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Fantasy Baseball: Top MLB Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 23 of 2021

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy baseball leagues heading into Week 23 which starts Monday, September 6.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Depending on the specific setup, it may already be the postseason in your season-long fantasy league. Whether you’re already in the playoffs or still have a week or two left in the regular season, there are still some worthwhile pickups to consider on most leagues’ waiver wires. With rosters expanding on Sept. 1, teams are giving some players a chance to audition for bigger roles next year while others are still in the midst of a pennant race. As you continue your push for the championship, check out the pickups listed below who can give you a last-minute kick to the finish.

It’s going to be a busy week overall for Major League Baseball with only the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres scheduled for multiple days off and only five games. On the other extreme, the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays are each scheduled for eight games thanks to a doubleheader on tap for Saturday. Sixteen of the remaining teams play six games while 10 teams are scheduled for seven games. How many times a team plays and the matchups they will face is one of many factors to consider when adding to your lineup this week. Check out the four widely available players I think are poised for success with some other specialty options listed at the bottom as well.


2B/3B/SS Jonathan Villar, New York Mets (at WAS, at MIA, vs NYY)

Villar has been a streaky player throughout his MLB career, but when he’s playing well, he can boost your fantasy team in multiple categories while bringing eligibility at multiple positions. His versatility and a good week of matchups should make him a strong play if he can continue his recent hot streak and stays hitting leadoff for the Mets, as he has in each of his past seven games.

In the past 30 days, Villar has gone a sizzling 35-for-98 (.357) with six home runs, 14 RBI, 15 runs scored and three stolen bases. He has a 35.1% hard-hit rate over that span with a .235 ISO and .426 wOBA. While the Mets’ offense has been a mess in the second half, but it has been showing signs of life at least against the Nationals this weekend. Villar’s hot streak is one of the keys to their recent surge, and he should be a great counting stats pickup who brings good power and a little speed to his premium lineup position.


1B/2B/OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays (at NYY, at BAL)

The Blue Jays have a pair of four-game road series in New York and Baltimore this week, as they continue to fight their way into the Wild Card race. They enter Sunday’s action having won six of their past seven games, with Gurriel providing the offense in several of those contests. He is still vastly under-owned, and like Villar, he brings nice positional flexibility.

Since Aug. 1, Gurriel has gone 30-for-88 (.341) with five home runs and 22 RBI to go with a robust 45.2% hard-hit rate. In his two games this weekend against Oakland, he has homered twice and had seven hard-hit balls in eight events with an average exit velocity of 100.7 MPH. While that level of excellence isn’t sustainable over a larger sample size, it shows how well he’s hitting the ball right now, and he’s going into a week with eight games to continue to put up good power production numbers.


SP Bailey Ober, Minnesota Twins, (at CLE, vs. KC)

Ober is set up to be a great two-start starting pitcher addition this week with tasty matchups against Cleveland and Kansas City as the Twins take on their divisional opponents. Ober has been quietly very good this season for the Twins, although they are very carefully monitoring his pitch count, so his innings per start have been limited. In his 16 starts, he has only reached six innings twice, but he has pitched at least five innings in five straight and seven of his past eight.

The 26-year-old rookie has compiled a 2-2 record in those starts with a 3.98 ERA and 4.44 FIP while averaging over a strikeout per inning. Lately, he seems to have found his stride, with an impressive 1.61 ERA over his four most recent starts with 21 strikeouts and just 20 hits allowed over 22 13 innings. One of the keys to his recent success has been limiting home runs, allowing just two home runs in those four starts after giving up 10 home runs in his previous eight starts. He should be in a good spot to continue to find success against lighter-hitting lineups this week, and he’s available on almost every league’s waiver wire.


RP Giovany Gallegos, St. Louis Cardinals (vs. LAD, vs. CIN)

The Cardinals replaced their closer this week with Alex Reyes losing the job after blowing three saves in four chances and allowing 10 runs over 7 13 innings. Reyes has looked better in two lower-leverage appearances since being replayed, but it looks like Gallegos will remain the closer of choice after going 2-for-2 in save chances against the Reds earlier this week.

On the season, Gallegos has been very good, putting together a 5-5 record to go with his 2.97 ERA and 2.83 FIP. He has a 10.13 K/9 rate over 66 23 innings and has picked up four saves. Three of those saves have come over his past 10 appearances, and he has only allowed one run on nine hits over that span while striking out 11. With seven home games this week, Gallegos should be able to add at least a save or two to his total and can give your bullpen a late-season boost.


Specialty pickups to consider

Speed Pickup: Leody Taveras, Texas Rangers

Top of a Great Lineup Pickup: Josh Harrison, Oakland Athletics

Batting Average Booster with speed: Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals

Back from IL Pickup: Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox

Power Pickup: Patrick Wisdom, Chicago Cubs

Power Pickup II: Frank Schwindel, Chicago Cubs

C Pickup: Jorge Alfaro, Miami Marlins

Two-Start SP Pickup: Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies

Two-Start SP Pickup II: Jackson Kowar, Kansas City Royals

Saves Pickup: Adam Ottavino, Boston Red Sox

Saves Pickup II: Rowan Wick, Chicago Cubs


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