Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Beat the rush for Matt McLain
The following players are widely available in Yahoo Fantasy Baseball formats and might be worth grabbing, depending on your league’s depth.
Matt McLain, Cincinnati Reds (25% rostered)
McLain is expected to be called up by Cincinnati on Monday after leading Triple-A in OPS this season. The 2021 first-rounder has hit 12 home runs and stolen 10 bags in just over 138 at-bats, so the rookie is worth adding in fantasy leagues.
McLain should get an opportunity as the Reds starting shortstop, and he’ll benefit from one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball. Great American Ballpark has increased run scoring by 23% (only Coors Field is higher) and boosted homers for righties a whopping 39% the past three seasons.
Rookies are a gamble, but McLain has enough power/speed upside and is hitting in the right park to have real fantasy value moving forward.
James Paxton, Boston Red Sox (18%)
Paxton was throwing harder than ever during his season debut last week, when his fastball averaged 96.3 mph and induced a bunch of whiffs. He’s a clear injury risk, having not totaled 30.0 innings since 2019, but a healthy Paxton was once one of the league’s most dominant starters. It’s unclear how Boston will handle its current rotation depth, but Paxton should remain a fixture while throwing like this.
Steamer projects Paxton to post a 10.5 K/9 over the rest of the season, and he remains available in more than 80% of Yahoo leagues, despite an ugly pitching landscape right now.
Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins (22%)
Kirilloff’s wrist issues remain a long-term concern, but he has looked terrific since returning from offseason surgery. His two-homer game Saturday likely got fantasy managers' attention, and Kirilloff suddenly sports a 1.308 OPS with more walks than strikeouts. The former first-round pick can hit, and big numbers could follow if he’s finally healthy; THE BAT X projects a 119 wRC+ rest of season, which would make him a top-60 hitter in the league currently. Kirilloff is settling in as Minnesota’s first baseman and has recently moved to second in the batting order. He is 1B- and OF-eligible and should be added even in shallow fantasy leagues.
Nick Anderson, Atlanta Braves (6%)
Anderson is a sneaky stash for saves right now, with A.J. Minter blowing up (8.05 ERA) and Raisel Iglesias showing an alarming decrease in velocity after returning from a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, Anderson owns a career 2.49 FIP, a 0.94 WHIP and a 38.3 K% that would rank sixth among relievers this season. Anderson pitched a clean eighth in his past two appearances before Iglesias has blown saves (allowing four runs over 1 1/3 innings), so he's next in line to close on an Atlanta team that should provide many save opportunities moving forward. Anderson remains available in more than 90% of Yahoo leagues and is one small role switch from possibly being a top-five fantasy reliever the rest of 2023.
Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds (22%)
Senzel has been a bust since being drafted second overall in 2016, but health has mostly been the culprit. He put up big numbers in the minors, has been batting in the middle of the Reds’ lineup and will benefit from one of baseball’s very best hitter’s parks.
Of course, Senzel is a perennial fantasy disappointment and remains one of the league’s bigger injury risks, but he’s also widely available on waiver wires, despite projections calling for double-digit homers and steals in 90 games, rest-of-season. Senzel is third-base eligible as well as in the outfield, and he possesses real fantasy upside.