Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 19
2B/3B/SS/OF Luis Rengifo, Los Angeles Angels (43%)
Aside from qualifying as a hitter everywhere but catcher and first base, Rengifo has been batting around .300 over the past month with five homers, 11 runs and 11 RBI. He is currently leading off for the Angels. though that will likely change whenever Neto’s back issues subside. Even still, Rengifo might be making a good enough impression to stick around in the lineup and could be worth a look due to his unique ability to fill in at four different positions for fantasy owners.
RHP Johnny Cueto, Miami Marlins (37%)
Cueto’s velocity so far is higher than it has been in six years, so that’s kind of cool. Additionally, he has pitched six innings in both of his starts and has a strong walk-to-strikeout ratio (4:16). He will have starts like yesterday’s where he let up four runs, but he is a smart pitcher and could be valuable to fantasy owners who are willing to play the matchups and roll the dice. Just don’t expect a resurrection here. Cueto is 37 years old and he hasn’t had a year with a SIERA under four since 2016, which includes this year’s 4.33 (though of course that is over a microscopic sample size).
1B/3B/UT Mike Moustakas, Los Angeles Angels (20%)
Moustakas is the Angels’ cleanup hitter against righties right now and has been a steady source of runs lately. He is rocking a nine-game hitting streak and could be worth scooping in the short term at least with a couple of the Angels’ starters sidelined.
C Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins (11%)
Jeffers has hits in eight of his past ten games while showing improved plate discipline. He has also surprisingly stolen three bases in this stretch of time and has been outperforming starter Christian Vazquez offensively, with a very strong .285/.385/.438 slash on the year. Unfortunately, his inflated .396 BABIP and significantly lower expected stats don’t paint quite as rosy of a picture, but he is still worth consideration, especially in two catcher formats due to the hot bat he is swinging right now.
RHP Chase Silseth, Los Angeles Angels (31%)
Silseth has been pitching better lately, both before and after his most recent call-up. In fact, he just struck out ten hitters in his most recent start, which is four more than his previous career high of six. Unfortunately, with the arrival of Lucas Giolito, Silseth is reportedly moving back to the bullpen. However, he is a name worth monitoring if he has turned a corner and in case he starts again for Los Angeles in the future.
2B/3B Andruw Monasterio, Milwaukee Brewers (11%)
Monasterio has done well overall since his major league debut on May 28th but has turned things on over the past month. He now holds an impressive .294/.374/.394 slash over 109 at-bats for the Brew Crew, with four steals sprinkled in. He is currently their starting third baseman and deserves a look in deeper leagues for his ability to provide good ratios along with some runs and steals.
2B/3B Abraham Toro, Milwaukee Brewers (7%)
Toro is batting a scorching .471/.526/.824 through 17 at-bats this year with two home runs and may be granted more playing time now after his most recent callup on July 26th. Although what he has done over this super small sample of at-bats is unsustainable, he has at least been barreling the ball well and could be worth scooping in deeper leagues in case he succeeds in hitting his way into more playing time for the Brewers.
Previous Weeks’ Follow-up: CASH, CRASH & STASH
Seven “CASH” (Players to double down on or sell high)
OF Chas McCormick, Houston Astros (77%)
[In my best Mugatu voice] McCormick… so hot right now. McCormick. Chas McCormick has been absolutely on fire for the past two months and has shown no signs of slowing down. Congratulations to all who managed to add him!
OF Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox (76%)
Since my last write-up of him a few weeks back, Duran has seen his ownership rise ten percentage points. Although the vast majority of his playing time has come against righties, it’s not like Duran has fared poorly against lefties (.289/.341/.763(OPS)) and he has still tallied a total of 274 at-bats for the season. Over those at-bats, Duran has hit .314/.365/.504 with six homers and a whopping 21 steals. With his combination of great ratios and speed, it’s safe to say that Duran owners have been very happy to own him this year.
OF Sal Frelick, Milwaukee Brewers (74%)
Frelick has been one of the buzziest names in the game since his long-awaited major league debut on July 22nd, and he has come out of the gate like a bullet. For a guy who was held back over the first half of the season due to injuries, this is especially nice to see. Due to his immediate success, his ownership has shot up over ten percentage points and is continuing to climb. Frelick not only has a ridiculous .368/.481/.579 slash, but he also impressively has twice as many walks as strikeouts (6:3). This gives confidence that he isn’t just totally batting over his head, and that his floor might be a more stable one than that of most rookies.
OF/UT Randal Grichuk, Colorado Rockies (47%)
Grichuk is secretly one of the hottest bats in the majors right now. Over his past 30 games, Grichuk is batting an absurd .368 and over his past 14 games played, Grichuk has slugged six of his eight total home runs. Additionally, half of those games have been multi-hit performances. Suffice it to say, Grichuk is quietly doing wonders for fantasy lineups, and yet he is still available in over half of Fantrax leagues. Give him the scoop if he’s still out there in yours!
RHP Kevin Ginkel, Arizona Diamondbacks (38%)
Although Ginkel’s ownership has risen over 10 percentage points since last week, he is still available in 62% of Fantrax leagues. This is puzzling since he is undoubtedly now the closer for the Diamondbacks and has been excellent this year, posting an elite 2.23 ERA and .967 WHIP. He has converted all three of his save opportunities and earned a win by striking out three batters over 1.1 innings his last time out. It may be because of how volatile the closers have been for the Diamondbacks this year (Castro, McGough & Chafin have all rotated in and out of the role) but we shouldn’t lump Ginkel in with them simply because he is on the same squad. He deserves his chance to seize hold of the throne, and he’s getting that chance right now. Grab him wherever you can.
OF Mike Tauchman, Chicago Cubs (17%)
The Cubs have made arrangements for Tauchman to continue to get playing time, and he has rewarded them. Over the past two weeks, Tauchman is rocking a .350 batting average with a couple of bombs, eight runs and 11 RBI. He has also had two three-hit games in his past three games played. Tauchman is still available virtually everywhere and could be a very nice addition to teams in need of a batting boost in their outfield.
C Tom Murphy, Seattle Mariners (6%)
Murphy is batting .333 with three home runs over his past 14 games played, and those three homers have come in the past week. He now has a strong .285 batting average and .577 slugging percentage on the season, which is supported by his excellent 17% barrel rate. At just 6% owned, Murphy remains a great option for those in need of a better catcher, and an awesome pickup in two-catcher formats.
Three “CRASH” (Players to pass on or drop now)
OF Corey Julks, Houston Astros (25%)
I included Julks as a pickup option in Week 16 because he was swinging a hot bat, but mentioned that I didn’t love his peripheral stats. Well, he has now failed to log a hit in twenty-seven straight at-bats and Yordan Alvarez has returned to the lineup. Julks has the potential to bring valuable speed to a fantasy lineup, but with his ratios taking a nosedive and his playing time in jeopardy, I’m not opposed to owners dropping him if they see other potentially better options out there.
1B/OF Dane Myers, Miami Marlins (21%)
Though it pains me to say this, Dane Myers has been sent back down to the minors. I don’t think this is the last we will see of him (maybe it is for this year), but with Avisail Garcia returning from the IL and Myers struggling over the past week or so, this move made sense and he is now an obvious drop for fantasy owners. Hopefully, Myers can get back to work at AAA and improve his plate discipline for the next time he is called up, as one walk to sixteen strikeouts just won’t cut it despite the decent .288 batting average he held over his first 59 major league at-bats.
LHP Jackson Wolf, San Diego Padres (11%)
Despite pitching pretty well in AA this year, Wolf failed to make a good first impression in his major league debut and has been sent down by the Padres. He is safely droppable in redraft leagues but remains a name worth keeping an eye on for the future.
Two “STASH” (Players to stay patient with)
1B/3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Cincinnati Reds (75%)
Strand holds a sub-par .242/.286/.333 slash line so far through his first 33 at-bats with one homer, so it hasn’t been quite the start that fantasy owners who managed to scoop him up were hoping for. That being said, Strand is too skilled and this sample size is too small for owners to jump ship just yet. Strand is worth holding onto for now, and his 91 mph average exit velocity and solid peripheral batting stats support this suggestion.
OF Colton Cowser, Baltimore Orioles (52%)
Despite his solid plate discipline, Cowser has struggled to do much over his first 47 major league at-bats. He has mustered a mere five hits so far, four of which were singles, and is now slashing an ugly .106/.271/.128. Ten of his fifteen strikeouts have come in his past seven games, so he is likely losing patience, which is understandable given his .152 BABIP. Cowser is getting a bit unlucky here, and it’s easy to forget he started off with runs scored in eight straight games, a testament to his usual prowess of getting on base. While he is definitely in danger of losing playing time, I think there’s a good chance his luck might start turning around and if he’s been dropped he could be a good speculative pickup. If you already own him, I think Cowser is worth holding another week at least for this reason.
RHP Giovanny Gallegos, St. Louis Cardinals (54%)
With Hicks now traded to Toronto and Helsley out with a forearm injury, look for Gallegos to step into the closer role for St. Louis for at least the time being. He is a very good relief arm who could potentially keep the role if he performs well with Helsley out for at least a couple more weeks.
LHP Brooks Raley & RHP Adam Ottavino, New York Mets (34 & 35%)
David Robertson was just traded to Miami and both Brooks Raley and Adam Ottavino should see save opportunities going forward. Raley converted the most recent save opportunity, but Ottavino is the righty and has the most save experience now in the pen. Both options aren’t great, as both are sporting peripheral stats that are significantly worse than what their surface stats show, but in deeper leagues where saves are even harder to come by it could be worth taking your pick and rolling the dice on one of them.
RHP Trevor May, Oakland Athletics (25%)
Despite his wildness (he has as many walks as he does strikeouts this year, yuck!) May has now converted ten straight save opportunities for Oakland. To be clear, May has not been a good pitcher this year, and owning him would feel like holding a stick of dynamite to me. In fairness, however, much of the damage to his 4.55 ERA came during a brutal first month of April, and he has fired off four straight saves in his past four appearances. So, if you are desperate for save opportunities, he could be worth the look. Just understand that he could blow up at any time.
RHP Gregory Santos, Chicago White Sox (18%)
After Kendall Graveman was traded to Houston, Gregory Santos now figures to be the new closer for Chicago and already earned a save his last time out. Santos isn’t an elite relief pitcher but he has been pretty good this year, especially if you take away a rough month of April. It isn’t difficult to imagine him doing well enough to remain the closer for the White Sox for the rest of the season, and he therefore should be a primary target this week for those looking for saves.