Masyn Winn got his first big league hit, and a polar bear tossed it away. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. The season is now three-quarters complete, so you’re running out of time to make your move. Hit that waiver wire, peeps!
This week, Philadelphia — boasting one of the top lineups in the game — got their bats back on track on Wednesday; Houston (+550 to win the World Series as per FanDuel sportsbook) is keeping pace with Texas in the AL West; and the desperate Angels are calling up their 2023 first round pick.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks
Masyn Winn, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 4.6 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): No. 33 on our Top 100 Prospects list, Winn was recalled to the bigs this week, managing a hit in his debut on Friday (unfortunately, the ball got thrown into the stands). His best tools are his speed (which you can see him employ for his first hit in the video below) and his rocket arm, but the fact that many of his doubles from 2022 at High-A/Double-A became homers at Triple-A this year is a great sign. There’s no doubt that Winn’s glovework alone could make him an All-Star in time, but the power, speed and sweet BA he flashed this year is what intrigues us Fantasy owners.
Jameson Taillon, SP, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: 18.6 per cent; CBS: 50 per cent): In early June last year, Taillon looked like he was enjoying a breakout season, but his results went downhill from there until September, making his final numbers (despite a superb record) less impressive than we thought he was tracking towards. This year has been a shitshow for him, but he’s started to turn things around over the past few weeks (other than a shellacking last weekend in Toronto), recording quality starts in two of the last three starts. With Marcus Stroman (rib cage) out, the Cubs really need Taillon to step up, and with a 3.69 ERA over his last eight starts, he’s proved he’s worth another look.
Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (ESPN: unowned; CBS: 6 per cent): As we alluded to above, just a few weeks after being taken 11th overall in the draft Schanuel is being fast-tracked to the majors to provide a spark to the flailing Angels. The kid has proved he can rake (.370 BA) and is amazingly patient (.510 OBP) over 21 games in the minors, and he wasted no time showing he can get in done in the bigs (one hit, one walk and two runs in his debut on Friday). Give Schanuel a look in AL-only leagues, at the very least.
Javier Assad, RP/SP, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: 2.4 per cent; CBS: 20 per cent): Look here: yet another reliever converted to starter mid-season, and a second Cub pitcher for the week. But after a rough first start against Atlanta (forgivable), Assad looked strong in his last two outings and is definitely worth picking up after gaining some job security in the wake of Stroman’s setback.
Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers (ESPN: 45.9 per cent; CBS: 31 per cent): In mid-September, we thought Tellez had shown some progress, but he tanked down the stretch. This year, he got off to a great start, fell off a cliff, and then got hurt. Well, Tellez is expected back this weekend, so could be worth a flier if for no other reason than he can still smoke the ball from time to time (top five per cent among hardest hit balls this year, even if his average exit velocity is at its lowest since 2018). Just two years ago, we were all pretty high on his potential. Just sayin’…
Others to Consider
Mike Clevinger, SP, Chicago White Sox (ESPN: 9 per cent; CBS: 47 per cent): Clevinger has looked really good since returning from a biceps injury and remains a very strong Fantasy contributor as long as he’s healthy. Plus, he’s heading into a two-start week.
Brice Turang, 2B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers (ESPN: 2.7 per cent; CBS: 17 per cent): Turang was 3-for-3 with a walk on Friday and has gotten better and better since that awful May that got him demoted (OPS by month: May 548; June 581; July 631; August 854). Sensing a pattern here? Buy Turang stock now in anticipation of a big finish.
JP Sears, SP, Oakland Athletics (ESPN: 7.2 per cent; CBS: 38 per cent): Sears has struggled in his last two starts after a strong July and solid first outing in August, but he’s still tied for 21st with 24 starts. There’s something to be said about a hurler that you can depend on to take the ball every fifth day. And hey, if nothing else, Sears does get batters to swing much more often this year (51.5 per cent vs. 46.5 per cent as a rookie last season).
Cole Irvin, SP, Baltimore Orioles (ESPN: 4.9 per cent; CBS: 8 per cent): We took a deep dive into Irvin last year and determined that he might have a bit more to offer. We may not have seen it this year, but take away his ugly April and he’s been solid… and sure looked damned fine in his return to the rotation last weekend. Think of Irvin as Zach Plesac 2.0, but ideally better than the 2023 version of Plesac.
Ethan Salas, C, San Diego Padres (ESPN: 0.4 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Dynasty league owners need to start tracking Salas, a 17-year-old catcher that proved too productive at Class-A so is already at High-A. Oh, did we mention he just turned 17 two and a half months ago? Prodigy.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Bebel Gilberto was born Isabel Buarque de Hollanda Gilberto de Oliveira. Here she is featured as the singer on Kenny G‘s 1999 version of the classic “The Girl From Ipanema,” which is surprisingly listenable for one of his tracks (in no small thanks to her haunting voice).