Fantasy Baseball: Top MLB Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 21 of 2021
With only a full week left in August and the month of September putting an end to the fantasy baseball leagues throughout the season, it’s definitely time to make the final adjustments to your roster. Teams continue to push for playoff positioning while others give end-of-season auditions to young players in their system. As you focus on ending your fantastic season, there are some solid options for you to consider on most leagues’ waiver wire. Some of the pickups available are short term one week options while others are longer term pickups that can help you throughout the season.
The coming week is a bit lighter overall with just five of the 30 MLB teams scheduled to play seven games. Most teams play six times with five other teams scheduled for just five games with a pair of days off. With a hurricane mixing things up this weekend, there could be potential make-ups as well, so keep an eye out for those changes as you gauge the number of matches and upcoming clashes while purchasing the waiver thread. Check out two hitters and two pitchers I’m targeting highlighted below. There are also specialty options listed at the bottom of the article.
2B / SS / OF Josh Rojas, Arizona Diamondbacks (at PIT, PHI)
The Diamondbacks are one of the few teams with seven games on the calendar and have favorable clashes against the Pirates and Phillies. While the team have been one of the worst in baseball, there were a few bright spots, including the emergence of the Rojas as a very reliable option at the top of the roster. The 27-year-old southpaw leads normally against right-handed starters and hits lower in the lineup against lefties. In his 11 games since returning from the injured list due to a dislocated left little finger, he has gone 17 for 37 (0.459) with five homers, four doubles and a triple. It has a hard hit rate of 38.5% over that time frame to go with an impressive wOBA of 0.508 and 219 wRC +.
Rojas’ recent success since his return continued his breakout season in which he played 104 games and reached .288 with 11 homers, seven goals stolen and a wOBA of .362. It doesn’t bring in elite power output, but pulls a lot of volume from its top spot. If you need help in the middle of the infold or a solid outfield bat, his versatility and multi-category potential make him the best pickup of the week.
BY Tyler Naquin, Cincinnati Reds (at MIL, MIA)
Naquin started his first season in Cincinnati, but struggled through the summer. No other outfielder stepped in or Naquin could even have lost his job, but instead he got the chance to regain his rhythm, which he certainly did in his 17 games in August. So far this month, he’s grown to 22 for 56 (0.393) with half of those hits for extra goals, including three homers. It has an ISO .321 and .493 wOBA as well as a 208 wRC + over this period.
Recently, the Reds placed Naquin second in their batting order, which could set him up for even more production opportunities. Like Rojas, he’s a southpaw so he can wrestle or sit against lefties, but he’s been hitting the ball so well lately he’s still a great pickup, especially with just two lefties expected at the schedule this week.
SP Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals, (at MIA, in NYM)
Gray appears to be lined up for two starts this coming week in a pair of big Divisional clashes against the Marlins and Mets. Gray was one of the main upcoming Washington prospects in the trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers, so there’s certainly plenty of prospect pedigree in the 23-year-old right-hander. Gray jumped straight into the rotation for the Nationals and has been solid all four starts. He has a 2.86 ERA but 6.13 FIP in his 22 innings with the Nats, so there could be a small regression in points allowed over the coming week, but his potential for a strikeout balances that out as he has whipped up a total of 20 batters in his three most recent outings.
Gray has been a bit hometown prone, but he’s also faced some strong lineups among the Blue Jays and Braves. With easier clashes this week and all those strikeouts, Gray is a solid two-start option this week.
SP Tylor Megill, New York Mets (vs. SF, vs. WAS)
Megill is another two-start game to consider for the week ahead and is set to face Gray next Sunday. The 26-year-old Mets rookie right-hander doesn’t come with the fanfare Gray had, but he’s been a solid overall addition to the Mets rotation. He struggled a bit in early August, but seemed to find his place in his last outing, allowing just one run in six innings against the Giants on Wednesday. He will face San Francisco for a second straight start and will look to continue on the path to success, then secure the Nationals’ slim lineup in his second start of the week.
In her 11 starts, Megill got only one win, but produced a strong ERA of 3.21 and 4.00 FIP. He’s 60 strikeouts in 56 innings for a 9.64 K / 9 rate and has played at least five innings in six of his most recent seven starts. Even though the wins have yet to be there, Megill brings good numbers of strikeouts to both her starts this week and is a slightly more proven option than Gray, although Gray gets a better first game before facing each other. .
Specialty pickups to consider
Power Pickup: Hunter Renfroe, Boston Red Sox
Power Pickup II: Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals
Top pick: Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox
General Pickup: Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles
Pickup C: Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds
Versatile Pickup: Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds
SB Pickup: Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals
Lead Pickup: Jake Meyers, Houston Astros
Upcoming IL Return: Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals
Two-Start SP Pickup: Daniel Lynch, Kansas City Royals
Two SP Pickup II departures: Ranger Suárez, Philadelphia Phillies
Removing Safeguards: Paul Sewald, Seattle Mariners
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