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Waiver Wire – Week of May 23rd

Graham Ashcraft, SP, CIN (CBS: 3% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Connor Overton was scratched Sunday with a back issue and the Reds have turned to the 24-year-old righty, Ashcraft, to wrap up their series with the Jays. Ashcraft has enjoyed a solid start to the season at Triple-A Louisville, sporting a 2.48 ERA and a pinch shy of a strikeout-per-inning, and pending today’s results, could find himself sticking in the rotation. It’s worth a small bid to find out.

Kole Calhoun, OF, TEX (CBS: 25% rostered, ESPN: 12% rostered): In the last week, the bat has come alive. Over that span, he has gone 7-for-20 with three homers and seven RBI. Ride this current hot streak for all it’s worth.

Johnny Cueto, SP, CWS (CBS: 19% rostered, ESPN: 10% rostered): He stops and starts. He jerks a little and then eventually releases a well-hidden baseball. It’s the one and only Johnny Cueto, and he now has found a home on the “South Side”.  As a #5/6 type starter in deeper Leagues, he’s worthy of a small bid this weekend.

Nolan Gorman, 2B, STL (CBS: 68% rostered, ESPN: 21% rostered): He got the call, with the Cards finally tiring of the ineptness they’d dealt with at shortstop this season. The power is very real as is the swing and miss potential. He’s not coming cheap, so just clearly understand the parameters you’re dealing with when committing a large chunk of your FAAB to acquire his services.

Matthew Liberatore, SP, STL (CBS: 30% rostered, ESPN: 11% rostered): Nolan Gorman’s childhood and long-time friend Matthew Liberatore also made his debut yesterday and he struggled, allowing four earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. He was promptly optioned to Triple-A but will be back. If you have the room on your bench, a small bid and stash for his next callup isn’t a bad plan.

MJ Melendez, C, KCR (CBS: 45% rostered, ESPN: 9% rostered): Sal Perez suffered a left thumb sprain and was immediately sent to the 10-day IL. How long he’ll be sidelined is still up in the air, but in the interim MJ Melendez has moved into the principal catcher role in Kansas City. The fact that he has gone 7-for-23 in his past six games with a pair of homers is a pretty good indication that he’s liking those additional opportunities.

Tyler Naquin, OF, CIN (CBS: 23% rostered, ESPN: 10% rostered): Tyler Naquin is a fourth outfielder on most teams. The Reds aren’t most teams. Naquin is now up to four homers, two in the past week, and 21 RBI on the year. He should have a home as a 4’th/5’th outfielder on your Fantasy squad.

Isaac Paredes, 2B, TAM (CBS: 3% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): A three-homer week for Isaac Paredes and the ability to play all over the field is intriguing, especially in deeper formats. The injuries continue to mount in Tampa Bay, and a solid future as a super-sub and injury replacement could be in the cards for the former Detroit top pick.

Nick Pivetta, SP, BOS (CBS 58% rostered, ESPN: 31% rostered):  In his past three starts, in which he went 6, 7, and 9 innings respectively against the Whites Sox, Texas, and Houston, Pivetta has allowed only two earned runs while striking out 20 opposing batters. He’s on a roll and should be rostered and active in all formats.

Emmanuel Rivera, 3B, KCR (CBS: 1% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): In the past week, the 25-year-old has gone 6-for-20 with two homers. More importantly, with Adalberto Mondesi gone for the year with an ACL tear, there is a path to everyday at-bats. Rivera did hit 19 home runs in 255 at-bats last year at Triple-A Omaha.

Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL (CBS: 52% rostered, ESPN: 5% rostered): The time is drawing near. Actually, it should have been yesterday when the O’s could have had Grayson Rodriguez making his debut tossing to Adley Rutschman (91% rostered at CBS), who would have also been making his debut. It would have been perfect. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but rest assured the train will be leaving the station shortly and you definitely want to be all aboard.

Josh Rojas, 2B/SS/3B/OF, ARZ (CBS: 36% rostered, ESPN: 25% rostered): He covers every position on the field, excepting First Base and Catcher. Toss in the power and speed potential and he deserves a lot more attention than the current 36% shown in CBS Leagues.

Brady Singer, SP, KCR (CBS: 12% rostered, ESPN: 6% rostered): He got the call on Tuesday in a double-header and responded by blanking the White Sox over seven innings, tossing in nine strikeouts for good measure. That bought him a second start today against the Twins. A second solid outing and Singer could be around for the long haul.

Jeffrey Springs, SP/RP, TAM (CBS: 8% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): The Rays find a way to get it done, always have and always will. Jeffrey Springs is the latest example. They have moved him from the pen into the rotation, and albeit a small sample size, he has now thrown back-to-back strong outings against Baltimore and Toronto in which he didn’t allow an earned run. A small bid is in order, to see if he can make it three-in-a-row.

Christian Walker, 1B, ARZ (CBS: 42% rostered, ESPN: 18% rostered): This is the week of “swing and miss” specialists with power potential so how could we not discuss Christian Walker. A rather slow start to the season has been replaced by a great May, in which he has four homers in the past week and is now up to ten on the year. He should be rostered in all formats to take advantage of this current hot streak.

Eli White, OF, TEX (CBS: 11% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): White is on the wrong side of a platoon with Brad Miller, but he’s making the most of the opportunity and has now stolen eight bases on the year. If your “need is speed”, go get him!

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Updated Closer Report

An update has been made to the fantasy closer report. It can be found here.

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Waiver Wire for the week of May 16th

Luis Barrera, OF, OAK (CBS: not rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Since getting the call on May 9, Barrera is proving to be a very effective part-time option in the A’s outfield. He is also the only left-handed bat in the A’s outfield. Toss in yesterday’s pinch-hit three-run walk-off home run and he’s doing a fine job of lobbying for increased playing time.

William Contreras, C, ATL (CBS: 5% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Yes, he’s backing up incumbent Travis d’Arnaud and getting in his two games a week but he’s taking advantage of every opportunity to produce. In his past three games, he has mashed two homers and driven in five runs. In deeper two-catcher formats, he’s worthy of our attention.

Brendan Donovan, 3B, STL (CBS: 5% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): The fact that Nolan Gorman didn’t get the call when the Cards demoted Paul DeJong had many upset, but so far Donovan has quietly been producing at a solid clip. He’s gone 6-for-12 with a home run and four RBI in his past five games. This level of production will guarantee steady at-bats moving forward.

Alex Faedo, SP, DET (CBS: 4% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): He hasn’t been outstanding, but so far in two starts against Oakland and Pittsburgh he has held his own allowing two earned runs in each five-inning effort. In deeper Leagues Faedo is looking at a two-start week with Tampa Bay and Cleveland on the schedule. As a streaming option in 15-team+ formats, one could do much worse.

Luis Garcia, 2B, WAS (CBS: 5% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Now 35-years-of-age, Alcides Escobar has enjoyed a fine career, but it’s time for him to take a seat to the young talent blossoming down on the farm. Garcia has slugged eight homers, driven in 27 runs, and is currently sporting a .368 BA and .421 OBP.  A changing of the guard in Washington should be just around the corner.

Riley Greene, OF, DET (CBS: 46% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): This past week, Riley Greene was given medical clearance to resume baseball activities. He’s still at least a month away from a return but being a bit early getting him rostered will save you some of that precious FAAB. He won’t have any problems finding regular at-bats in Detroit when deemed ready to roll.

Jakob Junis, SP, SFG (CBS: 8% rostered, ESPN: 9% rostered): We must journey all the way back to the 2018 season to witness Junis produce an ERA under five. In four starts this year he has posted a 1.74 ERA. Have the Giants done it again?

Royce Lewis, SS, MIN (CBS: 48% rostered, ESPN: 7% rostered): Lewis now has nine hits in his first 29 at-bats including his first big league homer, a grand slam. He’s proving he belongs and if he continues to produce at his current clip could be sticking around when Carlos Correa returns from his finger injury. The speed potential alone makes for an intriguing addition.

Zach Logue, SP, OAK (CBS: 6% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): It has only been two starts for the young lefty, but that last outing was some impressive. Logue tossed seven strong scoreless innings against the Tigers allowing five hits, no free passes, and struck out six. In deeper Leagues, the upcoming two-start week against the Twins and Angels isn’t half bad.

Brad Miller, 1B/3B/OF, TEX (CBS: 9% rostered, ESPN: 7% rostered): Brad Miller has been one of the few bright spots in a rather dismal start to the 2022 campaign for the Rangers. Over the past seven games he’s gone 6-for-18 with three homers and a pair of stolen bases. He’s also batting in the leadoff slot against righties. Toss in the roster flexibility and there is a solid opportunity at-hand.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, CIN (CBS: 25% rostered, ESPN: 11% rostered): It’s all about the health and we simply haven’t seen enough of “Moose” on the field in the past couple of seasons. Over the past two weeks, Moustakas has hit three homers, driven in seven runs, and has a .302 BA. Take advantage of the current hot streak and get him active and rostered.

Cody Poteet, SP, MIA (CBS: 1% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Unfortunately, Jesus Luzardo is dealing with yet another injury, and hits the IL with a forearm strain. The Marlins have no shortage of options and are giving Cody Poteet first kick-at-the-can. For those playing the “streaming SP game”, Poteet has a two-start week at home against the Nationals and Braves.

Edwin Rios, 1B, LAD (CBS: 3% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Rios will struggle to find regular at-bats in a very deep and strong Dodgers lineup but going 5-for-14 with two homers and 7 RBI in the past week is a great way to lobby for more opportunities.

Chase Silseth, SP, LAA (CBS: 5% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Chase Silseth was called up last Friday, and in the process became the first player to debut from the 2021 draft class. Stand up and take a bow if you had this on your scorecard. Take a second bow if you had him in your active lineup and got to enjoy the six-innings of one-hit, two walk shutout ball. That is quite the debut from the Arizona grad and one that should convince Joe Maddon to pencil him in this week for a second start.

Steven Souza Jr., OF, SEA (CBS: not rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Someone had to fill the vacant slot created by the Jared Kelenic demotion and it appears that Souza is the beneficiary. It has been a long time between success stories, 2017 to be exact, but with five homers and three thefts at Triple-A Tacoma this year, the 33-year-old outfielder has earned the chance to prove there is still something left in the tank.

LaMonte Wade, OF, SFG (CBS: 12% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): After missing the first five weeks of the season with left knee inflammation, Wade is attempting to quickly make up for lost time.  He has gone 6-for-17 with a homer and five RBI at the top-of-the-order since returning to the lineup on May 6 and appears ready to replicate that solid 2021 campaign.

Closer Carousel

Alexis Diaz, RP, CIN (CBS: 1% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): The Reds bullpen is a mess. Lucas Sims has once again found his way to the IL, this time dealing with a bulging disc in his back. Until someone steps up, a committee approach is likely to be employed. Working his way into that committee mix is Alexis Diaz. In 15 appearances he has allowed only one earned run and is striking out better than a batter-per-inning. It’s worth a small bid to see if he can move into a prominent role in the Cincinnati bullpen.

C. Holmes, RP, NYY (CBS: 31% rostered, ESPN: 24% rostered): He’s not taking away the ninth-inning job from Aroldis Chapman, but he doesn’t have to. In 17 1/3 innings Holmes has already amassed four wins, two saves, and allowed but a single run. He’s proving to be a most reliable and consistent bullpen option for the Yankees.

Ian Kennedy, RP, ARZ (CBS: 15% rostered, ESPN: 5% rostered):  In his past seven consecutive outings, Kennedy has amassed three saves and two holds, while allowing no earned runs. Melancon has really struggled since his return, losing three games in the past week, and is now sporting a rather bloated 8.49 ERA. Maybe it’s time to turn the job over to Kennedy, if even on an interim basis.

R. Wick, RP, CHC (CBS: 19% rostered, ESPN: 6% rostered): Incumbent David Robertson is on the Covid IL and appears to be not close to a return. In the interim, Wick has back-to-back saves this week and is currently the go-to guy for the Cubbies. A save is a save is a save!

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Updated Closer Report

An update has been made to the fantasy closer report. It can be found here.

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Waiver Wire – Week of May 9th

Available Today, Rostered Tomorrow

George Kirby, SP, SEA (CBS: 36% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): The Mariners aren’t fooling around, calling up top pitching prospect George Kirby straight out of Double-A Arkansas. When you’ve posted a 32/5 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 IP and a 1.82 ERA, one can’t argue with the Mariners’ thought process. We will have the advantage of witnessing his debut today against the Rays at home before our FAAB run tonight. Unless Kirby really struggles, he’ll take care of a good chunk of that FAAB.

Juan Yepez, 1B, STL (CBS: 15% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): The struggles of Dylan Carlson prompted a move and the Cards turned to Yepez for hopefully a spark in their O. Between the DH slot and OF, Yepez will garner full-time at-bats and if the numbers at Triple-A Memphis are any indication, (9 HR, 26 RBI in 89 at-bats) he could be worth every penny you’ll spend to roster him on your squad.

Alek Thomas, OF, ARZ (CBS: 20% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Thomas had four home runs, three stolen bases, and an outstanding K/BB ratio of 16/13 down on the farm and should provide immediate help for the DBacks anemic offense. Toss in the fact that he won’t be faced with huge struggles to hold down a job in that Arizona outfield and he should generate some serious interest in Waiver Wire runs tonight.

Solid Upgrades

Chris Archer, SP, MIN (CBS: 16% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): The fact that he’s still pitching after the injury mired past several years is bordering on amazing. The control is still a work in progress and has inhibited his ability to go deep into games, but as the strength and hopefully control return, he will hold value as a #5/6 starter in deeper Leagues.

Harrison Bader, OF, STL (CBS: 40% rostered, ESPN: 24% rostered): Harrison Bader has always possessed a world of talent, limited only by his ability to make contact. He’s off to a better start but will still struggle to make contact. What he won’t struggle with is stealing bases and with seven already in the books is on pace to shatter his prior high of fifteen.

Brandon Drury, 2B/3B/OF, CIN (CBS: 4% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): The former Diamondback, Yankee, Jay, and Met seems to have found a home in Cincinnati and has provided a solid offensive spark (5HR, 15 RBI) in a dismal Reds season.

Yadiel Hernandez, OF, WAS (CBS: 14% rostered, ESPN: 14% rostered): When you’ve gone 13-for-25 with one homer, 8 RBI, 6 runs scored, and stolen a base in your past six games you’re going to get regular playing time. With Lane Thomas on-going struggles, it guarantees at the very least the strong side of a platoon for Hernandez.

Ryan Jeffers, C, MIN (CBS: 9% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): In the past six games Jeffers has gone 6-for-20 with two homers and 8 RBI. In two-catcher formats he should have our attention.

Ha-seong Kim, 2B/3B/SS, SDP (CBS: 41% rostered, ESPN: 29% rostered): The term “super-sub” is likely the one that will be used to describe his future role with the Padres, but until the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. from the broken wrist, Kim has been holding his own with 3 HR, 11 RBI and a .770 OPS. That roster flexibility, especially in deeper Leagues, is attention worthy.  

Royce Lewis, SS, MIN (CBS: 17% rostered, ESPN: 7% rostered): Carlos Correa looked to be IL bound with a broken finger. Apparently, it’s not as bad as first feared, but will still require some “R and R”. Lewis was tearing it up down on the farm and should see a fairly steady diet of at-bats over the next week-to-ten days.

Nick Martinez, SP, SDP (CBS: 12% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): We’ve now witnessed five starts for Martinez and for the most part he has been as advertised, possibly even a bit better. He’s sporting a solid 3.38 ERA and although the walks are a concern, the bulk of them (nine to be exact) came in two of those starts. One could do much worse than Nick Martinez as your fifth starter.

MJ Melendez, C, KCR (CBS: 31% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): Cam Gallagher hits the 10-day IL with a strained hammy and the Royals have turned to top-prospect Melendez to fill in. Between backing up Sal Perez in the catcher slot and at-bats in the DH slot he should carve out enough playing time to hold value in two-catcher formats. Even though he was off to a slow start this year at Triple-A Omaha, we shouldn’t forget that he did lead all of Minor League baseball last year with 41 homers.

Bryson Stott, 2B/SS, PHI (CBS: 21% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): It was a very short stay at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for Bryson Stott, as Didi Gregorius hits the IL with a left knee sprain. Stott’s early season performance left a lot to be desired, but a pair of homers and stolen bases in 36 at-bats after his demotion demonstrated the solid potential to be an everyday player.

Spencer Strider, RP, ATL (CBS: 17% rostered, ESPN: 5% rostered): It might be time for the Braves to give Spencer Strider a shot at a rotation slot. They’ve tried virtually everyone in their system in the fifth slot, to no avail, and have to be running out of options. Strider has posted a great 2.16 ERA with 24 punchouts in his first 16 2/3 IP. The combination of the great strikeout rate and possible move into the rotation should have our attention.

Rowdy Tellez, 1B, MIL (CBS: 70% rostered, ESPN: 49% rostered): At the beginning of the week Tellez was rostered in 22% of the Leagues using CBS. By Saturday night, it was 70%. All it took was a two-homer eight RBI game to get our attention.

Josh Winder, SP, MIN (CBS: 20% rostered, ESPN: 11% rostered): Winder is off to a great start, providing some early respite in the Twins’ injury-depleted rotation. He started the year in the bullpen, but upon moving to the rotation has won both starts and in fine style, posting 15 strikeouts in 12 shutout innings with only one free pass. Let’s see what Rich Wilson has to say about the young Twins starter. “Josh Winder had a strong season across Double and Triple-A.  In 14 starts, he posted a 2.63 ERA striking out 80 and walking only 13.  He wasn’t a high draft pick, partially because of his average-at-best fastball.  However, this year, I have reports that he’s hit 98 MPH on the gun with a plus slider.  That changes the calculus and makes me more interested.”

Closer Carousel

Ryan Helsley, RP, STL (CBS: 40% rostered, ESPN: 12% rostered): No, Giovanny Gallegos has not lost the closer job in St. Louis, but should he, Ryan Helsley is the arm you want to have rostered. That 100+ mph high heat has contributed to an amazing 20/0 K/BB ratio in eight appearances (10 IP) while not allowing an earned run. Need I say more?

Brooks Raley, RP, TAM (CBS: 2% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Raley is another face in the crowd in that Rays bullpen, but when sporting a 2.00 ERA with two saves under his belt five weeks into the 2022 campaign, you know there will more opportunities.

Drew Smith, RP, NYM (CBS: 8% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): Trevor May has hit the IL, resulting in everyone moving up in the Mets bullpen. In ten appearances, Smith has accumulated seven holds while not allowing a single earned run. Toss in the 15 punchouts in 11 1/3 IP and you have an under-the-radar reliever that shouldn’t be for much longer.

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Updated Fantasy Closer Report

An update has been made to the fantasy closer report. It can be found here.

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Waiver Wire – Week of May 2nd

Tyler Anderson, SP, LAD (CBS: 27% rostered, ESPN: 15% rostered): Andrew Heaney is dealing with a shoulder injury and could miss considerable time as he is yet to resume throwing. Enter Tyler Anderson, the one-time Rockie, Giant, Pirate, and Mariner, to help them save the day. In two starts totaling 9 2/3 innings, Anderson has allowed three earned runs and appears to have the Cubs and that anemic offense up next. Have the Dodgers worked their pitching magic yet again?

Peyton Battenfield, SP, CLE (CBS: 3% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Aaron Civale has posted a 10.67 ERA in his first four starts, none of which have lasted five innings. That’s not good, right? In five starts at Triple-A Columbus, Battenfield is sporting a 2.52 ERA and a pair of early-season wins. Spend a bit now to save a lot more in what could be the very near future.

Kyle Bradish, SP, BAL (CBS: 5% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): This week, Kyle Bradish got the call and offered up a strong debut against the Boston Red Sox in which he allowed two earned runs over six innings with only one walk. We wrote the following about Bradish over the winter. “Bradish had an uneven season in 2021, pitching to a 3.68 ERA while striking out nearly 12-per-nine. The problem continues to be his inability to throw strikes. He has never had a walk rate below 4-per-nine in college or professional baseball until this season when he squeaked out a 3.9 BB/9 rate.” The control has been better this season and he looked awfully good over the weekend, so while risky, there could be something there.

Beau Brieske, SP, DET (CBS: 1% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): The 27’th Round pick out of Colorado State-Pueblo has advanced quickly through the Tigers system on the strength of 94 mph fastball, a change that floats in at 81.5 mph, and by not giving it away. He allowed only 23 walks last year in 106 2/3 IP at two levels down on the farm. With Matt Manning and Casey Mize on the shelf for an extended period, Brieske will get ample opportunities to prove he belongs in the Detroit rotation.

Madison Bumgarner, SP, ARZ (CBS: 48% rostered, ESPN: 24% rostered): Bumgarner has now five starts under his belt against the Padres, Astros, Gnats, Mets, and Cards. He has allowed a total of three earned runs. Everyone is an ace this year, even former aces.

Travis Demeritte, OF, ATL (CBS: 5% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): In his past six games, Demeritte has gone 7-for-19 at the dish with a pair of solo homers. He has quietly worked his way into the mix for regular at-bats in Atlanta and with Eddie Rosario missing the next 2-to-3 months the opportunity should be long-term in nature.

Luis Gonzalez, OF, SFG (CBS: 2% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Gonzalez has now gone 7-for-24 with a home run and six RBI in his past seven games and has worked himself into regular at-bats. Have the Giants found gold in a waiver claim?  

Josh Harrison, 2B/3B/OF, CWS (CBS: 12% rostered, ESPN: 6% rostered): Harrison has been dealing with back and shoulder issues, that have caused him to miss eight games so far this year. He’s also struggled badly thus far, the lingering injuries no doubt the cause. When healthy, he brings some pop and speed along with multi-eligibility to one’s Fantasy squad. A buy-low right now has the potential to provide solid rewards

Chad Kuhl, SP, COL (CBS: 32% rostered, ESPN: 34% rostered): It’s time for my annual mention of Chad Kuhl. Don’t worry, folks; Roman Quinn will be next week. Kuhl is off to a great start in Colorado, with three wins in his first four starts and a stellar 1.90 ERA and .85 WHIP. Ride the hot start for all it’s worth!

Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA (CBS: 46% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): In his first game back after two weeks on the Covid IL, Mitch Haniger suffered a Grade Two high ankle sprain. If it weren’t for bad luck, he wouldn’t have any. Kyle Lewis is still working his way back from the knee woes that have kept him sidelined since last season but is now taking live batting practice and could be looking at a return within the next several weeks. That power potential shouldn’t be ignored.

Daniel Lynch, SP, KCR (CBS: 21% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): The former First Round pick out of Virginia arrived last year to high expectations and promptly struggled to a 5.69 ERA. He’s making amends early on in 2022, posting a 3.38 ERA with a strikeout per inning in his first three starts. Daniel Lynch is falling into the category of post-hype sleeper and should be rostered in all formats while people still have last year’s struggles first and foremost on their mind.

Kyle Muller, SP, ATL (CBS: 6% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): The term “respect your elders” doesn’t apply in Atlanta, as they have dispatched him to Triple-A Gwinnett. Arriving in Atlanta, again, is Kyle Muller. In 19 2/3 innings at Gwinnett, Muller had amassed 28 strikeouts. He has also allowed seven free passes. It appears as if his main bugaboo, the free pass, is still a problem. Bid, but bid accordingly.

Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, ARZ (CBS: 24% rostered, ESPN: 5% rostered): Smith is not exactly setting the world on fire, but a homer and five RBI in his past five games in Arizona, might qualify as setting the world on fire.

Bruce Zimmermann, SP, BAL (CBS: 30% rostered, ESPN: 12% rostered): How could we not mention Bruce Zimmerman. We can now state that we’ve covered overachieving starters from “A-thru-Z in this week’s Waiver Wire.”  “Zim” has posted a 0.93 ERA with better than a strikeout-per-inning in four starts. Tell me you saw this coming, and the word “liar” will enter the discussion.

Closer Carousel

Adam Cimber, RP, TOR (CBS: 13% rostered, ESPN: 8% rostered): No, there is nothing wrong with Jordan Romano, other than our AL Saves leader might need a day off periodically. Cimber is off to a great start with four wins, five holds, and one save under his belt. He’s firmly anchored in the setup role and deserves more love than he’s currently receiving.

Joe Barlow, RP, TEX (CBS: 61% rostered, ESPN: 20% rostered): Chris Woodward has confirmed that Joe Barlow is his closer. However, it took Barlow until April 30 to get that first save under his belt. He’s pitching well, but when the Rangers have won only seven of their first 21 games, the opportunities have been few and far between. Better days should be ahead.

Ian Kennedy, RP, ARZ (CBS: 10% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): Mark Melancon has found his way to the Covid-19 IL, giving setup man Kennedy at least a temporary path to saves. Take the save opportunities that are currently his to be had, remembering that even with the return of Melancon, Kennedy will get his fair share of opportunities down the road.

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Updated Fantasy Closer Report

An update has been made to the fantasy closer report. It can be found here.

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Waiver Wire – Week 4

Solid Upgrades

Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI (CBS: 51% rostered, ESPN: 18% rostered): Joe Girardi has now committed to Alec Bohm as his everyday third baseman and for good cause. After a slow start, he’s now gone 6-for-21 in his past seven games with one homer and 8 RBI. This move has the potential to be the beginning of a long and successful run for the 25-year-old Bohm.

Vidal Brujan, 2B, TBR (CBS: 21% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): This is likely a short-term visit, as the Rays battle Covid-19, but it’s still worth a small bid to find out. Brujan has the potential to help one dominate the stolen base category, and that shouldn’t be ignored.

J.P. Crawford, SS, SEA (CBS: 55% rostered, ESPN: 67% rostered): With two homers and five RBI in his past three games, can we now describe Crawford as a slugging shortstop? He’s batting .348 on the year and back in the leadoff slot. Take advantage of the current hot streak and get him rolling in all formats.

Aaron Hicks, OF, NYY (CBS: 21% rostered, ESPN: 8% rostered): Hicks isn’t exactly piling up the “countables”, yet, but the K/BB ratio of 8/8 does have our attention. He appears to finally be healthy and ready to contribute to a potent Yankee offense.

Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK (CBS: 32% rostered, ESPN: 7% rostered): The 80-game suspension is coming to an end, with Laureano headed to Triple-A Las Vegas to begin a rehab stint in readiness for his activation in the middle of the first week of May. Don’t forget about him in your plans; as we witnessed as recently as last year there is double-digit power and speed potential, and he won’t have any problems finding everyday at-bats in a weak A’s lineup.  

Francisco Mejia, C, TBR (CBS: 21% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): Mejia is temporarily sidelined with Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored. Thus far he has posted a .348 BA, two homers, and ten RBI in 23 at-bats. In two-catcher sets, he won’t hurt you, and that’s a huge plus.

Austin Slater, OF, SFG (CBS: 16% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): The Giants placed Steven Duggar on the 60-day IL with a strained oblique, suffered Thursday against the Mets, and Austin Slater appears to be the principal beneficiary. He did produce a solid 12 homers and 15 stolen bases last year in 274 at-bats.

Garrett Whitlock, RP, BOS (CBS: 55% rostered, ESPN: 65% rostered): We mentioned back in Week One that Garrett Whitlock was a solid add, “Whether in a starting or relieving capacity,” and right now, it appears that the rotation is his destiny. On Saturday, he held the Rays to one hit over four shutout innings and chipped in with seven strikeouts. On the season, he is sporting a .66 ERA and an 18/2 K/BB ratio. It’s time he was rostered and active in 100% of all Leagues.

Cheap Options…..for Now

Odubel Herrera, OF, PHI (CBS: 6% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Herrera was dealing with an oblique injury suffered at the end of spring training and was activated Friday. A little pop, a little speed, and until at the very least Mickey Moniak recovers from the fractured right hand and returns from the IL in late May, a steady diet of at-bats.

Cristian Javier, RP/SP, HOU (CBS: 31% rostered, ESPN: 61% rostered): Houston Manager, Dusty Baker, announced that the Astros were moving into a six-man rotation that Cristian Javier would be starting on Wednesday against the Rangers. Javier’s value boosts with this news as he brings his 8 1/3 innings of shutout ball and 12/1 K/BB ratio into a regular turn in the rotation.

Michael King, RP, NYY (CBS: 15% rostered, ESPN: 10% rostered): Middle-relievers have value in today’s game, especially when they have posted a .84 ERA and 18 strikeouts in their first 10 2/3 IP.

Josh Naylor, OF, CLE (CBS: 11% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Josh Naylor is tearing the cover off the ball, like so many other Guardian bats not named Bobby Bradley, and is quickly becoming an everyday bat in that Guardian lineup. How do you sit a player when they are the proud owner of a 1.214 OPS after their first 21 at-bats? You don’t!

Michael Pineda, SP, DET (CBS: 20% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): We mentioned Michael Pineda in Week Two and after his strong five-innings of shutout ball in his 2022 debut this week against the Yankees you’re going to wish you bought-in early. The price, like Pineda, could be rather hefty.

Gavin Sheets, U, CWS (CBS: 12% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): The injury list on the South Side continues to grow, with Eloy Jimenez now looking at missing the next 6-to-8 weeks with a severe hamstring injury. That lineup will be stretched very thin for the foreseeable future, giving Sheets plenty of at-bats as we move into May.

Drew Smyly, SP, CHC (CBS: 17% rostered, ESPN: 16% rostered): Smyly struggled a bit in his last start, but on the year has an excellent 2.45 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He has also allowed only two walks in 14 2/3 IP. It’s time that he was given a regular turn in your Fantasy rotation.

The Closer Carousel

Dylan Floro, RP, MIA (CBS: 41% rostered, ESPN: 15% rostered):  Dylan Floro started his rehab today and is most likely looking to return to the Miami bullpen at the beginning of May. Anthony Bender has been dealing with soreness in his hip, which helps explain his relatively poor performance, but at the same time, this could make it much easier for Floro to reclaim the closer role or, at the very least a job share. It’s worth spending a small amount of that FAAB on finding out.

Dany Jimenez, RP, OAK (CBS: 12% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): Jimenez has made six appearances out of the pen for Oakland this year and has yet to allow a run. Toss in the excellent strikeout rate (9 in 6 IP), and he is now up to two saves, and Lou Trivino might not get his job back when he returns from the Covid IL.

Jorge Lopez , RP, BAL (CBS: 11% rostered, ESPN: 6% rostered): We have a winner in the Dillon Tate vs. Jorge Lopez ninth-inning battle, with Lopez emerging the winner. Three appearances with three successfully converted saves and nary a run allowed, and the O’s have a full-time closer. It’s now time to treat him as such in Fantasy Leagues.

Andres Munoz, RP, SEA (CBS: 13% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): Ken Giles and Paul Sewald are both on the IL, making for two fewer mouths to feed in that deep Seattle bullpen. Munoz has reeled off five shutout appearances after a rough debut against the Twins, culminating in his first save Friday against the Royals. The depth of the M’s pen will probably limit the save opportunities, but there will be more, and combined with that off-the-charts strikeout rate make Munoz a must-roster.

Lucas Sims, RP, CIN (CBS: 35% rostered, ESPN: 9% rostered): Art Warren and Tony Santillan didn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence working the ninth inning while Lucas Sims was out with his elbow woes. Sims was activated off the 10-day IL on Friday and should move into the mix and possibly be the favorite for saves in the Reds bullpen moving forward.

Trevor Stephan, RP, CLE (CBS: 1% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Who is Trevor Stephan? He’s a 25-year-old righty, plucked from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.  The Guardians liked what they saw and converted him into a reliever. Thus far, in his second season, he has tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings and has moved quickly into the setup role. The early struggles of Emmanual Clase might even cause Stephan to get the opportunity to save a game or two.

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Updated Fantasy Closer Report

An update has been made to the fantasy closer report. It can be found here.