Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 20
2B/3B/SS Luis Urias, Boston Red Sox (43%)
A new environment could be just what the doctor ordered for Urias, who had seemed to run into a dead end of sorts in Milwaukee. With Boston, Urias should have a chance to prove that he can be their everyday second baseman. This could provide a much needed motivation boost for Urias and indeed he already has three hits in his first seven at-bats with his new team. Urias should be considered in all formats for his hitting potential, playing time opportunity and the triple eligibility he offers.
1B Brandon Belt, Toronto Blue Jays (26%)
After underwhelming for much of this season on his new team, Brandon Belt could finally be gaining some traction as Toronto’s designated hitter. Although he isn’t playing every day, he plays most days and is hitting .429/.529 with two home runs and a 1.529 OPS through 14 July at-bats. He could be worth a look in deeper leagues if you need an extra UTIL bat or a plug in at first, but is especially intriguing in daily leagues.
3B/SS/OF Isiah Kiner-Falefa, New York Yankees (20%)
Kiner-Falefa has received steady playing time lately for the Yankees and has a hit in nine of his past 10 games, showing great plate discipline (four walks to five strikeouts) during this time. He could be a useful scoop in deep leagues as a utility man for your fantasy lineup, since he qualifies at three different positions and offers potential for runs and a little speed.
3B Davis Schneider, Toronto Blue Jays (13%)
Schneider had quietly been having a very good season down at AAA prior to his callup, hitting .275/.416/.553 with an impressive 21 home runs and nine steals thrown in for good measure. He already has five hits in his first eight major league at-bats, one of which is a homer. It’s unclear how much of a true chance he’ll be given but he’s started both of his games so far at second base and has done well. I recommend scooping him up now in mid to deep leagues and seeing how things pan out, rather than waiting and allowing others the chance to grab him if his success continues.
LHP Dallas Keuchel, Minnesota Twins (9%)
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 to show if he has anything left in the tank. If you’re in need of 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.
1B Alfonso Rivas, Pittsburgh Pirates (2%)
Rivas was having a sneaky good season down at AAA, walking almost exactly as many times as he struck out while posting an impressive .332/.462/.582 slash line and swiping eight bags without getting caught. The caveat with Rivas seems to be his lack of power, which for a first baseman is especially important. That said, he did have a much improved slugging percentage this year compared to years past, and he has fared pretty well through his first 26 major league at-bats with Pittsburgh. He should receive ample playing time for the Pirates for the rest of the year as long as he does fairly well, and for this reason is worth consideration in deeper leagues.
OF Kole Calhoun, Cleveland Guardians (2%)
The 35-year-old Calhoun was just acquired by the Guardians in a trade and had been performing well this year in AAA. He could receive some playing time in Cleveland over the next month or so due to injuries and although it’s been a bit since he’s been relevant in fantasy, this opportunity plus the success he was having this year in the minors makes him worth a dart throw in deep fantasy leagues.
PREVIOUS WEEKS’ FOLLOW-UP: CASH, CRASH & STASH
Three “CASH” (Players to double down on or sell high)
OF Randal Grichuk, Los Angeles Angels (59%)
Fortunately, Grichuk has been starting every day for his new team and has already hit two home runs in an Angels uniform. He also has hits in five of the six games he has played so far for Los Angeles. It’s unsure how many at-bats Grichuk will lose once some of their regulars like Trout return from the IL, but as long as he keeps hitting he can hopefully maintain enough playing time to keep being a benefit to his fantasy owners. It’s also nice to see him continue to do so so far despite moving out of Coors field.
OF Drew Waters, Kansas City Royals (24%)
Very quietly, Waters has more walks (four) than strikeouts (two) over the past week with two bombs. He is playing full time for the Royals and considering his strikeout rate is around 35% for the season, if the 24-year-old Waters can truly improve his plate discipline like we’ve seen from him recently, then a breakout could be in order.
1B/3B Mike Moustakas, Los Angeles Angels (22%)
Moustakas has hits in nine of his past 10 games, with four of those games being of the multi-hit variety. He is hitting very well for his new team and should continue to see ample playing time as long as he keeps producing. He seems especially interesting in batting average leagues due to his rock solid .270 BA, which has remained the same while his .335 OBP seems to be declining since the trade (it was .360 while he played for Colorado). All in all, Moose is well worth a look if you are in need of a better corner infield bat, as he is still available in nearly 80% of Fantrax leagues.
Four “CRASH” (Players to pass on or drop now)
SS Zach Neto, Los Angeles Angels (43%)
Neto has been shut down and has no timetable for a return. At this point, the Angels may just elect to keep their young shortstop out for the rest of the year so he can be fresh and back at full health for the 2024 season. For this reason, Neto is droppable in all redraft leagues where he cannot be stashed on IL or where you have run out of IL slots.
2B/SS/OF Mauricio Dubon, Houston Astros (41%)
Dubon’s playing time has taken a substantial hit recently and he hasn’t done much with the playing time he’s had. For a guy who doesn’t offer much outside of runs and ratios when he’s getting full playing time, it’s awfully hard to justify rostering him when he isn’t getting as many at-bats or as many hits. He is a drop candidate for this reason, and other triple-eligibility guys like Luis Urias who is owned in about as many leagues or Isiah Kiner-Falefa who is owned in half as many could offer more value to fantasy owners at this point.
2B/3B Abraham Toro, Milwaukee Brewers (9%)
Despite hitting very well for Milwaukee during his 18 at-bats with the team, Toro has been sent back down to the minors and is thus droppable in redraft leagues. He is at least still worth keeping on your watch list in case he does get called back up, as he’s shown well in both his minor and major league at-bats this year.
1B Mike Ford, Seattle Mariners (8%)
After starting most days in July but going through an extended slump as the month went on, Ford has not started a game since August 1st. When he was hot he was worth a look, but his bat has cooled off in a hurry. With Ford riding the bench most days for the Mariners, there is simply no longer any reason to hold onto him.
Two “STASH” (Players to stay patient with)
2B Edouard Julien, Minnesota Twins (64%)
Julien’s ownership has been dropping recently due to a relative lull in his production, but he is still starting nearly every day for the Twins while batting .295/.378/.510 with 10 homers and a couple steals through his 200 at-bats for Minnesota. He had three hits his last time out and is worth holding due to his overall success. Besides, you never know when he might erupt again.
LHP Cristopher Sanchez, Philadelphia Phillies (53%)
Although Sanchez let up six runs in his most recent start against Kansas City, he also struck out seven batters over the five innings he pitched while only walking one. While he still has yet to win a game this year and doesn’t always pitch deep into games, he still has strong peripheral stats (3.52 SIERA with a 30.6% CSW) and a potential for strikeouts that makes him worth holding onto.
RHP Kyle Finnegan, Washington Nationals (61%)
Finnegan has looked very good of late and has converted five straight save opportunities without allowing a run. He also carries a 7-1 strikeout to walk ratio during this stretch of nine games. He is still available in about 40% of Fantrax leagues and really shouldn’t be, so if he’s out there and you’re in need of saves, you know what to do.
LHP Brooks Raley & RHP Adam Ottavino, New York Mets (41 & 36%)
Both Raley and Ottavino blew their most recent save attempts. It does seem like the scales might be tipping a bit in Raley’s favor (as is reflected in his ownership) considering he did at least convert two saves recently before this, but the whole situation is still very up in the air right now. Neither of them have shown overpowering stuff this year, so even if you do end up picking the right guy, it could still come with a decent amount of disappointment.
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