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The Waiver Wire Watch List: Week 18


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 18 - 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

Giovanny Gallegos (RP, STL)

As pitching roles rapidly evolve in the major leagues, more and more pitchers who aren't your prototypical starters or closers are becoming more and more valuable. The Cardinals rookie has developed into one of the more reliable relievers in the National League thanks to a new-and-improved slider that has kept batters off-balance for months now. Gallegos is currently rocking a silly 39.3% strikeout rate, AND he's backing it up with a 4.5% walk rate.

He's proving himself to be a trustworthy fireman for the beleaguered Cardinals bullpen, and in fact five of his last six appearances have gone at least 1.2 innings--and four of those five have included at least two strikeouts. Gallegos likely won't help you with saves, but that's very much by design. Sit back and enjoy the ratios for now...but don't be shocked if he evolves into a Josh Hader-like reliever who collects saves, holds and wins depending on when he's called upon.

Asher Wojciechowski (SP, BAL)

Asher Woji...Wocho...that last name's a nightmare. Let's call him Asher so I don't have to keep typing it. Cool? Cool.

Asher has been passed around like a crummy Christmas present, and has put time in with eight different organizations, always showing potential but never panning out. He's currently holding down a spot in the Orioles "rotation", and he's coming off what has to be the best outing of his career. Asher shut out the Red Sox for 7.1 innings while also striking out 10 and carrying a no-no into the seventh inning.

To be perfectly honest, we haven't seen enough of Asher at the major league level to draw any meaningful comparisons. However, his current 33.0% strikeout rate is the best mark he's ever posted at any level, and he's looking like a professional pitcher for the first time in a long time. This isn't some career renaissance--he's still a low-leverage piece of a garbage rotation--but he's beginning to flirt with fantasy relevance.

Cal Quantrill (SP, SD)

I know I've had Quantrill on this list before, but the Padres keep bouncing him up and down between AAA and the bigs, and the bullpen and the rotation. Cowards! #FreeCal

Simply put, there is nothing indicating Quantrill will ever be anything more than a middle-of-the rotation fantasy asset, but that's got plenty of usefulness at this point in the season. He's had two great starts in a row, allowing zero earned over 11.2 innings against the Braves and Cubs--certainly not a matter of running into a weak opponent. His 3.76 ERA is backed by a 4.33 SIERA, so there aren't many factors that indicate significant regression. That's about what Quantrill is right now--a usable streaming option. He is just 24, so there is certainly room for him to develop into something more.

 

Batters to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

Anthony Santander (OF, BAL)

The 24-year-0ld Santander sniffed the bigs in 2017 and 2018, but didn't accrue enough at-bats to eliminate his rookie standing. He's been largely unnoticed thanks to his unfortunate location, but the young Orioles outfielder has had a pretty stellar showing in 2019. As of this writing he's slashing .299/.345/.513 with eight homers, 25 runs scored and 25 RBI in just 40 games. He's been particularly hot of late, with a .423 batting average and four homers just in the last week.

Santander's counting stats will always be limited as long as he plays for the Orioles, but over the course of a full season he's got 20/10 potential. In the back half of 2019 I wouldn't be surprised to see seven or eight homers with a couple stolen bags and a steady maintenance of that batting average.

Phillip Ervin (OF, CIN)

This Cincinnati spark plug has been tearing the cover off the baseball for most of the season, slashing .358/.429/.605 across 38 games. Unfortunately, the at-bats haven't been there to take advantage of. Ervin is primarily a platoon player in the Reds outfield, specializing against lefty starters. In deeper leagues there is still plenty of use for a player like Ervin, because you can predict pretty well when he's going to get playing time and plan your lineup accordingly.

With splits as stark as Ervin's, it's unlikely the Reds cut back any on his playing time--in fact, it may increase as he continues to perform. Keep an eye on the situation to see if he sees more regular at-bats, and if so be ready to pounce. He can be a very cheap, understated fantasy asset, especially in season-long formats.

Yairo Munoz (SS/2B/3B/OF, STL)

Don't let the multi-positional eligibility up there fool you--Munoz is an everyday player. It may not always be at the same position, but Munoz has parlayed a super-utility role into regular playing time thanks to his outstanding performance when he's cracked the lineup. On the season Munoz is hitting an even .300 with seven steals, and those are his primary fantasy factors. He's got real speed with a bat that can keep him on base and in the lineup regularly enough for the speed to actually do some good.

(STARES MENACINGLY AT Billy Hamilton)

Munoz should continue to see regular at-bats as long as his bat stays hot, and despite my joking above the multi-positional eligibility is a real fantasy asset. He can be plugged into numerous spots and give you some roster flexibility while also providing legitimate production.

 

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