Waiver Worthy: Trying To Find Under-the-Radar Replacements For Your Outfielder


The injuries have piled up to some of the elite outfielders around the game recently. First it was Christian Yelich, but in the week that’s followed we’ve learned about the loss of Mike Trout and Justin Upton (not to mention Shohei Ohtani) and Mookie Betts has also been sidelined with a bit of a cloudy outlook. Obviously other positions have seen injuries (Anthony Rizzo & Josh Bell, for instance), but it feels like the outfield has been hit harder.

Who are some of the names that may be available? Let’s take a look:

Christin Stewart – Detroit Tigers
CBS Sports – 18%, ESPN – 3.4%

There was a lot of hype for Stewart entering the season, but injuries and struggles have led to a disappointing season (10 HR over 373 PA). However is it hard to envision him getting scorching hot for a two week stretch? He’s already been swinging a hot bat in September as he’s hit .326 with 4 HR over 49 PA.

His approach at the plate could be exposed (12.7% SwStr%, 40.0% O-Swing% in September), but he’s hitting the ball extremely hard (48.5% Hard% for the month) and his 28.6% HR/FB is much closer to the type of mark we expected.

There’s definitely some downside risk, but mark him down as a player to use while he’s going well.

Kyle Lewis – Seattle Mariners
CBS Sports – 23%, ESPN – 3.2%

He’s likely going to be a popular choice, as he’s burst onto the scene hitting .360 with 4 HR over just 27 PA. A former first round pick it’s easy to get excited, but let’s keep things in perspective. Seemingly always injured he had 11 HR over 517 PA at Triple-A prior to being recalled, and he’s benefited from an unsustainable 57.1% HR/FB.

Lewis does have some potential, but he’s the epitome of a ride him while he’s hot type player. In general we’d expect him to be exposed by MLB pitching, though this is September and with expanded rosters he could routinely be facing lesser arms. Use him while he’s going well, but he’s not likely the solution for the rest of the season.

Trent Grisham – Milwaukee Brewers
CBS Sports – 27%, ESPN – 2.4%

While he’s gotten some playing time since being recalled, the injury to Yelich should clear basically full-time AB. Grisham has capitalized in September, hitting .318 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 7 R over 51 PA while showing an ability to stay within the strike zone (17.4% O-Swing%), hitting the ball hard enough (36.7% Hard%) and a willingness to use the entire field (33.3% Oppo%).

His power showed signs of developing in the minor leagues with 22 doubles, 6 triples and 26 HR between Double and Triple-A, and he’s also shown the ability to reach double-digit stolen bases (12 SB in ’19, as many as 37 SB in a season). If there’s a name you want to target who could prove to be a difference maker, Grisham is the guy (though be careful, as he likely will sit against southpaws).

Jose Osuna – Pittsburgh Pirates
CBS Sports – 8%, ESPN – 1.3%

With Josh Bell sidelined Osuna should step in as the team’s first baseman. We don’t know how long Bell will be out, but it sounds like he could miss at least a few days (and at this time of year, it could be the season).

Osuna has struggled in September, but overall he’s hitting .264 with 10 HR over 235 PA. There are significant questions across the board, like in his approach (35.3% O-Swing%), but with regular AB it’s easy to envision him getting hot once again.

Source – Fangraphs


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