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Outfield Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 9


It's hard to believe, but the last day of the 2020 MLB regular season is only two weeks away. Like last week's article, my recommendations will be largely short-term focused as a result.

Also of note this week is that several players recommended are rostered in between 20% and 30% of leagues, but those players are spread out between shallow and deeper league categories. When not based on rostered rates, that distinction is based on the expected production of the players. In other words, a player listed in the shallow leagues section is preferred to a player with a similar rostered rate in the deeper leagues section.

With that in mind, below are some outfielders worth picking up on waivers this week. Roster rates for waiver wire pickups are based on Yahoo leagues with standard 5x5 scoring, and the cutoff is 50% rostered.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Get access to our exclusive articles, rankings, projections, prospects coverage, 15 in-season lineup tools, daily expert DFS research, powerful Research Station, Lineup Optimizer and much more! Sign Up Now!

 

Shallow-League Pickups

Austin Slater, San Francisco Giants

23% rostered

Slater was activated off of the injured list early last week, and the 27-year-old should be rostered in nearly all leagues this week as a result. Slater has posted an impressive 1.030 OPS through his first 22 games this season, and his breakout has come with meaningful changes to his underlying numbers. Most notable is Slater’s decreased ground-ball rate; Slater has cut his ground-ball rate from 52% last season to 35% this year. Slater’s ground-balls haven’t turned into pop-ups either, as his line-drive rate is up 10 points to 35% and his IF:FB is low at 4%. Slater’s improved contact quality is clear when looking at his launch angle distribution.

That adjustment has helped Slater push his barrel rate up to 16.3% and his xwOBAcon up to .516, both excellent marks. Slater has also improved his contact skills this season, cutting his swinging-strike rate from 12.6% last season to 9.5% this year, helping drive an eight-point decrease in his strikeout rate to 22%. If that’s not enough, Slater already has seven stolen bases on the season and has a relatively favorable schedule this week. He’s a no-brainer pick up this week, especially since he should continue contributing to fantasy teams into the fantasy playoffs.

Clint Frazier, New York Yankees

30% rostered

I first suggested picking Frazier up three weeks ago when it became abundantly clear that he’d see consistent playing time, and he’s hit well since then with a .807 OPS over his next 18 games. There’s a lot to like about Frazier’s performance so far this season, namely his more patient plate approach and increased power.

Frazier has cut his swing rate down nine points from last season to 35%, helping fuel a 15.5% walk rate. In addition, Frazier’s swinging-strike rate is down 2.5 points to 10.8, offsetting his decreased z-swing rate to keep his strikeout rate largely flat at 29%. Combined with Frazier’s elevated power (51.8% hard-hit rate), the 26-year-old’s more patient approach has allowed him to post a career-best .366 xwOBA to go with a solid .477 xSLG.

The Yankees get three games against the worst pitching staff in baseball at Fenway Park this week, giving Frazier a strong chance of playing well this week. All of that makes Frazier a good option on waivers this week and worth rostering in most leagues.

Alex Dickerson, San Fransisco Giants

28% rostered

Dickerson has followed up last season’s strong performance with a .886 OPS through his first 39 games, and his performance seems to be largely sustainable. If there’s one aspect of Dickerson’s performance that’s disappointing it’s his performance at home; Dickerson’s home run rate dips from 6.9% on the road to 5.7% at home as the cavernous Oracle Park saps his power.

Fortunately for Dickerson, all five of the Giants’ games come on the road this week, and while they aren’t in the most home-run friendly parks (Seattle and Oakland), playing away from San Francisco should benefit his production. Add in that Dickerson gets to face off against a Mariners team that owns the league’s fourth-worst ERA for two of his five games, and he’s a solid option on waivers this week.

 

Deeper-League Pickups

Robbie Grossman, Oakland A’s

19% rostered

Grossman has cooled off lately with a .687 OPS over his past 10 games, but it’s come without a decrease in his hard-hit rate, and his underlying numbers suggest that he should rebound quickly. Grossman has enjoyed a breakout season this year with a .895 OPS through his first 37 games thanks in large part to a career-high 37% hard-hit rate, and his power has looked even stronger recently. Over his last 25 plate appearances, Grossman owns a .367 slugging percentage but a .533 xSLG fueled by a 52% hard-hit rate.

Grossman will get a soft early-week schedule that makes his rebound even more likely this week, with two games against the Mariners (5.31 team ERA) before two games against the Rockies at Coors Field. That should pad Grossman’s already favorable outlook this week, making him a very attractive option on waivers.

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

25% rostered

Injuries have taken their toll on Braun’s season, and the 36-year-old owns a poor .692 OPS through his first 24 games this year. A lingering back issue has kept Braun from full health recently, but his power (33% hard-hit rate for the season) has begun trending in the right direction in recent weeks as his health continues to improve.

Braun’s bad back may still scare so fantasy managers off, but the team is scheduled for eight games this week, and Braun’s recent power improvements make him worth rostering in deeper leagues this week. Let’s not forget what a healthy Braun can do, either. Braun posted a .849 OPS last season, and he should manage to post a similar mark over the rest of this season if he can get back to full strength.

Kevin Pillar, Colorado Rockies

22% rostered

Pillar has been decent this season with a .748 OPS and three stolen bases over 39 games, and the Rockies’ schedule combined with his improvements make him an attractive waiver option in deeper leagues. The Rockies are scheduled for six games this week, and all six should come at Coors Field, where the team owns a .831 OPS compared to a .659 mark on the road. Pillar has also added a little power this season, and that power should play up in Colorado. 

Pillar’s 34.4% hard-hit rate is nearly four points higher than his career average, and his .358 xwOBAcon is up 21 points from last season. Interestingly, about 30% of Pillar’s xwOBAcon improvement can be explained by shifts in his plate discipline and contact skills; 77% of Pillar’s contact is coming against pitches inside of the strike zone this season compared to 71% last year, resulting in a significant part of his contact quality gains. Pillar’s favorable schedule combined with his power gains make him worth rostering in deeper leagues this week, and his production on the basepaths is an added bonus for managers in need of stolen bases.

 

Quick Hits

Nick Senzel (OF - CIN) - 37% rostered

Senzel has been sidelined since August 19 with what seems like a positive coronavirus test, but he should be activated early this week. Senzel has been solid if somewhat underwhelming with a .816 OPS over 14 games this season, but fantasy managers should keep him in mind as he nears his return.

Daulton Varsho and Tim Locastro (OF - ARI) - 2% and 0% rostered, respectively

Varsho and Locastro are both in line for more playing time with outfielder and second baseman Ketel Marte (wrist) landing on the injured list with a wrist injury. Varsho offers exciting upside as a top-100 prospect and Locastro is decent and provides some value on the basepaths (three stolen bases in 27 games this season), but unclear playing time limits their value.

Derek Fisher (OF - TOR) 0% rostered

Fisher has taken over for the injured Teaoscar Hernandez (oblique) recently, and he's been red-hot with a .933 OPS over his last nine games. Fisher's career .668 OPS suggests that his hot streak is largely the product of a small sample, but he should still be on the radar of fantasy managers.



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Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More