than anticipated. Those that added him as a free agent have enjoyed nine home runs in his first 15 games. White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech was dropped in many leagues after an awful start. He has been added off the waiver wire lately and he's dominated in his last two starts with improved velocity. Kopech has pitched 15 innings over his last two starts and allowed three hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out 19. Jake McCarthy was drafted in the first nine rounds of many leagues after a good stint with Arizona last season and was dropped in some leagues after being sent down to the minors. He's back with the Diamondbacks and could help in stolen bases. This week's waiver wire pickups will feature several players performing well, but still available in many shallow formats in addition to a few prospects to stash. The percentages are a guideline and should be adjusted based on your roster and needs.
While you're scrolling through and planning your next waiver wire move, be sure to give a listen to both the Cash It podcast with Howard Bender & Adam Ronis as well as the latest Fantasy Baseball podcast for additional insights.
Top Waiver Wire Hitters
Jake McCarthy, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks; 15-20%
McCarthy had a strong finish to last season, resulting in him being drafted in the Top 100 of most drafts this season. The price was too high for me and McCarthy struggled to begin the season and was sent to Triple-A. In 22 games with the Diamondbacks, McCarthy slashed .143/.229/.238 with eight runs, one home run, three RBI, and two stolen bases in 63 at-bats. As expected, McCarthy crushed in the minors even if it was the hitter-friendly PCL league, slashing .333/.419/.533 with 17 runs, four home runs, 17 RBI, and four stolen bases in 90 at-bats. Last season, he batted .283 with 53 runs, eight home runs, 43 RBI, and 23 stolen bases in 321 at-bats with Arizona. He will at least help with stolen bases.
Jose Siri, OF, Tampa Bay Rays; 15-20%
How is Siri available in 92 percent of Yahoo leagues? He has been mentioned here many times this season. While he doesn't play every day and hits at the bottom of the lineup, it's one of the best lineups in baseball and he produces when he plays. He is hitting .261 with 20 runs, nine home runs, 20 RBI, and four stolen bases. He is in the 93rd percentile of sprint speed, so the stolen bases will come.
Marcell Ozuna OF, Atlanta Braves, 8-10%
Ozuna has been mentioned here the last couple of articles now, yet he still isn't being added in enough leagues. He had a bad April and the possibility of losing at-bats was real. In May, he has turned it around and he’s playing almost every day at DH and is slashing .343/.421/.746 with 16 runs, nine home runs, and 20 RBI. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting in one of the best lineups in baseball.
Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins, 8-10%
Lewis has been mentioned a few times now. I was able to land him in a league last weekend and fell short in two others. He is on a rehab assignment coming off a second torn ACL and is eligible to return May 29th and the Twins have several injuries. Lewis is batting .333 with a 1.075 OPS, three home runs, nine RBI, and four stolen bases in 30 at-bats.
Michael Conforto, OF, San Francisco Giants, 8-10%
It made sense for some to be skeptical of Conforto going into the season. He sat out all of last season coming off shoulder surgery and Conforto is reliant on power to be fantasy relevant. In his first 23 games over 78 at-bats, he batted .205 with four home runs and ten RBI, with 30 strikeouts. Over his last 14 games, Conforto is 20-for-54 with 11 runs, seven home runs, and 16 RBI, and a 20-percent strikeout rate.
Bryan De La Cruz, OF, Miami Marlins, 6-8%
De La Cruz has been mentioned a few times this season. He is hitting in the middle of the Marlins lineup and is playing every day. De La Cruz is slashing .290/.339/.438 with 20 runs, five home runs, 18 RBI, and three stolen bases.
Owen Miller, 1B/2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers, 6-8%
Miller has been getting consistent playing time for the Brewers and is hitting well. He doesn't hit the ball very hard, so he may be more of a short-term option. But he is batting .375 with ten runs scored, four home runs, eight RBI, and two stolen bases over his last 18 games.
Mickey Moniak, OF, Los Angeles Angels, 6-8%
Moniak has hit his way into more playing time and appears to be on the strong side of a platoon with Taylor Ward. Moniak, the first overall pick in 2016 by the Phillies, is slashing .419/.438/.935 with seven runs, four home runs, seven RBI, and two stolen bases in 31 at-bats. A 34.4% strikeout rate, 3.1% walk rate, and .563 BABIP indicate it's a hot streak. The hard-hit rate is below league average, so he's more of a deep league add for the short-term.
Elly De La Cruz, SS, Cincinnati Reds, 6-8%
Another mention of De La Cruz, who is being stashed in more leagues. It's unclear when he will get the call to the majors, but it should happen soon. He is hitting .294 with a 1.039 OPS, ten home runs, and nine stolen bases at Triple-A after starting 1-for-21. He hit two more home runs Friday night.
Paul DeJong, SS, St. Louis Cardinals, 3-5%
DeJong is playing every day and showing good power. The strikeout rate has decreased by almost seven percent from last season and the hard-hit rate is up almost 13 percent. He is slashing .269/.352/.570 with 21 runs, eight home runs, and 18 RBI. He's worth using while he's producing.
Nolan Jones, OF, Colorado Rockies, 2-4%
Jones was called up on Friday and is expected to get consistent playing time. He's worth a shot in deeper formats, especially when the Rockies are at home. Jones slashed .356/.481/.711 with 12 home runs and five stolen bases in 39 games at Triple-A. Jones batted seventh and played first base on Friday.
Jose Caballero, 2B, Seattle Mariners, 2-4%
Caballero has been playing every day and worth an add for those seeking middle infield help in deeper formats. Kolten Wong has lost playing time since he's has as many home runs and steals as you and me – zero for both. Caballero is slashing .279/.403/.426 with 12 runs, two home runs, ten RBI, and six stolen bases in 61 at-bats.
Top Waiver Wire Pitchers
Bobby Miller, Los Angeles Dodgers, 15-20%
Miller had a tough task in his debut against the Braves and pitched well. He went five innings and allowed four hits, one run, one walk, and struck out five. He hit triple-digits with his fastball and could stick in the rotation when Julio Urias returns over Gavin Stone.
Brayan Bello, Boston Red Sox, 8-10%
Bello continues to be mentioned here because he's still available in 75% of Yahoo leagues. He is coming off his best game of the season on Tuesday against the Angels, pitching seven innings, and allowing six hits, two runs, no walks, and struck out six. Over his last five starts, he has a 2.57 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and a 29:9 K:BB ratio in 28 innings. Bello has a 59% ground ball rate and a 12% swinging strike rate.
Braxton Garrett, Miami Marlins, 6-8%
It's easy to take away the worst start from a pitcher and look at their stats to make them look better, but Garrett was left in to take a beating against the Braves in which he allowed 14 hits and 11 runs in 4.1 innings on May 3. That hole will take a while to dig out of. Garrett has been solid since then, pitching 22.1 innings allowing 17 hits, seven earned runs, six walks, and 25 strikeouts.
Jared Shuster, Atlanta Braves, 6-8%
Shuster opened the season in the starting rotation after a great spring and was awful in his first two starts with eight runs and nine walks over 8.2 innings and the Braves sent him down to the minors. Shuster returned to Atlanta two weeks ago and has made three starts and been better. In 16.2 innings, he has allowed seven hits, seven earned runs, six walks, and struck out 15. He can be used in the right matchups in deeper mixed leagues.
Another player that has been mentioned a few times, yet he's still available in some leagues. While he's not the full-time closer, he's getting chances along with Andrew Chafin. He has three saves in his last seven games with two holds and two wins. He hasn't allowed a run over his last 7.1 innings with a 9:3 K:BB ratio.
Mark Leiter Jr. Jr., Chicago Cubs, 4-6%
The Cubs have had hardly any save opportunities over the last few weeks, making it difficult to know who is the closer. When Chicago had a save chance on Wednesday, Leiter got the chance and converted with a strikeout in a scoreless inning. In 20.1 innings, he has allowed 12 hits, four runs, six walks, and struck out 31 and converted both save chances.