Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 18 Waiver Wire.
This week on the Waiver Wire: Jack Flaherty impressed in his first appearance with the Baltimore Orioles, giving some life to his Fantasy value for the final stretch of the season. After him is a top 50 prospect who the Tampa Bay Rays recently promoted. Outfielder Mike Tauchman is in the midst of a career season and needs to be added in Fantasy Baseball leagues.
Lastly, Harrison Bader and Randal Grichuk are discussed. Bader has been on fire over his last ten games and Fantasy managers are wondering if they should add him. Grichuk, on the other hand, has started in a good way with his new team and, similarly to Tauchman, is having one of his best seasons.
For our All-Access Members, an additional 18 batters and 17 pitchers are discussed and separated into individual categories they can help your team with.
2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 18 Waiver Wire
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Jack Flaherty, SP, Baltimore Orioles
Jack Flaherty, Vicious 79mph Knuckle Curve. ? pic.twitter.com/xKw78GT9Ii
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 3, 2023
The St. Louis Cardinals dealt Flaherty to the Baltimore Orioles at the trade deadline in exchange for a trio of prospects. With the Baltimore Orioles leading the American League with a record of 67-42, they decided to get help for the starting rotation. The Orioles optioned Tyler Wells to Triple-A to make room in the rotation.
Flaherty made his Baltimore debut on August 3, pitched six innings and allowed four hits and two walks for one earned run. The right-hander also struck out eight batters, his most since June 7. It was an impressive night for the former Cardinal in the box score, but the most remarkable thing from that night was his fastball velocity. Throughout the season, he averaged 93 MPH on his fastball, but during his debut, he averaged 94 MPH and even reached 97 for his fastest pitch all season. While the reason for the added velocity is unknown, it is a great sign for Flaherty and Fantasy managers.
FantasyPros lists Flaherty as having a 39% roster percentage, but I think this will grow in the coming days after this impressive start to his Orioles career. His next start will come on Wednesday versus the Houston Astros. This is a tough matchup as the Astros have the eighth-best OPS over the last 15 days while also scoring the seventh most runs as well. It's a tough matchup, but Fantasy managers should feel comfortable starting him.
Curtis Mead, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
First MLB pitch, first MLB hit for Australian Curtis Mead pic.twitter.com/c0xZHf6SvN
— Team Australia (@TeamAusBaseball) August 5, 2023
What would the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 18 Waiver Wire be without at least one rookie?
The Tampa Bay Rays have promoted their number one prospect Curtis Mead to the Major Leagues. Mead is primarily a third baseman, but he could find playing time at second base for the Rays. The 22-year-old right-hander is a top-50 prospect in all of baseball, and he could come in and make a difference for the Rays right away.
Mead recorded 211 plate appearances in Triple-A this season and slashed .291/.379/.453 with a 107 wRC+. He also hit 21 extra-base hits and scored 25 runs and 28 RBI. The most impressive stat to me is the 12.8% walk rate and 14.7% strikeout rate for a 0.87 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
Playing time may be hard to come by for Mead, and he might not be up for long, but I am targeting him in deeper 12-team and 14-team leagues.
Mike Tauchman, OF, Chicago Cubs
Tauchman is having a sneaky good season for the Chicago Cubs and is being rewarded for it by being on the strong side of a platoon. The journeyman outfielder is putting up his best statistics since 2019, but his roster percentage is a slim 15%.
We see here that Tauchman's home runs are down compared to 2019, but he is still on pace to record season highs in runs and runs batted in. Tauchman has also recorded four stolen bases compared to six in 2019.
As always, I'm excited to compare these two years' walk and strikeout rates. In 2019 he recorded an 11.5% walk rate and 24% strikeout rate, while this season, they are 12.4% and 20.6%, respectively. The lefty has improved in both categories and is in line for a career year.
Harrison Bader, OF, New York Yankees
Bader makes it not matter ? pic.twitter.com/1jlROh1HwL
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 2, 2023
Here's hoping Bader can stay healthy for the rest of the season. Everybody knows that the most significant thing holding him back is constant injuries. Since 2019 Bader has missed 221 days due to injury, according to Spotrac. This is why Fantasy managers have stayed away from Bader: when he plays, he is an incredible talent. His career slash line is a respectable .246/.314/.407 across 597 games.
This season is pretty much on par with his career numbers. He's slashing .256/.285/.420 with nine doubles, two triples, and seven home runs while scoring 31 runs and 33 RBI. Bader has also added 11 stolen bases.
The Yankees' outfielder has been even better over his last ten games. He's slashing .303/.314/.394 in this span and has recorded a hit in seven of the ten games. Bader may not be a Fantasy superstar, but when performing like this, he is a valuable outfielder in 14-team Fantasy leagues.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Los Angeles Angels
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) August 1, 2023
The Los Angeles Angels acquired Grichuk and C.J. Cron before the 2023 MLB trade deadline. Both players will be starting every day, but Grichuk is the one that is highlighted today because of his 23% roster percentage.
Overall Grichuk is having one of his most productive seasons yet. He's slashing .306/.362/.494 across 279 plate appearances. The average and on-base percentage are both career highs. Grichuk also has belted nine home runs and 19 doubles while scoring 41 runs and 28 RBI.
Some may think Grichuk loses value because he is leaving the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field, but they should not worry. Grichuk is still hitting the ball hard (42.6% hard hit rate) and has a career-high sweet spot percentage (37.6%) as well. The outfielder is also bound to have more RBI opportunities due to playing in a better lineup.
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