Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 23
Four weeks. That's all that's left. In a mere 28, baseball officially turns the calendar to the postseason.
For some, that could be a good thing -- the season didn't go as planned, there were some injuries that decimated your squad, or whatever the case may be, you're ready to turn the page.
If you're fighting for a playoff berth down the stretch, whether it's roto or head-to-head, now is not the time to take your eye off the prize.
Here are four players -- who are owned in less than 50.0% of ESPN leagues -- to target on the waiver wire.
Jake Junis - Kansas City Royals (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 20.8%
Just as fantasy seasons can go awry for teams, it's the same for big league clubs. The 2017 campaign has been one to forget for the Kansas City Royals.
The fact that the Royals are only one game under .500 at this point of the year is actually a bit shocking -- they started the season 7-16 and lost their last 9 games of the month of April. They were swept in two three-game series by the Minnesota Twins. It was a rough start.
But in turning things back to respectability, the Royals have leaned on some young talent. Right-hander Jake Junis, who has turned into arguably the best pitcher on their staff, has been a big part of that.
Junis has been brilliant in both Triple-A and the majors this year. In 71 minor-league innings, he recorded a 2.92 ERA and 29.9% strikeout rate. In the majors, over 63 1/3 innings pitched, his ERA has stepped back a bit (4.43), but he's still whiffing batters consistently, recording a 20.7% strikeout rate.
If there's one red flag for Junis, it's his fly-ball rate. He's recorded a mark of 42.1% in the majors this year, and it was 44.0% at Triple-A. If he can lower it down a bit to last year's rates (35.5% average across two stops), it should lead to even more fantasy goodness.
Miguel Gonzalez - Texas Rangers (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 17.2%
If I told you that Miguel Gonzalez was one of the best starters in the major leagues since the All-Star break, would you believe me?
As crazy as that may sound, it's true. Just acquired by the Texas Rangers, Gonzalez has been fantastic in the second half. Over 55 innings pitched, he's recorded a miniscule 3.11 ERA, allowing only 0.49 homers per nine innings pitched.
And if we remove a horrific start against the Boston Red Sox from early August, Gonzalez shines even brighter. Over his last five starts, he's fired 34 innings with a 1.85 ERA, .260 wOBA allowed, 29.7% hard-hit rate and 20.1% strikeout rate.
It's true that the right-hander doesn't whiff a ton of batters, but his contribution in multiple categories is fantastic. He could be a very valuable piece to the back end of fantasy rotations down the stretch.
Brandon Maurer - Kansas City Royals (RP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 14.4%
That grasp may no longer be so firm after this happened over the weekend.
Ned said Kelvin Herrera has the same issue -- lower forearm tightness. Day to day.
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) September 2, 2017
Thanks to that injury, Maurer recorded his 21st save of the season yesterday, and with KC not having much to play for, Herrera's bullpen role could be up in the air the rest of the way.
Just like many other relievers, Maurer has had a few rough outings that can inflate his overall peripherals. This season, he's pitched 55.0 innings, recording a 5.73 ERA. But Maurer's also struck out 23.1% of hitters faced, and at this point in the year, Maurer's value lies in his opportunity to get saves.
Keep a close eye on this situation, but if you're in need of saves, get the jump on your league mates and add Maurer.
Mitch Haniger - Seattle Mariners (OF)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 13.8%
When Haniger has been in the lineup, he's provided plenty of pop. Over 300 plate appearances this season, Haniger has posted a .190 ISO, 32.5% hard-hit rate and 37.4% fly-ball rate.
This year, Haniger's done his best work at home, posting a 126 wRC+ and 33.7% hard-hit rate in Safeco Field. Of the Mariners rest-of-season schedule, 12 home contests remain, plus 4 more at the hitter-friendly confines of Globe Life Park.
If you're looking to add a little more depth to your outfield, Haniger could be your man.