MLB: New York Mets at Tampa Bay Rays
Kim Klement Neitzel / USA TODAY Sports

The list of must-start pitchers on the IL with arm injuries has been too long to list going back to when the likes of Kyle Bradish, Gerritt Cole, and Kodai Senga went on the IL. And while Bradish made his return from his elbow injury this week and Cole and Senga are making good progress, it's not like that list has gotten any shorter since the spring; Joe Musgrove was added to the IL Sunday with elbow inflammation, so add another name to the list.

The good news is, there have been plenty of very interesting pitchers who have popped up on the waiver-wire over the course of the season, and while it's come in waves – the last couple of weeks have been a relative fallow period – we got another handful of really interesting performances by widely available pitchers this weekend. So, we're going to kick off this week's look at the top waiver-wire options with a few pitchers who could help fill a Musgrove-sized hole in your rotation: 

Christian Scott, SP, Mets (58%) – In his debut, Scott made it through 6.2 innings of work against the Rays Saturday, scattering five hits with six strikeouts while giving up just one earned run. The stuff was mostly as advertised, as he sat in the mid-90s with his four-seam fastball, which played up for eight whiffs on 22 swings thanks to his arm angle and movement profile; Scott also added six whiffs on his sweeper and four more with slider, while generating enough of a different look to think both can remain effective pitches. One thing we didn't get to see much of from Scott was the splitter – he threw eight of them against a very righty-heavy lineup. Scott has been one of the biggest risers in prospect circles of the past year, and while I'm not sure I love the idea of starting him this week against the Braves, I do think we've seen enough already to slap the "must-roster" label on him. 

John Means, SP, Orioles (53%) – If I had only one roster spot to play with this week, I would prioritize Scott over Means, but it wouldn't be an easy call. Means has had a rocky couple of years since having Tommy John surgery back in 2022, but he looked pretty awesome in his return to the Orioles rotation Saturday, striking out eight over seven shutout innings against the Reds. Means' velocity wasn't near his 2020, but he still managed 19 whiffs on 85 pitches, primarily with his changeup and slider. Means always had issues keeping the ball in the yard that limited his appeal for Fantasy, but the changes to Camden Yards' left-field dimensions seemed tailor-made to maximize his value. So far, so good. 

Taj Bradley, SP, Rays (46%) – It's hard to ask any more from Bradley than what he's managed in his first two rehab starts at Triple-A: 15 strikeouts to three walks in 11 innings of work. He's working his way back from a pectoral injury, and it sounds like Bradley's next start is going to come this week in the majors. He still has a lot to prove after struggling to a 5.59 ERA as a rookie, but the upside here remains well worth chasing if you can't get Scott or Means. 

Alek Manoah, Blue Jays (46%) – Alright, there's a pretty big dropoff from those three to Manoah, and honestly, if you aren't chasing upside and just need a streamer for Week 7, Manoah wouldn't really be near the top of the list: Go for Cole Irvin (27%), Reese Olson (51%), Brady Singer or even someone like Kyle Gibson (41%) instead. But if I'm just speculating, I still think I'd rather do so with a guy who was a Cy Young finalist just two years ago. To be clear, Manoah didn't pitch well in his return to the rotation Sunday, giving up six runs over four innings (with four walks), hence why I'm not optimistic about starting him anytime soon. The walks remain too high, for one thing, and while his slider was alright, he still isn't getting the same kind of break he did in 2022, which makes it especially tough to buy in. But again, if I'm just chasing upside, Manoah still has some, I think. I hope. 

Before we get to the top waiver-wire targets for the rest of the positions, we have another big-name hitting prospect set to get the call Monday, with the Guardians expected to promote Kyle Manzardo, with Steven Kwan going on the IL with a hamstring injury. And yes, he should absolutely be a high priority add – perhaps even a bigger priority than the likes of Joey Loperfido, Tyler Black, and Jordan Beck, the prospects called up last week. Here are my thoughts: 

Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians – Manzardo has been absurdly hot down at Triple-A, to the point where it was frankly starting to get a bit embarrassing that he was still down there. It can be tough to make room for a 1B/DH-only player, especially since those haven't been real issues for the Guardians so far this season. However, with Steven Kwan expected to go on the IL after leaving Saturday's game with hamstring tightness, the Guardians have a spot to play with and are giving Manzardo the call. He is hitting .303/.375/.642 with just a 17.2% strikeout rate in Triple-A this season, and has homered seven times in his past 12 games, making the promotion only a matter of time. Manzardo struggled to hit for average at Triple-A last season and this isn't a can't-miss profile – 1B/DH-only types are never "can't miss" – but he's been an incredibly productive player overall in his minor-league career, and absolutely has the talent to be a difference maker. Think a Vinnie Pasquantino or Josh Naylor-esque upside if all goes right. 

Here's who else we're looking to add ahead of Week 7: 


Danny Jansen, Blue Jays (22%) – Jansen started the season on the IL, but it really didn't take him long to get going: He had a couple of doubles in his second game of the season and is hitting .306/.419/.694 in his first 12 games. He has started 11 of 18 games since his return, with Kirk starting the other seven, so it sure looks like Jansen is just the top option here. 

Deep-league target: Joey Bart, Pirates (5%) – I'd guess Yasmani Grandal is going to get the majority of the playing time here, but Bart has already outlasted one guy we expected to play ahead of him. At least he brings pop to the table for deeper, two-catcher leagues.

First Base

Nolan Schanuel, Angels (32%) – It's been a disappointing start to the season for Schanuel, but there's reason to believe he's had a bit of bad luck, with a .324 expected wOBA that is clear of his actual .313 mark. He's going to hit near the top of the Angels lineup with Mike Trout out, and could be a very solid source of batting average and runs, if nothing else. 

Deep-league target: Jonathan Aranda, Rays (13%) – I wonder if the Rays want to give Aranda one last look before they finally call Junior Caminero up. Aranda is working his way back from a broken finger suffered at the end of spring training, but he started his minor-league rehab assignment this week and should be back soon. He hasn't done much in the majors, but is a career .303/.390/.478 hitter in the minors, and has some Michael Busch, post-hype sleeper potential.

Second base

Brandon Lowe, Rays (61%) – Lowe will begin his rehab assignment this week, as he works his way back from an oblique injury from early April, and should be back from the IL later this week. He remains a terrific source of power at the position, and should be a solid starter when healthy. 

Deep-league target: Vidal Brujan, Marlins (5%) – Brujan started both games after Luis Arraez was traded Friday, and while he's done very little overall at the MLB level, maybe there's some post-hype sleeper appeal here – he did steal two bases Friday and had 23 steals in 43 games at Triple-A this season.

Third base

Tyler Black, Brewers (32%) – I wrote about Black when he got the call earlier this week, and my stance is mostly the same: He's an interesting talent, with the ability to get on base and do a lot once he's on, but I'm not sure there's going to be much power here, which makes it a narrower margin for error. However, one thing he has going for him is the fact that the Brewers have slotted him right in the top four of the lineup in each of his first four career games. If he does hit, he's going to matter for that alone. 

Deep-league target: Matt Vierling, Tigers (6%) – Vierling had a bit of deep sleeper hype coming into the season, and he looks pretty awesome right now – his .341 wOBA is the best mark of his career, with career-best quality-of-contact metrics across the board. I don't think he's likely to matter much outside of deeper leagues, but, his multi-position eligibility has some appeal for 15-team leagues.


Vaughn Grissom, Red Sox (44%) – Grissom finally returned from the IL Friday, and while he didn't do much in his first two games, I remain very intrigued by what the career .283/.335/.402 hitter can do in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball. He could be a legitimate batting average standout. 

Deep-league target: Orelvis Martinez, Blue Jays (23%) – Martinez has been awesome to open the season, hitting .288/.363/.577 at Triple-A, and with the Jays getting little from several lineup spots, you have to think they'll find room for Martinez at some point – he has players second, third, and shortstop in the minors, by the way.


Andy Pages, Dodgers (73%) – He's hitting .338/.357/.600 with very good quality-of-contact metrics for the Dodgers. He should be rostered in all formats. 

Tommy Pham, White Sox () – Pham probably doesn't need to be rostered in three-outfielder leagues, but anything deeper than that, he's at least worth considering. He's in a terrible lineup, but a pretty good home park, and had 16 homers and 22 steals last season. That'll play in any category-based league, for sure. 

Joey Loperfido, Astros () – It's been an ugly start for Loperfido, who has struck out in 44% of his plate appearances as of Sunday, without an extra-base hit. But still, for those of you in weekly waiver wire leagues, this is your first chance to add Loperfido, and I still think the upside he's shown in the minors makes him worth an add. If the slow start knocks a few bucks off his FAB price, well I won't complain about that. 

Deep-league targets: Dylan Carlson, Cardinals (5%), Dane Meyers, Marlins (1%) – Carlson has been a pretty big disappointment since his days as a top prospect, but he's back from the IL and could have some post-hype sleeper potential for deeper leagues, at least.

Relief pitcher

Daniel Hudson, Dodgers (27%) – With Evan Phillips placed on the IL with a hamstring injury this weekend, we didn't get to see a save opportunity from the Dodgers bullpen, so this is speculation. But Sunday against the Braves, with a late-inning lead, it was Joe Kelly working the seventh and Blake Treinen in the eighth, so it sure seems like Hudson could have been in line for the save. The Dodgers may opt to not have one closer with Phillips out, but I would bet on Hudson getting the next save, with Treinen a dark horse candidate. 

Trevor Megill, Brewers (18%) – It was Megill all along? First we anointed  Abner Uribe as the Brewers closer, then it looked like Joel Payamps might have the job. However, Payamps hasn't had a save since April 24, while Megill got the team's only save this weekend. I'm hesitant to just declare he's the Brewers closer, but he's clearly in the mix for high-leverage situations, so if you're in the kind of league where everyone with a chance to get a save is rostered, Megill should be in that discussion, for sure.