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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds for Week 17

Here are some waiver wire targets ahead of Week 17 that you should consider adding. The following recommendations are organized as deep and shallow league targets. Of course, the players you choose to add and drop from your team should largely depend on your league size and the roster construction of your team.

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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Recommendations

Deep League Targets

C Connor Wong – BOS

Connor Wong has six home runs, 34 runs, 23 RBI, three steals, and a .240 AVG on the season. He has heated up over the last week, batting .294 with three runs, three RBI, and a steal. Wong should be a target for you this week after picking up RBI like this one:

Wong is right at his career averages in barrel rate (9.2%) and HardHit rate (35.5%) right now. His barrel rate is above league average for catchers. Solid hard contact, a 50% pull rate, and a 21% line drive rate in a nearly 60-point increase in batting average from last season, even while striking out 33% of the time.

What has mattered most for Wong this season has been a launch angle adjustment. His launch angle is up 10 degrees from last season. The result is a 20% drop in groundball rate and a 6% increase in flyballs.

Wong has maintained nearly identical plate discipline metrics to last season, which also match his career averages. His rest of season projections for batting average essentially predict that he will continue to hit for his current average the rest of the way.

In deep leagues, Wong is a great waiver wire add for the week ahead if you are struggling for consistency at catcher.

1B Spencer Torkelson – DET

Spencer Torkelson has 14 homers, 48 runs, 51 RBI, two steals, and a .232 AVG on the season. This season has been quite the resurgence for the young first baseman. Just take a look at this blast:

Torkelson has been trending in the right direction after a bad year last year. He has improved his walk, strikeout, line drive, pull, barrel, HardHit, and contact rates from last season.

Tork has a .277 BABIP up from .255 from last season, and his .232 AVG is up from .203 last season. His BABIP and average could go up even more considering a 21% LD rate and a 46% pull rate. Torkelson’s improvements to hard contact have certainly helped as well. His 12.1% barrel rate is eighth best among qualified first basemen and his 48.4% HardHit rate is fifth best. That has led to an increase in flyballs and HR/FB rate, while decreasing his groundball rate.

Torkelson has been great, especially recently, taking his batting average from .224 at the start of July, up eight points to where it sits now. July has been his best month, by far, He has a .281 AVG this month, and a .292 AVG in the last week.

Torkelson has been seeing the ball significantly better this season than last. His performance against fastballs, as well as breaking and offspeed pitches has improved greatly.

As the season goes on, expect Torkelson to continue to improve. He is a must-add from the waiver wire where available.

2B Edouard Julien – MIN

Edouard Julien has been up and down between the majors and minors this season, but he may stick with the Twins the rest of the way after his recent exploits. Since July 1, Julien has five home runs, 10 runs, four RBI, one steal, and a .531 AVG. He is up to 9/25/16/2/.318 on the season.

Julien has a BABIP north of .400, so his AVG is likely to drop some, but he also possesses a 22% LD rate and a 45% Pull rate. Those should help keep his BABIP and AVG from tanking. Plus he also has a 16.3% barrel rate and a 45.9% HardHit rate that would rank second and 22nd among outfielders respectively if he qualified.

Julien has some odd plate discipline metrics. His 19% chase rate is impressive and would rank second-best in baseball if he qualified. But his 70% contact rate would rank among the lowest in baseball. He has a swing rate that is well below league average, so perhaps Julien has been too patient. If he gets more aggressive, he could add some more contact and avoid some regression to his batting average.

Even though he has some concerns with plate discipline, Julien has looked exceptional, especially recently. You need to find a way to get Julien off the waiver wire and onto your rosters this week.

OF/1B Alex Kirilloff – MIN

Alex Kirilloff had a great May but fell off a bit in June. He has experienced a resurgence in July, hammering three homers with six runs, and 13 RBI, along with a .341 AVG. This season, he has seven homers, 21 runs, 27 RBI, and a .285 AVG. Here is his most recent knock:

Something has clicked for Kiriloff this season. He has improved his walk rate and chase rate, helping his AVG to a new career high.

Kirilloff has adjusted his approach at the plate to drive the ball more and hit fewer grounders. He has a 33% LD rate and a 42% GB rate (13% lower than last season). His .366 BABIP seems high, but with improvements to plate discipline and batted ball metrics, it appears to be sustainable.

Kirilloff’s approach change has also manifested in a lower swing rate than the last two seasons. If he can just improve his contact rate on pitches outside of the zone, he could make some serious strides and potentially lower his 25% strikeout rate.

His positional flexibility adds to the solid skills that make Kirilloff a great waiver wire add for this week.

SP Jose Quintana – NYM

Jose Quintana made his season debut against the White Sox on Thursday, tossing five innings of two-run ball. He gave up six hits and no walks while striking out three.

He started the season late after recovering from surgery on his ribs in March.

Quintana’s season debut comes on the heels of a career year last season, in which he ended with a 2.93 ERA. His first game this season was vintage Quintana. He has been excellent at limiting walks throughout his career while possessing a modest 8 K/9 rate.

Quintana is unlikely to end up with a sub-3 ERA again. Last season was his only season doing so, and he had a 3.72 xFIP and a 4.02 SIERA. He will likely end up closer to his 3.75 career ERA, which is around what most projections systems predict for the veteran.

Quintana was especially successful last season after leaning on his fastball and curveball. His curveball in particular was dominant. Batters whiffed 31% of the time against it, and it had the best putaway rate of all of his pitches at 22%.

In deep leagues, good pitchers are difficult to find on waivers. If Quintana was not stashed in your league, you should add him from the waiver wire as soon as you can.

Shallow League Targets

C Endy Rodriguez – PIT

Endy Rodriguez received the call from the Pirates to play behind the plate, even with Henry Davis on Pittsburgh’s roster too. That is because Davis has played nearly all of his games in the outfield. This means that Rodriguez should get plenty of opportunities to be a regular in the lineup. Hopefully, he will get plenty of opportunity for hits – here is his first one:

Rodriguez has displayed elite contact skills through the minors, ending two of nine stops with a batting average lower than .293. This season in AAA, he batted .268, with an 11.4% BB rate and a 14.9% K rate that was ninth lowest in the International League.

The young catcher possesses skills that should translate well to the majors. Aside from his excellent eye at the plate, Rodriguez also drives and pulls the ball well. He can also hit to all fields, making him a constant threat to get on base and a great add in OBP leagues.

Rodriguez picked up his first hit but has not done much else in his nine plate appearances (as of writing). Do not let that stop you from making him one of your waiver wire adds for this week.

3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand – DET

Christian Encarnacion-Strand absolutely dominated the International League. Before earning the call, he had the sixth most homers (20), the third most runs (65), the eighth most RBI (62), and the seventh highest AVG (.331).

CES figures to slot in mostly at first or third, but could also rotate into a designated hitter or corner outfield role. In his three games so far, he has played one each at first, third, and DH. His call-up could affect the playing time of many players including Spencer Steer and the entire outfield. This will be a team to watch at the trade deadline. If they trade someone like Nick Senzel or one of the other platooning outfielders, Encarnacion-Strand could end up with consistent playing time.

For the moment, though, he is a must-add even as the Reds figure out how to get at-bats for all of their young studs. CES possesses enticing power. He has already shown off his power with a homer in his second game in the majors:

He has solid bat-to-ball skills, never leaving a stop in the minors with lower than a .296 AVG. Do not bank on that sort of an AVG in the majors, as he projects to strike out between 26% and 30% of the time according to most projections systems.

Even with a crowded lineup and strikeout concerns, Encarnacion-Strand should be on everyone’s radar and should be a priority waiver wire add in nearly every format.

2B Zack Gelof – OAK

Second base has been a bit of a black hole for Oakland this season. Aledmys Diaz, Jace Peterson, and Jordan Diaz all have batting averages below .230. This prompted the A’s to call up Gelof, who had a .304 AVG in the minors. He also had 12 homers and 20 steals.

Gelof should have a long leash to lock down second base, with subpar competition for playing time. He has an opportunity to hit for a decent average with line drive rates consistently at 20% or higher in the minors and pull rates landing mostly above 40%.

Gelof also has some modest power and excellent speed. If he can get on base enough, he could reach double-digit steals by the end of the season (he already has two). He nearly had a homer as his first hit in the majors:

The risk with Gelof is that he strikes out quite a bit. At his last three stops in the minors, he ended them with 27%, 28%, and 27% strikeout rates.

Although he has some plate discipline concerns, Gelof is an interesting add from the waiver wire for those looking for depth at middle infield.

OF Chas McCormick – HOU

Chas McCormick has been on fire in July, adding nearly 30 points to his batting average. He is batting .405 for the month, giving him a .285 AVG on the season. He also hit five of his 12 home runs during July, with four coming within the last seven days. Here is how he has performed dating back to last month:

Aside from the homers, McCormick is up to 30 runs, 35 RBI, and nine steals. He is a potential candidate for a 20/20 season if a few things break his way, and is on pace for a career year.

Part of his success this season has come from an increase in his line drive and pull rates. They sit at career highs of 22% and 45% respectively. He also has a career-best 11% barrel rate.

McCormick has made other adjustments to his approach that have resulted in a lower chase rate than last season and career-bests in zone contact and overall contact.

McCormick’s BABIP sits a bit high at .350, so he will likely experience some regression. But he is hot right now and is a must-add if he is on your league’s waiver wire.

SP Logan Allen – CLE

Logan Allen had two rough outings in mid-June where he gave up 10 earned runs in nine innings. Since then, he has a clean sheet in 12.2 IP. During that span, he allowed six hits and six walks while striking out 18. His ERA now sits at 3.21 on the season.

Allen has the 10th highest K/9 rate among rookie starting pitchers with at least 10 IP this season. His 9.49 K/9 rate matches that of Zac Gallen and would be top 25 in baseball if Allen qualified. Allen’s success at striking batters out is largely due to three of his four pitches possessing batting averages against of .227 or better. His fastball, sweeper, and changeup have performed extremely well. Here is a look at his sweeper:

But it is Allen’s changeup that has been particularly effective, inducing a 34% whiff rate and a 21% putaway rate.

Allen has also seen success at stranding runners. He has an 80% LOB rate that is eighth best among rookies with at least 10 IP. It would rank eighth in baseball if he qualified.

Allen’s HR/FB rate is a smidge below league average, so he could experience some minor regression to his ERA. Do not worry about this. He should continue to get starts with a number of injuries to Cleveland starters and should be a waiver wire target if available.

Other Players to Add from Waivers

Here are a few other players available in a range of league sizes that you should consider adding if they are on your waiver wire.

  • C: Francisco Alvarez, Ryan Jeffers, Danny Jansen, Bo Naylor, Henry Davis (OF)
  • CI: Joey Votto, Triston Casas, Jake Burger, Ryan O’Hearn (OF), Jeimer Candelario, Ramon Urias (2B), Mike Moustakas, Garrett Cooper, Jordan Walker (OF), Mike Ford
  • MI: Nolan Gorman (3B), Wilmer Flores, Ha-Seong Kim (3B), CJ Abrams, Adam Frazier (OF), Matt McLain, Jordan Diaz, Jon Berti (3B), Trevor Story
  • OF: Joey Meneses (1B), Willi Castro (3B), Luke Raley (1B), Alex Call, Mickey Moniak, Mike Tauchman, Will Benson, Trent Grisham, Bryan De La Cruz, Andrew Benintendi, Jarren Duran, Kerry Carpenter, Jake McCarthy, Adam Duvall, Michael Conforto, Dairon Blanco, Travis Jankowski, James Outman, Lars Nootbaar
  • SP: Kyle Bradish, Matt Manning, Michael Lorenzen, Domingo German, JP Sears, Clarke Schmidt, Tanner Bibee, Seth Lugo, Tommy Henry, Grayson Rodriguez, Bryan Woo, Hyun Jin Ryu
  • RP: Jhoan Duran, Joel Payamps, Alex Lange, Will Smith, Kevin Ginkel, Justin Lawrence, Adbert Alzolay, Aroldis Chapman, Jordan Hicks, Craig Kimbrel, Kyle Finnegan

Prospect Waiver Wire Watch

A number of prospects are worthy of consideration for waiver wire claims due to being called up or potentially being called up. Here are a few to consider adding.

  • PIT SP Quinn Priester – 5.1 IP, 7 ER in debut vs CLE; may be sent back down
  • OAK 1B Tyler Soderstrom – should get time with Noda on the IL; 3-for-17 so far
  • CLE SP Gavin Williams – gave up 7 ER in last 12 IP before All-Star Break; looked better in first game after ASB
  • MIL OF Sal Frelick – late start because of injury, but has looked good in the minors
  • MIA 2B Jacob Amaya – on the weak side of the platoon, but could work his way into more time
  • SF OF Luis Matos – finally hit a homer; batting .269
  • CIN SP Andrew Abbott – looking amazing; 51:16 K:BB across 47.2 IP with a 2.45 ERA
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