Week 8 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top MLB Free-Agent Pickups Include Jorge Polanco

Last Updated: May 15, 2021

Here is The Game Day’s Week 8 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups. Set these key Week 8 MLB Pickups for your waiver wire list this weekend, then follow along with our full fantasy baseball tips page all MLB season.

After reading our Week 8 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire, make your pick for these Week 8 MLB pickups over at Monkey Knife Fight. Play DFS at MKF and get an Instant First-Time Deposit Bonus of up to $100 with the code “GAMEDAY”.

Week 8 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups To Target

Week 8 MLB Waiver Wire: Priority Adds

Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS, Minnesota Twins (47% rostered on Yahoo!)

Jorge Polanco scuffled in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, slashing only .258/.304/.354 with four homers and four stolen bases in 226 plate appearances. He came out of the chute struggling this year, too. It appears he’s rounding back into his pre-2020 form, though.

The infielder became a fantasy asset in 2018-2019 by hitting .293/.353/.466 with 28 homers, 145 runs, 121 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 1,037 plate appearances, per FanGraphs. He’s bringing back memories of his good two-year stretch, raking of late. Since recording hits in both games of a doubleheader on April 14, he’s ripped the cover off the ball to the tune of a .325/.384/.532 line with three homers and one stolen base in 86 plate appearances.

  • Jorge Polanco Waiver Wire Tip: Polanco proved his talent level from 2018-2019, so I’m buying his hot stretch to indicate solid performance as we advance, making him worthy of a FAAB bid of 20-25% of your budget.

Yusei Kikuchi, SP, Seattle Mariners (37%)

Yusei Kikuchi was pummeled in his MLB debut in 2019, and his underlying statistics supported the drubbing. Last year, he posted an ERA of 5.17. However, his advanced statistics indicated legitimate growth. This year, he’s improved even more, and his results are catching up to his promising metrics.

He’s sporting a rock-solid 4.30 ERA, 3.53 SIERA, 1.09 WHIP, 7.4 BB%, 25.6%, 51.7 GB%, and 31.1 CSW%. Those numbers are worthy of rostering in 12-team mixers or larger formats. Although, they don’t tell the whole story.

He’s a man on fire over his last three starts spanning 20.1 innings. Kikuchi’s twirled a 2.66 ERA, 2.30 SIERA, 0.79 WHIP, 5.3 BB%, 33.3 K%, 64.4 GB%, and 33.0 CSW%. More impressively, he hasn’t piled these numbers up against garbage offenses; he dominated the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers in two of those turns.

  • Yusei Kikuchi Waiver Wire Tip: Kikuchi’s dialed in without signs of slowing down. I advise gamers make a claim for 20-25% of their FAAB budget.

Tyler Anderson, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (27%)

Tyler Anderson is just a pinch behind Kikuchi in my waiver wire priority among pitchers. After spending his first four years in the bigs with the Colorado Rockies, Anderson was an adequate innings-eater for the San Francisco Giants last year. Yet another year removed from pitching home games at Coors Field, the 31-year-old southpaw’s kicked things up a notch.

He’s totaled 41.1 innings pitched in seven starts, twirling a 3.05 ERA, 4.05 SIERA, 1.04 WHIP, 7.3 BB%, 22.6 K%, and 29.3 CSW%. Anderson’s making hay using his cutter 27.9% of the time this year. According to FanGraphs, his cutter has been the best by pitch value (coincidentally, one spot ahead of Kikuchi’s cutter).

He also uses his changeup 27.5% of the time, and it has a positive pitch value, too, giving him a weapon to neutralize right-handed hitters. Anderson’s held lefties to a .226 wOBA and righties to a .265 wOBA this year.

  • Tyler Anderson Waiver Wire Tip: Kikuchi’s strikeout ability gets him a slight nod over Anderson, but gamers should place a FAAB claim of 15-20% of their budget on Anderson.

Week 8 MLB Waiver Wire: Sleeper Pickups (6-15% FAAB)

  • Adbert Alzolay, SP, Chicago Cubs (22% rostered)
  • Tony Gonsolin, SP/RP, Los Angeles Dodgers (40%)
  • NEW - Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, San Francisco Giants (44%)
  • NEW - Rich Hill, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (12%)
  • Robbie Grossman, OF, Detroit Tigers (24%)
  • Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox (48%)
  • Luis Severino, SP, New York Yankees (44%)
  • NEW - Logan Gilbert, SP, Seattle Mariners (50%)

I don’t like Adbert Alzolay any less than I did when touting him two weeks ago. On the contrary, he’s further validated my infatuation with him since then. I’ve bumped him down to this section because if he’s still available in your league, it’s likely you can claim him for a smaller FAAB bid than I initially suggested. Scoop him up.

Tony Gonsolin’s a repeat visitor from last week’s piece. The percentage of rosters he’s on has risen by five percent, and it should continue to rise as he gets closer to returning. He’s reportedly scheduled to throw two innings to hitters in Arizona this week. I suspect this is the last week Gonsolin will be below the 50% rostered threshold for inclusion in this space.

NEW - I withheld Brandon Belt from the initial publication this week because he missed Thursday’s game, and I wanted to see him back in the lineup before touting him. He returned to the lineup Friday night. In 93 plate appearances since April 17, Belt’s slashed .263/.387/.579 with seven homers, 14 runs, 19 RBIs, and one stolen base. His batted-ball data is a thing of beauty as well, with a 26.5 LD% and 40.8 Hard%, per FanGraphs.

NEW - The story for Hill since his return to MLB in 2015 has been; as long as he’s healthy, he’ll pitch well. This year, his early-season surface stats suggested he might be falling off a cliff in his age-41 season. The advanced metrics painted a better picture, and he’s turned it around of late. In his last four starts spanning 21.2 innings, he’s dominated the opposition, with a 0.83 ERA, 3.28 SIERA, 0.74 WHIP, 9.8 BB%, 32.9 K%, and 13.8 SwStr%.

Quietly, Robbie Grossman stole eight bases in nine attempts in just 51 games last year. This year, he’s stolen seven bases without getting caught stealing. He’s not a burner, but according to Baseball Savant, his sprint speed is in the 66th percentile. The stolen bases appear to be the real deal and his batted-ball data forbodes well for improvement upon his .242 batting average and three homers through 155 plate appearances.

Nick Madrigal has a .316 batting average through his first 229 plate appearances in the majors. He’s also yet to hit a homer and stolen only three bases. He’s frequently hit at or near the bottom of the order, making him a hollow batting-average helper.

The tide could be turning for contributions in runs, though. The injury bug has bit the Chicago White Sox, and Madrigal’s slotted in the second spot in the order against lefties lately. The left-handed-hitting second baseman has hit well enough against righties (.366 OBP and 114 wRC+ since debuting last year) to warrant staying in that spot against righties, too. For now, the move up the order against lefties provides a marginal value boost.

Luis Severino has pitched in only three games totaling 12 innings since 2019, missing the entire 2020 season and this year thus far recovering from Tommy John surgery. Severino pitched in a rehab outing Thursday, and manager Aaron Boone provided second-hand positive reports during his pregame Zoom conference with reporters. Severino pitched like a fantasy ace in 2017 and 2018. His sky-high upside is worth stashing now.

NEW - Logan Gilbert made his debut Thursday night. While it wasn’t a fairytale first game, it provided glimpses of why he ranked 38th on Baseball Prospectus’s top prospect list, 35th at FanGraphs, and 28th on MLB Pipeline’s list. The righty struck out five in four innings, allowing five hits and zero walks. A couple of homers dragged his performance down in route to allowing four runs overall. Brighter days are on the horizon for the promising rookie.

Week 8 MLB Waiver Wire: Depth/Streamers (0-5% FAAB)

  • Shane McClanahan, RP, Tampa Bay Rays (25% rostered)
  • Luis Arraez, 2B, Minnesota Twins (31%)
  • Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays (12%)
  • Michael Fulmer, SP/RP, Detroit Tigers (5%)

Shane McClanahan topped this section last week, and he’s back again. He’s pitched four innings in all three of his starts, but he was stretched out to 80 pitches in his most recent turn. McClanahan’s stuff and plate discipline numbers are dreamy, and his pitch count puts him in five-and-dive territory even if the Tampa Bay Rays fail to loosen his pitch count for the time being.

Don’t want to spend up for Madrigal? Spin down to Luis Arraez, who offers a similar profile. He also has eight games on the schedule next week, thanks in part to a doubleheader next Wednesday.

Vidal Brujan is raking in Triple-A. He’s hit .407/.515/.852 with four homers, one stolen base, an 18.2 BB%, 15.2 K%, and 244 wRC+ 33 plate appearances. His speed’s elite, as he stole 48 bases at High-A and Double-A combined in 2019. The Seattle Mariners called up two of their top prospects on Thursday, and other teams could start to follow suit. Also of note for Brujan, he’s aiding his own cause for promotion by proving to be adept at playing multiple positions.

Michael Fulmer is your save-speculation option du jour. Gregory Soto was called on to open the ninth inning in Thursday’s save situation, and he promptly made a mess which Fulmer cleaned up for his second save of the year. In Soto’s defense, it was his third appearance in as many days. Still, this is a situation to take a crack at with Fulmer thriving as a bullpen arm in his last four appearances.


Josh Shepardson

Josh is a fantasy gamer of roughly 20 years and a fantasy pundit for more than 10 years. He's experienced in numerous season-long baseball and football league types and a daily fantasy sports grinder, too. Additionally, Josh is a recreational gambler who has a soft spot for futures and prop bets. He studied and completed his Bachelor's degree in Sport Management at the State University of New York at Cortland, and he remains in Central New York, residing in Auburn.

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