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Outfield Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 6


It's hard to believe that most teams are nearing the halfway point of their seasons, but let's not forget that point sits at only 30 games. 30 games is still a small sample of performance for most players, and it's worth taking a look at some strange numbers from this season so far to illustrate that point:

  • 14 qualified batters have a BABIP below .200 -- only six batters posted a BABIP below .250 last season, with none below .218
  • Tommy LaStella has walked more than twice as much as he's struck out
  • Robbie Ray is striking out batters at a solid 26.1% clip while walking nearly a batter an inning

All of that is to say that as much as it feels like the season is moving quickly (because it is), fantasy players should slow down with their analysis and realize that some hot and slow starts will not have much of an impact on a player's rest of season performance.

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.

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Shallow-League Pickups

Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates

49% rostered

Reynolds just barely makes the cut with his 49% rostered rate this week, and he should be a priority waiver target in most leagues. Reynolds has been mired in a slump this season with a .205 batting average and .685 OPS through his first 22 games, but he’s got a .861 OPS over his last 10 games, and it’s easy to see his recent solid play continue.

A 30% strikeout rate has been a primary driver of Renolds’s poor early-season performance, but it’s come with an 11.9% swinging-strike rate and a 71.3% z-swing rate which are mostly in-line with last season’s numbers and suggest that his strikeout rate should fall below 25% for the season. Reynolds’s contact quality is down from last season given his .403 xwOBAcon, but he should be able to post an OPS above .800 for the rest of the season regardless with the upside to match last season’s .880 mark if his contact quality improves.

Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers

49% rostered

Another 49-percenter, fantasy players should take advantage of Pederson’s availability on the waiver wire. Pederson has been almost as good as he was last season in most respects, with his .410 xwOBAcon, 10.2% barrel rate, .472 xSLG, and strikeout (22.5%) and walk (10%) rates largely in line with last season’s numbers, but he’s suffered from a .174 BABIP that’s contributed to his -0.081 wOBA - xwOBA. One reason behind Pederson’s depressed BABIP is that he’s been unusually affected by shifts so far this season with a .225 wOBA against shifts compared to a .474 wOBA against no shift. Encouragingly, though, that has come without Pederson hitting or pulling more ground balls, or with a change in the way teams shift against him:

Fantasy players should expect Pederson’s BABIP to get back around .250 for the rest of the season, likely boosting his OPS back over .800. Although Pederson probably won’t enjoy a seven percent home run rate again this season, he should be a solid power hitter hitting in one of the best lineups in baseball.

Clint Frazier, New York Yankees

37% rostered

I’ve been skeptical of picking up Frazier with how reluctant the Yankees have been to keep him in the lineup in the past, but Frazier should have a relatively easy time finding consistent playing time for the next few weeks with the Yankee lineup decimated by injuries. Of course, that Fraizer has done nothing but rake since joining the major league team on August 12 with a .333/.400/.667 slash line over his first eight games doesn’t hurt either. 

Frazier has been locked in at the plate lately, with his z-contact rate sitting at an elite 96.8% and his hard-hit rate nearly touching 60%. That’s helped fuel Frazier to some absurd expected production including a .709 xSLG and .358 xBA. Frazier probably won’t stay this hot over the rest of the season, but this is the first time he’s been both healthy and playing consistently in a long time, and he looks like every bit of the top prospect he once was. That should have fantasy players excited and makes Frazier worth rostering in most leagues.

 

Deeper-League Pickups

Brad Miller, St. Louis Cardinals

9% rostered

I hyped Miller as a breakout candidate coming into the season and he’s played well so far with a 1.162 OPS over his first nine games. Importantly, most of what drove to Miller’s strong performance last season -- namely his improved power and contact skills -- has continued so far into this season. It’s a small sample, but Miller’s 61% hard-hit rate and 11.8% swinging-strike rate are both better than last season’s numbers, and it seems as though last season’s performance that saw Miller post a .894 OPS should be mostly replicable over the rest of the season.

Another point in Miller’s favor is that the Cardinals have only played in 16 games so far this season. Even with many of their makeup games coming in the form of seven-inning doubleheaders, that means that the Cardinals will play more innings than any other team in baseball over the rest of the season, boosting the value of all of their hitters from a fantasy perspective. All of that makes Miller well worth picking up in deeper leagues this week.

Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees

11% rostered

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Aaron Hicks, but I’ve been quiet on him recently after writing extensively about him earlier in the season. Hicks has been somewhat underwhelming so far this year with a .787 OPS over his first 21 games, but he’s been heating up lately and owns a .381 xwOBA over his last 50 plate appearances.

Statcast has Hicks expected for a .258 batting average and a .443 SLG so far this season, putting him largely in line with his 2018 performance that included 27 home runs and a .833 OPS. Hicks should post an OPS above .800 for the rest of the season while hitting in a loaded Yankee lineup (even with the team’s rash of injuries), making him worth rostering in deeper leagues.

Garrett Cooper, Miami Marlins

2% rostered

Coronavirus derailed Cooper’s attempt to follow up his strong 2019 season, but the 29-year-old was cleared for workouts on August 18 and is expected to rejoin the Marlins within the next week or so. Cooper rode solid power (40.4% hard-hit rate) and contact (10.2% swinging-strike rate) skills to a .281/.344/.446 slash line last season, and he appeared on-track to improve upon that performance this season before landing on the IL with coronavirus.

Cooper may not be the most exciting fantasy option available, but he’s likely to post an OPS above .800 over the rest of the season and should return to the lineup soon. That’s enough to make Cooper worth picking up in deeper leagues this week, and acting early could have fantasy players in a position to grab Cooper easily rather than waiting to pick him up until he’s been activated.

 

Quick Hits

Austin Hays (OF - BAL) - 5% rostered

Hays has been recovering from a broken rib for the past week, but he’s on track to return from the IL over the next couple of weeks and should be on the radar of fantasy players after posting a .947 OPS over 21 games last season.

Cristian Pache (OF - ATL) - 11% rostered

Pache made his MLB debut last Wednesday, and although he was never a particularly strong hitter at the minor league level, the consensus top-25 prospect boasts impressive speed and raw power. Pache probably isn’t worth picking up in most leagues yet, but he is worth monitoring.

Dee Gordon (2B/OF - SEA) - 14% rostered

Gordon is in line for more consistent playing time with the Mariners optioning Mallex Smith to the team’s alternate site, and although Gordon isn’t a strong hitter by any metric, his ability to be a constant threat on the basepaths may make him worth rostering for fantasy players needing stolen bases in deep leagues.

Dylan Carlson (OF - STL) - 33% rostered

The Cardinals called up their top prospect last week, and Carlson will look to build off of the .292/.372/.542 slash line that he posted in the minor leagues last season. Carlson has struggled in the major leagues so far this year with a .125 batting average and .156 SLG over his first 10 games, but his pedigree makes him worth watching.

Justin Upton (OF - LAA) - 45% rostered

Angels manager Joe Maddon is still making a point to get Upton playing time as the outfielder tries to break out of his season-long slump, which should be enough to keep the 32-year-old in relevant in fantasy leagues. Upton probably shouldn’t still be rostered in more than 35% of leagues, but he’s posted a .833 OPS over the past three seasons, and fantasy players shouldn’t completely give up on him yet.



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It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 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 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 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 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 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 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 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 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


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