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Five Injured Players to Stash in Fantasy Baseball - Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 4

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Injuries are an inevitable part of fantasy baseball, and each week seems to bring another wave of players hitting the injured list. While frustrating, fantasy baseball managers need to keep their eyes on the prize and not lose sight of their overall goal -- winning their league. After all, a life without adversity removes the possibility for growth. In other words, when a player gets hurt, an opportunity arises to explore innovative ways to supplement their rosters.

The waiver wire is one of the best places to start. Sure, replacing players like Ozzie Albies, Christian Yelich, and Bobby Miller is a daunting task. However, there are players on the waiver wire who can cushion the blow. This article contains five injured players who are expected to return just in time to help your fantasy team. Only players who are rostered in less than 60% of Yahoo leagues qualify.

Before getting into it, one player who isn't quite eligible but demands an honorable mention is Max Scherzer, who's expected to start pitching in games within two weeks. If you're in one of the 28% of Yahoo leagues where Scherzer is available, get him onto your team. He may be approaching 40 years old, but he's still one of the best pitchers in baseball when he's on the mound. If you happen to use ESPN, he's available in 60% of leagues! With that being said, here is this week's list.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:


Kyle Bradish - SP, Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kyle Bradish was the first player mentioned in last week's list. There are two main reasons for him being the first name again this week. First, despite finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting last year, he's still only rostered in 54% of Yahoo leagues. Second, he looked outstanding in his most recent rehab start. On Tuesday night against the Altoona Curve (the Pirates' Double-A affiliate), he threw three innings, gave up just one hit, induced five groundouts, and notched four strikeouts. His fastball averaged 94-95 mph, generating 11 whiffs on only 44 pitches.

Fans are beyond excited for Bradish to join Corbin Burnes and Grayson Rodriguez at the top of the Orioles rotation. He'll likely need a few more rehab starts, but make sure to keep an eye on how he progresses. His upside and recent track record make him one of the most intriguing pitchers returning from the IL soon. Unlike most of the pitchers who are rostered in only half of Yahoo leagues, Bradish has ace-like potential and can bolster almost any pitching staff in fantasy. In reality, he should be rostered in nearly every league.


TJ Friedl - OF, Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl has an impressive combination of power, speed, and plate discipline. He had a breakout year in 2023, slashing .279/.352/.467 with 18 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 138 games. Unfortunately, he suffered a wrist injury right before Opening Day after attempting to make a diving catch in spring training. Fortunately, he could start ramping up baseball activities within the next week. If that happens, he should make his season debut at some point in May.

Last season, Friedl was one of the most sought-after players on the waiver wire. Despite that, he's only rostered in 42% of Yahoo leagues right now. Not only is he capable of providing a spark to the Reds lineup, but he can do the same for many fantasy teams. Lots of outfielders are set to miss significant time, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more productive replacement than Friedl. His ability to hit for power and steal bases is hard to find, especially on the waivers.

Something to keep in mind with Friedl is his underwhelming advanced metrics. He's coming off an excellent season, but he did finish in the bottom 11% of the league in xwOBA, expected slugging percentage, average exit velocity, barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and sweet spot rate. Part of the reason for his success must be attributed to the fact that he played half of his games at Great American Ball Park, one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in MLB. However, he'll still play half of his games there in 2024, so there's little reason to expect regression.


J.D. Martinez - OF/DH, New York Mets

New York Mets designated hitter J.D. Martinez is still an impressive power hitter capable of hitting over 30 home runs. After a relatively underwhelming season with the Red Sox in 2022, he signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers for the 2023 season. The result was a .271/.321/.572 slash line, 33 homers, and 103 RBI in just 113 games. Now, he's on another one-year contract with the Mets. He's had some back issues recently, but it appears that a rehab assignment is imminent.

Martinez was an elite hitter last year. At 35 years old, he finished in at least the 96th percentile among all players in xSLG, average exit velocity, barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and sweet spot rate. This shouldn't come as a surprise; he's one of the most decorated DHs in baseball history.

Over the last decade, he's fifth in home runs, fourth in RBI, and 12th in OPS+ among all qualifying players. It's hard to come up with an argument that he'll slow down in New York. In a lineup featuring Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, and Pete Alonso, Martinez should have ample opportunities to continue posting gaudy numbers. He just barely qualifies for this list, as he's rostered in 59% of Yahoo leagues.


Max Kepler - OF, Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins outfielder Max Kepler is an underrated outfield option. He started off healthy, but a right knee contusion on April 9 landed him on the IL. Luckily, he just started a rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul and shouldn't need much time before rejoining the Twins.

Kepler may be 1-for-20 to start the 2024 season, but it's far too small of a sample size to arouse concern. Keep in mind that in 2023, he hit .260/.332/.484 with 24 home runs, 72 runs, and 66 RBI in 130 games. He also finished in the top 25% of the league in xwOBA, expected batting average, xSLG, average exit velocity, barrel rate, hard-hit rate, chase rate, and whiff rate. Nonetheless, he's only rostered in 15% of Yahoo leagues. You won't find many players with Kepler's upside as widely available as he is right now.


Jonathan Aranda - 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Jonathan Aranda is an exciting player who could make a big impact at the big-league level. He's currently in the process of recovering from a fractured right finger, but he's engaging in baseball activities that don't involve swinging. He could realistically make his 2024 debut sometime in mid-to-late May.

Aranda has played 64 games for the Rays between 2022 and 2023, but has struggled for the most part. However, his minor league track record is so impressive that he's worth keeping an eye on in most leagues. In 199 Triple-A games, his slash line is .328/.421/.565; he's hit 43 home runs, 49 doubles, and driven in 166 RBI. At just 25 years old, there's clearly a lot of potential for him to break out in Tampa Bay.

It seems that Aranda has fallen below the radar this year. He's only rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues. This may look like a reach, but Aranda certainly has the ability to produce in the majors. Even if he doesn't put it together, he's still an interesting low-risk/high-reward option, especially if you find yourself in need of a first baseman.

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