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The Wire Troll: Joey Bart Bolts up Bucs Depth Chart

May 3, 2024 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Joey Bart has moved up the depth chart for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Joey Bart has a chance to carve out a decent role in Pittsburgh. (

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’re into May, meaning it’s still early, but by month’s end you’ll need to face reality about contending or not.

This week, Mike Yastrzemski once again homered in Fenway Park; The Ranger rotation took another hit as Nathan Eovaldi (groin) needs an MRI; and Atlanta keeps rolling in pursuit of a third straight 100-win season.

So while you decide who to wager on for Friday’s big Atlanta-Los Angeles showdown at FanDuel, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks

Joey Bart, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (ESPN: 1 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): It’s easy to forget that not long ago Bart was a highly-touted up-and-comer — he graduated from our Top 100 Prospects list in 2023. Sure, he might have flamed out in San Francisco pretty quickly, but has landed on his feet in Pittsburgh, recently ascending — at least temporarily — to the top of the depth chart thanks to Henry Davis‘ colossal struggles. Bart has been playing more and more lately, and while he’s not exactly tearing it up, he has been drawing walks (career best .359 OBP) and he has some pop (see video below). Yasmani Grandal‘s return will affect Bart’s PT, but just how much Grandal has left in the tank remains an open question. For now, Bart is seeing changeups much less often this season, and that’s good because he’s never fared well against the pitch. Bart’s work behind the plate was questionable when he was in high school, but he’s made amazing progression since then to the point that if he landed a full-time gig, he could compete for some defensive hardware.

Josh Smith, SS/3B/OF, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 16.9 per cent; CBS: 37 per cent): At the beginning of last season, we suggested Smith as a Fantasy option because he was getting a chance to start while Corey Seager was out, and the pick offered mixed results as Smith struggled to make contact in March and April then hit much better in May before his PT evaporated over the next few months. Well, with Josh Jung out, Smith is again playing every day and this time delivering, with nine hits and three walks in his last six starts. His walk rate has bounced back this year and he’s taken advantage of the fact that he’s seeing lower velocity splitters, providing positive value against the pitch for the first time in his career.

Dalton Rushing, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): Rushing is off to a great start, justifying his No. 56 position in our Top 100 Prospects this spring. He’s easily a top 50 prospect now given back-to-back multi-hit games in May to build on a big first month in which he posted a hit per game while recording a 950 OPS. Rushing has made a seamless adjustment to Double-A, piling up the runs and RBI while positioning himself as one of the top catching prospects in the game, even if he hasn’t been quite as patient at the plate this year (still, a more aggressive approach is clearly working for him).

Matt Carpenter, DH, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: unowned): Does Carpenter have anything left to offer? Well, just two years ago he earned consideration for our Wire Troll All-Star Team, and while his power went AWOL last year, he was off to a good start (.300 BA) before hurting his oblique this season. Carpenter is currently on a rehab assignment at Double-A, so should be back soon, and given his improved work against most pitch types (except sliders and changeups) early on, he could provide some deep NL-only value upon his return.

Quick Hits

  • It’s time to give greater consideration to Cubs pitching prospect Cade Horton as a stash candidate. He’s been bumped up to Triple-A after going undefeated with a ridiculous 1.10 ERA through four starts at Double-A. Horton is very likely to be a factor in the bigs in the not too distant future.
  • Jesus Sanchez had somewhat of a bounce back season last year, but has struggled badly so far in 2024. However, after his walk-off single on Thursday he now has hits in four of the last five games. Sanchez has slowly gotten better as the season has progressed. but has still only scored five runs all year. He could be worth adding in deep NL-only leagues given that he has more pop than he’s shown this spring.
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. is still nowhere near his 2023 form (could anyone be?), but he’s showing signs of life, delivering a pair of hits and runs on Thursday to give him hits in three of the last four. It’s a good start to May after he managed just a .235 BA with five RBI in April. Acuna is still swiping bags at a good clip, but where is the extra-base power (0.70 ISO)? Buy low candidate?
  • Colorado catcher Elias Diaz is off to a solid start, so his job security is probably high, but is anyone else intrigued by what his backup is doing? Jacob Stallings smoked a three-run homer as part of a two-hit performance on Thursday, giving him a five-game hit streak. Super small sample size alert (29 at-bats), but a .345 BA and 946 OPS has us raising our eyebrows a smidge.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, Sir Elton Hercules John CH, CBE, is better known the world as Elton John. In 1973, he released his seventh album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and the third single from this effort was “Bennie and the Jets,” No. 371 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the top 500 songs of all-time.

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