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Week 20 Waiver Wire - Outfielders (OF)


Greetings, RotoBallers! After an unexpected two week absence, I’ve returned to the top of the waiver wire mountain to give you, my people, the names you need for fantasy glory. Like manna from heaven, I bring you cheap homers for nothing more than your undying affection.

Ok, so that metaphor is a little too much. Ok, a lot too much. But make no mistake RotoBallers, I bring you the goods. Need an outfield-eligible utilityman to plug the holes in your lineup, I gotch’u. If need some dingers in your power-starved roster, look no further. We’re looking very deep from now on, with only one name this week owned in more than 10% of leagues.

Here are your Week 20 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets. We’re breeding champions at Rotoballer, and make sure you’re hitting all of our content to get the edge on your competition. Follow us on Twitter for immediate news updates, and check out our Premium section for the real deep dives. Go get those championships!

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Week 20 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets

Steven Souza Jr. (OF, ARI) - 28% owned

This one hurts a bit. As a Rays fan (yes, we exist), Steven Souza Jr. is a walking, talking reminder that Trea Turner does not play in Tampa Bay. Remember when San Diego acquired Wil Myers? I do. Remember that the Rays preferred Souza to the ultra-toolsy Turner so much so that they let Washington take Turner in the Myers deal? I do. Anyway, Souza spent much of the year playing for no one after Tampa traded him to Arizona in the offseason and he started the year on the disabled list. He spent so long on the shelf that he sort of became a bit of an afterthought to the fantasy world. He didn’t do much to dispel that opinion in his first 100 plate appearances of 2018, and his season line of .254/.327/.413 with what would be a career low .159 ISO if the season ended today isn’t going to inspire a lot of optimism.

Fast forward, and Souza has shown flashes of what made him so exciting to Tampa in the last two weeks. He still strikes out way too much, but his bat-to-ball skills and pitch recognition have started to come back to him, allowing him to barrel the ball. The improving skills have produced a much more palatable .294/.351/.588 line with a .294 ISO and a pair of homers over the last 14 days. You’d hope for more power, but all of the metrics suggest that he could go on a tear very soon. He should be added in all leagues.

Joey Wendle (OF/2B/3B, TB) - 9% owned

You’d be forgiven for never hearing of Tampa Bay super-utilityman Joey Wendle before this season. He’s a lot older than your typical prospect, but the 28-year-old languished in obscurity in the A’s farm system before the Rays acquired him at the winter meetings this past December. Dubbed a “little engine that could”, Wendle wasn’t considered anything particularly useful to most ball clubs, let alone a fantasy team.

While the counting stats aren’t anything special, Wendle has been a surprisingly capable player for the Rays and for fantasy owners. Over the last two weeks, he’s produced a .355/.416/.516 line while chipping in a steal, a home run, five runs, and seven runs batted in. That line comes while splitting time at third and second, both of which Wendle qualifies at along with his typical outfield spot. Fantasy owners won’t get a lot of power and steals, but the Rays have given him shots towards the top of the order, meaning he could be a sneaky source of runs. Nothing in his profile suggests that his season line of .292/.344/.415 is fluky, and with a solid hard hit percentage of 37.2% there’s a chance that he could barrel the ball and produce more power than expected. He’s a solid add for the team needing some flexibility in their lineup and to get some more average or decent upside fill-in at bats for the stretch run.

Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD) - 9% owned

If Wendle is a professional hitter with less than average pop, Hunter Renfroe is the exact opposite. A talented slugger who lived on prospect lists thanks more to his prodigious power than his approach or bat-to-ball skills, the sophomore slugger struggled out of the gate in 2018, earning him a short-term demotion to work out his kinks. His season line of .246/.310/.483 with 12 home runs and 39 runs batted in leaves a lot to be desired, but a week like the last is why he’s the kind of guy you just can’t quit.

In 28 plate appearances, Renfroe hit four dingers to go with a .360/.357/.920 line. When Renfroe connects, the ball flies. The better question is how often will he connect? The 26-year-old carries a dismal contact rate on the year of 69.9%, meaning he doesn’t have the kind of bat-to-ball skills to consistently mash if he’s not getting the pitches he wants. This week, he did. Next week, he might not. What is encouraging is that Renfroe is dropping his swing percentage on pitches outside the zone and is swinging less often. Hopefully, this is a sign that his eye at the plate is improving and he’s taking shots at pitches that he can do damage with. Pitchers are throwing him in the zone less frequently, so if his eye is improving like it seems, Renfroe could be a sneaky add in OBP leagues on top of those looking for cheap power. He’s talented and strong enough that if the last week is showing that his game is starting to click he could be a very valuable add.

Franmil Reyes (OF, SD) - 6% owned

Outside of the Yankee’s dynamic duo of Stanton & Judge, the Padres might be running out the strongest pair of outfielders in baseball. This isn’t to say they’re the best, not by a longshot, but Renfroe and teammate Franmil Reyes swing mean sticks. The rookie has shown in short order why his pop has made him so coveted as a prospect despite average to below average tools everywhere else. In just 130 plate appearances, the 23-year-old has slugged 9 home runs and produced a whopping .262 ISO with a .262/.308/.525 line. The last week saw Reyes pound 3 homers while hitting .500 and striking out just four times on 18 at-bats. Much like Renfroe, if Reyes connects, the ball goes very far.

Make no mistake, contact and strikeouts are Reyes’s most critical fantasy concerns. He only has produced contact on 68.6% of his cuts, but has produced a solid 82.1% contact rate on swings in the zone. The problem there is that Reyes’s batting eye is not great, and he has only swung at 59.9% of pitches in the zone, well below average in baseball. He’s not the hacker that his 35.4% strikeout rate would suggest, rather just inexperienced against better pitchers.

Franmil Reyes is unlikely to make huge gains as a hitter in 2018. He’s not terribly useful in OBP leagues, and his strikeout rate makes him sub-optimal in points and head-to-head leagues. But the power is very real. If you’re desperate for pop and don’t have any good options on your bench, Reyes would be a very savvy pickup as a cheap power source with a higher ceiling than most. Add away!

 

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