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The Waiver Wire Watch List: Week 22


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 22 - it is a list of players to keep a very close eye on in most leagues as we get further into the home stretch, 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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Pitchers to Watch in 12+ Team League

Adrian Houser (SP/RP, MIL)

Adrian Houser is beginning to rise from the ranks of fantasy obscurity thanks to a successful August. Since July 30th, Houser has tossed 28.1 innings across five starts with a 2.54 ERA, a very nice 31:7 strikeout to walk ratio and just three homers allowed. That brings him to an above-average 24.7 strikeout percentage with his time split between the bullpen and the rotation. His 3.53 SIERA is nearly a full run higher, but that's not super drastic.

Houser could be a long-term part of the Brewers future plans, and while I don't necessarily believe he can maintain his current level of performance, he's shown enough for me to believe he's a legitimate back-end fantasy starter for the last month of the season.

Drew VerHagen (SP/RP, DET)

VerHagen has had a terrific August, not unlike Houser. Across four starts, he's pitched to a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings, with a remarkable 21:2 strikeout to walk ratio. Those numbers include his most recent start against the Twins, in which he set a career high in strikeouts (11) and notched his first career quality start.

It's not like the Tigers have a laundry list of top-end starters holding VerHagen out of the rotation. He's pitched well enough to earn some good will in the immediate, and with the Tigers long since out of the playoff picture I wouldn't be surprised if they let him loose for the rest of the season. He's likely due for a bit of regression, but he could be useful in spot starts as a back-end piece.

Batters to Watch in 12+ Team Leagues

Kevin Pillar (OF, SF)

Pillar has had a shockingly excellent August, notching 16 runs and 13 RBI along with six home runs. Pillar has already set a career-high in home runs (19) hitting in San Francisco, if you were looking for any more evidence that the balls are juiced this year. Regardless of how it's happening, Pillar has been quietly productive in the counting stats despite a career-worst walk rate that's dragging his OBP down.

The power surge is nice, and when you add in his run-scoring ability and middling speed, Pillar has some the potential to make an impact down the stretch. At the very least he could act as a crutch for your lineup should an injury strike.

Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL)

With Jesus Aguilar departed for Tampa Bay, Eric Thames has seen a surge in playing time. He's used that time to his advantage, slashing .286/.344/.518 in August. Thames hits in the middle of the potent Brewers lineup, and he's all of a sudden producing runs for them in the home stretch.

He's up to 18 homers and 50 RBI, and if he continues to get regular playing time (which, again, he should) Thames could be an excellent plug-and-play piece for September, especially given his multi-positional eligibility.

Tom Murphy (C, SEA)

Murphy isn't playing regularly, but when he does play he's making a difference. He has a whopping six homers in his last four games, along with 10 RBI and six runs scored. Catcher is an absolute nightmare this time of year, so any sort of fantasy potential is something to take notice of.

Murphy will never be a top-end catcher given how poor his contact rate typically is, but power from a catcher is worthwhile. Murphy makes for a decent back-up or spot-start catcher if you don't have one of those top-end catchers.

 

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