We’re reaching the two-month mark of the 2023 MLB season, as hard as that is to believe, and “it’s still early!” is becoming a less and less convincing crutch for fantasy managers wondering whether to stick with a draft pick or start scouring the waiver wire. This is especially true at the outfield spots, where injuries and underachievement (looking at you, Juan Soto) have wreaked havoc. That’s why we’re here to help, with four targets likely available in your league showing signs that they’re in for a big year.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 9 outfield targets
Jake Fraley, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Roster percentage: 9.5%
A popular sleeper pick back in the spring, Fraley got off to a slow start — but over the past couple of weeks he’s started to show the power/speed potential that had owners targeting him late in drafts.
That’s Fraley’s xwOBA over his past 50 plate appearances, which is, in a word, very good. The lefty’s strikeout rate is down below 20 percent, his walk rate is as elite as usual and he’s getting back to hitting lots of pull-side fly balls — ideal for a player who plays home games at Great American Ballpark with its short porch in right field. We know that he has the potential to steal 15 bags, and if he’s making this much contact, 20 homers is definitely in play given the offensive context. He’s worth an add in all leagues.
Dominic Fletcher, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Roster percentage: 6.5%
Former top prospect Alek Thomas was Arizona’s center fielder of the future at the start of the year, but Fletcher’s hit so well of late that Thomas now finds himself back down in Triple-A just to get regular playing time. The rookie is in the lineup just about every day, and he’s absolutely killed righties so far this year to the tune of a 1.198 OPS. He won’t offer very much speed, but he could contribute across the other four categories — his contact skills (just an 18% K rate) suggest that his high average is for real.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Atlanta Braves
Roster percentage: 6.2%
Ozuna hasn’t been an impact player since 2020, and was largely written off entering the season, but his recent xwOBA graph makes Fraley’s look like child’s play:
Ozuna is crushing the ball, with a max exit velocity in the 98th percentile and a .544 expected slugging percentage. His walk rate and strikeout rate are both approaching career bests, suggesting he’s seeing the ball really well right now, and we know the sort of damage he can do when he limits his swing-and-miss. Ozuna appears locked in as Atlanta’s DH, so the counting stats will be there as long as he hits, and at just 32 years old there’s no reason he can’t regain his past form.
Brenton Doyle, OF, Colorado Rockies
Roster percentage: 1.4%
We knew that Doyle was going to swing and miss a lot in the Majors, and sure enough, he’s running an ugly 34.5% K rate. But you can get away with striking out that much when you do as much damage as Doyle does, with four homers and six steals through his first 58 Major League plate appearances.
Doyle never made any prospect lists, but he’s an athletic freak, with arm strength and sprint speed that both rank at the very top of the league. Those kinds of tools, locked into an everyday job in Coors Field? Even if strikeouts keep Doyle’s average low, the power and speed seem very real.