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Digging Deeper - Waiver Wire Options for Week 21

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 five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Rowdy Tellez - 1B, Brewers

11% rostered
Recommended move: Add for the long haul 

Since becoming a Milwaukee Brewer in early July, Tellez has done nothing but rake, as he has hit at a .333/.414/.613 clip in 87 plate appearances. He probably should be rostered at a higher rate considering the success, but perhaps managers are still discounting him due to the slow start he got off to when he was a Blue Jay, as well as him being a first base only option, in addition to him being platoon bat.

Those are valid reasons to discount him some, but it really is difficult to overlook these results. He's been one of the game's better power bats over this span, and Statcast agrees with these strong results on the back of a 10.8% barrel rate and a 46.2% hard-hit rate, with an ideal batted-ball distribution consisting of 47.7% fly balls and a minuscule 33.8% ground ball rate. He's doing a lot of things well, and in deeper leagues, it would be hard to match his production elsewhere on the wire.

While Tellez is a platoon bat, rostering managers should feel confident that when he does start, he should be expected to do well. It perhaps is a bit of a one-dimensional profile, as Tellez probably won't be expected to keep hitting for such a high average or contribute anything in terms of stolen bases, but he should be a good accumulator of counting stats down the stretch for the Brewers. Another point in his favor is that the team has some favorable matchups coming up. They face the weakened Nationals pitching staff this weekend and then get the Reds in the series after that. Notably, both series are at home. Important because American Family Field is a very favorable place for left-handed power. Overall, expect Tellez to be a solid power option at first base for the remainder of the season.

 

Connor Joe - 1B/OF, Rockies

8% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks

If you need somebody with more roster flexibility, Joe would be a good option, since he comes with dual first base and outfield eligibility. He has quietly hit well for the Rockies this season, with a .291/.359/.496 slash line, seven home runs, and a 115 wRC+ in his first 142 plate appearances for the team. He's done even better lately, with six of those home runs coming since July 30th, and with a 161 wRC+ in that span.

His Statcast metrics also look good in that same time frame, with strong hard-hit and barrel rates of 41.7% and 14.6%, respectively. Like Tellez, Joe does a great job of getting balls in the air--also key to take full advantage of Coors Field--with a 32.7% groundball rate for the year, and an even better 25% rate in that same hot stretch from July 30th to now.

Joe definitely looks to be a competent hitter and a profile that will definitely work in Colorado, which as it turns out, is where the Rockies will be playing all of their games this week, which should have even more so on the radar. Also, they should be quite favorable matchups as well. The Rockies face the reeling Padres rotation and should face Jake Arrieta in his Padres debut, who has notably had a home run issue this season (2.19 HR/9). After that, they get a weak D-Backs pitching staff, so things should be expected to go well for Joe this week. Even after that, the Rockies will face the Cubs on the road, who don't look too strong right now either, so Joe could reasonably stick in lineups for at least that series.

 

Chas McCormick - OF, Astros

2% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

McCormick didn't have a true, solid everyday role for the Astros for most of the season, but ever since trading Myles Straw prior to the deadline, he has emerged as their starting centerfielder and should remain in that role for the rest of the year.

It also doesn't hurt that McCormick has been hitting well at the plate since the start of August, with a .326/.354/.457 slash line, which is good enough for a 128 wRC+. It's actually been the opposite of what would be expected from McCormick, as he is billed as a pure power hitter, but he's actually been a high-average, low power bat in that span, but it would probably be expected for him to revert back to his usual self in the coming weeks. What's most important is that he's hitting the ball well. For the year he has a 12.3% barrel rate to go along with an impressive 50% hard-hit rate. It's been even better since the start of August too, with a 16.7% barrel rate and a 56.7% hard-hit rate. As long as he continues to hit the ball well, good results should follow.

The biggest downside of his game is the high strikeout rate, which stands at 31.7% for the year and 33.3% since the start of August. That may limit just how much fantasy upside he has, but he could make up some value with his speed, as he has three stolen bases on the year, so he could at least be more well-rounded than the traditional power hitter. Hitting in a good lineup and now with a clear role makes McCormick a much more intriguing deep-league outfield option.

 

Jorge Mateo - 2B/OF, Orioles

2% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

The reason for rostering Mateo is pretty clear at this point. You're going to be hoping for a ton of stolen bases while also not being a complete drag elsewhere in the other categories. It was hard for Mateo to do that consistently while with the Padres earlier this season, but now with the Orioles, the playing time should be there to show just what he can do.

Since joining the Orioles on August 6, Mateo has hit well, with a .308/.328/.487 slash line, albeit with a .429 BABIP and not a single walk. Don't expect that kind of offensive output to stick, but he has hit the ball harder, with an 89.5 miles-per-hour average exit velocity in that span, which is up three ticks from his full-season mark. Most important though to his fantasy value is that the team is letting him run, as he has already accumulated three stolen bases in just ten games, while being caught once. Hopefully, the team lets him continue to run, and that he gets on base enough to make it work.

Playing time in Baltimore though does seem a bit messier than what would maybe be expected. Ramon Urias is back from injury, which means that Mateo could be in some sort of playing time split with Richie Martin. We'll have to see how much he plays, but it seems logical to think that the Orioles would want to see what they have in Mateo for the rest of the season and give him plenty of opportunities. Hopefully it comes with enough overall offense to make it valuable in fantasy leagues.

 

Seth Brown - OF, Athletics

1% rostered
Recommended move: Add for a few weeks 

With the PED suspension of Ramon Laureano, the A's have had to shuffle up their outfield a bit. That means that Brown will be in their starting lineup more often than not. He's made the most of it, showing huge power with a .269/.286/.692 slash line in the last week or so, with three home runs and even a stolen base in there to boot.

Brown has decent Statcast metrics with a solid 38.2% hard-hit rate and a more encouraging 14.5% barrel rate, so he likely should be expected to remain a solid contributor for the remainder of the year as the team's primary right fielder. The main downside here is that Brown is a straight platoon player, meaning he won't be in there every single game, with him sitting against left-handed starters. That limits his fantasy value considerably since it is hard to roster a part-time player, but at least he's on the strong side of the platoon and should be in there most of the time. He could be someone to keep an eye on for a potential hitter to stream in case he ends up with good matchups, but in deeper leagues where the pickings are slim, Brown is at least a good hitter getting most of the playing time, which should have him on more radars.

 

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.

Sam Hilliard (OF, COL) 

Last week: 9% rostered. This week: 7% rostered. 

Hilliard didn't perform all that well last week, with just three hits and a 45 wRC+. He had some tough matchups against the Astros and Giants on the road, which is understandable. While this week's recommendation in Joe is the more-hyped Rockie right now, Hilliard should still be under consideration because of all the home games and good matchups the Rockies have this week. Don't be surprised if Hilliard has a standout week this time around.

Current recommendation: Hold.  

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, Rays)  

Last week: 6% rostered. This week: 5% rostered. 

Diaz continued to hit well last week, with a .267/.333/.667 slash line, and he continues his recent power surge with another two home runs in that span. Unfortunately, it wasn't a full week's slate of games as he suffered a thumb injury that kept him out of the Rays' series this weekend and the start of their series against the lowly Orioles. It doesn't seem like a serious injury though, so he should be back in there soon enough, while hopefully still hitting well.

Current recommendation: Hold. 

Jack Mayfield (2B/3B/SS, Angels) 

Last week: 6% rostered. This week: 4% rostered. 

Mayfield's hot streak was bound to stop at some point, which seems to have happened to him last week as he managed just three hits last week and added nothing else of significance. The triple-eligibility is nice, but he needs to be hitting. This is a clear drop.

Current recommendation: Drop.  

Luis Garcia (2B/SS, WAS) 

Last week: 2% rostered. This week: 1% rostered. 

Garcia still has plenty of upside, but it seems like he's getting BABIP'd to death, as he went .263/.333/.316 last week, and his BABIP for the season remains a low .230. He notably did gain shortstop eligibility in Yahoo leagues with his fifth appearance there coming last week. Whether to hold or drop is dependent on the situation. He has upside, but the results haven't been there just yet, and other options could be available elsewhere. I'd probably lean towards a drop, however,

Current recommendation: Drop. 

Hoy Park (SS, PIT) 

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

Park got off to a hot start as a Pirate but has cooled off considerably. He hit just .167/.200/.292 last week, with a high 34.6% strikeout rate. He was a nice story out of the Yankees' minor league system this year and at the start with Pittsburgh, but he's looking more like a Quad-A player than serviceable Major League shortstop right now.

Current recommendation: Drop. 



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