Fantasy Baseball Waiver Thread: Duran Duran

Another week, another report from Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire here on FantraxHQ. No matter what style of league you play in and what time of the season we should always be looking to improve our fantasy teams. Whether you’re looking to catch the next scorching breakout, find an injury replacement, or improve in a specific stat category, the Waiver Thread can help you accomplish it all. This week’s report has a good mix of young guns, solid veterans, a pair of underrated guns, and a few targets as well.

Fancy Baseball Waiver Yarn

Vinnie Pasquantino (1B – KCR)

It was time ! We’ve seen plenty of big-name promotions this season and Vinnie Pasquantino’s was perhaps the one with the biggest reaction on social media. Mainly because he had been tearing up Triple-A for nearly three months and Kansas City kept looking the other way trying to pretend it wasn’t happening. But all that is in the past now. Here in the present, Pasquantino is an immediate pick-up in all 12+ team leagues and probably 10 teammates as well.

As mentioned, Pasquantino has dominated Triple-A this season. In 296 plate appearances, Vinnie P cut .280/.372/.576 with 18 home runs and more walks (37) than strikeouts (36). Basically, he repeated his dominance of 2021 on a higher level.

Pasquantino projects as a high AVG/OBP bat with 30+ homer power that could have an immediate impact for fantasy purposes. He already threw his first home run in his third career game on Friday night and could be set for a great second half of the season.

Jarren Duran (DE–BOS)

The Boston Red Sox first hitter is performing well and still available in more than 2/3 of the fantasy leagues? Granted, Jarren Duran’s tenure in the Major League until recently hasn’t been exactly positive, but the skills and performances in the minor leagues have made him one of baseball’s most exciting prospects up until this point. that he decides to try to sell himself for power last year. Now Duran has seemingly found some good middle ground, returning to what made him a Top 100 prospect while showing some pop at the bat.

In 62 plate appearances with Boston this season, Duran cut an impressive .333/.387/.544 with 10 runs, five RBIs, four steals, and finally hit his first homer of the season on Friday. Duran consistently displayed good speed throughout his pro career and was a career .307 hitter in 307 minor league games. So far with Boston, Duran has a 92nd percentile sprint speed while posting a 39.1 percent hard hit rate and reducing his strikeout rate to 17.7 percent. Even though he’s not hitting for a lot of power this season, Duran can make an impact in AVG, runs and, most importantly, speed.

Nathaniel Lowe (1B – TEX)

Nathaniel Lowe is one of those players who never quite lived up to expectations, but still had a solid career. After a slow start this season, Lowe has been quietly excelling lately. Over the past 30 days, Lowe has reduced .303/.343/.546 with seven home runs, 16 RBIs and 14 runs scored. Lowe has never been one to light up his scholarly page with red, but he’s above the league average this season in barrel rate, AVG EV and hard hit rate. With a career-best swing percentage, Lowe made it a point to be more aggressive this season and it’s working now. Higher K-Rating and Odor-Rating will likely set this AVG back, but Lowe’s is definitely worth a look right now.

Andrew McCutchen (OF – MIL)

Don’t look now, but old Cutch is on a radiator. Over the past 30 days, McCutchen has cut .327/.416/.510 with four homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs scored and a pair of interceptions. Even in his 35-year-old season, Cutch still has 89th percentile sprint speed and his solid approach has gone nowhere. He’s been particularly hot the past two weeks with a .340/.426/.638 slant line to go along with a trio of home runs, seven RBIs and 10 runs scored. With Cutch warming up and starting regularly for Milwaukee, he’s worth a look in 12+ team leagues if you need help on the field.

Nico Hoerner (2B/SS – CHC)

When you Google Nico Hoerner, one word you won’t find listed is “flashy.” But often your shopping trips on the waiver wire won’t be flashy. Sometimes you’re just looking to surf a good streak or find help at a specific position. Enter Nico Hoerner. Over the past 30 days, Hoerner has hit .341 with 13 runs, a home run and a steal, and has hit .435 over the past two weeks with seven runs and seven steals. That hot streak pushed his AVG season above .300 at .308 with four homers and six interceptions in 228 plate appearances. While Hoerner might not provide much in the power and speed departments, he should continue to average high thanks to his 93.5% zone contact rate, 14 .7% and its withdrawal rate of 10.1%.

Juan Yepez (OF – STL)

Honestly, I don’t know why Juan Yepez is available in about 60% of fantasy leagues. The powerhouse rookie has met and exceeded expectations while consistently starting in a strong St. Louis roster. Being mentored by one of the greatest hitters of all time can’t hurt either. Yepez has hit nine homers in 181 plate appearances for St. Louis so far this season with 24 RBIs, 21 runs and a strong .283/.326/.506 slash line. His contact quality metrics don’t stand out at the moment, but Yepez has a 9.4% barrel rate and projected as a 25+ home run in the minors. He also did a good job of keeping his strikeout rate in check at 22.7%. Although it tends to hunt too much outside the area. As long as Yepez continues to start regularly, he should be listed in more than 12 team leagues.

Ross Stripling (SP-TOR)

It’s been a turbulent past few years for this former Los Angeles Dodger, but Ross Stripling seems to have found his footing this season. Toronto really needs him as they are without Hyun-jin Ryu (TJS), Nate Pearson (Various), and Jose Berrios and Yusei Kukuchi have been wildly inconsistent and mostly ineffective. In 18 appearances (10 starts) spanning 57.2 innings, Stripling posted a 3.12 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, though, with a below-average strikeout rate of 19.8%. I don’t believe much in his ROS outlook as he’s better than his ERA metrics right now, but I’d consider Stripling for short-term help as he faces Tampa Bay, Seattle and Kansas City in his three starts leading up to the break of the stars. These three teams rank 28th, 18th and 24th respectively in wOBA against RHP this season.

Devin Smeltzer (SP-MIN)

If you’re looking for strikeouts, this isn’t the week for you. However, it’s hard to argue what Devin Smeltzer is doing outside of strikeouts right now. In nine starts, Smeltzer has an immaculate 2.86 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with a solid 5.6 percent strikeout rate. And while his strikeout rate sits at a low 15.8% this season, Smeltzer knocked out nine Guardians in his last start with a 28% odor and 34% CSW. Smeltzer is a soft pitcher, but commands and mixes his four-pitch mix very well. He is lined up to face Baltimore, Texas and the White Sox to end the first half. Hopefully this latest start was the start of an increase in left-handed strikeouts.

AJ Minter (RP – ATL) and Hunter Strickland (RP – CIN)

If you’re looking for saves this week, AJ Minter and Hunter Strickland are your two best targets. Minter appears to be the prime contender for backups as long as Kenley Jansen is struggling with a heart issue (Improve Kenley!). I’m sure Will Smith will factor in to some degree, but Minter has been Atlanta’s best reliever this season and considerably more effective than Smith. In 35 appearances, Minter has a 1.64 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 35.8% strikeout rate from a 4.1% walk rate. Its four seams, its cut and its change all have an odor rate of over 30%, with the 4 seams and change also offering a BAA of less than 0.150.

As for Strickland, his numbers aren’t as bright as Minter’s but the 33-year-old right-hander has been better of late. Strickland has gone unmarked in his last five appearances, allowing just two hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings. He also racked up three saves during that span.

Media credit: Bally Sports Midwest, MLB Network, Bally Sports Kansas City, Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

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