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Week 22 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets

My birthday is September 7th, so naturally I’m excited to see the end of August. This being the last full week before the last full month of the season, the final stretch is officially here, and all I want for my birthday is a ticket to the fantasy playoffs.

It’s a magical time where we stop looking for long term value and recalibrate to who can help today. It’s also the spot for keepers and dynasty players to look at grabbing assets for future seasons. Players like Corey Seager and Jesse Winker are likely finding their way back into trade talks, so we’ll look at a few options for you long-term players. That said, the focus here on out is on immediate returns, so we’ll also look at the matchups for each of our adds.

Savvy players look to the top week 22 outfield waiver wire adds and the rest of RotoBaller’s content over the next few weeks to get a leg up on your opponents. Make those money moves, winners.

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Week 22 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets

Kevin Kiermaier (OF, TB) - 17% owned; 5 games vs. BOS, ATL, CLE

Ok, ok, ok I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone recommend picking up a dude with a .193/.256/.307 line over 277 plate appearances and just four homers with a .114 ISO and a 25.6% strikeout rate, especially with my very decorated history of liking guys with good BB/K ratios. I promise it has nothing to do with his gorgeous eyes. Well, almost nothing.

No, my interest in KK is 100% fantasy relevant. Over the last week, the 28-year-old has hit .333/.360/.458 with a run and three extra-base hits over 24 at-bats. Yeah, I know a week of work is a pretty thin rationale for sacrificing a roster spot, but Kiermaier has gone from zero to hero before. Last season, he was a sub-replacement level hitter for most of the season before turning it on to the tune of .299/.350/.467 with five homers and five steals between the last week of August and the month of September, coincidentally lining up with the fantasy playoffs quite nicely. That is exactly the sort of profile in your fourth or fifth outfielder that can swing a matchup.

KK’s slate this week looks imposing at first glance, but he’ll be going up a against a depleted Cleveland starting staff and an Atlanta rotation that has been pitching a little above their heads this season. It’s not the kind of run that should dissuade owners from putting in their hottest bats, and Kiermaier’s bat, for the moment at least, indeed qualifies as hot.

Melky Cabrera (OF, CLE) - 16% owned; 6 games vs. KC, MIN, TB


I won’t belabor the point, as I gave Cabrera a write up last week as well, but he’s still doing Melky things over the last week. In 20 at-bats, the 34-year-old has hit three homers and scored four runs on .300/.365/.800 hitting. He’s getting consistent playing time thanks to injury, and at this point is considered the starting DH. Anyone in need of an outfielder and with an open roster spot should target Melky, as he’s done nothing but hit recently. Ride the hot streak.

Cleveland has a plum three game series against Minnesota coming up this week, as well as a game against Kansas City. Sure the two games against Tampa look pretty unappealing, but there’s no reason that Cabrera couldn’t do plenty of damage against the Twins’ team 4.47 ERA and .259 team ERA allowed, both numbers which have been buoyed by positive early season returns.

Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD) - 12% owned; 6 games vs. LAD, SEA, COL

When you’re playing in points-based leagues or H2H, home runs tend to become an extremely valuable commodity. At this point in the season, no one cares about a player’s season total only what the likelihood is that they can keep mashing taters. So, with that being the case, why not go for the guy who smacks moonshots in his sleep.

Sure, Hunter Renfroe doesn’t always connect with those earth-shattering cuts, but when he does the ball goes a mile. A .240 ISO is great, but when you account for the fact that he overall struggles to make solid contact, it suddenly looks a lot more impressive. If Hunter Renfroe could hit the ball like Jesse Winker, he’d compete for the single-season home run total. That’s how powerful his bat is.

Last week was a Hunterish week if there ever was one. Over 21 at-bats, Renfroe popped two home runs over 21 at-bats with seven strikeouts and a .238/.304/.571 line. He’s not going to help you with your average or OBP, but if I had to bet money on a pool of guys that I think will hit at least one home run over the next seven days, I’d put a fair amount of scratch on Renfroe.

While San Diego is running out at home this week, Renfroe’s talents seem to be just as effective in Petco Park as they are elsewhere. His home/away splits show that he’s actually producing better at home, which is a huge rarity. So feel confident that Renfroe can do work this week, especially against Seattle with their 4.20 team ERA and Colorado with their 4.55 ERA.

Phillip Ervin (OF, CIN) - 6% owned; 5 games vs. CHC, MIL, STL

So… yeah, Phillip Ervin! Cincinnati has found a really interesting bench piece with the 26-year-old. With playing time opening up after Jesse Winker’s season ended, Ervin has been really effective while serving time at all three outfield spots. A former first rounder that was once considered a prospect based on his gaudy stolen base totals in the minors, Ervin dropped off the map for prospect hounds because scouts just didn’t think that his skills would end up translating to the bigs. Flash forward through 145 plate appearances this season, and he’s put up a .297/.352/.469 and an above average 118 wRC+.

Ervin is a physical specimen with all the tools you could ever want in a ballplayer who just never seemed to be able to put it all together. I’m not arguing that he’s necessarily done that, but the results have been pretty impressive this season. He only has produced four homers and four steals, but he’s hitting the ball hard with a .172 ISO, lifting the ball well, and making good consistent contact. His approach is surprisingly solid despite the low walk numbers, and he’s only swung at 25.5% of pitches outside the zone. Seriously, check out the advanced metrics and you’ll see a profile of a guy who could genuinely explode at any minute. All that’s missing is the counting stats.

That success continued through last week to the tune of a.333/.345/.519 with a homer and a pair of steals. Next week, Ervin faces a solid set of staffs, but his ability to contribute in homers, steals, and even average is just too tantalizing. Anyone looking to get a leg up on the competition is going to want to keep Ervin, at the very least, on the watch list. But even if you don’t need an outfielder, I’d add him just to keep him away from your opponent.

Jesse Winker (OF, CIN) - 5% owned

Here’s one of those keeper or dynasty pulls I was mentioning. I just want to take a moment and make a pre-2019 pitch as to why Jesse Winker will matter and why anyone in a dynasty league should be scrambling to pull a heist off an opponent who doesn’t know what they have. All posturing aside, I’m a huge fan of Winker. He is the dictionary definition of a professional hitter, and the 334 plate appearances he put down in 2018 have done nothing but confirm that label. A .299/.405/.431 line is borderline elite in OBP leagues, and he’s one of the few players in the majors to walk more than he struck out.

It’s easy to think of Winker as a finished product, but the 25-year-old is still developing his ability to produce lift and pop. He drives the ball at the point of contact extremely well, evidenced by a 24% line-drive rate, which is a 7.5% improvement from last season. He’s also proficient at spreading the ball to all fields, and best of all is able to barrel the ball well, shown in a 43.9% hard hit rate on contact.

Basically, the only thing missing from a superstar profile is power, but there’s no reason that it couldn’t develop. Winker’s shown pop at times, with seven homers and a .231 ISO in 137 plate appearances in 2017, and he may have gotten a bit unlucky in 2018 with just an 8.9% HR/FB rate. If you can put the barrel on the ball and produce lift, which Winker absolutely can, then it’s reasonable that his HR/FB rate should rise above such a pedestrian level. If that rate regresses to something more like 12%, then Winker should be close to 15 homers. A little luck, and 20 is in reach. That’s a fantasy monster, and one who you should be looking to snare in dynasty.

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