Vaughn Grissom could be of service

·8 min read



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Walker Buehler is out for the season with an elbow injury, Mike Trout is dealing with a chronic back issue, Chris Sale is out for the year because of a freak bike accident, Bryce Harper is nursing a thumb injury…shall I go on? Stars across the league have been dealing with various injuries this season, and that means that fantasy teams everywhere have been scrambling to find suitable replacements – especially as of late. Fortunately, fantasy managers can rest assured that the waiver wire will always be here to help.

In this week's points league waiver wire column, I touched on some guys who truly fascinate me. The majority of them are young, but also very talented players who could make an impact down the stretch. There's about a month and a half of baseball left, so keep your feet on the gas. Let's get into it.

Points League Options

(Players rostered in under 50 percent of ESPN leagues)

Seranthony Domínguez RP, Phillies (19 percent rostered)

Seranthony Domínguez was in the minor leagues for almost a decade before seeing the majors. As a prospect, he was a pitcher who threw hard, had a strong breaking pitching, a developing changeup, and inconsistent command. While many saw him as nothing more than a future bullpen piece, few saw him as a future frontline closer.

Some thought that Brad Hand would open the season as the Phillies' closer, but he hasn't received a save opportunity since July 8th. Many others were convinced that Corey Knebel would be the Phillies' top ninth-inning option in 2022, and that was the case to begin the season. However, he's currently on the injured list. Meanwhile, Dominguez has converted five consecutive save opportunities since early July. On the season, he has a 1.49 ERA (2.63 SIERA), a 0.87 WHIP, and a 51/13 K/BB ratio (31.7 percent strikeout rate) in 44 appearances (42 ⅓ innings). We've never seen this version of Dominguez.

He's been using his sinker at a career-high rate, and now batters have to worry about two upper-90s fastballs that move differently. Additionally, he's been issuing walks at a career-low rate – another side effect of throwing his sinker more. The Phillies clearly view him as their best ninth inning option at the moment, and so should you. Take a chance on Dominguez if your points league roster could use an emerging reliever on a winning team.

Vaughn Grissom 2B, Braves (25 percent rostered)

Before getting the call on August 10th, Vaughn Grissom was ranked as the top prospect in the Braves' farm system according to MLB Pipeline. One quick glance at his minor league stats should tell you that he has a very professional approach at the plate. Over 1,006 career minor-league plate appearances, he has a 9.6 percent walk rate and a 13.4 percent strikeout rate. His bat-to-ball skills are high-end because of his strong understanding of his strike zone, great pitch recognition skills, and above-average hand-eye coordination. He's going to hit for average in the majors, but what about his power and stolen base upside?

With 24 home runs across 886 career at-bats as a minor leaguer, Grissom is clearly still learning how to hit for power in games. There's plenty of untapped power potential in his bat, but whether or not he ever taps into said power at the highest level remains to be seen. Well, through five career games, Grissom has gone deep twice. He's been hitting the ball hard at a high rate (eight hard hits through 13 batted ball events), and his ability to put the barrel on the baseball has been on full display. Now, I don't expect him to be much of a base stealer in the majors, but he'll probably steal a bag here and there. All in all, Grissom could be a future 20-home run guy who also knows how to hit for average on an annual basis. It can't hurt to take a chance on his advanced plate approach and hope for the best.

Justin Steele SP, Cubs (11 percent rostered)

The key to Justin Steele's success will always be how often, and how effectively, he utilizes his slider. The pitch has reportedly gradually gotten better as his career has progressed, and as it currently stands, it's his best offering. He's thrown 531 sliders this season (his second most-used pitch), and batters are hitting .129 against it, they're not hitting it hard (83.6 average exit velocity), and it's been generating a lot of whiffs (32.8 percent whiff rate). His usage of the pitch has been on the rise as the season's worn on; it's becoming evident that he understands that he needs it to succeed.

Since May 15th (79 ⅔ innings), he has a 3.16 ERA (3.57 SIERA), a 51.4 percent ground-ball rate, and a 25.8 percent strikeout rate (16.6 percent K-BB). His command has improved in his second major-league campaign, and as a result, his walk rate has fallen from 10.9 percent to a career-low 9.6 percent. He's never been a command artist, but his strike-throwing abilities are well known, so I'm not necessarily surprised by what he's doing right now. He's an easy pickup in points leagues of all shapes and sizes.

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Deep Points League Options

(Players rostered in under 10 percent of ESPN leagues)

Joey Meneses 1B/OF, Nationals (9 percent rostered)

Joey Meneses is a man on a mission. He's also a 30-year-old rookie. As a minor leaguer, his offensive profile really wasn't all that enticing. Raw skills like his bat speed and plate discipline weren't the issue, it was his level bat path that was holding him back. Without a swing adjustment, Meneses becoming a 20-home run hitter in time looked unrealistic.

However, in early 2018, the Phillies signed him to a minor-league contract. And in that same season, he hit 23 home runs over 492 at-bats playing in Triple-A. He was released by the Phillies at the end of the 2018 season, and went on to play overseas for a couple of years. In January of this year, he signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals, and on August 2nd, he made his long-awaited MLB debut. Through his first 35 career at-bats, he's batting .400 with five long balls, strong quality of contact metrics, and a poised approach at the plate. He's going to slow down to a degree, but he has the skill set to be a rock-solid fantasy contributor down the stretch.

CJ Abrams SS/2B, Nationals (4 percent rostered)

CJ Abrams has the opportunity to be a true cornerstone player for the Washington Nationals. The 21-year-old speedster is armed with an outstanding hit tool, game-breaking speed, and developing game power. He should be able to regularly accumulate an abundance of doubles and triples because of his speed, but how many home runs he hits in future seasons remains to be seen. The infielder had a very brief minor-league career prior to his call up to the big leagues, and understandably so. You don't need to watch a lot of his game to see why many view him as a future All-Star.

Juan Soto was traded to the Padres in early August, and Abrams was one of the Nationals' main returns. The Nationals officially called him up on August 15th, which means that you need to make sure he's on your deep points league roster – if you have the space. He's still extremely young and inexperienced, but his raw tools could help him be a valuable fantasy asset over these final few weeks. Don't overlook him, but I also wouldn't drop a reliable asset for the youngster who's still getting his feet wet.

DL Hall SP, Orioles (3 percent rostered)

DL Hall came into 2022 as a top-five prospect in the Orioles' farm system. The 23-year-old southpaw is armed with a fastball that can touch the upper 90s, a plus curveball, a plus slider, and a changeup that could be a true weapon against right-handed batters. His command has been inconsistent in the minors, leading to a 13.3 percent walk rate in 294 ⅔ innings. However, if he learns how to consistently command this four-pitch mix, he could become a borderline frontline option in a major-league rotation.

But as we saw in his first taste of MLB action, he still has plenty of things to work on. He faced off against the Rays, and gave up five runs over 3 ⅔ frames. On the bright side, he punched out two on his fastball, three on his changeup, and one on his slider – an early look at his ability to generate strikeouts with all (or almost all) of his offerings. Not only would I not be surprised to see him become a top-100 selection in points leagues, I'm betting on it. He's a great stash for deep points league rosters that seem destined for the playoffs.