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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21

John provides an update on the best Fantasy Baseball players available on the waiver wire.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21

RHP Gavin Williams, Cleveland Guardians (71%)

That’s two games now of double-digit strikeouts and barely any walks or hits allowed from Williams. The towering righty is showing his enormous potential and is somehow still available in around 30% of Fantrax leagues. He should be owned and started everywhere at this point, so if he is available in your league make sure to snag him.

OF Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins (55%)

Kepler has been hitting at least .280 since the start of July, which is a substantial improvement from his numbers over the first half of the year. Additionally, his OBP has bumped up, hovering just over .330. He is looking like he will be a solid outfielder to own over the rest of the season and recently has logged four home runs and 10 hits over his past 10 games. Go scoop him up if you need help in your outfield! 

LHP Cole Ragans, Texas Rangers (55%)

Although he allowed four runs in his most recent outing, Ragans has been pitching very well overall since converting to starting. He has a very impressive 29.5% CSW that he seems to be maintaining as a starter, considering the fact he struck out eleven his last time out and eight the outing prior. His BB/9 of 4.21 is higher than you like to see, but he is certainly intriguing right now and could be worth grabbing for the stretch.

LHP Brandon Williamson, Cincinnati Reds (42%)

Sneakily, Brandon Williamson has been pitching much better over his past few games. The 6’6” lefty has some legitimate potential, and it could be he is turning a corner of sorts. While he holds an uninspiring 7.65 K/9 and 3.46 BB/9 on the season, he has racked up a total of 24 strikeouts with just three walks over about 16 innings during this three-game stretch. That’s good for a whopping 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings, which obviously isn’t sustainable but is certainly a good sign. I highly recommend picking this kid up in Redrafts to see if he can keep it up, and he is a name to consider investing in for dynasties as well.

RHP Paul Blackburn, Oakland Athletics (39%)

Blackburn’s surface stats are rough, and his peripheral stats aren’t too much better, but his solid 9 K/9 and 3.43 BB/9 suggest that he can at least be serviceable to fantasy owners hurting for innings and some Ks. He seems like a dice roll more than anything, but, notably, Blackburn has been significantly better at home than away and in the games he does win he tends to pitch extremely well (of course this also means that when he does pitch poorly things go very wrong), as he has a crazy good 1.38 ERA and 1.163 WHIP on wins (compared to his horrifying 7.64 ERA and 1.939 WHIP on losses). He is literally the pitcher’s version of Jekyll and Hyde right now. So, the question is, do you feel lucky?

OF Cade Marlowe, Seattle Mariners (22%)

Marlowe has been quite good since his arrival to the majors on July 20th, hitting an appealing .333/.423/.556 with two homers and two steals in 45 at-bats. On checking his minor league stats, I was surprised to see how fast he has been historically. This year, he had 25 steals at AAA and last year he had 42 steals at mostly AA, so he seems to have some wheels that he has yet to flash fully. Also encouraging is his .498 career slugging percentage in the minors, which supports the pop he’s shown over this small sample of hitting for the Mariners. Best of all is the fact that Marlowe seems to have some really good plate discipline that has carried over so far into his major league at-bats (7 walks to 11 strikeouts so far). Due to his potential for power, speed and good ratios, Marlowe is a name worth knowing but because he is only playing every so often right now he is more of a pickup in daily or super deep redraft formats than anywhere else.

RHP Allan Winans, Atlanta Braves (12%)

I admittedly have no idea who this guy is but he struck out nine hitters yesterday over seven strong innings and has a pristine 1.59 ERA and 1.059 WHIP over his two starts for Atlanta. Most impressive is the fact that he holds an incredible 32% CSW despite throwing the ball at just 90 mph. Obviously, this is over a sample size so small that it renders that number largely insignificant, but at the same time, that kind of ability to miss bats does catch the eye and make you wonder if there’s more to this Winans guy than you’d think for a 28-year-old who has never been much of a strikeout artist in the minors and is only just starting his major league career. He did throw an impressive 10 strikeouts over seven innings in his final start at AAA before his callup, and it’s always possible he figured something out, but it’ll be tough for him to do much long-term with a 90 mph fastball in today’s game. Perhaps even more intriguing is his 57% groundball rate so far, which suggests that even if his strikeout game comes crashing back to earth he might still be useful as a groundball artist. I’d be interested to know his ground ball stats in the minors, but in any case, he is a name to consider in very deep leagues based on how well he has shown thus far and how good the team he plays for is.


Three “CASH” (Players to double down on or sell high)

RHP Chase Silseth, Los Angeles Angels (53%)

Silseth just had another great start with five strikeouts over five scoreless innings and earned his third win in his past four starts. At this point, he needs to be owned and started in all leagues. His peripheral stats largely support what he is doing and he could help both the Angels and his fantasy owners for the remainder of the season.

OF Kerry Carpenter, Detroit Tigers (48%)

Kerry Carpenter…. hits homers in bunches. Indeed, as he just hit three homers in two days this past week but also of note is the fact that he has been having a ton of multi-hit games lately. Over half of his past ten games have been multi-hit performances, and he has a whopping 17 total hits in that time. Also encouraging are the walks he has been taking lately. It’s looking like all systems go for Carpenter and the 25-year-old’s arrow is pointed straight up.

RHP Gregory Santos, Chicago White Sox (34%)

Santos now has another save under his belt since the departure of Kendall Graveman and with Reynaldo Lopez gone too and Liam Hendriks set to undergo Tommy John, Santos is my bet to close for the White Sox for the rest of the season. As bad as the White Sox are, Santos should be owned in more leagues due to his job security.

Two “CRASH” (Players to pass on or drop now) 

OF Trent Grisham, San Diego Padres (54%)

Grisham was playing better through June and July and it felt like maybe his bat was waking finally but now he’s slumping once again, with 15 strikeouts and just one walk over his past 10 games and very little to show for all that swinging. I’m done with this guy. If you want to hold him due to the power and speed potential that, in fairness, he does legitimately have (he has 11 homers and 12 steals this year despite playing so poorly) then I can understand that, but I’ve had enough of his .210 batting average and .318 on-base percentage.

LHP Dallas Keuchel, Minnesota Twins (10%)

Keuchel is 35 now and hasn’t performed well in the majors in over five years, but with Joe Ryan injured and with Keuchel performing very well in the minors this year, the Twins should give him the chance now to show if he has anything left in the tank. If you need pitching help, Keuchel could be a decent dart throw, especially in deeper formats. You never know, maybe spending the time down in the minors gave Keuchel a chance to work on some things. 

One “STASH” (Players to stay patient with)

2B Edouard Julien, Minnesota Twins (61%)

I still have Julien here as a stash. Although he hasn’t been racking up the hits lately he has maintained his great plate discipline. I think patience is the move here, as hard as it may be, since he’s already shown how productive he can be when he heats up at multiple points this season.


RHP Giovanny Gallegos, St. Louis Cardinals (59%)

Ryan Helsley is starting a rehab assignment and seems to be progressing well on his way back from the injured list, but in the meantime, Gallegos seems to be the arm to own. Not only does he have experience closing games in the past, but he has also consistently been a very good relief arm (career 3.13 ERA and .960 WHIP), this year being no exception. JoJo Romero is technically splitting closing duties with Gallegos right now as they both fill in for Helsley, but as good as Romero has been overall this year he also seems to be a lot more unpredictable. Both guys will likely slot back into setup duties soon, but you never know with injuries and if you’re going to pick up one, I’d go with Gallegos.