Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Watch: Noelvi Marte returns, James Wood set to debut

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals

Welcome to Waiver Wire Watch, where we review the top waiver wire adds and drops for each week of the MLB season.

The premise is pretty straightforward. I’ll try to give you some recommended adds each week based on recent production or role changes. When I list a player, I’ll try to list the category where I think he’ll be helpful or the quick reason he’s listed. My hope is that it will help you to determine if the player is a fit for what your team needs or not.

For a player to qualify to be on this list, he needs to be UNDER 50% rostered in Yahoo! formats. I understand you may say, “These players aren’t available in my league,” and I can’t help you there. These players are available in over 50% of leagues and some in 98% of leagues, so they’re available in many places and that can hopefully satisfy readers in all league types.

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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds

We’ll start by just looking at the teams with the best overall schedule in the next week. It’s just a part of the equation but it’s good to know which hitters will face an easier road.

Good Schedule






vs MIL, vs KC



at TOR, at MIN



at COL, at LAD

Blue Jays


vs HOU, at SEA



at WAS, at PIT



vs NYM, vs STL



vs TB, at COL


Noelvi Marte (41% rostered)

Noelvi came off the suspension list and hit the ground running (which might be because he was suspended but still able to play in minor league games for some reason). He had a great rookie season and was set to be the team’s starting third baseman before getting popped for the suspension. With Matt McLain and Christian Encarnacion-Strand hurt, Marte should return to a full-time job in a lineup that’s getting deeper and a home park that should help provide a little extra pop over the summer months. I might expect like seven home runs and 10 steals over the final 50+ games with a solid batting average.

Mark Vientos – 3B, NYM (39% rostered)

Vientos has been on here three times now, but people don’t seem to be buying into him. The raw power was always there and any time you have somebody who can hit 25-30 home runs, you can put up with some weaknesses elsewhere. However, I also think Vientos has made clear strides in his contact. Some of it has to do with a conversation he reportedly had with Bryce Harper, who told Vientos that his raw power meant that he didn’t need to swing so hard every time. He’s hitting .267 over 21 games in June with a 25% strikeout rate and six home runs. That strikeout rate isn’t that high for somebody with Vientos’ power, and I think he could be a .250 hitter, which is still solid when you consider his consistent spot in the lineup and his power. You could also take a shot with Jose Miranda – 3B, MIN (17% rostered), who continues to play pretty much every day in Minnesota at either 3B or DH. In 23 games in June, he’s hitting .329 with three home runs, eight runs scored, and 18 RBI. He’s striking out just 12% of the time over that span, and if he keeps putting the ball in play that consistently in a lineup that continues to get deeper, he’ll keep giving you solid production.

Carlos Santana – 1B, MIN: 37% rostered

I listed Santana on here a few times and even though he’s likely to slow down in the future, I think he’s hitting well enough now to be a good CI target in most league types. The Twins platoon more than any other team in the league, but Santana is immune from that. He’ll never post a high batting average overall, but he will spike big weeks of production because he understands the strike zone well. Santana is in one of those streaks now, hitting .333 over his last 23 games with four home runs, 13 tuns, and 16 RBI. Shoot, he’s even stolen two bases over that span. With Carlos Correa and Royce Lewis back in the lineup, there will be some solid counting stats for Santana. You won’t hold him forever, but I think you could get solid production for a bit.

James Wood – OF, WAS: 32% rostered

I honestly didn’t expect the Nationals to promote Wood so quickly, but it sounds like he’ll be promoted on Monday. Not because he’s not good but because it seemed like they would wait until they could get another year of eligibility or have him be in the running for National League Rookie of the Year to pick up an extra draft pick. Wood is an elite athlete for somebody who’s 6’7″ and has elite power. However, he has also struggled with contact and is just 21 years old. We saw Jackson Holliday come up as a can’t-miss-prospect and really struggle with contact, so picking up Wood won’t come without risk. However, the upside is there and not many offensive prospects will be called up this year with Wood’s potential.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B/3B/SS/OF – TOR (31% rostered)

Listen, I’m not sure I want to be adding IKF, but I also can’t keep ignoring what he’s doing right now, at least when it comes to batting average. In 26 games in June, IKF is hitting .348 with three home runs, 15 runs scored, and 16 RBI. Now, six of those RBIs came in just two games against the Athletics, so I don’t think he’s going to be a huge RBI machine; however, he’s striking out just 12% of the time this month and playing consistently. Given that you can move him all over your lineup, IKF might not be a bad add in deeper formats if you need a solid batting average.

Heston Kjerstad – OF, BAL (29% rostered)

Yes, another Orioles prospect has gotten called up. If you were burned by Connor Norby, Kyle Stowers, or Kjerstad himself earlier in the year then I can understand you being hesitant here. It’s just hard to know what the Orioles are thinking. However, I think they called Kjerstad up to play him against righties; I just wish Cowser wasn’t also hanging around and hitting well this week. It makes it a bit hard to know exactly how the playing time will shake out, but he has legit power upside and is hitting in an elite lineup, which makes him valuable. Or you could also try for Jhonkensy Noel – 1B/3B/OF, CLE (12% rostered), who just got promoted by the Guardians after hitting .295 with 18 home runs at Triple-A. There are some contact issues and the team doesn’t seem interested in playing him every day, but he’s made strides in the minors this year and could perhaps carry that over to the big leagues. If he’s on the active roster, he has a chance to earn more playing time, which could provide power upside for fantasy teams. Think of his situation like Colton Cowser’s situation at the beginning of the year; you’re just waiting for a chance.

Zach Neto – SS, LAA: 29% rostered

I was big into Neto in the preseason after he popped on my article looking for the next Josh Lowe and some other exit velocity articles. Neto hits the ball pretty hard for a middle infielder who wasn’t a big-time prospect, and we’re starting to see that come to fruition a bit here. He’s hitting .250 in 24 games in June with four home runs, 12 runs, 17 RBI, and three steals. That’s good production across the board, and Neto is well on his way to a 20/20 season without many people acknowledging it. We keep waiting for Neto to move up the batting order, but we’ll have to settle for him hitting sixth for now, which is not that bad.

Spencer Horwitz – 2B, TOR (25% rostered)

I know the playing time hasn’t been as consistent as we’d like, but I’m taking my chances with Horwitz. He was a plus contact hitter in the minors and has carried that over into his MLB debut, showcasing a good feel for the strike zone and the ability to high for a high batting average. In 18 games in June, Horwitz is hitting .333 with two home runs, nine runs scored, and six RBI. Even though the Blue Jays aren’t playing Horwitz every day, they hit him second in the lineup every time he plays which tells me that they like him. With the way the offense has been struggling lately, I think he’ll be even more of a fixture in their lineup.

Brandon Marsh – OF, PHI (22% rostered)

Marsh has always been a solid add, especially in 15-team leagues where his 15/15 upside with a solid batting average in a great lineup. In 13 games since coming off the IL, Marsh is hitting .308 with one home run, five runs scored, six RBI, and one steal. Marsh will sometimes sit against lefties, but with Bryce Harper now sidelined with a hamstring injury, there’s a chance that Marsh could see more at-bats against lefties too. He already has seven home runs and nine steals in 63 games this season, so if you were to get that the rest of the way with a .270-.280 average in an elite lineup, you wouldn’t be made.

Harrison Bader – OF, NYM (8% rostered)

Harrison Bader can never seem to stay healthy, but he’s always had a decent power/speed combination when he plays. Much like Brandon Marsh. Bader isn’t in quite as good a lineup, but he’s hitting the ball incredibly well of late and should continue to play every day with Starling Marte out for a month with a hamstring injury. Over his last 20 games, Bader is 17-for-64 (.266) with four home runs, 12 runs scored, 14 RBI, and three steals. That’s pretty solid production all around. You could also take a gamble on Jose Siri – OF, TB (20% rostered), since he’s hitting .275 over 23 games in June with six home runs, 18 runs scored, and 12 RBI. We saw what kind of power he had last year, but we’ve also seen him consistently chase pitches out of the zone and go through really poor stretches where the batting average plummets. Even in this strong stretch, Siri is striking out 34% of the time. I think I’d rather have Bader.

Ben Rortvedt – C, TB: 4% rostered

Rortvedt pushed Rene Pinto out of a starting job in the early stages of the season and just keeps hitting. He’s slashing a solid .274/.369/.390 on the season and is now 15-for-45 (.333) in June with three home runs and 14 RBI in 14 games. He plays four or five games a week for the Rays and is slowly pushing his way onto the radar in one-catcher leagues and needs to be rostered in all two-catcher formats. You could also take a gamble on Kyle Higashioka – C, SD (2% rostered), who was in this column two weeks ago when he experienced a bit of a power spike. Back then, we said Higgy was worth an add because Luis Campusano was struggling, but now Campusano is on the IL and Higgy is the starter for the Padres. Over his last 16 games, Higashioka is 14-for-48 (.292) with eight home runs, 12 runs scored, and 19 RBI. Now, he’s a career .210 hitter so that average is going to come down, but his power is legit and he’s going to play regularly in the near future.

Rowdy Tellez – 1B, PIT: 2% rostered

Let’s consider this for deeper leagues only. The fantasy community has dreamed about Rowdy Tellez in a way that has probably built him up to be something he’s not. However, he continues to play against right-handed pitchers and hit in the middle of the lineup for the Pirates. In June, Tellez has played 19 games and is hitting .344 with two home runs, seven runs, and 12 RBI. He’s striking out just 21% of the time but isn’t hitting the ball as hard as he has in years past. However, if you lost Bryce Harper or just want a baseline of solid production in deeper formats, Tellez might be the option. He’s not going to put up huge numbers in a mediocre offense, but he’s doing fine right now and sometimes that’s enough.


Reese Olson – SP, DET 42% rostered
Olson’s last two starts seem to have righted the ship. His changeup and slider have come back around a bit and that’s crucial for him since his fastball is fairly mediocre. If he can keep his four-seam and sinker on the edges of the strike zone and then pound the zone with his slider and changeup, he should continue to be a solid fantasy starter. He did it for almost two months to start the season, so I’m not going to let a few bad starts turn me off.

Ryne Stanek – RP, SEA 31% rostered
Yes, Andres Munoz is still the closer, but the Mariners like to use him in high-leverage situations, even if that’s not in a closing situation. That leaves saves for Stanek, who has four over the last month. His command is iffy, so there will be some rough outings, but if you need a spare save here and there, Stanek is a solid reliever on a good team who will get you a few. If you’re also looking for save stashes, I kind of like grabbing shares of Nate Pearson – RP, TOR (2% rostered) and Ben Joyce – RP, LAA (1% rostered). Yes, I know Pearson wasn’t good against the Yankees on Friday, but these are two young, high-upside relievers who could find themselves in closer jobs or with a share of them after the trade deadline.

Michael Lorenzen – SP, TEX 33% rostered
I guess people dislike rostering pitchers who don’t strike many guys out, and I understand that, but Lorenzen has also been great over his last eight starts, with a 2.06 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 48 innings. The issue, for many, is that it comes with just 32 strikeouts. On some level, I understand that. It feels like Lorenzen is walking a tightrope with all the contact he allows. But, on the other hand, he pitches for a good team in a pitcher’s park and could be a real boost to your ratios.

Robbie Ray – SP, SF (23% rostered)
I had Ray on here the last two weeks, so I’ll just repeat what I wrote then: “Now is the time to stash Robbie Ray since he just moved his rehab assignment up to Triple-A. He’s still only at about three innings of work (or that’s the plan for this upcoming week) so he’s maybe three weeks away from making his season debut, but I think we’re forgetting the ceiling that Ray has. There are some command concerns with Ray since he’s always had some control issues and command is the last thing to come back after Tommy John surgery. However, his overall talent level and strikeout upside make him worth a stash.”

Drew Thorpe – SP, CWS 20% rostered
I broke down Thorpe’s entire arsenal and redraft league prospects in my Mixing It Up article a few weeks ago and while I’m less optimistic about Thorpe’s fantasy ceiling due to his pitch mix and team context, I think he’s a solid real-life pitcher who should pitch deep enough into games to at least push for quality starts. Sometimes a solid foundation with a moderate ceiling is more than enough for a fantasy starter.

David Festa – SP, MIN: 11 % rostered
Festa wasn’t great in his MLB debut, and there is some concern that Chris Paddack could come back to take his spot because Paddack isn’t really injured but is just dealing with fatigue. However, Festa is a legitimate prospect. He’s the Twins’ top pitching prospect and has looked the part, striking out 87 batters in 59 2/3 innings with a 3.77 ERA in Triple-A this year. He has some control issues, but he has a deep array of pitches including a slider with the second-highest whiff rate total for a slider at Triple-A with whiffs on 44.8% of swings and a CSW of 39.2%. He also boasts a changeup that had a 41.2% whiff rate and 31.4% CSW. You could also add Hayden Birdsong – SP, SF (5% rostered), who also made his MLB debut this week. He weirdly has more of a runway to stick in the rotation than Festa, but I prefer Festa as a pitcher. Birdsong has a solid fastball and a good slider, which allowed him to post a 2.51 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 75/26 K/BB ratio across 57 1/3 innings (13 starts) this season between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento. He was fine in his debut but there were a ton of non-competitive pitches that bounced or missed the strike zone completely. Considering Birdsong had some control concerns as a prospect, I can’t just ignore that.

A.J. Puk – RP, MIA: 5 % rostered
Are we gonna do this again? Tanner Scott is one of the likeliest relievers to be traded and Puk has been solid over the last month with a 2.30 ERA or 0.77 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts. The Marlins won’t be good, so I don’t know how many saves you could get, but if you need some, Puk could be an option.


David Peterson (NYM) – at WAS, at PIT

Brayan Bello (BOS) – at MIA

David Festa (MIN) – vs DET

Ben Lively (CLE) – vs CWS

Albert Suarez (BAL) – at OAK

Simeon Woods-Richardson (MIN) – vs DET

Cade Povich (BAL) – at OAK

Mitchell Parker (WAS) – vs NYM

Jonathan Cannon (CWS) – at MIA

JP Sears (OAK) – vs LAA

DJ Herz (WAS) – vs NYM

Lance Lynn (STL) – vs WAS

Landon Knack (LAD)– vs ARI

Carson Spiers (CIN) – vs DET

Spencer Arrighetti (HOU) – at TOR, at MIN

Roansy Contreras (LAA) – at OAK, at CHC

Yonny Chirinos (MIA) – vs CWS

Joey Estes (OAK) – vs LAA

Hayden Wesneski (CHC) – vs LAA

Rodery Munoz (MIA) – vs CWS

Players to Drop

Jeremy Pena – SS, HOU: 74% rostered
I’m not saying you HAVE TO drop Pena, and certainly not in deeper leagues since he plays regularly in a good lineup; however in shallower leagues, I don’t think Pena is a must-hold. He’s hitting well this week, but he’s also hitting .212 in 96 plate appearances in June without a home run and just four runs scored. He hits at the bottom of the lineup and his power has dried up of late, so Pena is rostered for a handful of steals and batting average. If the average is not going to be there, he’s not giving you much. Now, again, the counting stats will be good enough for 15-team leagues, and he’s been good enough season-long, but I don’t think he needs to be held through his slumps in shallow formats.

Rhys Hoskins – 1B, MIL: 62% rostered
I’ve been debating cutting Hoskins in some of my own leagues for a few weeks now, and now that he’s in this article he’ll probably have a huge hot stretch, but I have to mention my concerns here. For starters, Hoskins is hitting .205 in June with two home runs. He also has a 34% strikeout rate in the month and, as I covered in my article this week, his bat speed is actually getting slower as the season goes on. He could certainly still rebound, and his home park is great for power, but I can understand moving on from him in shallower formats. For example, I dropped him for Mark Vientos in a league two weeks ago, and I’m not mad about it so far.

Daulton Varsho – OF, TOR: 56% rostered
I understand wanting to hold Varsho because of his power/speed upside, but he’s hitting just .200 on the year. Yes, 11 home runs and eight steals are solid and you’re not mad about it, but he has just one home run in June while hitting .189 in 80 plate appearances. I’m just not sure he gives you enough production, especially with the lineup around him struggling, to be worth the batting average drain he has become.

Players to Hold

Thairo Estrada – 2B/SS, SF (60%) rostered
I know Estrada hasn’t been great this season, and I know he’s now on the IL, but I actually think that’s a bonus. He’s dealing with a wrist injury and has been playing through it for a long time, according to the Giants. With the All-Star break looming, the Giants can give Estrada time to rest up and heal and then come back healthy. Given that he has been a solid power/speed asset with a good batting average in the past, it’s possible we get that in the second half if he’s healthy.

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