Another day and there were a few more notable promotions for players who could make an impact (though one has a much bigger name than the other). Are these two more players we should be rushing to the wire for? Let’s take a look:
Austin Riley – Atlanta Braves – Third Baseman/Outfielder
The Braves had only just recently started trying Riley out in the outfield (4 games), but the injury to Ender Inciarte has expedited his arrival. The fact that it was even an option tells us how badly they wanted to find a way to get his bat to the Majors, and even once Inciarte returns with experience at 1B and 3B the Braves may find a way to keep him playing 4-5 days per week if he’s producing (or they could keep Inciarte as a fourth outfielder).
Given these numbers at Triple-A this season, it makes sense that the Braves were anxious:
.299 (43-144), 15 HR, 39 RBI, 32 R, 0 SB
He’s hit 5 HR over his past six games and 7 HR in his past 10, so there is no doubt that he’s been scorching hot. How maintainable or realistic is this surge? He hit 19 HR across three levels last season (in 408 AB) and had never hit more than 20 HR in a year before. There was always potential for added power, though a 27.8% HR/FB? It’s not as unrealistic as you may think, given this note from MLB.com:
Riley’s raw power is legitimate and he’s already shown an ability to tap into it
He’s not likely to keep up this pace, but there’s power in his bat and there’s reason to think that he will continue to be a productive option in that regard.
The problem is going to be his average, given these metrics:
- Fly Ball Rate – 48.6%
- SwStr% – 12.9%
It’s not that he chases and he can draw a walk (11.1% this season), but his 19.1% strikeout rate is going to rise. Couple that with an elevated fly ball rate, which will keep his BABIP capped (he’s at .286 at Triple-A) and when the power slows the average will fall. Does that mean you don’t want to add him? Of course not, because even at .260 with 20-25 HR in the middle of a strong lineup he’s going to make an impact.
Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:
- 10 Team League – Must add
- 12 Team League – Must add
- 14+ Team League – Must add
- NL-Only League – Must add
- Keeper/Dynasty – Must add
Jared Walsh – Los Angeles Angels – First Baseman/Outfielder
Walsh will fill the role created with the demotion of Justin Bour and offers an intriguing skillset (especially since he’s been operating as a left-handed reliever as well). He’s better known for his bat, and he’s thrived at Triple-A this season:
.302 (42-139), 10 HR, 26 RBI, 31 R, 0 SB
What’s interesting is that while he’s posted a 25.3% strikeout rate, his 9.9% SwStr% would indicate more upside. While an 11.7% mark last season does offer a little bit of pessimism, there’s reason to believe that he can at least maintain his current mark (and he’s also continually shown an ability to draw a walk, at 11.2% this season). Obviously he’s not going to maintain a .352 BABIP, but there’s reason to believe he can be a .260ish hitter.
The bigger question is whether or not he’ll be used as part of a platoon, despite thriving against southpaws since being promoted to Triple-A last season:
- 2018 (35 AB) – .314/.342/.343
- 2019 (50 AB) – .320/.404/.620
You can tell by last year’s SLG that it is a bit of an empty number and he hadn’t been that good prior to that. It’s going to cap the current outlook and keep him on the wire in shallower formats, but he should at least be on your radar.
Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:
- 10 Team League – Monitor for now
- 12 Team League – Addable (but not must add)
- 14+ Team League – Worth adding
- AL-Only League – Must add
- Keeper/Dynasty – Worth add in 12+ team leagues
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs