Welcome Fantasy friends and foes to the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Waiver Wire.
Now that we have reached the second half of the season, Fantasy managers can zoom in on their weaknesses. They should be analyzing which categories they can make noise in, and there is no better time than the present. There is no reason to hesitate. It's now or never, and never should not be an option.
I came up with four players that can help Fantasy managers climb the standings ladder. Which categories did I target? What is available catcher worth a pickup? Which two pitchers have seized their opportunities?
Find out the answers to those questions and a whole lot more in the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Waiver Wire.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Waiver Wire
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Paul DeJong, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul DeJong has been a streaky hitter throughout his career, and this season is no different. DeJong was brutal in the first half, slashing .185/.286/.385 but was able to smack 12 home runs across 62 games. A career .242 hitter, DeJong has been hitting below the Mendoza line for most of the 2021 season.
There were promising signs before the All-Star break and since the Break that DeJong was heating up. In his last 15 games, the former All-Star is hitting .356/.442/.667 with four home runs.
His hot streak should place DeJong on the Fantasy radar for Fantasy managers looking for power. The icing on the cake is that the power production comes from the MI position, which bodes well for lineup construction. DeJong should be owned while he is hot and dropped when he cools off.
Mike Zunino, C, Tampa Bay Rays
Mike Zunino earned his first All-Star selection with a fantastic first half. He has elite power, and his 19 home runs ranked second among catchers to Salvador Perez. He also has fifth in RBI by a catcher and is slugging .523 with an outstanding 132 OPS+.
I realize his .197 batting average will kill your team in that category but his elite power and OPS numbers among catchers make up the difference. What other catcher besides Perez can provide Fantasy managers with an advantage?
Zunino is owned in less than 40% of Fantasy leagues, and that needs to change. Fantasy managers will need to massage their rosters to take into the hit at batting average. Still, Zunino is a no-brainer addition to your Fantasy roster if you are hurting in the power categories.
Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland Indians
Triston McKenzie was one of my pitching sleepers coming into the season after a successful 2020 season. The young right-hander went 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA and 0.900 WHIP with an 11.3 K/9 across 33.1 innings last season.
Unfortunately, McKenzie had an up and down start to this season that included a demotion to Triple-A Columbus to work on his command issues. He walked a whopping 40 batters in his first 49.1 innings of work.
Because of injuries across Cleveland's rotation, McKenzie was offered another opportunity to prove himself. He shut down the Kansas City Royals in seven scoreless innings of work, allowing only one hit and one walk while posting nine strikeouts. The promising start earned him a spot in the Indians' rotation in the second half of the season.
If he can continue to limit his walks, McKenzie can be a solid starter. Hitters are only hitting .170 against the right-hander this season. He is worth a speculative add even though he does possess high risk/reward with his ability to maintain his command.
David Price, P, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are battling the San Diego Padres for the National League West Divison crown, and luckily they possessed excellent starting pitching depth to start the season. Unfortunately, the Dodgers have seen their ace Clayton Kershaw placed on the Injured List with a left forearm injury with hopes for an August return. In addition, they lost promising right-hander Dustin May to a torn UCL in May, and recently Trevor Bauer has been placed on administrative leave for sexual assault allegations. These situations have led the Dodgers to stretch out veteran David Price to be a starter again.
Price is a viable candidate for the Dodgers rotation and Fantasy managers in the second half of this season. However, the former Cy Young Award winner opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, so this is his first season in the Dodgers uniform.
The veteran southpaw began the season in the bullpen and was 4-0 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.73 WHIP across 21.1 innings. He is not striking out hitters, evidenced by a 21.5 strikeout rate, his lowest in ten seasons. However, now that he has been getting stretched out as a starter, his numbers have increased.
Price has started five games this season and owns a 2.03 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 16 strikeouts across 13.1 innings. However, he has yet to pitch longer than three innings in any start. As a result, the Dodgers are utilizing multiple pitchers in his starts to build Price up.
Any pitcher for the Dodgers is in a great spot, and Price is certainly no different. Price provides upside with his RP eligibility, and his progress as a starter should be monitored. Why wait? Fantasy managers should add Price immediately and reap the rewards!
Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our fantastic team of writers.