Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Austin Riley, Willie Calhoun make impression; Franmil Reyes, Byron Buxton round into form

If you counted out Franmil Reyes or Byron Buxton because of some disappointing numbers early, you may want to count them back in. They're regressing in all the right ways. 

Reyes, who for the second straight year has shown a penchant for making hard contact, has seen more of that contact result in home runs lately — specifically, seven in his past 15 games to give him 13 overall. Crazy thing he's still underachieving if you compare his xwOBA to his actual wOBA, and it looks like he has suffered from considerably bad BABIP luck as well. Whatever playing time concerns may have existed once are well behind him now — after all, the Padres can also see what the data is saying — and it's possible he's a total stud the rest of the way.

Buxton's production also hasn't done his batted-ball profile justice. His strikeout rate is way down and his fly-ball rate way up, and together, those should give him more batting average and home run potential than we've seen from him previously. The batting average hasn't been a problem, but he entered play Wednesday with just one home run all year. After homering in back-to-back games, he's up to three, but his home run-to-fly ball rate remains laughably low. More home runs means more BABIP-independent hits, which means the batting average should rise even more if the power indeed comes around. Meanwhile, speed is as much Buxton's strength as ever — he's 8 for 10 on stolen base attempts so far.

Both Reyes and Buxton are just shy of 80 percent ownership in CBS Sports leagues, which is kind of no-man's land as far as a waiver wire column goes. Most of those reading have already missed their chance to grab them, but the few who haven't need to know just what they're missing. And now they do. 

Four players to add from Thursday

Austin Riley, 3B, ATL (66%) — Riley, of course, has been one of the most added players since word of his promotion Tuesday night, and he's now 2 for 2 in delivering on his potential, following up his first career home run Wednesday with a 3-for-4 performance Thursday. Your window to grab what should be one of the most impactful call-ups of 2019 is quickly closing.

Matt Olson, 1B, OAK (69%) — As with Justin Turner and Yuli Gurriel last year, the presumption was that Olson's return from a broken hamate bone would limit his power production in the early going, but his home run Thursday was his third in nine games since returning to the lineup. His swing is geared for home runs, and he would have been a candidate for 40 this year if he hadn't gotten hurt.

Chris Bassitt, SP, OAK (54%)  — Bassitt isn't getting many swings and misses anymore, falling short of double digits for the third straight start, but he continues to impress, shutting out the Tigers over eight innings Thursday. Few pitchers in today's game have the ability (or are given the leeway, at least) to throw seven innings with consistency, but he has done it in three of his past four starts, which is reason enough alone to take a flier even if his skills are still in question.

Willie Calhoun, OF, TEX — Calhoun doesn't have an easy path to at-bats, but the Rangers have made him a priority in two games since bringing him back from Triple-A, where he had not only regained the power stroke that went missing last year but was walking more than he struck out. He has rewarded their faith with six hits (including four Thursday) and two home runs.

Winners and Losers

Winners

Zach Davies, SP, MIL — This year, Davies has leaned more than ever on his best pitch, the changeup, which seems to work out well for pitchers who go that route. It led to his ninth straight start allowing two earned runs or fewer Thursday, lowering his ERA to 1.54, but because it isn't a swing-and-miss pitch, predictive stats like xFIP and SIERA remain highly skeptical (as should we all).

Rougned Odor, 2B, TEX — Odor homered for the fourth and fifth time Thursday, raising his batting average all the way ... to .167. It's a first step toward redemption for a historically frustrating player, but judging from his miserable strikeout and line-drive rates so far, it's hard to make the case he's been a victim of bad luck.

Miguel Sano, 3B, MIN — Making his season debut after a lengthy absence for a heel laceration, Sano started at third base and doubled twice in two at-bats. He has a tremendous power profile that makes him worth a flier in leagues of any real size, but he has an equally tremendous flaw: the inability to make contact. It was as evident as ever on his rehab assignment, during which he struck out 14 times in 44 plate appearances.

Logan Forsythe, 1B/2B/3B/SS, TEX — Forsythe has become the player rookie manager Chris Woodward can't bring himself to take out of the lineup, making a fourth straight start at a fourth different position Thursday, and it resulted in a fourth straight multi-hit game. His success so far is built on a bloated BABIP and won't continue to this extent, but it wasn't too many years ago he was considered a Fantasy asset. Something to keep an eye on.

Losers

Trevor Bauer, SP, CLE — Bauer has put together enough dominant starts this season that it's hard to get too concerned, especially given the scarcity of pitchers with anywhere close to his potential. But he gave up seven earned runs for the second time in three starts Thursday and has now issued 18 walks in his past five starts.

Zack Wheeler, SP, NYM — Wheeler just can't seem to get that ERA on the right side of four, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits over six innings Thursday. Three of his previous four starts were seven innings with two earned runs or fewer and double-digit strikeouts, so the impact has been there. A little reliability would be nice, though.

Ozzie Albies, 2B, ATL — Albies dropped to eighth in the batting order Thursday as his downward spiral continues. He's now 6 for 44 (.136) with 14 strikeouts over his past 11 games, and the batted-ball numbers are now almost virtually identical to last year, which isn't necessarily good news. A switch-hitter who struggles from the left side is disadvantaged, but your alternatives at second base are limited.

Jason Heyward, OF, CHC — Whatever success Heyward was having early this season is looking more than ever like just a hot streak. His fly-ball rate has regressed to about normal, he's back to making weak contact, and with an 0-for-3 performance Thursday, he's 12 for 80 (.150) in his past 22 games.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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