Here is The Game Day’s Week 4 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups. Set these key Week 4 MLB Pickups for your waiver wire list this weekend, then follow along with our full fantasy baseball tips page all MLB season.
Week 4 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups To Target
Week 4 MLB Waiver Wire: Priority Adds
Jazz Chisholm, 2B/SS, Miami Marlins
Jazz Chisholm is blossoming from toolsy prospect to legitimate game-changing fantasy baseball player. MLB Pipeline ranks him 58th on their top-100 prospect list, giving him grades of 55 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale on his run and power tools.
FanGraphs breaks the power tool down further, awarding him a present game power of 50 with a 55 future grade, but they also slap a 60 present and future grade on his raw power. They’re also more bullish on his run tool (using the word speed instead of run, but they’re the same tool), grading it as a 60 presently and future.
Both outlets were bearish on his hit tool, grading it anywhere from a 40 to a 45. Strikeouts plagued Chisholm throughout his minor-league career, and he’s struck out in 29.7% of his 101 plate appearances in the majors. My initial suspicion based on the tool grades and bloated strikeout rate was that he must have plate discipline and contact issues, but that’s not the case.
Chisolm’s 26.3 O-Swing% is well below the league average of 30.4% this year, and his 12.2 SwStr% is less than a full tick above the league average of 11.6%. The strikeouts are inflated based on a passiveness on pitches in the strike zone, as he has a 55.7 Z-Swing% compared to a 67.5 Z-Swing%.
His patience that might border on passiveness has the benefit of netting walks at a hearty clip, 17.9% this year and 11.9% in his young career. He walked in over 11% of his Double-A plate appearances, too, so his ability to work walks at a top-shelf rate is legit. Chisolm’s value gets a boost in OBP leagues, but I’m not expecting his .258 batting average to crater after investigating his plate discipline data.
Now, the fun part of Chisholm’s profile; his power and speed. In his last stop in the minors playing 112 games at the Double-A level in 2019, he smacked 21 homers with 16 stolen bases. The power and speed are translating at the game’s highest level, with four homers and three stolen bases in his career, and two of the homers and three stolen bases tallied in 11 games and 39 plate appearances this year.
Chisholm’s Statcast data backs his results. He has an 86th percentile average exit velocity, 88th percentile max exit velocity, 100th percentile barrel percentage, and 90th percentile sprint speed this year, according to Baseball Savant.
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. Waiver Wire Tip: Chisholm is a high-upside, game-changing player who can move the needle in homers, make big waves in stolen bases, and doesn’t appear to be a total batting-average drag, and gamers would be wise to spend upwards of 40% of their FAAB to secure his services on their fantasy team.
Kendall Graveman, RP, Seattle Mariners
Kendall Graveman isn’t the only closer — or potential closer — in this space, but he’s my favorite option. Rafael Montero opened the season as Seattle’s stopper, but he’s blown three saves in five chances and pitched in the sixth inning of the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, with Graveman earning the save behind him.
The save is Graveman’s second of the season, and he’s yet to surrender a run in five appearances totaling six innings. It’s not certain he’s completely unseated Montero from the closer job, but he might have, and speculation is always the name of the game in fantasy-closer land.
Graveman’s transitioned from an unexciting, innings-eating starter to a reliable bullpen arm since making the switch last year. Operating as a reliever, he’s now sitting at an average fastball velocity of 96.4 mph this year after sitting in the low-to-mid-90s as a starter. The extra ticks on his heater are a plus, and he spun a 2.25 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 14 relief appearances totaling 16.0 innings since last year.
The righty’s 4.27 SIERA suggests his ERA overstates how good he’s been, but his batted-ball data is encouraging. He also isn’t an asset in strikeouts with a 19.0 K% as a reliever, but he’s not beating himself with free passes, either. It’s an unsexy overall profile, but it can hold down a closing gig.
- Kendall Graveman Waiver Wire Tip: The closer carousel feels like it’s working at hyper-speed this year, and Graveman’s a rock-solid reliever with the potential to retain the job from here on out, making him worth 25% of FAAB or upwards of 30-35% of FAAB in leagues that allow $0 FAAB bids.
Tejay Antone, RP/SP, Cincinnati Reds
I’ve been pounding the table for drafting and rostering Tejay Antone since the preseason. A spring training injury setback sealed his fate in his rotation battle, relegating him to a bullpen role. He’s doing his part to position himself for a rotation spot at the first availability, though.
He’s made three scoreless relief appearances, going longer in each after pitching one inning on April 4, two on April 9, and 3.2 on April 12. In all, he’s pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless ball, yielding two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. His excellent start to this year is an extension of a breakout first year in The Show last year.
The 27-year-old righty has a 2.36 ERA, 3.46 SIERA, 0.95 WHIP, 51.1 GB%, 10.9 BB%, 32.7 K%, and 12.5 SwStr% in 42.0 innings. Those are marvelous numbers, and he’s not generating them with smoke and mirrors. Antone throws mid-to-upper-90s heat, and he backs it with three bat-missing offerings. He’s netted a 13.4 SwStr% on his curve, a 17.6 SwStr% on his rarely used changeup, and a 17.8 SwStr% on his slider.
The depth of his arsenal bodes well for his ability to work through lineups multiple times. He’s a fantasy baseball asset as a multi-inning reliever in the interim, but his fantasy stock will take off when — not if — he starts.
Teams will likely use more starters this year than usual, transitioning to a normal 162-game season after last year’s pandemic-shortened campaign. Antone is an obvious candidate to make spot starts to award extra rest days to Cincinnati’s current starters.
I’m also skeptical of Jeff Hoffman retaining a rotation spot all year, and injuries are an ugly reality for pitchers, putting Antone an injury to any of the starters away from a promotion to the rotation.
- Tejay Antone Waiver Wire Tip: Antone’s wide availability suggests you won’t have to break the bank to scoop up a pitcher who can help in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts as a multi-inning reliever before eventually starting, and a 20% FAAB stab has the chance to pay big dividends.
NEW — Casey Mize, SP, Detroit Tigers
Mize entered Saturday’s start with a 0.82 ERA through two starts spanning 11.0 innings, and he exited the start with a 3.38 ERA. He coughed up five runs on seven hits — including three homers — and two hit batsmen, but he didn’t walk any hitters, and he punched out four while netting 19 called strikes and 11 swinging strikes, per ESPN’s box score.
It would be easy to view the start as a sign of more poor performances to come from the inconsistent young pitcher, but I’m considering it more positively since his velocity remained up. After averaging 93.7 mph with his heater last year, that was up to 95.3 mph entering Saturday’s start. He threw as hard as 96.7 mph in his fifth and final inning of work against the A’s, and the improved cheddar bodes well for his success this year.
- Casey Mize Waiver Wire Tip: Fantasy baseball players should be willing to spend upwards of 15% of their FAAB to roster him. If you recall him being rostered in your league, be sure to revisit the wire to make sure he wasn’t dumped after his lackluster turn.
NEW — Dane Dunning, SP, Texas Rangers
Dunning continued his hot start to the year, making good for me touting him as a two-start pitcher this week. The 26-year-old righty’s ERA is now down to a microscopic 0.60, and he’s striking out better than a batter per inning with 16 in 15.0 innings of work.
The rub with Dunning is the Rangers handling him with kid gloves. His six-inning start was a new season-high mark, and ditto for his 75 pitches. The way the club’s handling him decreases his odds of earning wins, but his quality of work helps offset that shortcoming.
- Dane Dunning Waiver Wire Tip: He, like Mize, is worth a 15% FAAB bid. If you’re in a position of picking between the two, I slightly prefer Mize, but with a razor-thin margin.
Week 4 MLB Waiver Wire: Sleeper Pickups (6-15% FAAB)
- Evan Longoria, 3B, San Francisco Giants
- Colin Moran, 1B/2B/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers
- Gregory Soto, SP/RP, Detroit Tigers
- Rafael Dolis, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
I didn’t enter the year expecting a resurgent age-35 season from Longo, but here we are. His Statcast data is mouthwatering, and his plate discipline numbers are superb as well. He’s slashing .316/.381/.658 with four homers, playing every day, hitting in the heart of the order, and has seven games on the docket next week.
Moran is another heart-of-the-order hitter, slotting in the cleanup spot against righties for the Pirates. He revamped his approach last year, trading punchouts for power while working more walks. The approach change has stuck, and he’s ripped 12 homers with a 10.3 BB%, 27.4 K%, and .260/.341/.480 slash in his last 252 plate appearances. He’ll often sit against lefties, but he did receive a start and hit cleanup against lefty Wade Miley on April 6, so he might make some lineup appearances against southpaws.
(UPDATE: 4/17/21, 10:30 p.m. ET: Moran’s now up to two starts in the cleanup spot in Pittsburgh’s three games against lefties this year after hitting fourth against Brett Anderson on Saturday. He went 0-for-4, so the leash could tighten, but the starts should be viewed as a positive for his run-production stats upside at the expense of his batting average.)
It’s time to take Fulmer seriously, as he’s showcasing pre-Tommy John velocity and letting his slider eat. In Fulmer’s first two seasons (2016-2017) in the majors, he whipped up a 3.45 ERA, 4.26 SIERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.2 BB%, and 18.6 K% in 51 starts spanning 323.2 innings. If his 2018 struggles were a product of an unhealthy elbow that eventually required Tommy John surgery and last year allowed him to shake the rust off post-surgery, getting back to his 2016-2017 level of play doesn’t seem crazy. Even if he falls a bit short of that level, he can still help fantasy squads.
Soto and Dolis are a pair of save candidates. Soto’s already saved a game on Opening Day, and Dolis looks like the last-man-standing in Toronto’s injury-beleaguered bullpen. The left-handed Soto is my preferred option if picking between the two, as he has the greatest chance at busting out of a committee and running with the job. Dolis isn’t a lock to handle the job on his own, and injured relievers Jordan Romano and Julian Merryweather will eventually return from the injured list. Don’t set yourself up for FAAB winner’s remorse overspending for Dolis, but spending 10% of FAAB for a short-term source of saves is a prudent move.
(UPDATE: 4/17/21, 10:30 p.m. ET: I still prefer Soto to Dolis because of the former’s greater odds of having long-term saves potential, but Dolis’s outlook for serving as the short-term saves option in Toronto’s bullpen appears more likely after his usage on Saturday. He was tasked with protecting a four-run lead in the last inning of the first game of their doubleheader, and, after getting off to a shaky start by walking Carlos Santana and hitting Jorge Soler with a pitch, he slammed the door shut without allowing a run.)
Week 4 MLB Waiver Wire: Depth/Streamers (0-5% FAAB)
- Bobby Dalbec, 1B, Boston Red Sox
- Enrique Hernandez, 2B/SS/OF, Boston Red Sox
- Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, San Francisco Giants
- Alex Dickerson, OF, San Francisco Giants
- Ryan Borucki, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
- Omar Narvaez, C, Milwaukee Brewers
- Tucker Barnhart, C, Cincinnati Reds
The Red Sox are scheduled to play seven games next week, and at least five are against left-handed probable pitchers. All seven games are at hitter-friendly Fenway Park. Dalbec’s all-or-nothing approach creates risk, but there’s a chance for gamers to catch lightning in a bottle with the platoon advantage for the majority of his games next week.
Hernandez isn’t exciting, but he’s an above-average hitter against lefties who hits leadoff and offers gamers position versatility.
The Giants also play seven games next week, and six are slated to be against right-handed starters. San Francisco deploys numerous platoons, and Belt and Dickerson will be on the favorable side of things next week. Facing righties since last year, Belt has crushed nine homers and hit .315/.424/.601 in 170 plate appearances, and Dickerson’s mashed 11 taters while hitting .277/.353/.548 in 187 plate appearances.
If you’ve exhausted a sizable portion of your FAAB ahead of your Week 4 MLB pickups run, or you’re looking for a cheap dart throw for saves, Borucki is your man. In 20.2 innings pitched in relief since last year, Borucki has a 3.05 ERA, 4.34 SIERA, 1.31 WHIP, 14.8 BB%, 28.4 K%, and a 13.6 SwStr%. There are blemishes in his statistical profile, namely his high walk rate, but all of Toronto’s healthy closer candidates are flawed and unproven.
Narvaez’s 2020 is an outlier, and he’s on too few rosters. He’s raking, and he hit .278/.353/.460 with 22 homers in his last full year, 2019. Treat him as a single-catcher option in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixers.
Barnhart’s rightfully more available, and Tyler Stephenson could eventually siphon more playing time away from him, but he’s a streaming option next week.
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