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Digging Deeper - Waiver Wire Options for Week 24

Welcome back to the NL-only and AL-only pickups column. 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. And lastly, I'll take a look at some of my picks from the previous week to see how they're performing.

Without further ado, let's get into it.

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!

 

Edmundo Sosa - 2B/SS, Cardinals

8% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

Sosa has firmly taken hold of the starting shortstop spot for the Cardinals down the stretch with the continued struggles of Paul DeJong. It makes sense considering that Sosa has played well for a Cardinals team trying to make a late-season surge towards a wild card spot.

His overall line isn't all the overwhelming at a .275/.352/.399 mark (108 wRC+), but it does show that he can be at least a competent bat for fantasy purposes. He'll provide enough in terms of batting average to make up for little power and not the most counting stats. He has, however, been playing at an even greater pace since the start of August, with a .347/.424/.583 triple slash, which seems to explain why he continues to stick in the Cardinals' lineup on a near-everyday basis. His Statcast metrics aren't the most impressive in that span, with just a 36.7% hard-hit rate and a 6.7% barrel rate, so this level of production is probably not all sustainable, but maybe he can make it last a few weeks longer and still help out some fantasy teams.

It also doesn't hurt that Sosa is dual eligible at both middle infield spots, so he does offer some additional roster flexibility. Additionally, while he isn't a super-huge stolen base threat, he does have three of them, so perhaps there will be some extra opportunities in the final weeks of the year. All in all, Sosa looks like a decent enough option, who probably won't overwhelm with his performance, but should be solid enough.

 

Lane Thomas - OF, Nationals

8% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks

Thomas was acquired by the Nationals from the Cardinals in exchange for Jon Lester at the deadline back in July. After spending a couple of weeks in the Nationals' minor league system, they called him up on August 15th, and he's done nothing but hit in that span. He's hitting at a .333/.402/.556 (153 wRC+) clip since his call-up, which is miles ahead of what he did in limited playing time for the Cardinals this season and in 2020, in which he had wRC+ marks in the 20s.

How much should we buy into this though? Looking at Thomas' Statcast metrics since becoming a National, it does look like he's hitting the ball a lot harder, which corresponds with the strong results he's gotten. His hard-hit and barrel rates of 46.4% and 8.9% are both well ahead of where they were earlier in the year and last season. His barrel rate would only be topped by what he did in a brief look for the Cardinals back in 2019 when he had a strong 13.3% rate in just thirty batted balls. We are still dealing with a small sample though, and of course, we would rather have a lot more to base this off of, but it does appear that Thomas is doing a lot of things right at the plate, with the Statcast metrics backing up his actual ones in that regard.

He could come back down to Earth in the next couple of weeks, but he's hitting too well at the moment to be ignored, and if he can make this last for the rest of the season, it'll be very worth it for a few fantasy managers out there. There's not much to worry about when it comes to playing time, either. He's been hitting leadoff for the Nats pretty much since his call up, and there really isn't any reason for the team to move him down any time soon unless things get really ugly.

 

Bradley Zimmer - OF, Cleveland

3% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

Zimmer has been recommended here before, and while he's not coming off the best week in which he hit at an extremely weak .167/.259/.167 line, the overall trend on Zimmer still looks to be going up, as his performance in the second half of the year has been much better than what we saw from earlier in the year and in the past couple of seasons. For the second half, it's been a .259/.327/.424 slash line, which is solid, if unspectacular.

For Zimmer, his biggest weakness is his strikeout rate. Even in the better second half, his strikeout rate is still well over 30%, which limits just how much upside he has. But when he makes contact, he does really well. His overall 39.6% hard-hit rate is his highest mark since 2018, and the same goes for his barrel and average exit velocity marks. His maximum exit velocity is a strong 113.9 miles-per-hour, which places him in the 92nd percentile of all hitters this year, and his overall wOBA on contact mark of .430 is hovering around the same area of the leaderboard as Max Muncy, Bryan Reynolds, and Trea Turner. Zimmer definitely does get good results when he puts the ball in play, the problem is that it just doesn't happen enough. While that does have an impact on just how productive a fantasy player he will be, he does look to be a good source of power for those managers that are willing to stomach a lower batting average.

Zimmer is also a good option for some sneaky stolen base potential. He has 12 of them on the season, with two of them coming since August 26th. His power-speed profile could make him more intriguing for those looking to bank some extra steals for the stretch run of the season.

 

Ramon Urias - 2B/3B/SS, Orioles

3% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

Starting around late June, Urias has gotten the majority of playing time for the Orioles first at shortstop and now at either second or third base. He has quietly been a solid producer, with a .280/.361/.418 slash line, which is good enough for a 118 wRC+ in that span.

It's not the most glamorous type of fantasy production, as he isn't hitting for much power or providing much of anything in terms of stolen bases or counting stats, but it is a solid profile of competency at the plate-- something that can be rather difficult to find on the waiver wire this deep into the season and in deeper formats. He's also doing it with respectable barrel and hard-hit rates of 10.3% and 41.1%, respectively, both of which are well above the league average.

While we would obviously like for there to be something extra or something that truly stands out about Urias, there isn't anything overly wrong with being a boring, steady contributor, which is what Urias looks to be. He's going to be playing every day and with triple eligibility, he can be someone that a manager plugs and plays into their lineup to fill in for a couple of days a week in case a starter is on the bench or injured. It's not glamorous, but it is useful.

 

DJ Peters - OF, Rangers

3% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

Peters was a quiet waiver claim by the Rangers back in early August. He did have some fanfare as a prospect at one point, mostly due to his power, which got a 70 grade from FanGraphs coming into the year. However, as is typical for huge power hitters, that came with a high strikeout rate. His 35.2% strikeout rate for the season pretty much shows this, and with the Dodgers needing the space on their 40-man roster, they felt free to let him go to waivers.

He has been doing the whole power and hitting home runs thing since joining the Rangers, as he's hit nine of them in just a little over a month. He's still striking out a ton and not walking all that much, and overall, it's a .208/.234/.467 triple slash as a Ranger, which only translates to an 83 wRC+. Yet, he's been doing much better in the last two weeks or so. He's still not walking much at all, but the strikeouts have come down to a more manageable 26.8% rate and he's still hitting home runs, with a whopping six of them being hit since August 24th. All told, it's a .264/.286/.642 line in that span. He's absolutely crushing the ball, with a 17.9% barrel rate and a 46.2% hard-hit rate, and he's doing a good job of keeping the ball off the ground with just a 33.3% groundball rate in this hot stretch, which likely is a good explanation for this power surge.

Still just 25-years-old, the Rangers will definitely be interested in evaluating what they have in Peters for the remainder of the year. He's been locked into the starting lineup ever since becoming a Ranger and in the cleanup spot most nights. It's a one-dimensional profile, in that he's going to be hitting for a ton of power and not much else, it should still at least come with some decent counting stats. If he can keep this home run binge going for a few more weeks to close out the season, he could be quite the difference-maker in deep leagues,

 

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.

Odubel Herrera (OF, PHI)  

Last week: 9% rostered. This week: 13% rostered. 

Herrera had a good week last week, albeit a somewhat one-dimensional one with a .320/.414/.320 slash line. The batting average was certainly helpful, and he should remain somewhere around league-average to slightly above league-average for the rest of the year while continuing to hit leadoff for the Phillies. He should stick around on fantasy teams going forward.

Current recommendation: Hold.

Yadiel Hernandez (OF, WAS) 

Last week: 5% rostered. This week: 3% rostered. 

Hernandez did not have a good week last week, as he had just two hits. He should still be in the lineup most days going forward as the Nationals close out their season, but it is likely that there are better outfielders available on the wire (the aforementioned Thomas, his teammate, being one of them). He seems like a safe drop.

Current recommendation: Drop. 

Jorge Mateo (2B/SS/OF, BAL)

Last week: 3% rostered. This week: 3% rostered. 

After having an unsustainable BABIP during his time with the Orioles so far, Mateo did cool down last week, as he had just four hits. He did hit a home run and drove in three, so it wasn't all bad, but he did get caught stealing on his only attempt. It's probably worth holding onto him for one more week to see if he can get something back, and the stolen base threat he poses may be too juicy to drop.

Current recommendation: Hold.  

Emmanuel Rivera (3B, KC)

Last week: 1% rostered. This week: 0% rostered. 

Adalberto Mondesi came back from his oblique injury last week and is now playing third base, so that likely will mean the end of Rivera's time as an everyday player. Rivera only started twice since September 2nd, so this is definitely not worth holding.

Current recommendation: Drop. 

Josh VanMeter (1B/2B/3B/OF, ARI) 

Last week: 0% rostered. This week: 0% rostered. 

VanMeter started just three games for the D-Backs last week with the team facing just three right-handed starters. He had just two hits in those games, and didn't do anything particularly meaningful with them. The D-Backs do face the Rangers this week, but then get the Mariners and a batch of lefty starters, so it's unlikely VanMeter makes much of an impact this week, and there isn't much of a point to roster him in that case.

Current recommendation: Drop. 



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