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Fantasy Baseball: Top MLB Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 21 of 2021

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy baseball leagues heading into Week 21 which starts Monday, August 23.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With only one full week left in August and the month of September wrapping up season-long fantasy baseball leagues, it’s definitely crunch time for making your final few roster tweaks. Teams continue to push for playoff positioning while others are giving late-season auditions to younger players in their system. As you focus on finishing your fantasy season strong, there are some solid options to consider on most league’s waiver wire. Some of the pickups available are short-term, one-week options while others are longer-term pickups that can help you the rest of the way through the season.

The coming week is a little lighter overall with only five of the 30 MLB teams scheduled to play seven games. Most teams play six times with five more teams only scheduled for five games to go with a pair of off-days. With a hurricane mixing things up this weekend, there could be some potential makeups as well, so keep a close eye on those changes as you evaluate the number of games and upcoming matchups while shopping the waiver wire. Check out two hitters and two pitchers that I’m targeting highlighted below. There are also some specialty options listed at the bottom of the post.


2B/SS/OF Josh Rojas, Arizona Diamondbacks (at PIT, at PHI)

The Diamondbacks are one of the few teams with seven games on the schedule and have favorable hitting matchups against the Pirates and Phillies. While the team has been one of the worst in baseball, there have been a few bright spots, including the emergence of Rojas as a very reliable option at the top of the lineup. The 27-year-old lefty normally leads off against right-handed starters and hits lower in the lineup against southpaws. In his 11 games since returning from the injured list due to a dislocated left pinky finger, he has gone 17-for-37 (.459) with five home runs, four doubles and a triple. He has a 38.5% hard-hit rate over that span to go with an impressive .508 wOBA and 219 wRC+.

Rojas recent success since his return has continued his breakout season in which he has played 104 games and hit .288 with 11 home runs, seven stolen bases and a .362 wOBA. He doesn’t bring elite power production but gets plenty of volume from his leadoff spot. If you need help in the middle infold or a solid outfield bat, his versatility and multi-category potential make him the top pickup of the week.


OF Tyler Naquin, Cincinnati Reds (at MIL, at MIA)

Naquin started his first season in Cincinnati red hot but struggled as the summer wore on. No other outfielder stepped up or Naquin could have even lost his job, but instead, he has gotten the chance to find his groove again, which he has definitely done in his 17 games in August. Since the start of the month, he has gone 22-for-56 (.393) with half of those hits going for extra bases, including three home runs. He has a .321 ISO and .493 wOBA along with a 208 wRC+ over that span.

Recently, the Reds have moved Naquin into the second spot in their batting order, which could set him up for even more run production opportunities. Like Rojas, he’s a lefty, so he may struggle or sit against southpaws, but he’s been hitting the ball so well lately that he’s still a great pickup, especially with only two lefties expected on the schedule this week.


SP Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals, (at MIA, at NYM)

Gray seems to be lined up for two starts this coming week in a pair of great divisional matchups against the Marlins and Mets. Gray was one of the key prospects to come to Washington in the trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers, so there’s definitely plenty of prospect pedigree in the 23-year-old righty. Gray jumped right into the rotation for the Nationals and has been solid in his four starts. He has a 2.86 ERA but a 6.13 FIP in his 22 innings with the Nats, so there could be a little regression in runs allowed in the coming week, but his strikeout potential balances that out since he has fanned a total of 20 batters in his three most recent outings.

Gray has been a little homer-prone, but he has also been facing some power-packed lineups in the Blue Jays and Braves. With easier matchups this week and all that strikeout upside, Gray is a solid two-start option this week.


SP Tylor Megill, New York Mets (vs. SF, vs. WAS)

Megill is another two-start play to consider for the coming week and is likely to go head-to-head with Gray next Sunday. The Mets’ 26-year-old rookie righty doesn’t come with the fanfare that Gray has had, but he has been a solid overall addition to the Mets’ rotation. He struggled a little bit early in August but seemed to find his footing in his most recent outing, allowing just one run over six innings against the Giants on Wednesday. He’ll face San Francisco for a second straight start and look to continue the success and then get the thin lineup of the Nationals in his second start of the week.

In his 11 starts, Megill only has one win but has produced a solid 3.21 ERA and 4.00 FIP. He has 60 strikeouts in 56 innings for a 9.64 K/9 rate and has gone at least five innings in six of his seven most recent starts. Even though the wins haven’t been there yet, Megill brings good strikeout numbers to his two starts this week and is a slightly more proven option than Gray, although Gray gets a better first matchup before they go head-to-head.


Specialty pickups to consider

Power Pickup: Hunter Renfroe, Boston Red Sox

Power Pickup II: Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals

Top of the Lineup Pickup: Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox

All-Around Pickup: Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles

C Pickup: Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds

Versatility Pickup: Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds

SB Pickup: Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals

Prospect Pickup: Jake Meyers, Houston Astros

IL Return Coming Soon: Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals

Two-Start SP Pickup: Daniel Lynch, Kansas City Royals

Two-Start SP Pickup II: Ranger Suárez, Philadelphia Phillies

Saves Pickup: Paul Sewald, Seattle Mariners


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