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

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Deeper AL-Only Waiver Wire Sleepers for Week 4

Every week in baseball, a significant player will hit the disabled list, slip into a slump, or get traded out of a good spot. How fantasy owners adapt to these situations can make or break the season as a whole. One lousy add might not hurt the long-term standing of a team, but failing to take advantage of breakouts or impact bats before others sure can.

The primary challenge of playing in an NL or AL-only league is often the lack of options regarding adding and subtracting players when needed. In mixed leagues, the players on the waiver wire are usually starting for an NL-only staff. So then how does one wade through the names of players that even regular fantasy players have never heard of, and that often will not even start for their teams to begin with? That is where this series comes in.

Instead of owners spending time digging the waiver wire for 0% owned players, this article will give owners a player at each position to fill the gap, or at the least, keep an eye on to add or stash. Not all of these players will replace that injury, but offer the best option off the scrap heap. Often the players advocated for here are long shots due to the nature of shallow leagues. No quick fixes, but some upside that could turn into much more. Now, onto the AL version of the Island of Misfit Fantasy Toys.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!


C - Martin Maldonado (C, KC)

1% owned

After having a hard time finding a gig to enter this season, Maldonado was signed to cover for the injured Salvador Perez in Kansas City. Playing every day and batting eighth, fantasy owners know what to expect from the veteran catcher. So far, in 18 games, he is slashing .167/.265/.217 with no homers and six runs. Thus, owners are not running to add the batting-average crater that is Maldonado, but there are some signs of lingering usefulness.

First, the BABIP sits at .213, which is again, not ideal, but shows that there has been bad luck for far in the profile. The other good sign is that his exit velocity is up to 86.3 from 84.7 last season. Add in that he will get to hit in some good hitter’s park in Progressive and Comerica, there is a reason to be hopeful. If the batting line can move up a bit, there are runs to be had, or stream him versus the division to squeeze out some value.


1B - Brandon Dixon (1B/OF, DET)

0% owned

After bouncing from the Dodgers to the Reds, Dixon seems to finally have a path to playing time with the Tigers. While playing mostly at first so far, he will also keep outfield eligibility, making him a good stash with playing time upside. His first stint in the Majors, over 74 games for the Reds, Dixon was reasonably regrettable. He posted a .178/.218/.356 slash with five homers and 14 runs, and Dixon was nothing more than a power dart. Add in a 34.7 K%, and there was no reason to keep him in Cincinnati.

And yet, the tools are there. Dixon's career line in the minors was a .273 batting average with 18 homers. While he has not shown it in the Majors, Dixon is a good hitter. Even if that batting line comes down to the .240-.250 range, that could be an impact bat for some fantasy teams. The other interesting piece was a 9.3 Barrel% with the Reds, so there is contact to play with for offensive value. Assuming he can find his form, this is the cheap option to bet on at first this week.


2B - Danny Santana (2B/OF, TEX)

4% owned

After moving from Minnesota to Atlanta, Santana found himself on the outside of a job looking in last year. After signing with Texas this campaign, Santana benefitted from the Rougned Odor injury, so his playing time might only be there in the short term. And yet, if he continues to hit, that could change. So far, in eight games, he is slashing .290/.313/.516 with one homer and four stolen bases. With Arlington still playing as one of the best hitter’s parks, Santana could see this run continue.

The main change in the hitting profile has been the launch angle, with a 19.5 mark this year, after a career 9.8 coming into this year. Even more, the K% is down to 18.2% after last year’s 34.2% mark. While small sample size alert exists for the production, there is a minor league pedigree to buy into and a team that will put up runs. When he adds shortstop eligibility, his value will jump even more, so buy him while he is cheap.


3B - Tommy La Stella (2B/3B, LAA)

4% owned

To be fair, most of the value for La Stella so far has come from two elite games. Still, there are enough signs that the profile is trending towards fantasy relevance. So far this year he is slashing .237/.338/.559 with six homers. For comparison, last year, in 123 games for the Cubs, he slashed .266/.340/.331 with one homer. The main difference is that last year he was a late-game play, with occasional starts. This year, he has been starting more often, with 22 games so far. Playing time increases the counting stat floor, and with the eligibility, he could move around a bit. Even more, the slugging line is up enough to show that the small drop in batting average is being turned into more power at the plate.

The other vital sign is that he is seeing more pitches per plate appearance, with 3.93 this year compared to 3.78 the year prior. Both of these numbers are below his career average, so there is some helium in the rate, but a good sign compared to last year. Even more, the BABIP sits at .163, so expect the rate stats to jump as well. With injuries and slumps to others opening the door, La Stella is a great profile to buy in on for the rest of the season.


SS - Eric Sogard (2B/SS, TOR)

1% owned

After being a semi-regular for the Athletics, and a reliable bench option for the Brewers, Sogard might finally have found his way into a regular role for the time being. With Lourdes Gurriel Jr. being sent down to Triple-A, Sogard suddenly finds himself batting leadoff. Even more, he is slated to split time with Alen Hanson, on the long side of the platoon. Playing time is the main sell for Sogard, but the bat also has a place at MI. Sogard also fits into Toronto's plans with a bit of leadership support in what will be a young locker room soon. This means there are reasons to keep him around, even with some struggles at the plate.

And yet, so far this year, Sogard is slashing .385/.392/.577. Expect the batting average to move off an MVP pace, but the OBP shows that Sogard can still get on base. Taking out last year’s mark, Sogard, for his career has a .327 OBP, so there is a track record owners can count on with at-bats. While Toronto may not win many games, owners should want anyone potentially hitting in front of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. the rest of the way. And hey, you should get extra points for those glasses.


OF - Ryan Cordell (OF, CWS)

1% owned

Recently recalled to the White Sox, Cordell has been a slow mover within the system after being drafted in 2013. Always known as a batter who would need to hit for more power to stick, he only hit four homers over 51 games across three levels last year. And yet, after just 10 games in the bigs, he has two dingers, and the other numbers look good in terms of what he is doing.

Cordell is making hard contact with a 36.8 Hard%, and getting on base with a .431 WOBA. After playing all week, Cordell appears to be the direct replacement for Daniel Palka. If so, expect Cordell to get at least the same 20 games to prove what he has for the team. With the White Sox not expecting to compete, there is every chance that the early season numbers are accurate, that Cordell could be a building block. Buy into the early season production, and in the worse case, he's Palka 2.0.


OF - Robbie Grossman (OF, OAK)

1% owned

As a switch hitter, the Athletics are using Grossman on both sides of multiple platoons. Due to this, and after playing in 18 games, Grossman is getting more of a run than expected based on his draft price. This means that owners can look back to his recent spell with the Twins to see a .250/.360/.380 hitter with double-digit homer power. If that is what he can offer, AL-only owners can surely find a spot, and five outfield leagues the same.

At his best, Grossman can push a .280 batting line, but at his worst, he can sink to the low .200s. And yet, he gets on base and therefore seems to be a perfect fit for the Athletics. Owners need to balance him out with a power source, but Grossman can be played like a poor man’s D.J. LeMahieu. When the Athletics score often via the long-ball, Grossman will be a source of runs, with an upside that is intriguing to fantasy owners.


OF - Hunter Pence (OF, TEX)

1% owned

Many thought that Pence was done after last year’s exit with the Giants. Texas added him to the spring roster on a minor-league deal, and he beat out Willie Calhoun for the final roster spot. So far the move has paid off, with a .297/.325/.486 slash through 37 ABs. Add in the three homers, and even in a part-time role, Pence is offering good value off the bench. Seemingly splitting time with Shin-Soo Choo, Pence is in a spot to earn more chances if he keeps producing.

What also adds some interest to the profile is that Pence's plate approach is different. So far in 2019, he has a flatter swing, but a better contact. The launch angle is down to 1.3 from a career 11 mark, but the exit velocity is four points above his career norm. Pence has also cut the K% from 23 to 20%, so all signs are moving in the right direction. If he can turn into a more regular contact hitter, Pence has the track record to buy into a high batting line, with power due to the park. This means that even with less loft of the swing, Pence can rack up some cheap homers in Texas, and owners might get to get a .300 batting average in their roster.


SP - Jefry Rodriguez (SP, CLE)

1% owned

When Mike Clevinger hit the Injured List, Cleveland was left in a bit of a bind. A.J. Cole was the next man up on the depth chart, but he has not pitched enough this year to be ready after just starting at Triple-A Columbus. Rodriguez was added in the offseason as a piece of the Yan Gomes trade and was talked about as a potential impact reliever when he made his debut this spring. And yet, Cleveland has kept him in a starter’s role, and has called him up twice. So far, he has been superb.

Through 12.2 innings Rodriquez has an ERA of 2.13 with a 13.6 K%. While the latter number might seem underwhelming, with a career line of 23%, expect this to rise. This also means that the power pitcher does not need the punch-out to get outs, which is encouraging. While the minor league numbers are not great, the raw tools are there, and he has the skills to be a solid starter for this team. With Clevinger out for a while, expect the righty to get his chance to win the job. When the Cleveland offense is starting to hit, Rodriquez will run into wins with starts over the next few weeks.


RP - Brandon Workman (RP, BOS)

1% owned

While the rest of the bullpen is a mess, Workman has quietly put together his best run in the Majors since he debuted in 2013. When he was in the minors, and on the prospect list, Workman was known as a starter with an SP4 profile. While lacking the stuff to make the jump to the bullpen on merit, Workman has found it hard to fit that type of role after missing on the rotation. With a fastball that only tops out at 91, Workman has morphed into a pitch-to-contact arm out of the pen. This has pushed his WHIP up to 1.25; it is passable, but just not good enough for fantasy leagues.

The issues have been the contact rate, with a .400 slugging mark. The interesting thing is that this year his normally above-average walk rate has shot up to 18%, but the opponents' batting average has dropped to a .159 XBaA. The latter mark places him in the top 15% of current pitchers. When looking to the pitching chart, Workman is throwing to the edges of the plate more, and this has moved him off the heart of the plate. While not pretty, the new wild Workman seems to be more productive and rosterable in fantasy leagues. Do not expect him to jump into the closer battle, but he has the skills to be Boston's Ryan Pressly.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers

Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!

More Recent Articles


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – Jo Adell

The most coveted type of player in fantasy baseball is the batter who can hit home runs, steal bases and hit for contact. Stolen bases are harder to find, as more big-league teams are opting to take a cautious approach to baserunning. Additionally, batting average has declined because hitters are striking out more often, as... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis - Gleyber Torres vs. Corey Seager

Fantasy baseball players acquire draft position through osmosis. The more drafts that take place, the larger sample we gain of how owners of all experience levels feel about someone. Granted, inexperienced players often rely on rankings from experts, which goes to form ADP into something resembling common rankings, but the outcome is unimpeachable, collected data... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis – Aaron Nola vs Lance Lynn

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More

2020 Regression Candidates: Breakout Outfielders

Every season in MLB you can count on the fact that you will have breakout performances from players. Sometimes these breakout performances can be seen coming a mile away and sometimes they catch you entirely by surprise. Regardless of which type of breakout we see, you will almost always have to pay up for that... Read More

Bases Loaded Podcast - Quality Start Episode 1

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) and Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams) of the Turn Two Podcast come together for a new co-pod series called "Quality Start". This will be a joint effort and episodes will be found on Bases Loaded as well as the Turn Two Podcast. We are joined by Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) as well for this one.... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Adrian Houser

In life, there seem to be two kinds of people, the flashy and the boring. “Flashy” people like high-end materialistic things such as nice clothing or an expensive car. "Boring” people prefer the simpler things in life like spending time with their loved ones. This seems to be true when it comes to fantasy baseball,... Read More

Taking Out the Trash: Pitchers Who Should Junk Their Worst Pitch

Pitch mix changes can make or break a player’s season. That obviously goes for fantasy value as well as real-life. We've already seen how throwing an effective pitch more often could make a huge improvement a la Patrick Corbin. Sometimes pitchers just need to eliminate a pitch to see their numbers improve. Consider the following: Mitch... Read More

ADP Showdown – Trevor Story vs. Trea Turner

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported and position player workouts are getting underway, which means baseball season is officially upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position... Read More

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitcher Statcast

Statcast metrics such as Barrels and Brls/BBE are great ways to evaluate a batter's performance, so it is only natural to assume that the metrics would be predictive for pitchers as well. As much as batters want to hit a Barrel every time, pitchers want to avoid them at all costs. Yet there is evidence... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More

Bases Loaded Podcast - All Things Fantasy Baseball w/ Nick Pollack (@PitcherList)

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is  joined by Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) and they discuss all things fantasy baseball! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. 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... Read More

Finding Combo-Player Values Using Z-Scores and ATC Projections

Towards the end of last season, I asked the question – “Draft Speed or Pound the Power?” Loaded in this seemingly simple query are two contradictory approaches – one for power and one for speed. Power Approach 1: Home run totals are dramatically up in baseball these days. Therefore, there are many power bats available... Read More

ADP Showdown - Whit Merrifield vs Austin Meadows

Spring training is officially underway, which means baseball season is upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already begun dealing with tough draft position decisions. The outfield position is deep as always, but... Read More

2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Third Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More

2020 Dynasty Leagues: Players to Sell (Premium Content)

As draft day approaches in dynasty leagues, the window to sell-high on a big name has never been better. The first days of spring training are a chance to cash in on players who may have hit their peak value before the 2020 season begins. Bartering is a matter of risk vs reward. You hate... Read More

More Recent Articles


NFL Draft Combine Preview: Running Backs

What always seems to be the highlight for fantasy owners as preparations begin before the NFL Draft is the running back position. Owners clamor to get their hands on the new blood in the league as it has recently shown that it can pay off big time. We've seen the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, Christian... Read More

RB Opportunity Share and Impact (AFC East & North): 2019 Review

We wrap up with our coverage of each of the eight NFL divisions, discussing the teams that are part of them and the running backs that were part of those teams in 2019. To present those teams and players I use a set of easy-to-read charts: treemaps. The graphics will hold all of the players... Read More

Dynasty Price Check - Adam Thielen

Many of you have already begun planning and building your 2020 rosters. This includes best ball owners who have assembled teams in that popular format. A number of owners in redraft leagues are inspecting the early rankings, while those of you who are involved in dynasty leagues have continued your process of relentless roster evaluation. As... Read More

XFL DFS Lineup Picks For Week 3: The Checkdown

Check out this week's XFL fantasy football preview including game breakdowns, player analysis, DFS lineup picks and more for week three of the 2020 XFL season. 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... Read More

D.J. Chark - Dynasty Price Check

Are you ready for some football? If you are in a dynasty fantasy football league, you most certainly are! The time between the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft is a prime opportunity for hardcore owners to evaluate their current team and prepare for their upcoming rookie drafts. We've already looked at young players like Courtland... Read More

RB Opportunity Share and Impact (NFC South & West): 2019 Review

We roll on with coverage of each of the eight NFL divisions, discussing the teams that are part of them and the running backs that were part of those teams in 2019. To present those teams and players I use a set of easy-to-read charts: treemaps. The graphics will hold all of the players of... Read More

Biggest ADP Surprises: Early Fantasy Football Mock Draft

RotoBaller fantasy football analysts Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano review the draft board from RotoBaller's 2020 Way Too Early Mock fantasy football draft. They look at early ADP, reaches, values, and surprises throughout the first 10 rounds. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us... Read More

XFL Week 2 - Quarterback Risers and Fallers

We previously looked at target and opportunity risers and fallers, based on the first two weeks of XFL data. Now, it's time to evaluate the quarterbacks, for better or worse. There are few known commodities, even among seasoned NFL fans, at the quarterback position in this league. Relative unknowns like Phillip Walker and Jordan Ta'amu... Read More

XFL Week 2 - Opportunity Risers and Fallers

We previously looked at target risers and fallers based on the first two weeks of XFL data. The XFL has made it past Week 2 and now we have eight games of data to analyze. No small feat, as nobody knew where this league was going just a few weeks ago. But here we are,... Read More

XFL Week 2 - Target Risers and Fallers

The XFL has made it past Week 2 and now we have eight games of data to analyze. No small feat, as nobody knew where this league was going just a few weeks ago. But here we are, just mere days from Week 3 matchups! With two dates already in the rearview mirror and plenty... Read More

NFL Draft Combine Preview: Quarterbacks

With the Super Bowl now behind us, it is officially NFL Draft season! It's time to speculate on draft picks for teams, who should land where, and which players should be valued over others. This also marks the unofficial start to the 2020 fantasy football season. Getting in the early preparation can give owners a... Read More

RB Opportunity Share and Impact (AFC South & West): 2019 Review

We roll on with coverage of each of the eight NFL divisions, discussing the teams that are part of them and the running backs that were part of those teams in 2019. To present those teams and players I use a set of easy-to-read charts: treemaps. The graphics will hold all of the players of... Read More