6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 21
Well, ladies and gents, we're here. It's the end of August, and the fantasy baseball playoffs are just around the corner. And, if your rosters are like mine, they are littered with cortisone shots and plantar fasciitis. Sweet.
Next week, we'll get to dive into players who can contribute as September call-ups. Right now, though, there are some guys who are hitting in quality spots in their respective batting orders who can give you production without the wait.
As always, these are limited to guys who are owned in around one-third or fewer of ESPN leagues. Both Byron Buxton and Raisel Iglesias fit this model, but I've laid out my arguments for both in recent weeks (Buxton two weeks ago and Iglesias last week). I'd check them out if I were you, but here are some other options that can help you lock down that fantasy crown.
Chris Coghlan, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs
This recommendation probably should have come a while ago. I've been pumping Chris Coghlan hard in our daily fantasy stacking article, but I had been resisting him here simply because he sits so often against lefties. He's gotten to the point, though, where the production he provides when he is in the lineup makes up for the days off.
Coghlan is a guy who can help no matter what kind of roto league you're in or in a points league. He boasts either respectable or better numbers in each slash category against righties at .269/.351/.489. He couples that with a 32.8 percent hard-hit rate and just a 12.4 percent soft-hit rate. This is sustainable success.
Coghlan also benefits greatly from his spot in the order. He's batting behind Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber -- who have on-base percentages of .452 and .388 in the second half of the season -- and in front of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, who hit massive tanks. That's the ideal situation for his outside-dependent stat categories. Coghlan is best suited for a league in which you can change your lineups daily, but his value is too big to ignore right now.
Derek Dietrich, 2B/3B/OF, Miami Marlins
The Cubs' offense is one in which you want to invest if you can. The Miami Marlins? Not so much. But Derek Dietrich has brought some individual production that should snag your attention.
It's still a small sample size, but through his first 179 plate appearances this season, Dietrich had a .278/.380/.536 slash with nine home runs. Those numbers have been coupled with a sweet 38.7 percent hard-hit rate. His strikeouts are still a bit high at 23.5 percent, but when he puts the ball in play, good things are happening.
Giancarlo Stanton said last week that he hoped to return by September 1st, but he also had to take a day off from hitting with some pain. The return of Stanton would give more fantasy value to the top part of the Marlins' order. Additionally, Marcell Ozuna's revival and Dietrich's multi-positional eligibility should make this a guy who can help you out down the stretch.
Aaron Altherr, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
The floor rest-of-season production for Aaron Altherr is quite low. He really doesn't have a track record of offensive success prior to this season, but the numbers he has posted this year in the minors are really quite alluring.
Prior to being called up last week, Altherr had played 111 games in the minors this year: 60 at Double-A and 51 at Triple-A. Over 489 plate appearances, he recorded a .293/.367/.487 slash with 14 home runs, 32 doubles and 16 stolen bases. He was moved up to the third spot in the Phillies' order Sunday, though that was partially because others were getting days off.
I had mentioned that Altherr didn't have a good track record of success in the minors. Last year in 492 plate appearances at Double-A, he had a wRC+ of 87. At high-A in 2013, it was 124. This year, though, it was in the 140's at both Double-A and Triple-A. Why? He had cut down big time on the strikeouts while upping his walk totals. That could mean that he has truly figured something out in his age-24 season. If so, he might be a guy you'll want on your roster for the stretch run.
Domingo Santana, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
I want nothing more than for the Milwaukee Brewers to just hand the reins over to Domingo Santana as an every-day outfielder. His production this year -- both at Triple-A and the majors -- is off the charts. This comes with a playing-time risk, but Santana's bat is crazy enticing.
Santana has played at three separate locations this year -- Triple-A for both the Brewers and Astros and then in the majors. At each of those stops, he has had a slugging percentage of .500 or higher. All-in-all, he has 21 home runs. Combined at Triple-A, Santana had 18 home runs in 411 plate appearances with a .333/.426/.573 slash. Sure, his defense leaves something/a whole lotta something to be desired, but just based on his stick, this dude is a complete stud.
Similar to Coghlan, it's best to have Santana in a league in which you can sub him out for those days where he's out of the order. But with the pop he brings, the upside on Santana is too tempting to not consider.
Kevin Gausman, SP, Baltimore Orioles
It's about time to start getting really excited about Kevin Gausman. When he transitioned into the rotation this season, three of his first four starts were kind of clunky. But in the six starts since, Gausman has started to look like the highly-touted prospect he once was.
Prior to Sunday's start against the Twins, Gausman had a 3.52 xFIP over his previous five appearances, walking only 1.62 batters per nine innings compared to 7.83 strikeouts. Then he went out and tossed seven innings in which he struck out eight batters and walked none, the lone blemish being a solo home run to Miguel Sano, who is quite good at baseball.
The one minor issue for Gausman is the Baltimore schedule. Because there is so little time remaining in the season, you don't want any bumps out of your starters. Well, Gausman projects to face the Rangers and Yankees on the road and the Rays at home over his next three trips to the mound. Both the Rangers and Yankees hit right-handed pitching well, and those games are in hitter's parks. I like Gausman's upside, but the schedule is something to keep in mind when making your decisions.
Bruce Rondon, RP, Detroit Tigers
It should be noted that I generally hate adding relievers this late in the season because the projected workload they can provide is minimal to begin with and even more so over a one-month span. But, I suppose some of you may need some saves, so Bruce Rondon should be on your radar.
The Tigers' rotation is completely in flames, which I've heard is not optimal. But now that Miguel Cabrera is back, the offense is starting to cook again, lending some additional win opportunities for Rondon owners.
Rondon's 5.66 ERA is gross to the max, but his 2.97 xFIP is not. He's a great example of why ERA is an especially trashy stat for relievers with their limited sample size. Our projections have the Tigers winning 21 more games this season, so he should get some opportunities to put a couple of saves in the bank for your team.