Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Ascending Jo Adell leads pickups

The latest Rotoworld Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire column examines a potential breakthrough from Jo Adell, the impending return of former top pitching prospect Taj Bradley and a tasty streaming opportunity for fantasy managers later this week when Pirates rookie Quinn Priester takes the ball against the floundering Athletics.

Before we dive into the aforementioned trio of speculative pickups, we’re contractually obligated to briefly touch on a pair of intriguing slugging prospects — Joey Loperfido and Jordan Beck — who received their first callups earlier this week for the Astros and Rockies, respectively.

Let’s start with Loperfido, who possesses immense over-the-fence pop, earning his first trip to the big leagues after clubbing an eye-popping 13 round-trippers — while also chipping in five steals — in just 25 games for Triple-A Sugar Land. Unfortunately, the astronomical pop comes with some serious contact issues as the 24-year-old burgeoning slugger also struck out 30% of the time in 122 plate appearances. There’s some risk here that his lackluster plate skills wind up preventing him from making an impact for fantasy managers, but his immense power ceiling juxtaposed by veteran first baseman José Abreu’s ongoing cold spell at the dish make him worthy of at least a speculative roster spot in deeper mixed leagues.

Meanwhile, Beck finds himself receiving an opportunity for the Rockies in place of an injured Nolan Jones (back) after posting a robust .999 OPS with five homers and five steals for Triple-A Albuquerque. He's made some legitimate early-season strides in the plate discipline department, which gives him a considerably higher floor than most slugging prospects. His power/speed offensive blend paired with Coors Field’s high-octane offensive environment should offer plenty of fantasy upside moving forward. He's worthy of a speculative roster spot in all fantasy formats until further notice, even in shallow mixed leagues. If it all comes together, he's going to make a real impact in fantasy leagues.

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Available in 77% of Yahoo! leagues

Jo Adell headshot
Jo Adell
RF - LAA - #7
2024 - false season

Is the long-awaited breakout finally happening? It's too early to draw any firm conclusions, but fantasy managers can't really afford to wait for more data before rolling the dice with a speculative pickup here. The 25-year-old former top prospect has slashed his strikeout rate to a more tolerable 23.7% this year after hovering around 40% in brief stints in the big leagues over the last four seasons. It's admittedly a small sample size, but he's starting to convert his power/speed skill set into big-time production, batting .321 with four homers and five steals in 22 games so far. If the plate skills growth is real, Adell could finally blossom into an impact five-category fantasy contributor. There's a possibility this is all an early-season mirage, but enough breakout lights are flashing on the dashboard to merit further inspection — and a roster spot in all fantasy formats until further notice.

Available in 77% of Yahoo! Leagues

It’s impossible to overstate how impressive Bradley looked this past weekend in his first minor league rehab outing for Triple-A Durham when he recorded seven strikeouts over five hitless innings. His four-seam fastball had plenty of life, averaging 96.6 mph, as he generated 12 swinging strikes and needed an economical 65 pitches to navigate five frames.

The 23-year-old former top pitching prospect, who has been on the shelf since mid-March due to a right pectoral strain, will make one additional rehab outing later this week before rejoining Tampa Bay’s injury-depleted starting rotation mix at some point in mid-May. He showed flashes of big-time fantasy potential last year in his rookie campaign and still offers immense strikeout potential, which makes him a worthwhile stash in all fantasy formats until he returns next week.

Available in 98% of Yahoo! leagues

Quinn Priester headshot
Quinn Priester
SP - PIT - #46
2024 - false season

This streaming opportunity isn’t for the risk-averse fantasy managers out there. However, if you’re a reckless dice-roller on the streaming frontier, Priester’s tasty matchup against the Athletics during Wednesday afternoon’s getaway matinee is pretty appealing. Remember, Oakland boasts the second-worst OPS this season against right-handed pitching. There's a wide range of outcomes given the 23-year-old former top prospect's extremely brief track record in the majors over the last two years, but he's coming off a stellar performance last Friday out in San Francisco when he reeled off six shutout frames with six strikeouts at Oracle Park.