Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Watch: Plenty of pitchers available to boost your rotation

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Watch: Plenty of pitchers available to boost your rotation

Welcome to Waiver Wire Watch, where we review the top waiver wire adds and drops for each week of the MLB season.

The premise is pretty straightforward. I’ll try to give you some recommended adds each week based on recent production or role changes. When I list a player, I’ll try to list the category where I think he’ll be helpful or the quick reason he’s listed. My hope is that it will help you to determine if the player is a fit for what your team needs or not.

For a player to qualify to be on this list, he needs to be UNDER 50% rostered in Yahoo formats. I understand you may say, “These players aren’t available in my league,” and I can’t help you there. These players are available in over 50% of leagues and some in 98% of leagues, so they’re available in many places and that can hopefully satisfy readers in all league types.

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We’ll start by just looking at the teams with the best overall schedule in the next week. It’s just a part of the equation but it’s good to know which hitters will face an easier road.

Good Schedule






vs LAD, vs WAS



at LAA, at SD



at PHI, vs MIL



at COL, vs LAA



vs ARI, at COL

Jesse Winker – OF, WAS: 44% rostered

Yes, another week with Jesse Winker on the Waiver Wire Watch. I can’t believe it’s 2024 and I’m recommending Jesse Winker, but I also can’t believe I had to drop Ronald Acuna and add Jesse Winker a couple of weeks ago. Winker’s stolen base pace has died down, with just one over the last week weeks, but he does have 11 on the year despite never stealing more than one base in a season. He’s not the hitter he flashed in 2021, and I think the back injury has sapped some of his power, but he still has a strong feel for the strike zone and finds himself in an everyday job. Now that he’s also running, that adds some much-needed fantasy value to his solid batting average. (Winker did leave Saturday’s game with what appeared to be an injury, so check updates on that before placing your bids).

Ceddanne Rafaela – OF, BOS: 41% rostered

Rafaela was a big riser in spring training when he hit his way onto the Red Sox roster and seemed likely to play CF, SS, and 2B. Well, he does have eligibility at two of those positions but the production hadn’t been there for a while. Still, the Red Sox kept him in the lineup because of his defense and the offense has started to pick up. Over the last month, Rafaela has gone 26-for-95 (.274) with three home runs, four steals, 15 runs, and 14 RBI in 26 games. That diverse skillset has made him the 65th-ranked player in Yahoo 5×5 formats. He’s a young player with immense talent who is continuing to get better; those are the players you should bet on on the waiver wire.

Mark Vientos – 3B, NYM (36% rostered)

Mark Vientos continues to start at 3B for the Mets, but he’s seen no roster bump over the last week. I’m not sure why. He’s cut down on his strikeout rate by reportedly not trying to swing as hard as he can on every swing, which was advice given to him by Bryce Harper. Yes, that’s apparently a true story. Given that Vientos has plus raw power, taking 80% or 90% swings and trying to square the ball up makes far more sense than him trying to crush everything. There will be some ups and downs — as there are with most power hitters — but if the Mets are going to keep playing him then he should remain on your rosters.

Masyn Winn – SS, STL: 37% rostered

Winn has now moved into the leadoff spot in St. Louis, hitting atop the order in seven straight games. He’s also hitting .330 over his last 24 games with 16 RBI, 12 runs, three home runs and one steal. It used to be that Winn was just a batting average asset with solid speed (eight steals on the season), but now that he’s getting counting stats too, he’s honestly giving you about what you can realistically expect to get from Bo Bichette, if not more since there’s not much power there. We can also keep riding the hot bat of Paul DeJong – SS, CWS (20% rostered). We’ve seen DeJong have big power spikes in the past, and I’m not sure we’re seeing anything that suggests DeJong is suddenly a new player. However, he has six home runs over his last 13 games. Granted, that comes with 10 RBI and a .250 batting average, which tells you a little bit about what you’re getting with DeJong. We hope the power sticks, but even in a hot stretch, the counting stats and batting average will just be OK.

Josh Bell – 1B, MIA (31% rostered)

We’re coming to the point in the season where we can look to start stashing players we think could benefit from the trade deadline. Now, the deadline is about six weeks away, so we’re not just stashing anybody, but players like Bell who are playing full-time and performing but could see a huge team context boost with a trade are good candidates. Bell has gone 27-for-95 over the last month, which is a .284 average. He also has two home runs, 12 RBI, and eight runs over those 24 games. If he were playing in a different lineup, or in a more hitter-friendly home park, those numbers would be much better. Bell seems like one of the more obvious trade candidates at the deadline, so you can stash him now and cross your fingers for a great landing spot.

Andrew Vaughn – 1B, CWS (34% rostered)

I had Andrew Vaughn on here in May and then he made his return last week as the power has started to pick up. Over the last two weeks, Vaughn is 15-for-41 (.366) with four home runs, six RBI, and 10 runs scored. He’s on a bad team that is liable to get worse if Luis Robert and others get traded; however, Vaughn will likely remain in Chicago and play every day. Given his growing power, that could make him usable as a CI in deeper leagues if you need a bit of pop. In deeper formats, I think Carlos Santana – 1B, MIN (9% rostered) makes a good CI target. The Twins platoon more than any other team in the league, but Santana is immune from that. He’ll never post a high batting average overall, but he will spike big weeks of production because he has a great understanding of the strike zone. Santana is in one of those streaks now, going 12-for-39 (.308) over his last 11 games with three home runs and 11 RBI. With Carlos Correa and Royce Lewis back in the lineup, there will be some solid counting stats for Santana. You won’t hold him forever, but I think you could get solid production for a bit.

Brandon Lowe – 2B, TB (23% rostered)

Listen, I don’t love Lowe, but it’s worth noting that the Rays continue to start him and bat him second or third against left-handed pitching. Given that the Rays had always platooned Lowe before, this is good news for his playing time. He still won’t give you much in the way of batting average, but the power is real, and the lineup spot will help with counting stats, as evidenced by the fact that he has 10 RBI in his last 11 games. If you have speed and batting average covered elsewhere, Lowe could be a decent fit for your roster. If you’re in a really deep league, Enmanuel Valdez – 2B, BOS (2% rostered) could be a solid pick-up. With Vaughn Grissom on the IL, Valdez has been starting at second base for the Red Sox over the last couple of weeks, and he’s also made a big adjustment since coming back from the minors and is not pulling the ball as often. Given that Valdez has power but is not a pure power hitter, it’s been good for him to be using the whole field more often. In his 14 games since coming back, he’s gone 12-for-34 (.353) with three home runs, six runs and 13 RBI. That’s solid production if you’re in those really deep formats.

Andy Pages – OF, LAD (28% rostered)

Say it with me: “PROSPECT GROWTH IS NOT LINEAR.” Many people moved away from Pages when he started to get cold, and it was a mistake since the Dodgers kept playing him, which said a lot about their faith in him. Pages is still here and still playing pretty much every day. He’s also adjusted back to what pitchers were doing in getting him to chase out of the zone. Over his last 15 games, Pages has cut his strikeout rate back down to 22.2% while walking 13% of the time. His average is also .391 over that span with nine runs scored. Pick him back up. If you just want speed, you can go for Jake McCarthy – OF, ARI (5% rostered), who’s hit a bit of a cold streak over the last two weeks but is still hitting .254 over his last 23 games with six steals. He has nine steals in 60 games this season, and is still playing pretty much every day for Arizona if you need that jolt of speed.

Adael Amador – 2B/SS, COL (5% rostered)

I don’t know how much longer Amador has with the Rockies since he hasn’t gotten off to a great start and Brendan Rodgers is just on the IL with a hamstring injury. However, Amador will keep playing while Rodgers is out, and the Rockies have a full week of games at home, so that makes Amador worth a gamble. Keep in mind that he’s coming straight from Double-A and was really struggling early in the season, so much so that he still has a .194 average at Double-A. Yes, he’s had a great two weeks before his call-up, hitting 14-for-39 (.359) with six home runs and six stolen bases in his last nine games, but that’s nine games versus the whole rest of the season. I’d be cautious on bids here. You could also roster his teammate Charlie Blackmon – OF, COL (15% rostered) since the Rockies will be at home all week. Blackmon won’t hit for much power or steal any bases, but his batting average has been great, and the Rockies do put up some solid offensive games when they’re at home, so you could get good counting stats over the full week.

Mauricio Dubón – 2B/SS/OF, HOU (7% rostered)

As Jake Meyers has struggled and Kyle Tucker has remained out, Mauricio Dubon has been starting every day in Houston. He isn’t doing much, hitting .256 over his last 11 games with one home run and six runs scored, but Kyle Tucker doesn’t appear to be progressing as quickly as the Astros thought, so it’s possible that Dubon will get another week of solid playing time. That’s worth a stream in deeper formats.

Tyler Locklear – 1B/3B, SEA (4% rostered)

The 23-year-old Locklear has sat just one game since being called up, going 5-for-20 (.250) with one home run, two runs and two RBI. It’s not a robust stat line but that’s not bad for somebody who started the year at Double-A where he hit .291/.401/.532 in 41 games with eight home runs, 26 RBI, and four steals. He also posted a 12.2% walk rate. He only played in 10 games at Triple-A, but is 12-for-40 with a home run and a 12.5% walk rate compared to a 23% strikeout rate. When I asked my buddy and prospect aficionado Chris Clegg if he thought Locklear had a chance to stick in the Mariners lineup, he replied: “Certainly a chance. There are questions surrounding contact and his timing has to be impeccable with the bat waggle he has going on. But the power is real.” That’s enough for me to place some small bids in leagues where I need pop.

Jesús Sánchez – OF, MIA (2% rostered)

Jesus Sanchez has popped in quite a few of my articles this season, including my article on potential power gainers and also my article on fast and short swings. He was not a great pickup this week because the Marlins faced so many lefties, but he should be a bit better this week. He’s making really strong zone contact, striking out at a career-low rate, barreling the ball almost 12% of the time, and hitting the ball harder in the air than he has in years. If you believe in just X-stats, he should be hitting so much better across the board than he currently is. That’s the part that gives me hope. However, he’s also pulling the ball at the lowest rate of his career and has a 50% groundball rate. The groundball rate has been decreasing, and he’s gone 11-for-35 (.314) over the last 11 games with two home runs and five RBI, so if that keeps up, I’d like to add him in more leagues.

Kyle Higashioka – C, SD (1% rostered)

Higashioka has been on a power surge a bit of late, hitting 6-for-20 (.300) with four home runs, six runs scored, and four RBI over his last seven games. We’ve seen him with some solid power production in the past, so if you’re in a two-catcher league and just trying to play a hot bat with all of these catcher injuries, I can think of worse options. Plus, with Luis Campusano not doing much with the bat of late, it wouldn’t be crazy to see Higashioka earn more playing time in the short-term. You could also roster Tyler Soderstrom – C/1B, OAK (21% rostered) who is catcher-eligible in most formats but has become the starting first baseman for the Athletics, which means everyday playing time. He won’t hit for a high average, but he has legit pop and bats in the middle of the order, which is more than you can say for most catchers you’re rostering in deeper leagues.


Taj Bradley – SP, 42% rostered

Bradley was electric against the Cubs on Thursday. He kept his four-seam upstairs and relied on his splitter low in the zone, and it was tremendous. I think he’s a great add because his talent is far superior to many other starters on the wire. However, I do have some doubts about his long-term ability to keep it going. I covered that in my article this week on potential waiver wire starting pitchers.

Shane Baz – SP, TB 42% rostered

It’s time for the Rays to call him up. Shane Baz was electric in his last rehab outing, striking out eight and allowing one run over six innings on Friday for Triple-A Durham. This was last weekend’s performance in which he struck out 10 and allowed just four hits and one walk over six innings. His off-speed pitches have begun to show more consistency and his fastball averaged 96.5 mph in the last start. The 24-year-old top pitching prospect is coming back from Tommy John surgery so his command and pure stuff may be inconsistent at times, but he’s ready to return and should get a shot in the next few weeks.

Max Meyer – SP, MIA 29% rostered

This week we heard the Marlins say that Meyer would be back up in the majors “soon.” Yes, this whole week passed and we got Shaun Anderson starting instead. I understand you may not have the patience to wait for a nebulous timeframe for his return, but I think he could be worth it. The 25-year-old struggled immediately after being sent down, but a lot of that had to do with his disappointment with the move and his need to rediscover his confidence. Meyer was solid in three starts with the Marlins to begin the season and should be a solid source of ratios once he’s back. Just don’t expect too many wins.

Drew Thorpe – SP, CWS 29% rostered

I broke down Thorpe’s entire arsenal and redraft league prospects in the same Mixing It Up article that Hurston Waldrep was in. I’m less optimistic about Thorpe’s fantasy ceiling due to his pitch mix and team context, but I think he’s a must-add for his matchup this week and you can read that article for my entire thoughts.

Robbie Ray – SP, SF (21% rostered)
Now is the time to stash Robbie Ray since he just started his rehab assignment and is maybe three weeks away from making his season debut. There are some command concerns with Ray since he’s always had some control issues and command is the last thing to come back after Tommy John surgery. However, his overall talent level and strikeout upside makes him worth a stash.

José Soriano – SP, LAA 18% rostered

I’ve covered Soriano a few times on here, and I guess I just have a weakness for him. I don’t love his four-seam fastball, but I think he has two good breaking balls and has gotten more effective as he’s leaned on his sinker more as his primary fastball. He was able to go eight innings last time out, and the fact that the Angels are willing to let him pitch deep into games is something that separates him from a lot of streamers. The team context isn’t great, but I am a sucker for Soriano.

Ryne Stanek – RP, SEA – 17% rostered

Andres Munoz has been battling a back injury all season and while he may avoid the injured list, he’s clearly not 100%, which has led to more save opportunities for Stanek of late. The Mariners don’t seem interested in using Munoz on back-to-back days as of now, so I think Stanek could be valuable as a high-leverage reliever who could pick up some wins and saves while not hurting your ratios.

Spencer Arrighetti – SP, HOU 11% rostered

I covered Arrighetti in my article on Thursday where I used a custom stat leaderboard to find waiver wire starting pitchers. I came away more into Arrighetti than I had expected, so I’d encourage you to check out that article for a more detailed explanation of why. You’re not starting him this week against Baltimore, so maybe you can get him for $1 and keep him for the following weeks. (Woof, this did not go well on Saturday, but his start was bumped up a day after Justin Verlander was scratched, so maybe that had something to do with it).

Hurston Waldrep – SP, ATL 14% rostered
I don’t believe Waldrep’s first start was as bad as the statline suggests, and he remains in the rotation for at least one more start later today. I also believe he has the inside track to keep the fifth spot in the rotation (until the Braves make a trade) based on his raw stuff. I wrote about his debut in this week’s Mixing It Up, so I’d encourage you to read that article to see my complete thoughts on his pitch mix and why I’m a believer in his upside.

Tobias Myers – SP, MIL 5% rostered

I kind of dig what Myers has been doing. Despite not having elite velocity, his four-seam is really flat and he’s started to rely on it more and throw it up in the zone more, which is good to see. He’s also cut back on his cutter usage and started to throw a changeup more that has flashed some good traits. I don’t think there is a lot of swing-and-miss here and there isn’t a large fantasy ceiling, but I think he can be a really solid streamer on a team that desperately needs starters.

DJ Herz – SP, WAS (4% rostered)

I had Herz in here last week but was certainly not pounding the table to start him against the Braves. I wrote: “Herz was called up to fill a spot in the Nationals’ rotation after pitching to a 3.75 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A with 42 strikeouts in 36 innings. He did have 29 walks and a 1.42 ERA, so that’s something to keep in mind, but the eighth-round selection from the 2019 MLB Draft has been good for Washington since coming over in a trade with Chicago. The 23-year-old flashed a 94 mph fastball and a plus changeup in his MLB debut and also features a solid cutter and a slider he can use against lefties. I don’t believe this start against the Braves will go well on Sunday, but Herz could be an option in deeper formats.” At this point, he showed his upside on Saturday and while there are some command concerns, you have to add him and take the chance.


Drew Thorpe (CWS) – at DET

Tobias Myers (MIL) – at LAA, at SD

Chris Paddack (MIN) – at OAK

Jameson Taillon (CHC) – vs NYM

Alec Marsh (KC) – at OAK, at TEX

Reese Olson (DET) – at ATL, vs CWS

Michael Lorenzen (TEX) – vs NYM

Simeon Woods Richardson (MIN)- vs TB

Ryne Nelson (ARI) – at WAS

José Soriano (LAA) – vs MIL

David Peterson (NYM) – at TEX, at CHC

JP Sears (OAK) – vs MIN

Keaton Winn (SF) – at STL

Kenta Maeda (DET) vs CWS

Mike Clevinger (CWS) – at DET

Luis L. Ortiz (PIT)– vs TB

Mitch Spence (OAK) – vs KC

Spencer Schwellenbach (ATL)– vs DET

Players to Drop

In this section, I’ll give you a few players who are rostered in over 50% of leagues who I think might be OK to cut bait on. I’ll also list the schedule to highlight which teams have fewer games or face a tougher road of pitchers in case you want to churn the bottom of your roster by getting rid of some hitters with a bad schedule.

Bad Schedule






vs MIL, at LAD

Brent Rooker – OF, OAK: 79% rostered

By this time, we know who Brent Rooker is as a hitter. He has legit power but has swing-and-miss in his game that will always make him streaky. In deeper formats, you can certainly hold onto him and perhaps bench him so that you can have him on your team when he gets hot again, but in shallower formats, I think you can move on when he’s in a rut, and he’s certainly in one now. Over his last 72 plate appearances, Rooker is hitting .226 with two home runs, and a 39% strikeout rate. He has a 32.5% chase rate over that span with a swinging strike rate of 19.4% and a contact rate of just 61%. That’s, you know, not great. His 20.6% barrel rate is still appealing, and Rooker will always hit the ball hard, but he plays in a poor park for power, and the swing-and-miss is concerning. He had similar stretches last year where it was nearly impossible to put him in your lineup for six-plus weeks. It’s hard to hold on for that long in shallower formats, and I think Rooker should be treated as more of a hitting streamer in 12-team leagues, rostering him when he has a good schedule or when we start to see that contact rate tick back up.

George Springer – OF, TOR: 72% rostered

I just can’t wait anymore. Springer came into the year as a decent bet for a 20/20 season with a .260-.270 average but he was going to score lots of runs atop a good lineup. I don’t believe Springer is “washed,” but I also don’t believe we’re getting any of that. He’s making good swing decisions and getting good pitches and still not delivering. I think the power and speed are not quite where it used to be, and the Toronto offense just doesn’t look that good. In a full season, is Springer like a 15/15 guy who hits fifth or sixth in a mediocre offense? I’m just not sure that’s a player you need to hold in 12-team leagues.

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