Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Go for the Winn!

I’ve had to push back the June rankings a bit, so they’ll be up either Monday or Tuesday. In the meantime, here are some pickups.

Robert Gasser - SP Brewers - Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues

Is it the walk? The one walk that he’s issued in four starts to date? Is that why Gasser is somehow still unrostered in three-quarters of Yahoo leagues as he prepares to face the deadball-era lineup of the Chicago White Sox this weekend. Gasser, the 2023 PCL pitcher of the year, is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA since joining the Brewers, something that probably would have happened earlier if he hadn’t missed a few weeks with a bone spur in his elbow. He’s struck out just 13 in 23 innings, but he’s doing so with an above-average CSW, and he has outstanding exit velocity numbers. He seems legit, and the strikeout numbers should come up.

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It is fair to question Gasser’s long-term upside in light of the lefty’s 91-95 mph fastball and below average changeup. He also didn’t demonstrate this level of control in the minors; he actually walked 72 over 173 2/3 innings after arriving in Triple-A late in the 2022 season. The slider, though, is legit, and he’s particularly good at getting it in on the hands of right-handed batters. He’s also come up with a nice cutter to further neutralize righties. I looked at him as a future No. 4 coming into the year, but I think he’s more of a No. 3 now, and he’ll be especially valuable for fantasy purposes if he can keep on limiting the walks.

Masyn Winn - SS Cardinals - Rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues

While the power hasn’t been there, Winn has been a nice surprise in his first full season as the Cardinals’ shortstop, hitting .308/.358/.440 through 49 games. What’s held him back as a fantasy shortstop, besides the lack of homers, has been his placement at the bottom of the weak St. Louis lineup; he’s totaled just 16 runs scored and 18 RBI in 159 at-bats. However, the Cardinals’ stance has been weakening there, as Winn has recently been elevated to the top of the order against lefties. Now that Lars Nootbaar is hurt again, perhaps Winn will get a chance to bat first or second versus righties, too. He’s actually hit .330/.375/.420 against them this year, compared to .271/.328/.475 versus lefties.

For the long haul, it will be interesting to see if Winn can hit homers in the majors. He managed 18 in 105 games in Triple-A last year, but since debuting in August, he’s totaled four in 86 games. Worse, he’s managed just three barrels. His hard-hit rate is in the sixth percentile of major leaguers, and his average exit velocity is in the seventh percentile. None of that spells doom for him as a major leaguer, but it does make one wonder about his fantasy upside, especially as he seems to be more of a 20-SB guy than someone who is going to make a run at 40.

At this point, my faith in Winn as a fantasy option is contingent on him being utilized as a top-of-the-order guy. I suspect that the Cardinals will give that a try with Nootbaar landing on the IL due to an oblique strain. If it doesn’t happen, then he’s still a pretty fringy choice in mixed leagues.

Jordan Wicks - SP Cubs - Rostered in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues

Wicks isn’t someone I was particularly high on before the season, and given that he opened the year 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA before landing on the IL with a forearm strain, it might seem odd that I’m recommending him now. Still, ERA aside, his early numbers were impressive. With his velocity up a bit, Wicks struck out 26 percent of the batters he faced in his five starts.

Wicks is currently on a rehab assignment as he works to return from the forearm strain, and he’s allowed one run and struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings in two starts for Triple-A Iowa. He’ll make at least one and probably two more starts before rejoining the Cubs, so he doesn’t have to be grabbed in mixed leagues right away. However, there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll contribute. Wicks has one of the league’s better changeups, and while his breaking balls aren’t standouts, both his slider and curve are viable. He’s a legitimate middle-of-the-rotation starter in a pretty good situation on the Cubs, and he might be more than just a streaming option over the final 3 ½ months.