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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 12


Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column that skews towards points league. 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 12, we’ll key in on strong performers over the past two weeks that are disproportionately underowned. There’s no guarantee these players are long-term fixes for an ailing fantasy squad but at this point in the year, temporary solutions could be the best tonic to get your team on track. Conversely, if these players stick for good, there’s no marginal risk for capitalizing early.

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

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Points League Pickups to Consider

Colin Moran (3B, PIT)

10% Owned

Former prospect Colin Moran has batted .278 since the calendar flipped to June, including three homers and 13 runs-plus-RBI. For the season, the 26-year-old is hovering around a .800 OPS and has been a solid contributor to the Pirates with a 109 wRC+.

Previously knocked for his ground ball tendencies, Moran has upped his fly ball rate to 34% this season, resulting in a spike in hard-hit rate (39%) and barrels (9%). In 209 fewer batted balls, Moran’s 12 barrels is already approaching the 18 he registered in 2018. With limited resistance to playing time, Moran has a firm hold in the heart of the Bucco’s lineup. If the improvement in swing plane proves structural, he could finally make the leap from prospect to MLB regular.

 

Todd Frazier (3B, NYM)

4% Owned

Crusty Todd Frazier is back in our lives so look away if you’ve been burned before. Frazier vanished from fantasy relevance in 2019, starting the year injured then hitting rock bottom on May 15 with a .423 OPS. Since then, he’s raised that profile to .770.

Over that span, Frazier is hitting a crisp .321 with 10 of 27 knocks going for extra bases. His 0.76 BB/K further bolsters his points league relevance. Those reliant on Statcast and advanced metrics will notice that Frazier’s Baseball Savant reeks of shady outcomes. But this could be attributable to his terribly foul start. Recently promoted to cleanup, Frazier’s current tear is undeniable and any scorching player deserves roster consideration, geezer or not.

 

Jorge Soler (OF, KC)

39% Owned

Summer’s warmth provides respite for believers of Jorge Soler. His 30% whiff rate should provide a cool breeze as we watch in close anticipation of his breakthrough. (Father’s Day deserved an awful dad joke). In his last 46 at-bats, Soler has cranked four homers, four doubles and collected 17 R+RBI. In true form, he’s also struck out 12 times.

Even in a points format, if fantasy owners can overcome the human fan, Soler checks the boxes. Soler possesses the exit velocity (94.8 MPH FB/LD), hard-hit rate (43%) and expected slugging (.514) to mash over 40 bombs and 40 doubles (he currently has 17 of each). Although his plate discipline is underwhelming, Soler’s swing tendencies don’t justify just a 6% walk rate. Still just 27 years old, Soler is an instance where the strikeouts are palatable for the power potential.

 

JaCoby Jones (OF, DET)

10% Owned

Since the end of May, JaCoby Jones has seemingly found his groove. Hovering below the Mendoza Line around Memorial Day, Jones has been on fire with a .407 average, raising his season OPS from .606 to .790. Included in the 17-game tear was a 12-game hitting streak that recently concluded.

Like Soler, JaCoby Jones has an equally awful strikeout habit (30%). But they also share more positive traits including an identical FB/LD exit velocity (94.8 MPH) and stellar 50% hard-hit rate. As a kicker, Jones has above average sprint speed and is a perfect 6-for-6 in steals. Jones has exactly zero full seasons under his belt, but after 22 doubles, six triples, 11 homers and 13 steals in just 467 plate appearances in 2018, Jones is emerging as the most attractive offensive fantasy asset in Detroit.

 

Adrian Sampson (SP, TEX)

29% Owned

Adrian Sampson started the season as a dedicated opener with an uninspiring K/9, so was therefore a fantasy non-factor. Since fully joining the rotation and building his endurance, Sampson has registered a 3.19 ERA with a passible 8.6 K/9 over his last six starts. Skewing these numbers positively was a stellar one-run complete game on June 8 against the Athletics.

Sampson, 27, was a seven-year minor leaguer prior to a brief audition in 2018 (four starts). After successfully breaking spring training on the roster, he’s made notable strides year-over-year. The strikeouts have spiked from 16% to 19%, supporting an already-low walk rate to a 3.9 K/BB. Velocity and swinging strikes are up which are encouraging trends. Despite his June 13th struggles against Boston, stay vigilant.

 

Merrill Kelly (SP, ARZ)

18% Owned

As rookies are concerned, Merrill Kelly’s emergence is shocking. After unsuccessfully wallowing in the minors until 2014, Kelly spent four seasons in Korea before debuting as a 30-year-old this season. Like Sampson, his strikeout numbers aren’t stellar, but fantasy-relevant trends are promising.

Highs and lows abound, in 14 starts, Kelly has permitted four or more earned runs four times. He’s also kept opponents to two or less in seven starts. Kelly brings a four-pitch arsenal to the mound and while no single pitch appears overpowering, he mixes them well enough to grade above average. Kelly’s age and lack of experience are automatic non-starters for some fantasy players, and the subpar strikeouts also detracts his appeal. For contrarians willing to overlook these shortcomings, Kelly could provide considerable value as a streaming option.

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