Looking for streamers for this weekend? Trying to get a jump on the competition for your waiver runs this weekend? Or are you just looking for something to watch this weekend on MLB.tv? Either way, my preview for this weekend's action is here, with waiver-wire targets, the latest injuries you need to know about, and the most recent bullpen updates:
Waiver-wire starting pitchers to watch
These players are listed roughly in order of how interested I am in adding them:
- Logan Allen (49%) @BOS, Sunday – We don't really know if Allen is long for the Guardians rotation, especially with how good Tanner Bibee looked in his MLB debut Wednesday. But I was really impressed by Allen in his MLB debut, as he struck out eight with just one walk in six innings, racking up 16 swinging strikes. Allen has a deceptive delivery that helps his fastball play up, and I think he could be really good for at least his first few turns through the rotation before hitters catch on.
- Mason Miller (69%) vs. CIN, Sunday – We really have no idea how much Miller is even going to pitch this season, given his practically nonexistent track record, but he's got a 31% strikeout rate through two starts and the stuff looks incredible. Given that the A's have let him throw 80-plus pitches in each of his first two starts, I think he should be pretty useful for Fantasy, at least in the short term.
- Garrett Whitlock (53%) vs. CLE, Saturday – Between the injury that delayed his start to the season and some ups and downs early, it's been a trying start to the season for Whitlock. I'm a believer in the talent, more than most, it seems, so I'm still going to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, Whitlock does need to show us something pretty soon.
- Wade Miley (60%) vs. LAA, Friday – Miley has never really been someone Fantasy players got excited about, but he's posted ERAs of 3.37 and 3.16 over the previous two seasons, so he's certainly had some utility. The underlying numbers will never really back that up, because he relies on limiting hard contact rather than on racking up strikeouts, but he's doing it again this season. Given how hard it has been to find pitching help, I can't exactly ignore it.
- Vince Velasquez (30%) @WAS, Saturday – Given his rather lengthy and mediocre track record, I'm rather skeptical of the gains Vince Velasquez has made so far. But, it's worth noting that, at least in the early going, he really is looking like a different pitcher, having upped his slider usage considerably, with huge decreases in hard contact allowed as a result. His fastball is still a bit of a problem (.475 expected wOBA allowed), and this might just be a small-sample string of good fortune. But I don't want to just ignore it or write it off as entirely fluky.
- Matthew Boyd (37%) @BAL, Saturday – The weirdest thing about Boyd's start to the season is also apparently the biggest reason to be optimistic: He's kept his head above water without his slider really working. Boyd's changeup has been his best swing and miss pitch, while his fastball is playing up well despite losing some velocity; if he can get the slider working the way it normally is, maybe he can build off a decent start and become a viable starter.
- Edward Cabrera (65%) vs. CHC, Saturday – If a player's biggest flaw is something that should be fairly easy to fix, is that a reason to be optimistic or pessimistic? In Cabrera's case, his fastball command remains the biggest thing holding him back, which should be pretty easy to fix. If he does, the rest of his profile – .325 expected wOBA on contact, 38%-plus whiff rate with both the changeup and curveball – should make him a must-start pitcher.
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Waiver-wire hitters to watch
These players are listed roughly in order of how interested in adding them I am:
- Gabriel Moreno (52%) – The results haven't been great so far, but Moreno has been good enough to be a starting catcher for most Fantasy teams overall. But there's still room for improvement, as evidenced by above-average quality of contact metrics pretty much across the board. Moreno should remain a solid source of batting average, but I think there's more pop here than we've seen so far.
- Connor Joe (33%) – Players who are fringe Fantasy options in Coors Field don't tend to turn into contributors when they leave, so Joe's trying to overcome a lot of history. I'm skeptical that his recent production is sustainable, but he's posting pretty excellent quality of contact metrics, including a .279 expected batting average and .469 expected slugging percentage. Skepticism is warranted, but Joe is worth adding while he's hot, at least.
- Jarren Duran (32%) – Duran is a player I've been hoping would pan out for a while, and he's showing his upside here of late. It's not clear the Red Sox are willing to trust him as an everyday player, but he might be forcing the team's hand here, with a whopping 64% hard-hit rate and 96 mph average exit velocity. Duran has a nice power/speed skill set if he can tap into it, and right now he is. This is a very high upside add if you have room.
- Brandon Drury (58%) – I've had Drury on the cut list the previous few weeks, but I've gotta do a bit of an about-face here. He homered again Thursday, giving him four in as many games and pushing his season line to .256/.300/.525. Drury had a .477 OPS five games ago, so this is still very much just a small hot streak, but it's the first sign we've had that maybe last season wasn't a fluke. To be clear, I still think the likeliest outcome is that it was, more or less. But this sign of life is enough to keep me from writing him off entirely.
- Mauricio Dubon (36%) – Dubon has been red-hot to open the season, and while it's mostly been singles, this isn't necessarily a wholly unsustainable BABIP situation. Dubon doesn't have a ton of power, but he's struck out just 7.5% of the time in the early going, helping lead to a .316 expected batting average. That feels like a pretty solid baseline, but I'd feel even better about him if he ran more – just two steals in 21 games isn't really getting it done. If Dubon started running more, he'd be even more interesting as a waiver target.
- Jack Suwinski (35%) – Suwinski showed some solid pop last season, but nothing like we've seen so far. He's in the 90th percentile in average exit velocity and 88th in hard-hit rate, while walking a ton with a manageable strikeout rate – oh, and he's got four steals already, too. He still isn't showing the ability to hit left-handed pitching (he has a .154/.333/.231 line against them in 18 PA), and that's going to put a ceiling on how useful Suwinski can be. But even then, the skillset we're seeing right now is plenty valuable for Roto leagues.
- Brent Rooker (41%) – Rookie has averaged 45 homers per-150 games at Triple, so there isn't much question about the power – though if there were, his 84th percentile average exit velocity would answer some of them. The question is whether he can make consistent contact, given his 30.7% strikeout rate at Triple-A. So far, that hasn't been an issue, and while I think it's almost certain he won't sustain an 18% strikeout rate, he's avoiding swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, which is helping make up for the big swing and miss in his game. That swing and miss may ultimately prove too much to overcome, but it hasn't been an issue right now.
- Joseph Ortiz (4%) – Ortiz was called up by the Orioles Thursday and went 1 for 3 with three RBI in his debut. The shortstop prospect has hit .351/.396/.542 in 42 career games in Triple-A, and while I don't think he'll sustain anything close to that production in the majors, he's worth a look in deeper leagues.
The cut watchlist
We're not necessarily dropping these guys yet, but we're certainly putting them on notice.
- Robbie Ray, SP, Mariners – Unfortunately, if you haven't heard the news yet, Ray's season is over due to a flexor strain injury. He's going to have surgery to repair the injury and he's done for the season, so you can safely let go of him. He should be in line to return next season, but at 32 and coming off a serious injury, it's going to be tough to treat him as much more than a mid-range dice roll SP.
- Taj Bradley, SP, Rays – The Rays surprisingly sent Bradley back to Triple-A despite a 3.52 ERA and 23 strikeouts in his first 15.1 innings. But I'm writing about him here to tell you, emphatically, not to drop him – he was sent down to get on an every-fifth-day throwing schedule, and hopefully will be back in the rotation after one or two turns.
- Jordan Walker, 3B/OF, Cardinals – I'm also writing about Walker to tell you not to drop him, despite his own demotion. His return to the majors is less assured than Bradley's but he might make his own timetable if he goes down and crushes. The Cardinals will be watching his defense and plate discipline, but if he goes down to Triple-A and crushes it for a few weeks while the Cards offense continues to struggle, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's back soon.
- Logan O'Hoppe, C, Angels – O'Hoppe is hoping to play again this season, but I don't see how you can stash him unless you play in a league with unlimited IL spots. He's expected to be out until September in an absolute best-case scenario after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and there's no guarantee he'll hit well coming back from that injury.
- Andrew Vaughn, 1B, White Sox – I've wanted to bet on Vaughn every season of his career, but I'm just not sure it's going to happen. He's a fine hitter, but I'm just not sure he'll ever be much more than fine. He's a little better than league average in strikeout rate and walk rate, but his expected wOBA on contact is just .343, well below the league average of .368; it was below average last season as well.
- Brice Turang, SS, Brewers – I bought into Turang's potential when he got called up, and while he's shown some flashes, his overall production is pretty bad. He's hitting .213/.263/.320 through 80 plate appearances, and his expected wOBA is actually somehow worse than that. There's too much swing and miss right now for a guy who doesn't hit the ball with authority consistently enough. Turang is still an interesting young player, but he's not doing enough to justify a spot on most Fantasy rosters.
- Jesse Winker, OF, Brewers – I wanted to believe in the Winker bounceback, but we've been given almost no reason to think it's coming. Despite being shielded from left-handed pitching, Winker has been a disaster so far, hitting .212/.323/.269 without much in the quality-of-contact metrics to suggest better days are ahead. Winker could always get hot and make this look dumb – I'm hoping it happens, to be clear! – but right now his expected wOBA of .282 is in the 19th percentile among all hitters. Gross.
Closer situations to watch
has the latest bullpen notes you need to know about from this week's action. Here are the most uncertain ninth inning situations in the game right now.
- Braves: A.J. Minter blew a four-run lead Thursday and now has an 8.53 ERA. That specific number overstates how poorly he's pitched, but with Raisel Iglesias (shoulder) beginning his rehab assignment Thursday, Minter's time as the closer is almost up anyways.
- Phillies: Craig Kimbrel struck out two for his third save Thursday, but I'm assuming Jose Alvarado just wasn't available after pitching Wednesday. Alvarado won't get every save for the Phillies, but I still think he's clearly the guy here.
- Cubs: Brad Boxberger got the save Thursday, with Michael Fulmer pitching in the sixth. Given how much Fulmer has struggled this season, it's no surprise that they want to try to keep him out of high-leverage situations for now.
- Astros: The Astros have been one of the weirder closer situations in the league, with Ryan Pressly not getting his first save until April 21. Bryan Abreu got consecutive saves after that, but Pressly was back in the ninth inning for his second save Wednesday. If Pressly is healthy, I think he's still the closer here, but I don't really have a good explanation for why he's been used so sparingly.
- Angels: Carlos Estevez got his third save in five games Thursday, while Jose Quijada hasn't gotten a save since April 21. I don't think Estevez is just going to get every save moving forward, but I think he's likelier to get the next opportunity than not.
Injury report updates
- Aaron Judge was removed Thursday with right hip discomfort. The good news is, this doesn't seem to be related to the awkward slide from Wednesday, but obviously it's not a great sign. Hopefully he's back out there this weekend.
- Justin Verlander (shoulder) will make his minor-league rehab debut Friday at Double-A, and he could be cleared to join the rotation shortly after that.
- Tyler Mahle's velocity sharply declined in Thursday's start, and he was removed with elbow soreness. Not a great sign for a guy who missed a lot of time last season with shoulder injuries.
- Kenta Maeda is expected to go on the IL with right arm fatigue, though an MRI revealed no structural damage. If you have an IL spot, he's okay to hang on to, but I wouldn't stash him on my bench given how bad he's been this season.
- Wil Myers was placed on the IL, retroactive to April 26, due to an undisclosed illness.
- J.D. Martinez has been unable to swing a bat while missing three straight days with lower back tightness. He could be a candidate for the Il.
- Yoan Moncada (back) will not be cleared to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. He's dealing with a disc issue in his back, which is concerning.
- Carlos Carrasco (elbow) threw a bullpen session without issue Thursday. He's on the IL with a bone chip in his right elbow, but will try to pitch through the discomfort for now.
- Tarik Skubal is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday, his first mound work since having flexor tendon surgery last August. He could be back in June and is worth stashing if you have the roster spot – Skubal had a 3.52 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 117.2 innings before the injury last season.