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Week 15 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets


Happy day, RotoBallers! All of us here hope you had a wonderful independence day with all of the beer, baseball, and brats that come with our nation's birthday!

We'll continue our dive into the hottest and most interesting options largely available on waiver wires across the country. And since it's July, we'll be getting prospects into the mix more regularly. You scouting hounds will no doubt recognize many of the names listed over the first couple of weeks, but keep checking back as I've got quite a few sleepers that will be interesting come late August.

Here are your Week 15 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets. Check out the rest of RotoBaller.com for the content you need to win, and don't forget to follow our team of analysts on Twitter. We have the moves you need to make to get that ring. Happy hunting!

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Week 15 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets

 Stephen Piscotty (OF, OAK) - 15% owned

Don’t say I didn’t give you the heads up, Rotoballers. Piscotty has been continuing to take care of business following his first appearance in the OFWW. Over the last two weeks, the former Cardinal has connected for two home runs, six runs, six runs batted in, with two-thirds of his hits going for multiple bases on a .267/.313/.533 line. He’s still almost allergic to taking a walk, but he’s also showing better plate discipline and is headed toward a career best strikeout rate. He hasn’t looked this comfortable at the plate since his 22 dinger 2016 campaign, and he’s actually been generating more power than ever as well. Over the last month, Piscotty has slugged .534, produced a .261 ISO, and has made hard contact more than 40% of the time. The 27-year-old might be the one of the best kept secrets in fantasy right now. Snatch him up in all leagues.

 

Jesse Winker (OF, CIN) - 15% owned

While Piscotty is a name that should be owned in all leagues, Jesse Winker is not quite to that level… yet. Winker is widely known to be a very good hitter, but one who doesn’t produce a lot of power at the plate. Because of this weakness, his value has always been pretty severely capped. I mean, DJ LeMahieu is great to have as a second baseman, but it’s tough to justify playing an empty batting average with no speed in the outfield, the deepest position in all of fantasy.

Well, Winker might be changing the narrative, and he’s doing so in a couple of ways. One, lately he hasn’t just been a very good hitter, but one of the best hitters in baseball. Over the last 30 days, Winker has produced a 157 wRC+, good for 24th in the majors and right behind Mookie Betts. He’s also hit four home runs in that time frame, which is by no means a ton but is good enough to keep him in the lineup. He’s also walked 18.2% of the time in that span, while striking out just 12.5%, good for 28th in the majors during that span. And oh by the way, Winker hasn’t struck out in over a week.

Winker might not be ready for fantasy prime time, but he’s been way better than anyone guessed he would be. But if you’re in an OBP league or points league that deducts for strikeouts, Winker is a wildly underrated asset. He should be owned in all leagues, deep or shallow, that use those rule sets. In fact, in those leagues, I’d rather have Winker in my lineup than guys like Ian Happ, Nick Williams, or even Kyle Schwarber. He’ll also make a dynamite trade return piece.

 

Victor Robles (OF, WAS) - 8% owned

There’s not much to say about Vic since he has been sidelined for nearly the entire season with an elbow injury, but the Nationals have recently sent him on a rehab assignment to get back in the groove. Robles’ ownership numbers suggest that his injury combined with Juan Soto’s ascension have left him a tad forgotten in the fantasy landscape, so let me remind you of his credentials.

Prior to his injury, Robles was a consensus top five prospect, and easily number one for the Nats. He rapidly ascended to the majors last season after making mincemeat of AA pitching during his first 158 plate appearances to the tune of a .324/.394/.489 line. He generates a solid amount of power with his swing, but the 21-year-old hasn’t quite grown into his body so that doesn’t show up as much on the stat sheet. That said, he’s possibly a future all-star who has been compared for years to Andrew McCutchen. It’s going to take a few weeks for Robles to get his groove back, but when he does he needs to be on your radar Rotoballer. Someone is going to snatch him up in the dog days of August and September for a championship run, and I think he’ll play a major role in a lot of leagues.

 

Willians Astudillo (OF/2B/C, MIN) - 2% owned

Consider Willians the successor to my “crush of the month” spot that has been held by Johnny Field since May. The Twins’ prospect has been featured over at Fangraphs.com a couple of times as being the strangest minor league player since his callup, and I’m inclined to agree. He’s primarily a catcher, but has played infield and outfield enough in the minors to qualify there in a number of leagues. What’s even more odd is that the Twins seem fine with running him out almost literally anywhere. In fact, The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh noted that Astudillo is the only player ever listed at 5’9 or shorter and heavier than 215 pounds to have ever played center field. It was just an inning, but that’s a hell of a trivia question.

Regarding Astudillo the hitter and fantasy asset, coming into last season he was more of an anomaly than prospect. A gifted pure hitter with elite bat-to-ball skills, Astudillo regularly produced both walk and strikeout rates under 4%. Both. In 2015, he struck out and walked at the same rate, 2.4%. That’s not a typo, and it’s also not an aberration. Those numbers came over 418 plate appearances. This season, the trend has continued, walking just 2.7% of the time and striking out 4.8%. So far in the bigs he hasn’t disappointed, as he has yet to walk or strike out in his first 14 at-bats.

Aside from the weird plate discipline, something changed for Astudillo in 2017. Once regarded as an extreme contact hitter with no power, he started lifting the ball. Suddenly, this gifted hitter who could connect with almost anything he wanted to connect with was putting his hits in the air, and thus producing more power numbers. The Fangraphs piece by Travis Sawchik compares this adjustment with that of another short, thick, but brilliant contact hitter who started producing league average power: Jose Altuve. Now, it’s a lot to expect from a guy that before two weeks ago only those who actually worked in baseball knew about, but it’s also not out of the realm of possibility. After all, the first step to hitting a home run is actually hitting the damn ball; something Astudillo can do with aplomb. If there’s more power hidden in there, and combined with his infield and catcher eligibility, fantasy owners might find themselves a diamond in the deepest of roughs.

 

Johnny Field (OF, TB) - 0% owned

Shed a tear, Rotoballers. This marks Johnny Field’s final week being featured on the column. With Kevin Kiermaier’s return from injury, Field’s own ineffectiveness at the plate, and more incentive to play established veterans like Carlos Gomez in hopes of generating trade interest, it certainly looks like the anonymous man’s opportunity to grab a consistent role has expired. Over the last month, the rookie has shown none of the tools that made him an intriguing uber-deep sleeper. A beyond ghastly .132/.193/.170 line with an astonishing 18% BB/K percentage. His entire game dove off a cliff. He’ll still be on the Rays roster as a bench bat, or apparently an emergency arm, but not even the deepest of leagues can expect to extract any value out of the 26-year-old.

I for one will miss Johnny Field. He’s such a unique species, someone who jumps out at you in the field but whose face is clinically impossible to remember. Seriously, I’ve watched him play at least a dozen times now, and I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup of two. His actual player card might as well be the black silhouette from MLB the Show.

Goodnight sweet prince. You will remain forever in our hearts…

 

 

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