If you hadn't heard of Davis Schneider prior to this weekend, suffice it to say you're not alone. MLB Pipeline ranked him 28th among Blue Jays prospects. Baseball America was only slightly more generous, placing him 15th.
But the pint-sized utility player (he stands only 5-feet-9) was actually producing at Triple-A Buffalo prior to his call-up. In fact, it's the main reason he got called up. Sure, Bo Bichette had just gone on the IL with patellar tendinitis, but the Blue Jays had already acquired Paul DeJong to fill in for him. Davis was brought up to provide an offensive spark.
And boy, did he. It began with him homering in his first at-bat Friday. He added another long ball, a 425-foot shot, Sunday, all the while going 9 for 13. How unlikely is that sort of performance to begin a big-league career? So unlikely that it's never been done before. Indeed, Schneider became the first player in MLB history to collect nine hits and two homers in his first three games.
But how good is he really? Is this someone we should be picking up everywhere, or simply as needed? And how likely is it he'll stick around? Those are real questions that demand real answers, so why keep you waiting? Let's kick off today's Waiver Wire with the surprise weekend standout.
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TOR Toronto • #36 • Age: 25
It's true that Schneider wasn't a highly regarded prospect prior to his call-up Friday, but it's also true that he was doing plenty of damage at Triple-A, homering 21 times in just 87 games while reaching base at a .416 clip. His exit velocities were nothing special, so this isn't a player who's oozing with raw talent. But he's one who has learned to maximize what he has, as evidenced by his high fly-ball and pull rates at Triple-A. Pulling the ball in the air is the most surefire way to make up for middling exit velocities, and it helps explain why Davis homered twice in his first three major-league games. But his 9-for-13 start might give you a false impression of his batting average potential given the likelihood of fly-ball outs. A Spencer Steer outcome is on the table here, but it depends on Schneider continuing to produce. Having him at second base forces Whit Merrifield to the outfield, which may not be an everyday solution.
LAA L.A. Angels • #63 • Age: 23
It was widely presumed coming into last week that Silseth would be forfeiting his rotation spot for newly acquired Lucas Giolito. But then Griffin Canning went on the IL with a calf injury, and two starts later, Silseth would appear to be here to stay. The clincher came Sunday when he struck out 12 over seven innings, registering 21 whiffs on 100 pitches. Eight came on his slider, which isn't so surprising given that recent tweaks to that pitch, including dialing back the velocity, are what put Silseth on this path, beginning with a 10-strikeout effort July 19. But the majority of Sunday's whiffs actually came on the splitter, a pitch that Silseth threw 1.6 mph harder and twice as often as usual. Maybe these changes won't stick, but the possibility of more outings like Sunday's makes Silseth worth a pickup everywhere, even as part of a six-man rotation.
Eury Perez SP
MIA Miami • #39 • Age: 20
Perez's roster rate is over the usual 80 percent cutoff for featuring a player here, but not by much. I'll break the rule given how rewarding he could be in those leagues where he is available. The 20-year-old is set to rejoin the rotation Monday after a month-long banishment to the minors in order to preserve his innings. There's no guarantee he picks up where he left off, of course, but he was really hitting his stride prior to being sent down, putting together a 1.83 ERA over his final eight appearances. (Remove a six-run disaster against the Braves, and it's a 0.46 ERA.) It would be surprising if Perez goes more than four innings in his first start back -- or six innings, ever, for the rest of the season -- but he can do a lot with a little and lines up for two starts right away.
Trevor Story SS
BOS Boston • #10 • Age: 31
Last call for Story, who's right at the 80 percent cutoff for inclusion here and will surely leap over it once he's activated Thursday. That's when his 20-day rehab window expires, and the Red Sox want to give him every chance to hit the ground running after missing the first two-thirds of this season due to elbow surgery. It wasn't full-blown Tommy John but an internal bracing procedure that we've seen others like Rhys Hoskins undergo. Story is killing it on his rehab assignment, batting .300 (12 for 40) with four home runs, which is reason enough for optimism. But when you also consider that he played for some time with elbow issues prior to succumbing to surgery, it's reasonable to wonder if he could get back to being the all-around player he was prior to 2021. He'll be a useful power/speed threat regardless.
TEX Texas • #20 • Age: 24
Duran has been sitting more often while batting just .161 (9 for 56) since the All-Star break and, indeed, was out of the lineup Sunday. But he came off the bench and homered in two plate appearances, taking the place of injured third baseman Josh Jung. Turns out Jung has a fractured thumb, which means the Rangers will need a fill-in third baseman for the next couple weeks. That's probably enough to move Duran back into the lineup on a full-time basis, and he may be your best choice to replace Jung in Fantasy as well. Despite his recent struggles, his xBA and xSLG are both around 80th percentile (.271 and .476, respectively), and of course, there's no better place to hit than the Rangers lineup, which provides ample run and RBI opportunities.
Steven Matz SP
STL St. Louis • #32 • Age: 32
Matz continued his fine work of late with six one-run innings against the Rockies on Saturday. He has allowed a combined two earned runs in his past four starts, which is good for a 0.78 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 7.8 K/9. He's been around long enough that we know he hasn't suddenly transformed himself into an ace, but he has had stretches of Fantasy relevance before. His overall ERA is down to 3.91, which is right in line with his 3.94 xERA and 3.94 xFIP. It's at least made him worth having around as a matchups play, and lo, his next matchup is against the hapless Royals.
Max Kepler RF
MIN Minnesota • #26 • Age: 31
Kepler had a big weekend, homering in three consecutive games, but really, he's been a productive player for longer than that. Over his past 40 games, he's batting .291 (39 for 134) with 11 homers and a .925 OPS. It makes him the 16th-best outfielder in points leagues during that stretch, just behind Corbin Carroll. Of course, it's unlikely Kepler is turning over a new leaf at age 30. What stands out most looking under the hood is an improved barrel rate, which may simply suggest that he's hot right now. But hot he is, and particularly in points leagues, which properly appreciate his low strikeout rate, it's worth taking notice.
Matt Wallner LF
MIN Minnesota • #38 • Age: 26
Wallner has now started 18 straight for the Twins, and after his heroics from this weekend, it's unlikely to change anytime soon. He paced the lineup with a 3-for-5 performance Saturday, which included a double, and then hit a walk-off two-run homer Sunday. The ball was hit 109 mph, traveling 415 feet, which is hardly an exception for him. His hardest-hit ball in just 82 at-bats is 113.7 mph, putting him in the 89th percentile. "He's a big boy and hits the ball so hard," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But he's under control. He's never really out of control." It's a three-true-outcomes profile that led to impressive numbers in the minors, and as long as he can keep his strikeout rate around 30 percent (it's 29 now), Wallner has a chance to succeed in the majors. If you need cheap homers, he's your guy.