Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Draft Rankings
Draft Simulator
Enter League Settings
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Breakouts and Gems - 2018 MLB Waiver Wire Stars

What Appears In This Article? hide

Stars and Scrubs. Balanced approach. Regardless of the method chosen during drafts to fill your roster, your team likely needed more to get to the championship matchup or top of the standings. The skilled managers were ones who were able to discover players who would eventually break out.

Every year there will be players that exceed expectation. Some will do it for part of the year, while others will carry the magic the entire season. The key is identifying them and taking a chance on them early to maximize the return on the risk, which in most cases was very little since these guys were drafted very late, if at all.

Let's take a look at a few players who were the saviors for their teams in 2018 with a slight look towards expectations in 2019. If you have any thoughts on other waiver wire gems or any dynasty questions, reach out at Twitter to @EllisCan2.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Waiver Wire Gems

Jed Lowrie (2B/3B, OAK)

At 34 years old, Lowrie decided he would be the one to get your fantasy roster off to a blazing start in 2018, if you jumped on the waiver wire early enough. March and April was the start of a successful year that included alternating months of great performance with months of mediocre/below average performance. Lowrie’s first half ended with 16 HR, 62 RBI, and a .282 AVG. He also chipped in 25 doubles to go with a 9.9% walk rate and a 19.9% strikeout rate. Lowrie’s second half wasn’t as successful, partially stemming from a leg injury he endured in a collision with Stephen Piscotty. However, Lowrie still ended the season with 23 homers, 99 RBI, and a .267 batting average.

Lowrie finished with a 4.8 WAR ranking him third at second base, behind only Javier Baez and Whit Merrifield. His finish this year helped reinforce his solid performance in 2017, in which his 3.6 WAR tied him for sixth. Lowrie has demonstrated that he can be a valuable contributor in a young Athletics lineup, even at the age of 35 in the 2019 season. His age will likely push him to the later rounds of the draft, a bargain for a player that can finish top 10 at the position.

Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B/OF, LAD)

Where in the world did Max Muncy come from? He’s just a 28-year-old guy that was cut from the Oakland Athletics before the start of the 2017 season. Muncy is a guy that had to wait for a high school baseball team to finish using the field before he was able to take batting practice to work on his hitting approach. The Dodgers gave him a chance; he played in Triple-A for the entire 2017 season. 2018 was a different outcome than what we saw from Muncy in the past. He seemed to be unstoppable in the first half, primarily June. At the All-Star break, he had 22 homers to go with a .271/.406/.609 slash line. He did compete in the home run derby and beat Javier Baez in the first round before being eliminated by Bryce Harper in the second round.

The second portion of the season started with dismal results. In July he hit seven HR with a .242 batting average followed by six homers and a .259 average in August. Some will talk about the home run derby jinx. However, the simpler answer is that pitchers made adjustments to him and after the All-Star break, he had to figure out how to make follow-up adjustments of his own. Muncy finished the season with 35 homers, 79 RBI, and .263 AVG. Also impressive was that he had a 16% walk rate to go with a strikeout rate that was tolerable (27%).

A lot of Muncy’s value moving forward will be dictated by the construct of the Dodgers infield going into 2019. Machado is a free agent who could take his services elsewhere, opening a spot. Of course, Magic Johnson and the rest of the Dodgers ownership are no strangers to spending money to retain quality players. Thus far, the postseason games have shown us that the team prefers Muncy at first base, albeit in a platoon for now. Something to remember is that his new approach at the plate is relatively new. With time, his first-half performance could become a more consistent representation of Muncy as a hitter.

Jesus Aguilar (1B, MIL)

Aguilar is another guy that gave your team an early competitive advantage in the first half. During that time, he hit for a .298 average with 24 homers and 70 RBI. It appeared almost unimaginable that he would come back down to earth, but as with most things that rocket past their expectations, there is the possibility of a crash on the other side. While it wasn’t a total failure in the second half, there was a drastic decline in Aguilar’s performance, which resulted in only 11 homers and a .245 batting average. He also saw his groundball rate increase from 30% to 41%. Aguilar, regardless of how he was performing throughout the season, always hit the ball hard, averaging 44% this year. He was a controlled hitter at the plate, only swinging at 33% of pitches outside the zone. Aguilar also had a 10% walk rate that helped owners as well.

Aguilar’s future is mostly set in Milwaukee as he has stabilized the first base spot for the Brewers. With a solid cast around him, expect him to accrue more stats in 2019 if he can maintain some consistency throughout the season, particularly if he remains in the cleanup spot.

Miles Mikolas (SP, STL)

Coming back over from Japan, Mikolas was a largely unknown commodity. His last venture in MLB was not a reassuring one but he performed very well in the Nippon Professional Baseball giving fantasy managers an intriguing option, at a very discounted price on draft day. Mikolas rewarded the few fantasy owners who grabbed him and earned 18 wins with only four losses. This is tremendous value for a player that mostly went undrafted. It wasn’t everything the fantasy owner wanted from Mikolas but as long as owners understood his place on the pitching staff, then they could be overly content with his single unattractive category. Mikolas is not a strikeout artist, especially with a 6.5 K/9. He utilized his three-pitch mix to become a very good control pitcher. While he did not help your team in the strikeout category, Mikolas was an innings-eater and helped your ratios with an ERA below 3.00 (2.83) and a WHIP at 1.07. He was mostly successful by keeping the ball on the ground (49%) and limiting the longball (0.72 HR/9).

With veteran game-caller Yadier Molina behind the plate for the next two years, it is distinctly possible that Mikolas could repeat this year’s effort in 2019. While he won’t fly up draft boards, he will not go undrafted now that managers know they can get a guy who can help their ratios and increase the chances of getting wins. Of course, do not get sucked into the hype if the ADP seems a bit high to begin 2019. It is tough to waste valuable innings on pitchers with such a low strikeout rate.

Mike Foltynewicz (SP, ATL)

Foltynewicz had a breakout season in 2018. In some basic sense, he flipped the script from a 10-13 record in 2017 to 13-10 in 2018 with a 2.85 ERA. He has a 9.93 K/9 resulting in 202 strikeouts in 183 innings pitched this year. Folty found success using primarily two pitches, his fastball (56%) and slider (27%). He used a curveball (10%) just used enough to qualify as a third pitch. Foltynewicz performed well regardless of which side of the plate the hitter was standing. He allowed only a .181 batting average against to left-handed hitters and a .207 against to right-handers. Another encouraging sign is that he did not trail off too much as the season went on. He had a 3.10 ERA in the second half, higher than his 2.66 ERA in the first half.

Folty will only be 27 years old when the 2019 season begins. There are a couple of things to be cautious about; first, it would be that he tapered off as the individual game went along. Particularly, the third time through the batting order is where he started to falter with a 3.83 ERA compared to the first (2.65) and second time (2.31) through the lineup. Secondly, he had a 3.34 walk rate that will not do him any favors, especially when his .251 BABIP starts to normalize. Expect Folty's draft stock to rise tremendously in 2019. Do not get caught up in the bidding war or any draft hype. If you can get him at a reasonable price, do so; just do not overextend.


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Draft Rankings
Draft Simulator
Enter League Settings
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


Jose Altuve15 mins ago

No Baseball Activities For Two Months
Jalen McDaniels21 mins ago

Ruled Out Wednesday
Mecole Hardman22 mins ago

Agrees To One-Year Deal With Jets
James Harden25 mins ago

Will Sit Wednesday
Alex Caruso28 mins ago

Will Play Against Philadelphia
Ja Morant33 mins ago

To Come Off Bench, See Minutes Limit Wednesday
Tyrese Haliburton38 mins ago

And Chris Duarte Ruled Out Wednesday
Kyle Hendricks48 mins ago

Has Three Bullpen Sessions Lined Up
Caleb Martin54 mins ago

Available To Play Wednesday
Kyle Lowry60 mins ago

Will Play Versus Knicks
Torey Krug60 mins ago

Won't Play On Thursday
Filip Hronek1 hour ago

Set For Canucks Debut Thursday
Kyrie Irving1 hour ago

Remains Out Versus Golden State
Luka Doncic1 hour ago

Will Play Wednesday
Bradley Beal1 hour ago

Sitting Versus Nuggets
Elvis Merzlikins1 hour ago

Available For Selection Again
Connor Ingram2 hours ago

Faces Oilers Wednesday
Brandon Nimmo2 hours ago

Could Be Ready For Games This Weekend
Stuart Skinner2 hours ago

In Oilers Crease On Wednesday
Shohei Ohtani2 hours ago

Will Throw In Minor League Game Friday
Darren Helm2 hours ago

Returns To Action Wednesday
Drew Rucinski2 hours ago

To Miss Next Start, IL Stint Possible
Cale Makar2 hours ago

Misses Another Game Wednesday
Kyle Tucker2 hours ago

Should Be Fine Moving Forward
Ranger Suárez2 hours ago

Ranger Suarez Likely To Begin Year On IL
Colton Cowser2 hours ago

Orioles Reassign Colton Cowser
Heston Kjerstad3 hours ago

Gets Reassigned
Oswald Peraza3 hours ago

Continues To Struggle
Keldon Johnson3 hours ago

Could Miss Second Consecutive Game
Jalen McDaniels3 hours ago

Questionable With Hip Soreness
Karl-Anthony Towns3 hours ago

Expected To Return On Wednesday
Bradley Beal3 hours ago

Now Listed As Questionable On Wednesday
Jordan Clarkson4 hours ago

Remains Sidelined With Finger Sprain
Lauri Markkanen4 hours ago

Is Available On Wednesday
Zion Williamson4 hours ago

Cleared For On-Court Activities
Paul George4 hours ago

Will Miss At Least Two-To-Three Weeks
D'Ernest Johnson5 hours ago

Signs With Jaguars
C.J. Stroud6 hours ago

Panthers Meet With C.J. Stroud
Jaxon Smith-Njigba6 hours ago

Runs 4.53 Unofficial Forty
DeAndre Hopkins6 hours ago

Not On Browns' Radar
Russell Wilson6 hours ago

Expected To Be Fine For OTAs
Hunter Brown8 hours ago

Scratched On Wednesday
Brandon Ingram8 hours ago

Scores Game-High 32 Points In Easy Win
Donovan Mitchell8 hours ago

Scores At Will Against Brooklyn
Trae Young8 hours ago

Collects Another Double-Double In Win
Miro Heiskanen9 hours ago

Matches Franchise Record Tuesday
Brett Baty9 hours ago

Survives Another Round Of Cuts
Wyatt Johnston9 hours ago

Pushes His Goal Streak To Five Games
Brandon Tanev9 hours ago

Produces A Big Performance Against Dallas
Francisco Alvarez9 hours ago

Mets Demote Francisco Alvarez
Luke Evangelista9 hours ago

Ties Franchise Record With Four-Point Period
Quinn Hughes9 hours ago

Continues Multi-Assist Streak
Troy Terry9 hours ago

Exits With Injury
Brock Nelson9 hours ago

Injured Versus Toronto
Josh Anderson9 hours ago

Gets Hurt Tuesday
Shintaro Fujinami18 hours ago

To Receive Extra Rest Between Regular Season Starts
Juan Soto18 hours ago

Oblique Strain Deemed "Minimal"
Clayton Kershaw18 hours ago

Pitches Well Tuesday
Byron Buxton19 hours ago

To Serve Primarily As DH
Lucas Giolito19 hours ago

Not Concerned With Velocity Dip Tuesday
Alex Ovechkin19 hours ago

Lights The Lamp In Capitals Loss
Shohei Ohtani19 hours ago

Wins World Baseball Classic MVP Award
Jack Roslovic19 hours ago

Scores Twice in Columbus Victory
Brandon Nimmo23 hours ago

Tests His Ankle/Knee
Noah Syndergaard23 hours ago

Pitches Through Blister Issue Tuesday
Taylor Montgomery23 hours ago

A Hard Fade In Austin
Sam Burns23 hours ago

Hard To Trust At WGC Dell Match Play
Kirby Dach1 day ago

Returns To Action Tuesday
Evgeny Kuznetsov1 day ago

A Game-Time Call Tuesday
Ryan Lindgren1 day ago

Back For Rangers Tuesday
Jordan Greenway1 day ago

Won't Play Tuesday
Arizona Cardinals1 day ago

Cardinals Agree With L.J. Collier On One-Year Deal
Dallas Cowboys1 day ago

Cowboys To Re-Sign Dante Fowler To One-Year Deal
Pittsburgh Steelers1 day ago

Steelers Re-Sign Cornerback James Pierre
Max Homa1 day ago

A Strong Contender In Austin
Atlanta Falcons1 day ago

Falcons Planning To Host Calais Campbell
Denver Broncos1 day ago

Broncos Expected To Draft RB This Year
Ronald Jones1 day ago

Cowboys Agree To Deal With Ronald Jones
Austin Ekeler1 day ago

Would Like To Stay With Chargers
Lamar Jackson1 day ago

Ready To Move On From Ravens?
Minnesota Vikings1 day ago

Vikings Re-Sign Jonathan Bullard
Miami Dolphins1 day ago

Dolphins Re-Sign Andrew Van Ginkel
Miles Sanders1 day ago

Viewed As Three-Down Back In Carolina
New England Patriots1 day ago

Dont'a Hightower Announces His Retirement
Bijan Robinson1 day ago

Taking Pre-Draft Visit With Eagles
Isaiah McKenzie1 day ago

Signing With Colts
Philadelphia Eagles1 day ago

Nicholas Morrow Agrees With Eagles
Tom Hoge1 day ago

A Bracket-Buster In Match Play
Hideki Matsuyama1 day ago

Doesn't Perform In Match Play
Kamaru Usman1 day ago

Unsuccessful In Bid To Recapture Title
Leon Edwards1 day ago

Defends Crown At UFC 286
Viktor Hovland1 day ago

Has Struggled In Match Play
Rafael Fiziev1 day ago

Has Strong Showing But Takes Loss
Justin Gaethje1 day ago

Puts On Another Highlight-Reel Performance
Tyrrell Hatton1 day ago

The Favorite In His Group
Bryan Barberena1 day ago

Suffers Second Straight Submission Loss
Gunnar Nelson1 day ago

Scores Impressive Finish At UFC 286
Will Zalatoris1 day ago

Needs Birdies At WGC Match Play
Jordan Spieth1 day ago

Can Advance At WGC Match Play
Matt Fitzpatrick1 day ago

May Struggle At WGC Match Play
Chris Kirk1 day ago

Draws A Bit Unlucky At WGC Match Play
Patrick Cantlay2 days ago

Has Good Chance At WGC Match Play
Brian Harman2 days ago

Has Putter's Chance To Contend At WGC
Tommy Fleetwood2 days ago

Has Challenge At WGC Match Play
Casey O'Neill2 days ago

Takes First Defeat Against Former Champion
Jennifer Maia2 days ago

Earns Decision Win Over Undefeated Opponent
Roman Dolidze2 days ago

Suffers Setback With Decision Loss
Marvin Vettori2 days ago

Picks Up Decision Win
Kyle Busch2 days ago

Finishes In Top 10 At Atlanta
Ty Gibbs2 days ago

Finishes Strong In Atlanta
Erik Jones2 days ago

Gets His First Top-10 Finish Of The Season
Ryan Blaney2 days ago

Bounces Back From Speeding Penalty
Denny Hamlin2 days ago

Has A Strong Showing
Tyler Reddick3 days ago

Hangs in For Fifth Place At Atlanta
Corey Lajoie3 days ago

Corey LaJoie Uses Course To Advantage On Sunday
Christopher Bell3 days ago

Ends Up With Another Top Five Result
Christopher Bell3 days ago

Brad Keselowski Noses Christopher Bell Out For Second
Joey Logano3 days ago

Goes From Pole To Win Sunday
Todd Gilliland4 days ago

Starts 23rd
Ryan Preece4 days ago

Starts 24th At The AmBetter Health 400
AJ Allmendinger4 days ago

Eyes Another Strong Finish
NASCAR4 days ago

Ricky Stenhouse Eyes Back-To-Back Superspeedway Wins
Tyler Reddick4 days ago

May Be Overlooked
Erik Jones4 days ago

Is A Value Play At Atlanta
Denny Hamlin4 days ago

Seeks Better Results
Noah Gragson4 days ago

Might Surprise At Atlanta Motor Speedway
Austin Dillon4 days ago

Looks To Bounce Back At Atlanta
Ty Dillon4 days ago

Hoping To Keep Car Running At Atlanta
NASCAR4 days ago

J.J. Yeley Starts 34th Sunday At Ambetter Health 400
Kamaru Usman5 days ago

Seeking Second Title Run
Leon Edwards5 days ago

Looks To Defend Crown On Saturday