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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 10


Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column which falls in-line with most fantasy “who should I pick up?” articles with a skew towards points leagues. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, specific categories matter less and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

For Week 10, we’ll look at non-homer extra-base hits on the batter side and wins on the pitcher side. For hitters, slugging is exponentially more important in points formats due to the additional credit for total bases. For hurlers, wins are a universally prized category but can make a season-long difference in points leagues if we strategically invest in arms with favorable team environments.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Jeff McNeil (2B/3B/OF, NYM)

42% Owned

If you picked Jeff McNeil to place in the top-5 in batting to start the season, buy a lottery ticket. Prior to going down with a hamstring injury, McNeil was scorching at the dish, hitting a crisp .333 and collecting 16 extra-base hits and 35 runs-plus-RBI. Reported to be nearing a rehab assignment, it’s time to refocus on the multi-positional asset.

With just a pair of homers, McNeil is an uninspiring standard fantasy option. Add in 14 doubles a triple and he looks tastier points-wise. McNeil also carries a sturdy 0.8 BB/K. Firmly entrenched at the leadoff spot, he should have plenty more opportunities rest-of-season. McNeil possesses above-average sprint speed, so if the hammy issue is resolved, the 0-for-4 rate on the basepaths appears fluky. After an upstart .329 average and six triples in just 248 plate appearances in 2018, McNeil should pick up where he left upon return.

 

Jason Kipnis (2B/OF, CLE)

9% Owned

If McNeil is bland, Jason Kipnis might be inedible for seasoned fantasy players. With a .634 OPS, I understand. However, after missing the first few weeks of 2019, Kipnis has been heating up. Since troughing with a .198 average on May 13, the 32-year-old veteran is hitting .274 with knocks in 13 of 15 contests.

If you’re not impressed with Kipnis, we get it. But fantasy rewards production, and Kipnis has been an extra-base machine. Even in years of limited action, he’s surpassed 20 doubles in seven consecutive campaigns. Once a speed demon, the old geezer is a perfect 4-for-4 in steals. Throw in a passable BB/K and his role atop the order, Kipnis has upside at almost zero cost. With expected stats materially higher than his current production and the Indians offense underperforming, a reversal of fortunes could reward managers willing to take the risk.

 

Bryan Reynolds (OF, PIT)

17% Owned

If you stomached the McNeil and Kipnis buy cases, I present you with a more exciting solution. Since his call-up on April 20, Bryan Reynolds has posted a smooth .339/.393/.571 slash with 15 extra-base hits (five homers) and 35 runs-plus-RBI in 122 plate appearances. Rated as the Pirates No. 8 prospect entering the year, Reynolds looks the part.

The first pass at Reynolds’ peripheral metrics are approved. His 51 percent hard-hit rate and 155 wRC+ reek of offensive prowess. Throughout his stops in the minors, Reynolds never hit below .300 and a plus defensive resume provides leash for regular playing time. While not flashy with prodigious power or blazing wheels, Reynolds is the contact-hitter points league players crave. Sure the .418 BABIP will result in a downtick on average, but his ability to put balls in play should keep him relevant.

 

Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA)

16% Owned

For someone hitting behind Mike Trout with a multi-season track record as an offensive contributor, Kole Calhoun is grossly under-owned. After an inconsistent 2018, Calhoun has rebounded with a resounding .830 OPS, 11 homers, 13 doubles and 66 runs-plus-RBI.

Calhoun checks the boxes in the important categories of launch angle, hard hit rate, xwOBA and xSLG. These are traits we like in fantasy. While Calhoun is still showing some lingering contact issues, he’s upped his BB/K to 0.51. Though playing time throughout his career has been volatile, in the four seasons where Calhoun registered at least 500 plate appearances, he’s been bankable in the slugging and run production departments. With balls flying out of the yard in 2019, Calhoun’s skillset looks primed to benefit handsomely.

 

Wade Miley (SP, HOU)

44% Owned

Many fantasy participants have bought into the Wade Miley revelation, evidenced by his ownership nearing our threshold. Even with a declining skillset wily Miley has benefited from his resilient performance and team situation.

Playing on a squad loaded on offense, Miley just has to limit the damage. He’s succeeded in that task by allowing three or fewer runs in 11 of 12 starts and been rewarded with five wins. While Miley isn’t exceptional, his perceived craftiness has veiled the fact that his strikeouts are back to career norms (19 percent) and the xwOBA is an excellent .286. Miley’s bugaboo has historically been walks, so the 2.1 BB/9 this year is encouraging. When faced with a choice between an unproven fireballer on a weak squad or a boring vet on a stacked team, take vanilla each time.

 

Jalen Beeks (RP, TB)

4% Owned

As teams trend towards the opener phenomenon, there are cases where fantasy players should follow. Jalen Beeks has been effective as the Rays long guy in bullpen games, registering a 2.83 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 8.7 K/9 in 13 appearances. Not held to the conventional starter requirements, Beeks has tallied four victories despite going past five innings just once.

Beeks’ success this season has been hiding his mediocre fastball with a cutter-changeup combination. He’s lifted his first-pitch strikes from 55 to 60 percent and induced a swinging strike rate of 12 percent. Once an (over)hyped prospect, Beeks bought into the masterful pitching strategy in Tampa Bay. While it’s likely he won’t emerge as a top-tier starter, Beeks carries the pitching arsenal required to keep hitters honest. As an unconventional source of fantasy production, Beeks is a sneaky deployment for leagues with innings limitations.

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