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The Waiver Wire Watch List: Week 10

So we're two months into the season, and a lot of pictures are becoming more clear. Maybe you hitched your wagon to Joey Votto and are in need of a corner infielder? Perhaps you've been riding George Springer to success but are now stuck without your best outfielder for weeks. No matter the situation, it could be time for a roster refresh--but not just the hum-drum obvious waiver wire adds.

Throughout the season, you want to get the jump on your competition and sniff out the breakout players before they break out. That's what this list is all about--using some in-depth research and advanced analytics to find the players who aren't quite there yet but are on their way. Some of these may suit your needs for an immediate pick-up depending on your team's situation.

This is not necessarily a list of players you should add right away at the start of week 10 - it is a list of players to keep a very close eye on in most leagues as we further into May, and to consider picking up in deeper formats. In some cases, we will even caution you not to pick up a widely-added player, and steer you away from the fool's gold. Use it to build your own watch list.

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Pitchers to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

Jake Junis (SP, KC)

Don't look at Junis' season-long numbers, because they'll make you cringe. In 67.1 innings, Junis has posted a 5.35 ERA with a career-worst 8.5% walk rate and a WHIP that correlates to it. Homers were the big issue for Junis in 2018 and he's not yet figured that part out--he's nearly matching his 1.63 HR/9 mark with a 1.60 mark in 2019. There is some reason for optimism though, as Junis has now rattled off two quality starts in a row, striking out seven in each.

We are very much in wait-and-see mode with Junis, as the aforementioned red flags can cut an outing short for him at any time, and he has one of baseball's least explosive offenses behind him. If he can take a step forward with the control (and hopefully the location of his pitches), Junis could be a viable fantasy starter as he was in 2017.

Touki Toussaint (SP/RP, ATL)

Toussaint is currently no more than a low-leverage option for the Braves bullpen, but he's likely going to be the first one called upon should a rotation spot open up due to injury or poor performance. The rookie's season-long numbers are unimpressive, as he sports a 3.91 ERA across 23 innings pitched. However, a sizable chunk of that ERA comes from his disastrous April 20th start in which he lasted just 1.1 inning and allowed seven earned runs. If you take that one outing out of his pitching log, he has a 1.25 ERA along with a decent 23:9 strikeout to walk ratio.

Toussaint is one of Atlanta's top pitching prospects, and his swing-and-miss stuff is undeniable. He flashed that upside in his brief stint in the bigs last year, and we're quietly seeing it again in 2019, despite the low-leverage role he's been handed. Toussaint is definitely a guy you'll want to stash if you have room or be ready to pounce on, because he has true top-of-the-rotation potential in the long-term.

Brett Anderson (SP, OAK)

It feels like Brett Anderson has been around forever, and he kind of has. The former Athletics prospect spent time with the Rockies and Dodgers before winding up back in Oakland, and he's locked into a rotation spot in the up-and-coming team as a solid yet unspectacular veteran. In 2019 Anderson has pitched his way to a modest yet respectable 3.86 ERA along with a 6-3 record, and has flirted with fantasy usefulness as he's done in the past.

Three of Anderson's last five starts have been promising, as he allowed just one earned run in each. Sandwiched in there are two bad outings in which he allowed four earned runs each, so this is admittedly not the hottest watch list add we've ever seen. Keep an eye on him as an option in deeper leagues to do pretty much what he's doing for the real-life Athletics--hold down a spot, collect a few wins and not screw things up too badly.


Batters to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

Garrett Cooper (OF, MIA)

The big Marlins outfielder is actually 28 years old, which I genuinely would not have guessed given that he's seen such limited time in the majors. After starting the year with an ice-cold slump and then a stint on the IL, it's taken Cooper some time to get into the swing of things. It appears that he's figuring things out, as he's got three homers and a .305 batting average over his last 10 games.

Cooper doesn't bring as much power to the table as you'd expect for a guy who's 6'6", but he's likely capable of 15-20 homers if he stays healthy the rest of the way. He should have an everyday role with the Marlins, and if he can cut back on the strikeouts this year (which he seems to be doing with a swinging strike percentage of just 9.6%) he will definitely have some mixed league potential.

Hanser Alberto (SS/2B/3B, BAL)

Former Texas Rangers project Hanser Alberto has settled into a comfortable yet varied starting role for the Orioles, who are quite clearly in rebuilding mode. He's had some pedestrian weeks in 2019, but a recent hot streak has Alberto on my radar. He's never been a top-of-the-line prospect, but in his extensive travels in the minor leagues he's showed the potential to swipe 15 bags, hit 10 homers and contribute with a .270-.290 batting average. None of this screams fantasy starter, but this is the watch list column, not the immediate waiver wire add column.

As long as Alberto is hot he'll be useful, as his multi-positional eligibility will keep him in the Orioles lineup almost every day. He'll swipe a few bags, bang in a few runs in Camden Yards, and won't kill your batting average while he does it.

Orlando Arcia (SS, MIL)

The 24-year-old shortstop is not far removed from being one of Milwaukee's better prospects. While Arcia had a monster postseason in 2018, the peripherals surrounding his regular season play were uninspiring to say the least. In 2019 though, he's shown some major adjustments that may indicate that he's starting to adapt to major league pitching. The big factor is his patience at the plate--in 2018, Arcia posted an abysmal 4.1% walk rate, and swung and missed a ton (14.4 SwStr%). In 2019 he has more than doubled his walk rate (9.7%) and actually dropped his strikeout rate from 23.8% to 19.8%.

Arcia is still very young and has plenty of room to grow. He's showing some true plate discipline progress, and starting to flex a bit with six homers already after hitting just three in 119 games last year. Very little indicates that this could be luck, and I advise you be ready to get in on the ground floor of a true breakout.


Recapping The Waiver Wire Watch List

In the section, I will review the progress and current outlook of players that I wrote about in previous articles in this series.


Andrew Cashner (SP, BAL) - Still Watching: Pretty much as soon as I had written about him in this column, he went out and got shelled twice and once by the Giants of all teams. May have been fool's gold.

Felix Pena (SP/RP, LAA) - Add Now: Continues to put up solid numbers in the bulk reliever role, but still isn't starting games and likely won't in the near future. Understand that your potential for wins and quality starts is capped here.

Jose Urena (SP, MIA) - Add Now: Another great outing against the Nationals, is fourth straight quality start in a row.

Jalen Beeks (RP, TB) - Still Watching: Will still continue to provide solid ratios acting as the bulk-inning pitcher behind the Rays' typical openers.

Corbin Martin (SP, HOU) - Dropped: Doesn't provide the length, strikeout potential or ratios to be useful in any format.

Gio Gonzalez (SP, MIL) - Still Watching: Starting to falter, and still not making it out of the sixth. The arrow is trending down.

Griffin Canning (SP, LAA) - Add Now: Hasn't had to face a truly elite offense yet, but he's putting up the necessary numbers against the teams he should beat.

Tanner Roark (SP, CIN)Add Now: His ERA continues to drop, and he has 16 strikeouts in his last 10 innings.

John Means (SP, BAL) - Add Now: Came up big against the Tigers this past week, and has kept that ERA under 3.00. If you're willing to take a chance on an Orioles starter, this is likely the one you want.

Daniel Norris (SP, DET) - Dropped: Norris is tough to trust with little to no upside.

Jeff Samardzija (SP, SF) - Still Watching: Average in just about every way. You've gotta be desperate to add him permanently, but streaming him in the right matchup is a possibility. Those home/away splits are tantalizing.

Pablo Lopez (SP, MIA) - Still Watching: What did I say--EVERY OTHER START.

Eric Lauer (SP, SD) - Add Now: One ER in each of his last three starts, and the most recent was AT Yankee Stadium. You'd love to see him go longer, but he's putting himself in a position to pick up a W almost every time out.


Mark Canha (1B/OF, OAK) - Add Now: The cheap, easy power and a clear path to playing time make Canha the ideal fill-in at the corner infield or outfield.

Bryan Reynolds (OF, PIT) - Add Now: Riding a 10-game hitting streak as of this writing, Reynolds is still hitting .339 and contributing in some way night-in and night-out.

Jose Iglesias (SS, CIN) - Still Watching: Hitting over .300 with a surprising amount of pop lately.

Jarrod Dyson (OF, ARI) - Still Watching: Add him for the speed in roto, but in points we're holding tight. Seems to have slipped into a timeshare despite David Peralta's absence.

Willy Adames (SS, TB) - Still Watching: Batting average continuing to climb, would love to see him activate a bit more speed and power.

Melky Cabrera (OF, PIT) - Dropped: Batting average is about all he's good for right now, and seems to be losing time to the ascendant Bryan Reynolds.

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