Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Lewis Brinson leads hitter pickups

If you’re reading this article in the middle of August, the chances are good that you’ve had a successful fantasy baseball season. With the trade deadline having passed and roughly seven weeks remaining, maximizing the value of the waiver wire is the biggest key to winning from this point forward.

With that in mind, we will expand to two waiver wire articles per week the rest of the way — a Monday column focusing on hitters and a Friday article dedicated to pitchers. I will make sure that each article has some possibilities for those in shallow or deep leagues and some possibilities to help in the short or long term. Here are some hitters that deserve attention right now.

Mike Zunino (C, 38 percent rostered)

Zunino ranks second among catcher-eligible players in home runs this season, and he is heading into what could be a powerful week. Tampa plays seven games this week, with the first four coming against an Orioles pitching staff that owns the highest ERA in baseball. Zunino won’t help your batting average, but he could be a difference-making source of homers and RBIs this week.

At age 29, Schwindel is definitely not a prospect. And I’ll be the first to admit that his career track record in the Minors is unimpressive. But something seemed to click in Triple-A this season (.913 OPS), and Schwindel has been raking (.955 OPS) since being promoted to the Cubs. Chicago has ample playing time available after their late-July roster purge, and they have been giving Schwindel regular opportunities to hit in the heart of the lineup. I can’t guarantee that the first baseman can keep this up, but I would take a chance on him in deeper leagues.

Lamont Wade Jr. (1B/OF, 14 percent)

Wade is perfect for the daily settings that exist in most Yahoo! leagues. The left-handed hitter rarely starts against southpaws and has little success when given those opportunities. But he is dynamite against right-handed hurlers, posting a .934 OPS while drawing much of his playing time out of the leadoff spot. The Giants have plenty of upcoming games against righties, which gives Yahoo! managers an easy plan each day of whether or not to put Wade in their lineup.

Tyler Wade (2B/3B/SS, 12 percent)

Those who need steals on a short-term basis should stop reading this article right now and pick up Wade. The utility man is drawing regular starts in the absence of Gleyber Torres, and he has compiled five steals in his past five games. Wade is unlikely to help in other areas, but he could lead the Majors in swipes over the next 1-2 weeks.

Yonny Hernandez (3B, 1 percent)

While Wade is the best short-term steals option, Hernandez could be a better bet over the remainder of the season. The 23-year-old is getting a chance to strut his stuff on a rebuilding Rangers squad after showing superior speed (154 steals in 460 games) during his Minor League career. Hernandez tends to limits whiffs, which makes me hopeful that he can produce a respectable batting average and steals total the rest of the way. But be warned: the infielder will be a complete zero in the power categories.

After years of being teased by Brinson, are we ready to give him one more try? I’ll leave it for you to decide for yourself, but I need to report that since being recalled on July 19, the outfielder is hitting .338 with a 1.044 OPS. The Marlins are wide open for playing time opportunities after trading away their veteran outfielders last month, which means that Brinson can keep his lineup spot the rest of the way by hitting well. As I alluded to earlier, Brinson has teased us before, but he also has a skill set that makes it worth giving him another chance.

Connor Joe (OF, 7 percent)

The Rockies are playing at their offense-inducing home park all week, which means that it’s time to pick up their players. Joe is among their leaders in plate appearances of late, and he is getting opportunities to hit high in the lineup. With a 1.119 OPS at home this season, Joe might be the best one-week rental on this list.

Sam Hilliard (OF, 9 percent)

I could cut and paste most of the Joe comments for Hilliard, who has an exciting power-speed mix but has thus far been inconsistent in his Major League opportunities. Like almost all Colorado hitters, Hilliard is fairly easy to predict — he is great at home (1.026 OPS in 2021) and terrible on the road. Hilliard, Joe, and many of their teammates should be active in most leagues this week and then dropped next Monday when Colorado starts a stretch of playing 19 of 26 games on the road.

Anthony Santander (OF, 44 percent)

I thought that Santander was a great value pick in draft season, but he suffered an ankle sprain early in the season and struggled with the injury even after returning to the lineup. The 26-year-old has been much better of late, and the same player who produced 31 homers in 533 at-bats across 2019-20. I’m optimistic that Santander will be helpful the rest of the way.


By Malvi

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