Welcome back to Deep League Risers and Fallers, Volume VIII. Now two months into the season as May comes to a close, regardless of where you find yourself in the standings, it’s that time of year where waiver wire adds can really help to boost your team heading into the summer, especially if you are dealing with injuries and/or underperformance by the players on your roster.
My colleague Sam Lutz last week recommended Giants 3B/SS Casey Schmitt who continues to produce for San Francisco and may still be worth adding if you need help in the infield.
Note: There are many different league shapes and sizes. We’ll primarily be discussing players that were roughly ranked outside the Top 200 during draft season in March and/or are currently rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues at the time (at least for the players we are bullish on.)
Some of my previous recommendations:
1B/OF Alex Kirilloff MIN (20% rostered) – The 25-year-old continues to hit in the heart of the Twins lineup and is slashing a healthy .303/.439/.485 (.924 OPS).
SP Tanner Bibee CLE (51% rostered) – The 24-year-old right-hander has been rolling, notching three consecutive quality starts. He needs to be rostered in all leagues.
SP Michael Wacha SD OAK (69% rostered) – The 31-year-old is shaping up to be a waiver-wire darling, recording five consecutive quality starts and ranking as a Top 10 overall fantasy player in the past month.
SP Mitch Keller PIT (91% rostered) – I hope you added him in early April when we recommended him. Keller is now up to 85 K’s in 68 2/3 IP with a 3.01 ERA.
OF Esteury Ruiz OAK (82% rostered) – The Oakland speedster continues to pace the league in steals (27).
SS Matt McLain CIN (51% rostered) – We recommended the rookie as a call-up when he was promoted, and he has delivered on the hype thus far (.357 AVG, .983 OPS).
This certainly does not apply to dynasty leagues (as he is already rostered in those formats) but for re-draft and possibly keeper leagues, the time to add Elly De La Cruz is now. Universally regarded as one of the top minor league prospects currently, the switch-hitting 21-year-old phenom continues to demolish Triple-A pitching and slugged a walk-off home run early this week. De La Cruz offers a very fantasy-friendly combination of speed and power and should be ready for promotion in the early part of the summer. Grab and stash him now, if you can afford to, before it’s too late.
"The legend of Elly De La Cruz just continues to grow."
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 31, 2023
Let’s keep the De La Cruz train rolling with another one, this one down in Miami. The 26-year-old outfielder has been raking over the past two weeks (.340 AVG, 1.041 OPS, four home runs) while hitting in the heart of the Marlins lineup. De La Cruz showcased some impressive underlying advanced stats last season, ranking in the top 10% of baseball in xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, and xwOBAcon. His season average is up to .301 for the moment, and he warrants an add if he’s available in your league.
The 32-year-old Haniger has a track record of being a very good hitter when healthy (39 HR in 2021), and he appears to be finally back to full health now and clicking on all cylinders. Haniger has posted a sublime .348 AVG and .940 OPS over the past two weeks, with a pair of home runs while generally hitting in the heart of the Giants lineup. His season average is still only .245, and he won’t offer much in the speed department. With that said, he’s worth a look if you need help in the outfield.
Much the aforementioned Tanner Bibee above, Logan Allen is yet another example of why the Guardians simply should be treated as a factory for starting pitching. The 24-year-old rookie is coming off the best start of his career (10 K’s in seven shutout innings against Baltimore) and lines up to face the Twins next. Allen now owns an impressive 2.72 ERA on the season, and although the 1.31 WHIP does give some pause, he is a rookie still learning the ropes of major league pitching. The southpaw is worth grabbing in most leagues.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) May 30, 2023
One of the stars of the first month of the season, the 27-year-old Mateo has come crashing back to Earth in spectacular fashion, hitting less than his weight over the past month (.122 AVG, weight 182 lbs). The .295 OPS is downright unfathomable. The boom in stolen bases league-wide this season also lessens the impact of speed that Mateo offers when he’s actually getting on base. With numerous infield prospects chomping at the bit to join the big league club in the Baltimore organization, Mateo may soon find himself on the bench – or headed down to Triple A – if he can’t get back on track.
I just wanted to include Bell on this list to call attention to the fact that he has scored seven – seven! – runs this entire season. To go along with a .223 AVG and .664 OPS, I am not sure how the 30-year-old Bell still remains rostered in more than 1/3 of Yahoo! leagues. Time to move on!
It’s officially time to accept that this may just be a lost season for the 25-year-old right-hander. Viewed by many as a “buy low” option after his early-season struggles, Manoah simply can not get on track. The 5.53 ERA only tells part of the story, when factoring in their 1.79 WHIP and dramatic drop in strikeout rate (only 46 K’s in 53 2/3 IP). And for anyone who wonders “has Manoah just been unlucky?” The answer is a resounding “no” as his xERA is amongst the worst in baseball (6.42). Perhaps he has actually been lucky! His StatCast page is as blue as his jersey and the walks (14.9%) continues to be a huge issue. Might be time to sell low (which I rarely recommend).