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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 19


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.

We’ve hurdled the Midsummer Classic and turning towards home for fantasy baseball season. While some league counterparts may be multi-tasking with pigskin prep, it’s time for savvy owners to stay juiced on the diamond! By now, team turnover should be commonplace and most managers have waved goodbye to busted high-round assets. During the dog days, keenness on the waiver could result in celebratory pay days in October.

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

Josh VanMeter (2B/3B/OF, CIN)

40% Owned

Since being recalled on July 18, Josh VanMeter has mashed to the tune of a .417/.500/.833 slash and seven extra-base hits (four homers). The 24-year-old rookie has found himself in the heart of the Reds lineup and represents a versatile fantasy piece down the stretch.

VanMeter’s primary asset throughout his seven-year minor league career was plate discipline. He’s ported that skillset successfully through 91 big league plate appearances with a 0.63 BB/K. With a .370 BABIP, the current tear is unsustainable, but VanMeter has developed his power over the last couple years cranking 25 homers in the minors over his last 573 plate appearances. While the average could tick down, the .221 ISO appears fine. It’s common for unsung youngsters to contribute this time of year, VanMeter is looking the part.

 

Austin Nola (1B/2B, SEA)

7% Owned

In a similar vein, Austin Nola is another rookie screaming for attention. Except he’s not young, entering his first big league season at 29. Nola hasn’t stopped raking since his call-up with a 1.035 OPS and 11 extra-base hits with 25 runs-plus-RBI in 80 plate appearances.

The knock on Nola is the prevailing 0.21 BB/K, so swinging and missing is his thing. However, he did show walking chops in the minors so the eye could become keener as he acclimates. Fortunately for Nola, he’ll get ample run with the Mariners in the dumps, so he’ll get an opportunity to show his worth. Nola’s profile shows an imminent precipitous decline, but he could serve as a short-term rental until he cools off. At the current rate of production and ownership levels, long-term durability is less relevant.

 

Ender Inciarte (OF, ATL)

31% Owned

Ender Inciarte got off to a slow start after returning with a back injury but is hitting .409 over his last six games with six of nine knocks going for extra bases. With a headline slash of .229/.315/.369, Inciarte’s history of productivity is being masked by the extended absence and poor production.

If he’s fully healthy, Inciarte has a chance to return to being a stolen base machine (50 bags between 2017-18) that can rack up counting stats to support a fantasy roster spot. Inciarte’s role hasn’t been fully defined in Atlanta since returning and his batted-ball profile is a risk, but he might earn more playing time with the recent hot streak. Still just 28 years old and an elite defender, Inciarte’s currently cheap valuation is trending up.

 

Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR)

6% Owned

After a miserable first half, Teoscar Hernandez rounded into form in July with eight long balls and a 1.008 OPS. Hernandez created buzz last season with 22 dingers and his present irrelevance is a significant opportunity to buy low.

Contact has always been an issue for Hernandez, but we’ve witnessed baby steps as he’s lowered his strikeout rate to 30% (still terrible) and upping the walks to 9%. The tough luck he’s suffered this year still has room to reverse from a .268 BABIP to last year’s .313. For a guy with contact issues, the gap is material. Intangibly, the recent surge for the Blue Jays could motivate Hernandez to step up his game. With the youth movement underway, it’s time for the 26-year-old to emerge as an elder statesman.

 

Asher Wojciechowski (SP, BAL)

26% Owned

A personal challenge in this next segment will be ensuring Asher Wojciechowski’s name is spelled correctly. There’s one down. At the ripe age of 30, Wojciechowski is making his first major league impact with a 4.15 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 31 percent strikeout rate. Excluding his latest start derailed by a hip injury, Wojciechowski had posted a respectable 3.60 ERA in 30 innings.

Through his 10-year career, Wojciechowski’s only significant MLB stint came in 2017 as a reliever. He’s been a classic journeyman on his seventh team. However, the recent resume has been powered by the development of a cutter to supplement his modest fastball and slider. Swinging strike rates have spiked to 14%. While the FIP could scare folks away (4.55), Wojciechowski has carried a higher FIP than ERA for most of his career. Assuming the bum hip isn’t serious, Wojciechowski is worth a spin for the durable strikeout upside.

 

Freddy Peralta (SP/RP, MIL)

11% Owned

As a converted reliever, the argument for Freddy Peralta is efficient strikeout value. A former starter that was pummeled due to his one-dimensional repertoire, Peralta has succeeded as a long-reliever called upon to soak up innings.

Before a slight stumble in his last two appearances, Peralta had fired five straight scoreless outings. Since his last meltdown start on June 11, Peralta has flourished with a 2.70 ERA from the bullpen with a 12.0 K/9. With an elite fastball and strikeout rate, Peralta’s skillset meshes perfectly as a career reliever. Finally used that way, he can anchor a roster without eating innings.

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