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NL-Only and AL-Only Waiver Wire for Week 4

Activity on the waiver wire has gotten off to a hot start, as fantasy managers across all formats now have about three weeks worth of baseball to evaluate. As players get their feet wet this season and start to either heat up or cool down and playing time gets squared away, there's a lot of information for fantasy managers to take in as they look to sort out their squads.

It's a bit of a lighter week this week in terms of AL and NL-only depth pickups, as a lot of the more desirable names that would normally be left on the fringes of the waiver wire are now above the 15% minimum roster rate that is needed to qualify for this post. Instead, we'll shift focus to some hitters that are readily available in the vast majority of leagues that could be positive contributors and with plenty of playing time to go around.

Each week, I'll look at five players who are under 15% rostered in Yahoo! leagues and who can be considered as options to add in deep-league formats, such as 15-teamers or AL or NL-only leagues. I'll also include a recommendation for what to do with each player on your roster. Now, without further ado, let's get into it.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:


Robbie Grossman (OF, Tigers)

4% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks

Grossman isn't setting the world on fire to start the season, with just a .220 batting average and a .320 slugging percentage. If you're picking him up, you wouldn't exactly want him to be in your starting lineup most of the time, but Grossman does have a whopping .400 on-base percentage, bolstered by a 20% walk rate. His strong on-base percentage will not only keep him in the lineup, but at the top of it, albeit for a weak Detroit team. Grossman has been the everyday leadoff hitter for the Tigers in the early going, and when more hits start to fall, he should be a more productive player in other categories.

Grossman had somewhat of a resurgence in the shortened 2020 season, as he began pulling the ball with more authority (47.7%), which helped his power numbers skyrocket to a .482 slugging percentage and .241 isolated power. That perhaps was a bit inflated, and he did struggle down the stretch, but in the early part of the 2021 season, Grossman has maintained that elevated pull rate, albeit at a little lower rate than last year at 41.2%. As a plus, he has already stolen two bases this season.

While Grossman probably won't display the type of pop he showed last year, he is the type of league-average hitter with everyday playing time that maybe gets a bit undervalued in fantasy. Double-digit totals in both home runs and stolen bases is a good possibility here, and at the top of the lineup, he'll score a fair share of runs, which would make him a solid gem for fantasy purposes. He hasn't hit the ball super well to start the year, but the skills are there and he should round into form soon enough.


Stephen Piscotty (OF, Athletics)

2% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks

Piscotty appeared to be on the outside looking in for playing time at the start of the season, but now due to injuries and underperformance, Piscotty should be in the everyday lineup for the foreseeable future.

He's hitting the ball really well to start the year. He has a .250/.333/.531 triple slash. His hard-hit rate (47.6%), barrel rate (14.3%), and average launch angle (23.2 degrees) all outshine his recent years. He's also pulling the ball a ton (52.4%) and keeping it off the ground (28.6%), so what he's done so far at least looks legitimate. Now, the track record of the last few years would suggest some regression is coming here, but right now, Piscotty is hot, and maybe he can keep this up for a few weeks and help out some fantasy teams.

Keep in mind though that Piscotty is much better against left-handed pitchers, of which teams usually see fewer of. The A's are only projected to face off against two lefty starters the next week, so Piscotty's performance may not be as strong this week. Leagues with daily lineups would be the preferred format for Piscotty, but at the least, he's a useful bench bat or short-term fill-in who can be plugged and played against lefty starters when applicable.


Nicky Lopez (2B/SS, Royals)

2% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks

Lopez has never been a big hitter dating back to his first call-up to the Majors in 2019. However, he came up to the Majors with a profile that suggested he could be a good fantasy option with his potential to be high batting average hitter with stolen base upside. Now, he's still not likely to live up to those 2019 dreams, but he can still be a useful option right now.

So far, Lopez has been sort of doing it, with a .286 batting average and two steals in 15 games. The less said about the power side of his game the better, but in deep formats like this, this profile of speed and everyday playing time with batting average upside should not be slept on.

Additionally, as a left-handed hitter, Lopez has done surprisingly well in the last five games, despite the Royals facing five consecutive left-handed starting pitchers. He had four hits in twelve plate appearances in that span (.364 average), which is quite encouraging to see, so perhaps he's turning a corner offensively. Add in dual-eligibility at shortstop and second base, and suddenly, Lopez gives the appearance of a desirable fantasy option, at least in a deep format like this.


Jose Marmolejos (1B/OF, Mariners)

1% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

Marmolejos is pretty one-dimensional as a hitter--he's going to hit for power and provide little else. In his limited sample last year, he showed that with a .206 mark in both batting average and isolated power. This year, that is still the case, but he's showing even more power in the early stages with a .333 isolated power mark and three home runs already.

He's been crushing the ball with a 55% hard-hit rate, 94.4 mph average exit velocity, and a 20% barrel rate. His Statcast metrics jump off the page with a .561 expected slugging percentage and a .542 expected wOBA on contact, both of which are among the game's best. Finally, due to an increased 13.2% walk rate, his expected wOBA is also strong at .376.

However, the Mariners playing time situation is a little bit hairy right now. While Marmolejos has strong numbers, they should be expected to come back down to earth some, and the one-dimensional slugger may see his playing time scaled back. Kyle Lewis made his return from the injured list on Tuesday, which put Taylor Trammell in left field where Marmolejos was playing. Trammell is one of the team's top prospects and should be the priority at the position for the rebuilding Mariners, but Trammell hasn't been playing all that well, so they could theoretically turn back to Marmolejos to provide more of a punch in their lineup and send Trammell back to the minors once the season starts up. For fantasy purposes, Marmolejos can be stashed on the bench and started if needed as the playing time situation gets sorted out. I have a feeling we'll be seeing him in the starting lineup more often than not in the coming weeks.


Pavin Smith (1B/OF, Diamondbacks)

1% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

Smith, a former first-round pick by the Diamondbacks, was once a well-regarded prospect. He's seen his shine fall some in recent years, and after a brief cameo last year he appears now to be finally getting the opportunity for some real Major League playing time.

Arizona has been playing him nearly every day and at the top of the lineup as he has hit first or second in each game since the team placed Tim Locastro (finger) on the injured list. With dual eligibility as well, Smith should help provide the Diamondbacks, and fantasy teams, some extra flexibility. It's been a mixed start for Smith so far with just an 81 wRC+, but he had a three-hit night on Tuesday that will send his overall stats climbing a bit. He's been hitting the ball hard with a 54.8% hard-hit rate and keeping the strikeouts down with just a 15.8% strikeout rate. This seems like a good early combo for the youngster. However, his groundball rate has been elevated at over 50%, which saps a lot of that hard-hit ability.


Reviewing Last Week's Picks

At the end of each week's post, I'll review what happened with last week's picks and offer a suggestion for them in the future.

Bryan Reynolds (OF, PIT)

Last week: 12% rostered. This week: 21% rostered. 

Reynolds continues to impress at the plate with a .317/.397/.483 slash line. Last week, he hit .308/.419/.500 with one home run, seven runs scored, and four RBI as he's been one of the more productive outfielders in baseball so far this season. If you roster Reynolds, you're loving him, and you're not dropping.

Current recommendation: Hold

Zach McKinstry (OF, LAD)

Last week: 11% rostered. This week: 46% rostered. 

Speaking of hot outfielders, McKinstry had an impressive .318/.348/.500 slash line last week as he continues to get playing time with both Cody Bellinger (leg) and Gavin Lux (wrist) injured. Most injuries like that would greatly impact many teams, but evidently not the Dodgers, as they just keep pumping out quality hitter after quality hitter. You're enjoying his hot streak if you're rostering him. Easy hold.

Current recommendation: Hold

Jed Lowrie (2B, OAK) 

Last week: 5% rostered. This week: 64% rostered. 

An absolute huge spike in roster rate for Lowrie this week as he just continues to hit. He's tearing the cover off the ball with a .333/.410/.519 slash line this year, chipping in two home runs, 12 RBI and ten runs scored in just 15 games. It's been quite handy for those who roster him, and while this may not last, you're definitely not dropping him right now.

Current recommendation: Hold 

Starlin Castro (2B, WAS) 

Last week: 9% rostered. This week: 12% rostered. 

Castro has also seen his roster rate climb a bit this week, although he still hasn't gotten it fully going at the plate with just an 80 wRC+, but he is still providing a positive with a .280 batting average and decent counting stats, most notably with 11 RBI in 14 games. It's the same as I said last week in that the extra-base hits should be coming soon. Castro is still a fine option for now.

Current recommendation: Hold 

JT Brubaker (SP, PIT)

Last week: 4% rostered. This week: 37% rostered. 

Brubaker had an excellent start on April 16th against Milwaukee as he pitched six innings of one-run ball, with an encouraging eight strikeouts against zero walks and four hits allowed. The Brewers aren't the greatest lineup these days with Christian Yelich (back) among others on the injured list, but it was still great to see this performance from Brubaker. He has another favorable start this week against the Tigers. I'd say he's still under-rostered at this point. Pick him up if you haven't yet and hold him if you already have him.

Current recommendation: Hold

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