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Outfield Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 4

Injuries and game postponements have already forced fantasy managers to get creative with their rosters this season, making waivers as important as ever. In addition to shoring up fantasy lineups in the short term, valuable waiver pickups can also become mainstays in fantasy lineups and generate trade value for fantasy managers.

It's worth noting that most of the hitters mentioned in previous weeks continue to be worthwhile adds this week, but to avoid redundancy I’ve focused on other valuable hitters this week. That's especially important to note early in the season, when small samples of performance shouldn't affect fantasy values significantly (except for injuries and significant playing time expectation changes).

With that out of the way, below are six outfielders worth considering in waivers this week - April 12th through April 18th. Roster rates for waiver wire pickups are based on Yahoo! leagues with standard 5x5 scoring, and an outfielder must be rostered in fewer than 50% of leagues to be considered for this article.

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Weekly Summary

Who’s Hot?

Player Name Rostered % Week wOBA
Adam Duvall 32% 0.627
Charlie Culberson 3% 0.626
Brandon Nimmo 40% 0.512
Justin Upton 10% 0.511
Zach McKinstry 27% 0.497
Stephen Piscotty 2% 0.483
Austin Slater 4% 0.451
Adam Eaton 45% 0.449
Jordan Luplow 1% 0.448
Mike Brosseau 4% 0.442

Rest of Season Projections

It’s easy to get caught up in early season trends, but it’s been less than two weeks since Opening Day. Fantasy managers should keep the rest of season projections in mind when making roster decisions to avoid overreacting to early-season slumps (or breakouts) and to capitalize on the mistakes of other managers.

Player Name Rostered % Rest of Season wOBA Projection
Brandon Nimmo 40% 0.350
Luis Arraez 46% 0.339
Brandon Belt 9% 0.331
Aaron Hicks 35% 0.330
Jordan Luplow 1% 0.327
Joc Pederson 37% 0.327
J.D. Davis 43% 0.326
Josh Naylor 2% 0.326
Alex Kirilloff 13% 0.325
Alex Dickerson 16% 0.324

Schedule Notes

  • The Angels, Padres, Giants, and Red Sox play every day this week, so outfielders on those teams are worth a look from fantasy managers in need of short-term counting stats.
  • The Phillies play in their hitter-friendly home ballpark for three games before playing three at the even more hitter-friendly Coors Field, making their hitters attractive short-term adds.
  • The Tigers play two particularly unimposing pitching staffs in the Pirates and the Royals, giving Robbie Grossman (4% rostered) some added short-term value.

Lineup Notes

  • Alex Kiriloff (13% rostered) made his MLB debut this week, but was optioned to Minnesota's alternate site on Thursday.
  • Mickey Moniak (1% rostered) was called up from the alternate site on Wednesday.
  • Kyle Schwarber (59% rostered) was activated from the COVID IL.
  • Josh Reddick signed with the Diamondbacks, but is likely to be little more than a DFS option this season.
  • Cody Bellinger (leg) appears likely to miss extended time, giving Zach McKinstry a shot at more consistent long-term playing time.
  • J.D. Davis’ (hand) rostered rate continues to fall (43% rostered), but he was reactivated from the injured list on Saturday.

 

Shallow League Pickups

Andrew Benintendi, Kansas City Royals

49% rostered

Understandably, fantasy managers have had a relatively short leash on Benintendi after he struggled in 2019 and 2020, but the 26-year-old now represents a high-upside waiver option for fantasy managers and is well worth a look as a result of his low price in most leagues. Benintendi came into the season having been drafted in 96% of leagues, but as of this writing was rostered in less than half of those leagues. Healthy hitters who have been abandoned by fantasy managers can be tremendously valuable waiver pickups for more patient managers, and Benintendi appears to be on that track.

For one, the Royals have been one of the most aggressive base-stealing teams in MLB, and Benintendi has played a significant role in that aggressiveness with five stolen base attempts in his first 12 games. Additionally, Benintendi has been hitting in the upper-third of a solid Kansas City lineup, providing him with valuable run and RBI upside. Benintendi’s poor general production has held his fantasy value down so far this season, but he’s in an excellent situation and remains worth gambling on as a bounce-back candidate.

J.D. Davis, New York Mets

43% rostered

Davis was drafted in 95% of leagues, hit well in two games, and then landed on the injured list with a hand injury before seeing his rostered rate fall to just 43%. Although the fact that Davis landed on the injured list at all makes him more likely to have additional injury issues than the average hitter, his availability on waivers is too attractive to pass up. 

After breaking out with a .307 batting average and 22 home runs in 2019, Davis’ performance took a step back last season, but his substantially above-average power combined with an advanced, selectively aggressive plate approach provides him with the upside to hit over .280 with just under 30 home runs over a full season. That’s an undoubtedly optimistic projection, but the reality is that if Davis was worth drafting in 95% of leagues (which he was based on his likely 2021 performance), then he’s worth rostering in the vast majority of leagues now. 

Raimel Tapia, Colorado Rockies

27% rostered

Last season, Tapia hit .321 with eight stolen bases in 51 games, putting him on pace for 22 stolen bases over a full season. Notably, Tapia made some significant adjustments last season that included shortening his swing, bulking up, and opening his stance, and those adjustments were evident in his plate appearances last season.

Aside from being visually apparent, Tapia’s swing changes showed up on the stat sheet as he made more consistent contact (career-best 8.3% swinging-strike rate) and maintained a hard-hit rate above 30% for his second consecutive season. Although Tapia likely won’t produce at the level he did in 2020 this season, his improved contact skills and power combined with his speed and hitter-friendly home ballpark give him a realistic chance at a batting average around .290 with around 15 stolen bases. He is worth a look on waivers for fantasy managers in need of batting average and stolen bases.

 

Deeper League Pickups

Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins

13% rostered

Kirilloff made his MLB debut this past week, and although it’s not exactly clear how the Twins plan to use him going forward, he’s worth targeting on waivers in deep leagues thanks to his significant upside. From a projection perspective, FGDC has Kirilloff pegged for a .278 batting average, 13 home runs, and five stolen bases over 94 games. That may not sound like much, but it puts Kirilloff’s overall z-score (when including runs and RBI) right around those of Dominic Smith and Kris Bryant on a per-plate appearance basis.

Importantly, that projection likely undersells Kirilloff’s upside. A consensus top-100 prospect, Kirilloff boasts strong contact and power, giving him some of the most fantasy upside of any MLB-ready prospect. The Twins already optioned Kirilloff back to their alternate site, but fantasy managers in deeper leagues would do well to stash the 23-year-old in preparation for another call-up.

Jose Marmolejos, Seattle Mariners

2% rostered

With 142 MLB plate appearances now under his belt, Marmolejos has demonstrated exciting power (49.4% hard-hit rate) with signs of an aggressive plate approach that partially offsets his less than ideal contact skills (14.2% swinging-strike rate), making him worth rostering in deeper leagues. Additionally, although Marmolejos isn’t an everyday player at this point, he does appear to have at least the higher end of a platoon role locked in, which should continue to provide him with enough playing time to warrant consideration from fantasy managers.

An older sophomore hitter at 28 years old, Marmolejos may not boast the same upside (or floor) as some of the other outfielders listed in this article. Marmolejos is rostered in only two percent of leagues, though, and he’s demonstrated enough so far in his young MLB career to make him worth a flier in very deep leagues.

Zach McKinstry, Los Angeles Dodgers

27% rostered 

With Cody Bellinger sidelined for the foreseeable future, McKinstry has likely carved himself out something close to everyday playing time in a utility role for the Dodgers. McKinstry has taken full advantage of his playing time opportunities so far this season with a .999 OPS through his first 13 games, and he’s shown more than enough to make him worth rostering in deeper leagues. 

After adding muscle before the 2019 season, McKinstry hit .300 with a .882 OPS in the minor leagues, and McKinstry’s 106.2 mph max exit velocity suggests that his raw power is at least serviceable (even with the inflated 2021 exit velocities in mind). Combined with his solid hit tool, McKinstry’s decent power, prominent role in a strong Los Angeles lineup, and general upside make him an appealing option on waivers.



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