Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 11

Shallow Waters: 10-12 Team Leagues

2B/3B/OF Jon Berti, Miami Marlins

I have no idea why Berti isn’t at 100% ownership at this point. The man is fantasy gold right now. Since coming back from the COVID-19 injured list in late May he has been granted the opportunity of playing every day while some of the Marlins’ normal starters are sidelined by injury. Incredibly, he has been achieving what we always dreamed guys like Billy Hamilton and Adalberto Mondesi would. He is not only stealing bases at a ridiculous rate (19 steals in 25 games since his return) but also is doing so with an elite .290 average and .390 on-base percentage. Yesterday he was caught stealing for only the 2nd time all year. Sure, his BABIP will likely come down a bit even with his speed and he isn’t guaranteed this playing time once some of the other starters return, but as long as he is playing there is not a fantasy league this man should not be owned and started in. He is currently Mondesi but with good health and plate discipline, and for all we know he could start for the rest of the year.

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OF Alek Thomas, Arizona Diamondbacks

While nothing Thomas has done so far in his first major league season jumps out at you, he has provided solid numbers across the board. The nice thing is, everything he has done seems sustainable, especially when considering his strong minor league track record and how highly he has been regarded in prospect circles. He is a guy who can give you a solid batting average with a little pop and a little speed this year, despite only being 22 years old! What a bright future this kid looks to have, and we can already begin to enjoy it right now.

RP Jorge López, Baltimore Orioles 

Lopez is a guy who I wrote up earlier on this season for his velocity bump and promising results. Not much has changed, and as good as his .75 ERA and .806 WHIP are, the most encouraging thing to me is that he has not walked anybody in the past 30 days. Despite playing for the lowly Orioles, he is a closer worth owning in all leagues for his excellent ratios and his high success rate thus far (13 for 15 in save opportunities). Did you know that his 13 saves are as many as guys like Raisel Iglesias, Craig Kimbrel, and Joe Barlow have? In fact, in these past 30 days, he has had the third most saves amongst closers in the game, yet he is owned in far fewer leagues than those other three closers. Help to change this and reap the rewards. 

Deep-Sea Fishing: 15 Team Leagues

OF Edward Olivares, Kansas City Royals 

Olivares has only had 38 at-bats to go by thus far, so we need to take his numbers with a grain of salt. His triple slash of .390/.439/.658 is buoyed by an unsustainable .419 BABIP that again, has to do with sample size, but he also has continued an encouraging trend of striking out less each year since his original callup in 2020. His K% this year is 12.2 compared to 17.1 last year. He just returned yesterday from over a month and a half’s stay on the injured list and promptly smacked two home runs. He is worth scooping up to see if what he is doing is at all sustainable, as he has the chance to get regular at-bats if it is.

C Jorge Alfaro, San Diego Padres 

Alfaro has always been an intriguing fantasy catcher with how hard he can hit the ball and he has been hitting it very well of late. Unfortunately, his high K% has historically held him back. His K% this year is still above 30% and his BABIP is up at .390- none of which we like to see. However, very interestingly, his launch angle and barrel % are both at career highs and his ground ball % is far lower than it’s ever been (he has had a career ground ball % around 50 and it’s currently around 40!). This is an extremely encouraging development for him. The strikeouts will likely always be a part of his game and cause streaky production, but if this new approach sticks then he should be able to utilize his power more often.

OF Oscar Gonzalez, Cleveland Guardians 

Another player helped so far by a high BABIP, Gonzalez has been a pleasant surprise for Cleveland this year. In over 100 at-bats he has sustained a high batting average and has recently started to show a little power. He now looks to be the primary right fielder for the Guardians and while his batting average won’t remain this high he should still be an asset in fantasy leagues that use batting average instead of on-base percentage.

Plumbing The Depths: Other notable players

OF Bligh Madris, Pittsburgh Pirates

Madris has had a good season in AAA this year hitting .308/.390/.526 with a handful of home runs and a couple of steals. He is playing over Mitchell right now for the Bucs’ outfield and has five hits in his first four games with a homer and a steal already. It will be difficult for him to put up the same kind of numbers he did in the minors against the stiffer competition, and one rough patch will likely result in less playing time. That said, despite the general lack of buzz around him, he is a guy worth monitoring. I’ll be paying attention to his walk %, in particular, to see if he can start incorporating the good plate discipline he showed in AAA.

1B/2B/3B Jonathan Aranda, Tampa Bay Rays

Aranda was just called up by the Rays and was having a nice season at AAA, hitting .310/.386/.512. He has had success at each level of the minors, rising quickly through the system. Still just 24, he is a name to know for dynasties and is another player worth monitoring now for redraft leagues.