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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Colorado's Josh Fuentes & Yonathan Daza Swinging Hot

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 5/16/2021 Shawn Childs

Five-time high-stakes champ Shawn Childs helps you at the waiver wire to bolster your fantasy squad

Weekly Waiver Wire Report

Note: My waiver wire report digs a little deeper and is slanted toward high-stakes leagues (15 teams)

Catcher

Dalton Varsho, ARI

I’m going to kick the Varsho tires one more time as I’m sure he remains in the free-agent pool in most shallow leagues. After delivering four hits over his first nine at-bats after his call up, Varsho only has one hit over 20 at-bats. He looks on the verge of getting sent back to the minors, but the Diamondbacks had two injuries (Carson Kelly and Asdrubal Cabrera) to clear his path for more playing time. Arizona should have playing time open at catcher and outfield, even with Ketel Marte scheduled to be back this week. My intrigue with Varsho is his combination of speed and power at the C2 position. His job now is to hit his way into more playing time.

Adley Rutschman, BAL

Over the first nine games at AA, Rutschman has seven hits in 32 at-bats with seven runs, two home runs, and six RBI. His walk rate (25) continues to be elite, but he does have 11 strikeouts. With a hot bat, he should push his way to AAA by the summer with a chance at the majors later in the year. For now, Rutschman is just a player to follow for the fantasy team's desperate for an upgrade at the catcher position.

First Base

Bobby Dalbec, BOS

Dalbec is available in 46 percent of 12-team leagues. His swing and miss style led to a quiet start to the year (15-for-86 with three runs, one home run, and six RBI while whiffing 33 times). Over his previous seven games, he hit .360 over 25 at-bats with six runs, three home runs, 11 RBI, and one steal. His hot run should continue with six games next week in hitter’s ballparks (@TOR and @PHI). For a power-starved team, Dalbec offers help as long as he is making contact.

Second Base

Jonathan Schoop, DET

A month and a half into the baseball season, there hasn’t been much to get excited about Schoop. Coming into this week, he only hit .180 over 111 at-bats with 10 runs, two home runs, and eight RBI. Schoop has three multi-hit games over his last five starts (8-for-21 with two runs and two RBI), signifying that a power run is on the way. From 2016 to 2019, he pounded 101 balls over the fence with 307 RBI over 2,143 at-bats. Schoop is worth a short-term ride for a fantasy team looking for power or covering an injury.

Jonathan India, CIN

After playing his way out of a starting job (5-for-48 with five runs, one home run, and three RBI), India capitalized on a Nick Senzel injury to put his name back into the lineup conversation for the Reds. He went 4-for-8 in games in Colorado with three runs, two home runs, and five RBI. India has more of a trick-or-treat feel with questions with his long-term value.

Shortstop

Elvis Andrus, OAK

There hasn’t been an Andrus sighting since 2019 in the fantasy market. He quietly has a seven-game hitting streak (8-for-23), with almost no production (one run and two RBI). Over his last 231 at-bats, Andrus hit only .186 with 19 runs, three home runs, 13 RBI, and six steals. The chase here is the possible uptick in stolen bases. Andrus has been dropped in all kinds of formats, but he is only viable in deep leagues where there is a much weaker player pool.

Wander Franco, TB

The Franco watch looks to be on track over his first nine games. He has 11 hits over his first 35 at-bats with seven runs, two home runs, six RBI, and one steal. He looks ready for the majors, but the Rays tend to restrict their top prospects early in their careers. Franco is a clear hold and a buy if somehow he was dropped in shallow leagues.

Third Base

Josh Fuentes, COL

Some home cooking in Colorado unlocked Fuentes’ bats over his last three games (7-for-13 with four runs, two home runs, and nine RBI). Before his uptick, he only hit .191 over 94 at-bats with 10 runs, two home runs, and 10 RBI. The Rockies lost C.J. Cron this week with a back issue, which helped his playing time. Fuentes tends to be a free-swinger who will hit for average while looking to develop his power-stroke. He is a free agent in 65 percent of 15-team leagues. Ride him while he is hot and keep him if his hits continue to leave the yard.

Outfield

Yonathan Daza, COL

Heading into action on Saturday night, Daza has a five-game hitting streak (10-for-14 with four runs, three RBI, and one steal) at home. He raised his batting average from .274 to .337. In 2019 at AAA, Daza hit .364 over 387 at-bats with 11 home runs, 48 RBI, and 12 steals. The Rockies will give him starting at-bats as long as Garrett Hampson starts at second base. Brendan Rodgers will be back in the majors soon, which adds another bat to mix in the infield.

Jo Adell, LAA

Over his first eight games at AAA, Adell hit .265 with nine runs, four home runs, nine RBI, and two stolen bases to create intrigue when the Angels call him up. His issue with Los Angeles in 2020 came from a high number of strikeouts (55 over 124 at-bats). He already has 14 whiffs in the minors over 34 at-bats, which means fantasy owners may need to pump the brakes on his arrival. Adell has a high upside when he figures out how to control the strike zone better. For now, Adell is only a player to follow.

Jesus Sanchez, MIA

The hottest outfield hitter at AAA over the first 10 days of the year is Sanchez. He has 17 hits over 35 at-bats with nine runs, five home runs, and 15 RBI. He comes with a right-field profile, which creates a problem for him reaching the majors if Corey Dickerson and Adam Duvall are healthy. Over his six seasons in the minors, Sanchez hit .300 with 55 home runs, 319 RBI, and 29 stolen bases over 1,830 at-bats. His bat should help in batting average while showing developing power.

Starting Pitching

Luis Patino, TB

Tampa shifted gears with Patino over the last week, which points to him working in a starting role. Over his four appearances (two short starts), he has a 1.54 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 11.2 innings. In his last outing, he went four innings while throwing 65 pitches, putting him one more game from pitching at least five innings. Patino posted a 2.35 ERA and 279 strikeouts over 234 innings in the minors. The Rays will limit his innings, but his arm has a high ceiling. In the high-stakes 15-team market, he was a popular pickup last week.

Matt Manning, DET

The next young pitching prospect to make it to the majors should be Manning. Over his five seasons in the minors, he went 22-17 with a 3.15 ERA and 423 strikeouts over 342.2 innings. Manning shined at AA in 2019 (11-5 with a 2.56 ERA and 148 strikeouts over 133.2 innings), which should have put him on a path to reach AAA in 2020 if there was minor league baseball. In his two starts this year at AAA, he picked up an impressive 13 strikeouts with one walk over 11 innings, but six of his nine hits allowed landed over the fence. Tarik Skubal needs a drop-down in class, and Jose Urena may have suffered an ankle issue in his start on Saturday. Manning needs to clean up his home runs if he is going to help fantasy teams in 2021.

Logan Gilbert, SEA

The Mariners called up Gilbert on Thursday to make his major league debut, and top-hitting prospect Jarred Kelenic. His career with Seattle started with a subpar showing (four runs, five hits, and two home runs over four innings with four strikeouts). His arm looked sharp in his first appearance in the minors (one run over five innings with five strikeouts). In 2019 over four levels, Gilbert went 10-5 with a 2.13 ERA and 165 strikeouts over 135 innings. He will be a top pitcher picked up in the high-stakes market this week. 

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