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The Waiver Wire Watch List: Week 17

So we're just about halfway through the season, and we can draw a lot of conclusions about how a player's year is going to go. Some players have been lost to injury time, plenty are underperforming, and there are of course new faces rising. 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 17 - it is a list of players to keep a very close eye on in most leagues as we further into June, 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

Dario Agrazal (SP, PIT)

Hey so, if Agrazal could maybe get a strikeout every now and then, that would be terrific. He's accumulated a grand total of seven--count 'em--SEVEN strikeouts through 22 innings pitched, and while he's never been prodigious in the punch-out department, this is kinda ridiculous.

I'm looking forward to seeing that normalize, because outside of that Agrazal has been impressive. Through four starts he's got a 2.45 ERA and has rattled off quality starts in each of his last three outings. Without any sort of strikeout upside it's tough to roster him right now, because he's one three-run homer away from a useless outing, but he's worth keeping an eye on for the time being.

Austin Voth (SP, WAS)

The 27-year-old rookie has been filling in in the Nationals rotation with Max Scherzer on the IL, and he's done an admirable job through so far. Through four starts, Voth has a 1-0 record and a middling 4.35 ERA, but he's backing that up with some nice ratios.

His 22.7% strikeout rate is in line with what he showed in the minor leagues, so I wouldn't expect any regression in that area moving forward. His efficiency and control have always been a major plus in his professional career, and he's continued that in his brief time in the MLB, with a 6.8% walk rate in 2019. With Scherzer due back very soon, it's likely that one of Voth or Fedde will be sent to the minors, and at the moment Voth is showing the better sticking potential.

Tyler Beede (SP, SF)

While his season-long numbers are unimpressive, in the 26-year-old's last five starts he's posted a 3-1 record with a 3.41 ERA, with quality starts in each of his three wins. Beede was never a strikeout machine at any level of the minors, but through 51.1 big-league innings he's posting a perfectly usable 21.4 K%.

Beede likely has the fifth spot in the Giants' rotation locked down, especially if he keeps rolling like this. He won't rack up many wins with the Giants offense backing him, but given that he pitches his home games in the most pitcher-friendly park in the majors (judging by 2019 Park Factors), there is potential for Beede to stick around as a streaming option through the back half of the season.


Batters to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

Tyler O'Neill (OF, STL)

The defining characteristics for the young Cardinals' outfielder are unquestionably his power and his impressive penchant for swinging and missing. He was demoted in early May after seeing his K% rise above 45.0 over the course of more than a month, and in today's MLB where URRYBODY up in here can hit 25 jacks in a season, that simply won't keep you in the majors.

He was granted new life at the end of June, and since returning from AAA Memphis he's been a different hitter. As of this writing O'Neill had his post-call-up batting average hovering around .400, and has racked up 12 RBI and four homers since June 29th. The strikeouts are still there, but at nowhere near the clip he was hitting earlier this year. There is potential here if the contact ability has actually improved in some measure.

Mike Yastrzemski (OF, SF)

I can't help but hear Boo from "Monsters Inc." trying to say Mike Wazowski whenever I see this guy's name. That's neither here nor there.

Since the All Star Break, Yastrzemski has been tearing the cover off the ball. He's hit .354 since the time off with two homers, nine runs scored and 10 RBI, and he even swiped a bag. His .265 batting average on the season isn't super impressive, but he's never been a plus-contact guy at any level of the minors.

The 28-year-old will likely hold down a starting spot in the Giants outfield for the remainder of the season, and he's worth monitoring as long as he's swinging a hot stick. Understand that his ceiling over 162 games is probably 12 and 12, so there likely isn't a ton more coming in the power and speed departments.

Harold Castro (2B/SS, DET)

Castro may be the quietest .300 hitter in baseball right now. While there is almost nothing going on for the Tigers offensively this year, the little-known 25-year-old has acted as a quality table-setter for Detroit, hitting .317 across 134 plate appearances. As great as the contact is, it would be amazing if he would exhibit a bit more patience. His 3.0% walk rate is very unbecoming of a table-setter, and has his OBP just fourteen points higher than his batting average.

Put Castro on your watch list as an ideal injury fill-in, as he can help you in the average department while also chipping in a few steals. He's likely not more than that at the moment though, as he can't help but be limited by the team around him.

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