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USATSI

Before I highlight some of the emerging waiver wire pickups from this weekend, I want to make sure we have our priorities straight.

Some of you reading this edition of Waiver Wire never miss an article. You devoured the last one, and you'll devour the next. But many only click occasionally and, for whatever reason, decided to click on this one. 

Given that dichotomy, who should I be catering to? How often should I duplicate names? Should I always emphasize the very best waiver wire pickups, regardless of what they did the day before, or should I keep things as current as possible, highlighting the players on the tip of everyone's tongue? The answer is, of course, "yes," and so I weigh those tensions against each other and use my best judgment.

But if you're a drive-by stopping in for the first time in weeks, I want to make sure you're aware of three pitchers who stand head and shoulders above anyone else you'll find on the waiver wire, most likely. They're not the most logical choices to feature today, but they're too good to pass over.

  • Brewers left-hander Aaron Ashby is 81 percent rostered now, which makes him ineligible for this column, but just barely. He struck out nine over six innings Saturday after striking out 12 over six innings in his previous start. He combines elite swing-and-miss rates with elite ground-ball rates, a rare combination that could yield ace results.
  • Braves right-hander Spencer Strider is 50 percent rostered. He has an overpowering fastball/slider combo that yielded big strikeout totals in a relief role. His second turn in the rotation Saturday was marred by five walks, but he otherwise held his own at Coors Field. He admitted afterward he was chasing strikeouts instead of just letting them come to him. 
  • Marlins right-hander Edward Cabrera is 43 percent rostered. He struggled as a rookie last year but has piled up bunches of strikeouts over his minor-league career. He looked closer to that form in his 2022 debut last week, striking out nine over six one-hit innings. The four walks present cause for concern, but he's still worth pursuing for the upside.

Now then, let's see who else is available on the waiver wire ...

Possible waiver wire pickups
TOR Toronto • #30 • Age: 23
Rostered
76%
2022 Stats
AVG
.307
HR
5
OPS
.860
AB
140
BB
20
K
14
I've seen enough. Alejandro Kirk is a top-six catcher rest of season. He had a quiet April, as did much of the league, but beginning with his first extra-base hit on May 3, he has been the terror I knew he could be, batting .358 (29 for 81) with five homers and a 1.072 OPS in 25 games. Four of those home runs have come in his past five games. He combines the contact rate of a Luis Arraez with the exit velocities of a Mookie Betts, and he does so at the weakest position in Fantasy Baseball.
HOU Houston • #26 • Age: 30
Rostered
69%
2022 Stats
AVG
.305
HR
5
OPS
.814
AB
197
BB
20
K
39
Trey Mancini's lack of strikeouts are also yielding better results as the weather warms up. Since the start of May, a span of 32 games, he's batting .355 with four homers and a .951 OPS. His power is undermined by the new dimensions of his home park, but he did homer there twice last week. Even more encouraging, he seems to have altered his approach to fit his new reality, boasting career-best strikeout and line-drive rates (17.4 and 25.3 percent).
CLE Cleveland • Age: 23
Rostered
63%
2022 Stats
AVG
.307
HR
7
SB
4
OPS
.869
AB
137
K
34
Andres Gimenez's breakthrough season continued over the weekend with two home runs, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. He had been a light hitter in the majors the past couple years, but he's only now 23. Judging by his .299 xBA and .515 xSLG, Statcast backs up what he's doing, his metrics having improved across the board. The downside is that the Guardians have been platooning him with Owen Miller, possibly just as a way to keep everyone involved, and given how Miller's production has slowed, it could quickly change. Gimenez has the look of another Jean Segura, possibly more.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #5 • Age: 23
Rostered
47%
2022 Stats
AVG
.291
HR
2
SB
6
OBP
.380
OPS
.848
AB
79
The mid-May call-up continues to impress, showing much better plate discipline than he ever did in the minors. He went 5 for 9 with two doubles in a doubleheader against the Cardinals on Saturday and has become firmly entrenched at the top of the Cubs' lineup. His tools have never been in question -- he makes high-quality contact and doesn't shy away from stealing bases -- so if the plate discipline holds, the impact potential is great. And now he's eligible at second base in addition to the outfield, making him that much easier to fit in your lineup.
MIN Minnesota • #19 • Age: 24
Rostered
29%
2022 Minors
AVG
.351
HR
6
OPS
1.050
AB
97
BB
19
K
18
Alex Kirilloff seems to have worked through the wrist injury that was inhibiting his swing earlier in the year. He was hitting mostly singles when the Twins first sent him down to Triple-A in mid-May, only furthering concerns that he may not regain the power he had prior to last year's surgery. But with two home runs Sunday, he now has four in his past three games, and just like that, his Triple-A numbers are looking formidable indeed. The walks are an encouraging development as well. Between first base and the outfield, the Twins should be able to carve out a role for him, and his upside makes him well worth the stash.
MIN Minnesota • Age: 24
Rostered
25%
2022 Stats
AVG
.202
HR
4
2B
6
OPS
.641
AB
89
K
21
Part of the reason the Twins haven't found an opening for Kirilloff yet is because Jose Miranda has recently begun to live up this potential at the big-league level. He kicked off the weekend with a two-homer game Friday and is now batting .361 (13 for 36) with three homers and four doubles in his past 11 games. It's an exciting development for a player who hit .344 with 30 homers and a .973 OPS in the minors last year -- one who qualifies at third base, no less. Miranda could be the one to put an end to your desperation at that position.
CLE Cleveland • #45 • Age: 24
Rostered
15%
Wednesday vs. Royals
INN
5
H
5
ER
0
BB
2
K
8
I didn't get a chance to highlight Konnor Pilkington after his impressive start last week, but now is just as appropriate of a time seeing as he's in line to start against the Rangers and Athletics this week. He's a risky play even with those favorable matchups, but the left-hander did show legitimate potential in his last start, racking up 17 swinging strikes while picking up a mile per hour on his fastball. The rookie wasn't known for his stuff in the minors but rather his pitchability, which makes the uptick in velocity all the more encouraging.
PHI Philadelphia • #5 • Age: 24
Rostered
15%
2022 Stats
AVG
.159
HR
2
SB
1
OPS
.471
AB
88
K
27
The numbers are terrible. The data underlying them is terrible. Suffice it to say Bryson Stott has been terrible as a rookie so far. But he did hit .333 (12 for 36) with two home runs during a brief return to the minors after hitting .299 with 16 homers and a .876 OPS there last year. The potential is obvious, and now he has a better opportunity to make good on it with Jean Segura sidelined for the next couple months. No more in and out of the lineup. No more bouncing around the infield. Stott responded over the weekend with his first two home runs and is 6 for 18 (.333) over his past five games.
WAS Washington • #2 • Age: 22
Rostered
9%
2022 Minors
AVG
.314
HR
8
OPS
.899
AB
175
BB
16
K
34
Luis Garcia has known only futility so far in the majors, but he was 20 when he first got the call in 2020. At 22, he may be better equipped for this latest opportunity, particularly given the fine work he was doing at Triple-A Rochester (see above). So far in five games as the Nationals shortstop, he's 7 for 19 (.368) with two doubles. No telling yet if he'll stick, but he represents an upside play with eligibility at both second base and shortstop.
TEX Texas • #70 • Age: 23
Rostered
6%
2022 Minors
AVG
.317
HR
7
2B
24
SB
7
OPS
.939
AB
183
With Josh H. Smith having suffered a sprained shoulder after less than a week on the job, the Rangers will make a second attempt to meet their third base need via their farm system, and this one might be even more exciting than the first. Ezequiel Duran has demonstrated both power and speed in the minors and seems to have taken another step forward this year, cutting his strikeout rate to 18.0 percent and his ground-ball rate to 29.7 percent. He has optimized his swing for both average and power, in other words, and put it on display in his second day on the job Sunday, going 2 for 4 with a homer.