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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Players ready to help you in Week 9

After profiling many players who could be long-term solutions last Friday, this edition of wavier advice will focus on those who could help fantasy managers in the immediate future. One of the biggest mistakes fantasy managers make is looking at yearlong potential when filling in the final spots in their lineups. Unless a player really stands out as a potential long-term fixture, the best plan is often to fill the final spots with those who have the most favorable matchups in the coming days. A steady stream of players who are “Mr. Right Now” often provides better production than one potential “Mr. Right.”

Francisco Álvarez (C, New York Mets, 36% rostered)

Francisco Alvarez headshot
Francisco Alvarez
IL15
C - NYM - #4
2023 - false season
382
AB
.209
AVG
25
HR
2
SB
.721
OPS

Álvarez has the best chance of anyone in this article to be Mr. Right. The rookie took a little more than a month to find his footing before producing five homers and 13 RBI in his past eight games. He now sits in a tie for third among fantasy catchers in home runs, and the other backstops who rank in the top five are each rostered in more than 90% of leagues.

Connor Wong (C, Boston Red Sox, 3%)

Connor Wong headshot
Connor Wong
C - BOS - #12
2023 - false season
371
AB
.235
AVG
9
HR
8
SB
.673
OPS

Those who stream catchers should give Wong a chance this week. The 27-year-old has done his best work this year at home (.939 OPS) and against right-handers (.843 OPS) and could thrive in the coming days, when Boston faces five righties during a weeklong homestand.

Luke Raley (1B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays, 12%)

Luke Raley headshot
Luke Raley
RF - SEA - #20
2023 - false season
357
AB
.249
AVG
19
HR
14
SB
.824
OPS

A left-handed slugger, Raley has tallied eight homers and seven steals in 123 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers this season. The outfielder could go deep once or twice this week when the Rays and their ultra-productive lineup face righty starters in six of their seven games.

Connor Joe (1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, 9%)

Connor Joe headshot
Connor Joe
RF - PIT - #2
2023 - false season
413
AB
.247
AVG
11
HR
3
SB
.760
OPS

Joe has been one of the best players in baseball against left-handers, posting a 1.061 OPS in those matchups. He should be streamed in most leagues when he faces a pair of mediocre southpaws (Sean Manaea, Alex Wood) on Tuesday and Wednesday. He could also thrive late in the game against a Giants bullpen that has logged a 4.48 ERA.

Rodolfo Castro (2B/3B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates, 5%)

Rodolfo Castro headshot
Rodolfo Castro
SS - PHI - #29
2023 - false season
227
AB
.211
AVG
6
HR
1
SB
.618
OPS

Like his teammate Joe, Castro has destroyed left-handers (1.082 OPS) this season. With three eligible positions, Castro should be easy to stream into lineups Tuesday and Wednesday, when he faces a pair of southpaw starters and a below-average bullpen.

Jake McCarthy (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks, 36%)

Jake McCarthy headshot
Jake McCarthy
RF - ARI - #31
2023 - false season
276
AB
.243
AVG
2
HR
26
SB
.644
OPS

Astute managers scooped up McCarthy when he was promoted to the majors on Friday, but the speedster remains widely available. After performing well enough in 2022 to be a top-100 pick in many leagues during draft season, McCarthy should be added in all roto leagues for his appealing matchups over the next four days against a Rockies pitching staff with a 5.17 ERA.

Bobby Miller (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers, 55%)

Bobby Miller headshot
Bobby Miller
IL15
SP - LAD - #28
2023 - false season
124.1
IP
3.76
ERA
1.10
WHIP
119
K
32
BB

We'll break our typical less than 50% rostered threshold to be included in this column for these next two starting pitcher recommendations to help those in shallow leagues. Although the Dodgers have mostly struggled to sprinkle their magic dust on starting pitchers this year, this is an organization that has provided fantasy managers with many pitching gems in recent years. As such, Miller should get the benefit of the doubt in shallow leagues after arriving as a heralded prospect and spinning five innings of two-run ball in his debut. The 24-year-old can be streamed in virtually all leagues for a home matchup against the Nationals on Monday and could be an option when the Yankees come to town next weekend.

Michael Kopech (SP, Chicago White Sox, 62%)

Michael Kopech headshot
Michael Kopech
RP - CWS - #34
2023 - false season
129.1
IP
5.43
ERA
1.59
WHIP
134
K
91
BB

Kopech is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, having struck out 19 batters while allowing four baserunners across 15 scoreless innings in his past two starts. Admittedly, his production uptick largely came out of nowhere, as he owned a 5.74 ERA as recently as May 18. Still, Kopech should be streamed in every weekly league for a two-start week that includes home outings against the Angels and Tigers.

Kyle Gibson (SP, Baltimore Orioles, 35%)

Kyle Gibson headshot
Kyle Gibson
SP - STL - #44
2023 - false season
192
IP
4.73
ERA
1.32
WHIP
157
K
55
BB

There has been little rhyme or reason to Gibson’s path to his 3.82 ERA, as he has had most of his best outings in his toughest matchups. Still, I need to recommend the right-hander for his start Tuesday against a Guardians team with the lowest OPS in baseball, especially since he allowed one run across 14 innings in his past two starts.

Jared Shuster (SP, Atlanta Braves, 12%)

Jared Shuster headshot
Jared Shuster
SP - CWS - #51
2023 - false season
52.2
IP
5.81
ERA
1.50
WHIP
30
K
26
BB

Shuster followed a dominant start against the Mariners on May 21 with a respectable outing (5 IP, 3 ER) vs. the Phillies last time out. He is one of the best streaming targets this week, as his next appearance will come Wednesday against the lowly A’s (10-45 record).

Kyle Finnegan (RP, Washington Nationals, 49%)

Kyle Finnegan headshot
Kyle Finnegan
RP - WAS - #67
2023 - false season
69.1
IP
3.76
ERA
1.30
WHIP
63
K
24
BB

Finnegan appeared to be on thin ice when he sported a 6.75 ERA on May 6. But he has not allowed a run since that date, posting a 10:1 K:BB ratio across 7 2/3 innings the past three weeks. Among relievers who are available in more than half of Yahoo leagues, Finnegan appears to have the best chance to hold a full-time closer’s role all summer.