Fantasy Baseball: Top waiver-wire picks for Week 4 include Jesse Winker, Daniel Vogelbach
Our Fantasy Baseball crew gives you the top waiver-wire adds from the past week, heading into the weekend.
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All week long, we recap the action from around the baseball world each day. During those recaps, we provide winners and losers from the previous day's action, and more importantly, our top waiver-wire picks. These are based on standout performances, injury news, and anything else that might cause a player's value to rise to the point where you need to take note.
Heading into the weekend, we'll recap our top picks, to give you some idea of who to add before your weekly waiver wire run.
Here are this week's top options, compiled by Heath Cummings, Scott White, and I:
- Daniel Vogelbach (50%) — Jay Bruce's Achilles injury appears to be just a day-to-day thing, but the Mariners were finding opportunities to play Vogelbach anyway, starting him for the seventh time in eight games Thursday and watching him hit his sixth home run during that stretch. He's second in the majors on average exit velocity and was an on-base machine in the minors.
- Jesse Winker (61%) — After back to back games with a home run, Winker reached base three times Thursday, including twice via walk, which is an important part of his skill set that he hadn't demonstrated thus far. He's coming around and the Reds seem to know it, as he has started four straight.
- Marcus Semien (71%) — Semien homered for the third time and doubled for the fifth time Thursday, but it's the reduced strikeout rate that has my attention — something that began last year and may not be just a product of sample size seeing as he's already up to 72 plate appearances. He also struck out just four times in 45 plate appearances this spring.
- Steven Matz (67%) — Though the number of swinging strikes could be higher, Matz turned in his second consecutive eight-strikeout effort Thursday, limiting the Braves to two runs in six innings. The former top prospect had a 2.29 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 10.5 K/9 in his final seven starts last year.
- Austin Meadows (76%) — I'm still not quite sure I believe in Meadows, but it's hard to argue with what he's doing right now. He's earning his production, as he's driving the ball all over the field and has raised his average exit velocity 4.6 mph, to 92.8.
- Trevor Richards (61%) — We got the full Trevor Richards experience Wednesday night, as he struck out seven in six shutout innings against the Reds, with a 19.4% swinging strike rate while also walking five. He now has a 13.9 percent walk rate on the season. It'd be nice to see him fix that, but his fastball looks to have new life, and it's clear to see the potential if he really does have two plus whiff pitches now.
- Tyler Mahle (14%) — We've seen some nice stuff from Mahle in his first two starts, with a decent swinging strike rate and 12 strikeouts to four walks. Pittsburgh and Miami aren't the toughest matchups in the league, but he's worth a speculative add to see if he can build on this.
- Anthony Swarzak (43%) - Swarzak picked up his second save on Tuesday and has now allowed one base runner in his first three outings. He has an excellent chance to run away with the Mariners closer job, though actually earned a win Wednesday, while Connor Sadzeck got a save Thursday.
- Max Fried (64%) - He just threw a quality start at Coors Field five days after shutting out the Cubs for six innings. I'm not certain he's going to stick in the Braves rotation long term but he needs to be on someone's roster until he falters.
- Richard Lovelady (1%) - Lovelady made his debut for the Royals and worked a clean inning with two strikeouts against the Mariners. This is a terrible bullpen and Lovelady has been very good in the minor leagues. In any category league deeper than 12 teams he should be rostered.
- Brandon Lowe (37%) - Lowe's ownership probably needs to be in the 70% range like Meadows. We don't know for sure that he'll be good but he has big-time pop and acceptable plate discipline. He should be rostered in any league where you start a middle infielder.
- A.J. Minter (32%) — Minter picked up his first save on Monday and it certainly won't be his last. The Braves have been very cautious with Arodys Vizcaino this spring. No one seems to feel comfortable with his shoulder and the team hasn't allowed him to pitch back-to-back games yet. This is likely a committee for the time being but Minter has an opportunity to seize the job.
- Trevor Cahill (25%) — Cahill was a part of Shaw's bad evening, whiffing eight Brewers over six innings and picking up his first win of the season. After a rough season debut Cahill has put together two quality starts in a row. It's tough to trust he'll stay healthy, but he was very useful in the 110 innings he gave us in 2018.
- Ben Zobrist (35%) — This one's for those of you playing in daily lineup leagues. Zobrist is going to get a lot of days off this season but I expect him to rake when he plays. And so far he's living up to that. He should be a good source of average and OBP and I'd expect his run production to be good when he's in the lineup.
- Willians Astudillo (74%) — At some point, the Twins just need to put Astudillo in the lineup everyday and let him sink or swim. He had a three-hit game Wednesday, and then slugged his first homer of the season Saturday. He's 8 for 23 with four extra-base hits and has hit .353/.374/.534 in his major-league career. He's forcing the issue.
- Clint Frazier (26%) — This season has not gone as expected for the Yankees to date, but Frazier is helping them turn things around. He hit three homers between Saturday and Sunday and is 9 for 28 in eight games since returning from the minors. Concussions ruined his 2018 and playing time concerns loom if the Yankees get healthy, but he's hit 25 homers and stolen 13 bases in 152 career games at Triple-A and can definitely be a mixed-league option with regular playing time.
- Gregory Polanco (68%) — In his final 82 games before shoulder surgery last season, Polanco hit .287/.359/.557, with 15 homers and nine steals. If he's right, he's a must-start stud, and Polanco began his rehab assignment Sunday. He should be back in a few weeks.
- Jorge Alfaro (42%) — Alfaro doesn't hit the ball often, but he hits it hard when he does. He's struck out in 37% of his plate appearances so far, but he's also clubbed three homers. You'll get little help in batting average, but he crushes the ball all over the field. At catcher, that's enough.
- Jeremy Jeffress (38%) — Jeffress likely has 3-4 more rehab assignments left before he can return from his shoulder injury, but he'll likely be back by next week if he avoids a setback. Don't be surprised if he's the full-time closer shortly after, with Josh Hader moving into a more flexible role.
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