I write this as Alicia Keys’s “No One” plays through my speakers and maybe Alicia should’ve been a fantasy baseball analyst because the lyrics “and I don’t worry ’cause everything’s gonna be alright” ring true at this time of the year. It’s mid-May with plenty of the season left, so if your season hasn’t started like you wish it would’ve, now is not the time to panic. Stay the course, and don’t worry, because everything is going to be alright.
Let’s dive in.
Waiver Wire Adds
Here are three names that I’ve previously written about, but if they’re still out there in your league try to snatch them up.
- Nate Lowe 1B Tex – continues to mash
- Jarred Kelenic OF Sea – fresh off his call up to the majors
- Willie Calhoun DH Tex – should gain OF eligibility soon enough, he’s four games in the outfield away
Adolis Garcia OF Tex
I can no longer ignore Adolis, who in his real first big-league season is now hitting .292 with a .918 OPS. Something is going on in Texas this year between Garcia, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Nate Lowe, Nick Solak, and Willie Calhoun, the Rangers are much more fantasy-relevant than most predicted. If only Joey Gallo could turn it around now. But back to Garcia, his wOBA of .390 and hard hit-rate of 40.3% are also good indicators of solid performance thus far. His jacked arms give me the belief he can maintain the hard-hit rate (see featured image). In what feels like a down year for the outfield position, Garcia is a good waiver add to turn to.
Josh Rojas 2B, SS, OF Ari
It seems that Ketel Marte is still a simulated game plus a rehab assignment away from coming back, and in the meantime, Rojas has been playing great, averaging 3.5 fantasy points per game over the last 30 days. The Diamondbacks finish the next fantasy week with three games in Colorado so that could be a good opportunity to compile some fantasy points for Rojas. With his triple eligibility, Rojas seems like a good add to fill some injury or poor performance holes on your team in the near term.
Nick Senzel 2B*, OF
I put the asterisk on the second base above as Senzel is still three appearances short of gaining second base eligibility, but it appears that his new role is going to involve more time at second base. Since moving to play more at second base on 25 April, Senzel is batting .298 with a .753 OPS. He might not provide much power, but if he can sustain a high batting average in this year’s hitting environment and be a solid contributor in steals along with dual-eligibility at second and in the outfield, Senzel becomes very interesting in Roto leagues specifically. He’s still young so the upside is there for Senzel.
Previously mentioned guys who you should still try to add:
- Alex Wood SF
- Dylan Cease ChW
- Brady Singer KC
- Adam Wainwright StL
*whispers* Is Madison Bumgarner back? If you remove his first three starts of the year and just look at this last five starts, Bumgarner has a 0.90 ERA, 2.70 SIERA, 3.30 xFIP, and 30.5% K-BB%. If you’re telling me I can add that off waivers I’m buying any day of the week.
JT Brubaker Pit
I wrote a piece before the season about how the Pirates projected to have a historically bad starting rotation, and the emergence of Tyler Anderson and JT Brubaker is showing me up. Brubaker is pitching to a 2.58 ERA thus far and his peripheral stats are mostly supporting his strong start. He has also yet to put up negative fantasy points in points leagues which is a great gauge for limiting blow-up innings and going deep into games.
Domingo German NYY
German has really settled in his last four starts, bringing his season ERA down to 4.02. The Yankees are a team who should bounce back to being elite so he’ll have strong run support and could rack up wins.
Cole Irvin Oak
To continue the theme of dismissing early bad performance, if you remove Irvin’s first two starts of the year against the solid lineup of the Astros, Irvin has a 2.01 ERA with a 3.68 xFIP and 3.43 SIERA to go along with it. Now Irvin will unfortunately still have to face the Astros going forward, but pitching in Oakland is a bonus and it appears the new baseball could be benefiting Irvin, his homerun-to-fly ball rate is down to 9.8% this year from his career average of 13%. He’s widely available so keep an eye on Irvin.
Robbie Ray Tor
Ray is having his best season since 2018 and can be a win and strikeout source for Roto leagues.
Ian Kennedy Tex
I’ve talked about Kennedy in past weeks, but he’s still available and he’s legit. Six saves over the last two weeks and his peripheral stats are elite.
Kendall Graveman Sea
Graveman and Montero are technically co-closers, but Graveman got the last save and Montero blew his most recent save opportunity. Plus Graveman just looks like the plain old better pitcher. I wouldn’t be surprised if Graveman becomes the go-to closer going forward. For the analytically-inclined readers, Graveman has a better K-BB%, SIERA, swinging strike-rate, and CSW% than Montero.
Have an open spot on your team or in need of some starting pitching for this week? Here are some guys who are lined up, as of now, for two starts and their projected matchups.
- Adbert Alzolay (Was, @StL)
- Jameson Taillon (@Tex, ChW)
- Yusei Kikuchi (Det, @SD)
- Michael Pineda (ChW, @Cle)
- Logan Webb (@Cin, LAD)
- Anthony DeSclafani (@Cin, LAD)
- Jordan Lyles (NYY, Hou) **
- Jose Urquidy (@Oak, @Tex)
- Trevor Cahill (@StL, @Sea)
- Patrick Corbin (@ChC, Bal)
- Merrill Kelly (@LAD, @Col) **
- Casey Mize (@Sea, @KC)
**buyer beware due to difficult match ups
If there are more interesting guys on the waiver wire and if it makes sense for your team, I’m looking to move on from the following duds.
Escobar has been slowly performing worse each week. He’s not getting any younger and when Marte comes back the Diamondbacks might be looking for reasons to keep Rojas in the lineup. Plus, Escobar historically tends to perform better earlier in the season.
This feels like a sell-low, but in shallow leagues, I’m fine moving on from Lourdes. The most concerning part is his Statcast hard-hit rate is down to 34% this year from a 45% career average. This might just be simply a cold streak where he’s not locked in, but in shallow leagues, it feels like there are more promising adds than what you’re getting or can expect in the near term from Gurriel.
I think Eaton carries name value as a safe outfield bat, but personally, I think he’s now a below-average fantasy player so I’d be looking for upside to replace him, like an Adolis Garcia.
Sano’s strikeout rate is nearing his career-high and his homerun-to-fly ball rate and hard-hit rates are at a career-low. Not a great combination for someone who’s supposed to be a power source.
I think Happ’s most recent start where he put up negative 19 fantasy points against the White Sox is more indicative of his season going forward rather than his hot start. His 5.21 SIERA and 5.50 xFIP suggest his ERA has room to run up even higher.
Logan Gilbert immediately becomes the more interesting rookie with his call-up. I’d drop Lynch for Gilbert, but also anyone else I’ve mentioned.
His last three outings have resulted in the following – blown save, loss, and blown save and loss. I imagine the Nats will still go back to him as their closer, but I’d rather have someone like Ian Kennedy over Brad Hand at this point.
Taylor Rogers is now the Twins closer. Colome has zero saves in the last month. I can’t believe Colome is still around 41% owned, it’s time to move on.
Buy Low and Sell High Candidates
We’re still in prime buy low, sell high territory to take advantage of our league mates who might be panicking.
Buy low hitters
Buy low pitchers
Honorable mentions – Luis Castillo and Blake Snell
Sell high hitters
This is turning into the Jesus Aguilar section, but he’s really the only fantasy-relevant player outperforming all his expected stats with a large enough sample size. This might go to show just how poor the overall hitting environment has been thus far in 2021, with numbers down across the board.
Sell high pitchers
Based on last week, I now expect Pivetta to throw a no-hitter his next time out.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson
Fantasy expert, Adam Gruttadaro, is a guest contributor for Bat Flips and Nerds. Check out his website for more fantasy tips and follow him on Twitter.