2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire

by Connor Thomure
2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire

Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire.

This week on the Waiver Wire, a former MVP vote-getter is finally showing signs of life. Three starting pitchers make the list as well. Obviously, after discussing the trend last week, they are all rookies. Two first basemen are recommended to be added as well. One is a veteran, while the other is in his second year. Lastly, we have a rookie catcher who is somewhat struggling, but he is a catcher, so there is still some value here.

Before we get into the top waiver adds of the week, I want to discuss a player that doesn't fit our criteria to make the list, but we as a team feel he is under-rostered. Firstly, the requirements to make the list is simple: a player must be rostered in less than 40% of leagues. We use FantasyPros Player Rater to find these percentages.

MJ Melendez is the player in question. He is rostered in 64% of leagues, ranking ninth among catchers. While I think ninth is reasonable for Melendez, his roster percentage should be much closer to 80%. His slash line (.209/.291/.366) is pretty bad right now, but his underlying numbers show he can turn it around. He hits the ball hard as often as anybody else and regularly gets the barrel on the ball. I know he's not doing great right now, but let's practice patience with Melendez. If he's available in your league, I recommend snagging him while you can.

2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire

Top Waiver Adds

Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins (Hamstring - IL)

Everybody wants to see Max Kepler be the 2019 version of himself when he smashed 36 home runs with 98 runs and 90 RBI. That same year he finished 20th in MVP voting. Unfortunately, he's had difficulty replicating that fantastic season, but he's closer this year than ever.

YearPAAVGOBPSLGHRRRBIwRC+
2019596.252.336.519369890122
2020196.228.321.43992723109
2021490.211.306.41319615497
2022446.227.318.3489544395
2023113.214.301.44961714107

We see that Kepler is just three homers shy from tying his mark from last year, despite playing in just a fourth of the games. Kepler's wRC+ is also its highest since 2020. If you expand Kepler's statistics to match the number of at-bats from 2019, you get these numbers.

  • 31 home runs
  • 90 runs
  • 74 runs batted in

Only 12 players recorded at least 31 home runs, 90 runs, and 74 RBI in 2022. All but two of these players received MVP votes. Fantasy Baseball managers roster Kepler in just 5% of leagues, according to FantasyPros. This makes Kepler the top batter to add on the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 7 Waiver Wire.

Louie Varland, SP, Minnesota Twins

Top-100 prospect Louie Varland continues to get work in the starting rotation, and he's showing he belongs in MLB as a full-time starting pitcher. With Tyler Mahle now out for the season and Kenta Maeda still a few weeks away, Varland will have plenty of opportunities moving forward.

Through three games, he's thrown 16.2 innings and allowed eight earned runs off 18 hits. Varland also struck out 20 batters while walking five. This amounts to a 4.32 ERA, 10.80 K/9, and 2.70 BB/9. Varland's strikeout rate (28.2%) is in the top 25% of MLB, and his walk rate (7%) is in the top 40%.

Varland will make his next start on Sunday, May 14, versus the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are tied with the third most strikeouts (123) and rank 21st in runs scored (48) over the last 15 days. Expect another good showing from Varland.

Brandon Belt, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays

Brandon Belt started the season slowly but has picked up some steam in his last six games. In this stretch, he's batting 8-for-18 with four walks. Belt scored six runs and drove in three more off of four doubles and a home run.

The big problem from Belt this season is the career-high strikeout rate of 42.2%. Fortunately, this has dropped 3.8% during his last ten games, offering hope that he can right the ship.

Belt has a roster percentage of 2%, making him a widely available option for those needing a first baseman. He is more of an option in 14-team leagues, but if he figures out how to fix his strikeout problem, he can also provide value in 12-team leagues.

Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets

Francisco Alvarez made the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Waiver Wire, and I expected his roster percentage to be through the roof by now. That is not the case, however. According to FantasyPros, Fantasy managers roster Alvarez in just 10% of leagues. What is happening here?

On the season, Alvarez is slashing .231/.275/.415 with a 92 wRC+. It's not awe-inspiring, but it's pretty good for a catcher. He's been even better during his last five games. In this stretch, he's batting 6-for-16 with three walks while scoring four runs and two RBI. On Friday night, however, Alvarez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

The Mets' catcher was the top prospect in baseball coming into the season, and it's surprising not to see his roster percentage higher. Hopefully, this hot streak is what Alvarez needs to get going and turn the heads of Fantasy managers.

Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Detroit Tigers

After a stumbling rookie season last year, Spencer Torkelson has continued to struggle early this season. However, he could be turning it around, as he just had a six-game hitting streak. In this stretch, he's gone 10-for-26 with one walk and five strikeouts. He's provided three runs and five runs batted in as well.

Unfortunately, his hit streak came to an end on Friday when he went 0-for-4.

Despite a season slash line of .234/.285/.358, the former number-one overall pick has solid Statcast numbers. His barrel rate (8.5%) is just above league average, but his hard hit rate (48.1%) is in the top 19% of MLB. On top of this, his expected batting average (.272) and expected slugging percentage (.443) show he has hit the ball well this season.

Fantasy managers roster Torkelson in just nine percent of leagues, but I expect that to grow after this recent stretch of offense from the first baseman.

Eury Perez, SP, Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins called up their top prospect, Eury Perez. Perez made his debut on Friday, May 12, at home versus the Cincinnati Reds, and it was impressive. He pitched 4.2 innings and struck out seven batters. He allowed four hits, two walks, and two earned runs.

Perez has been dominating in Double-A this season. He had a 3-1 record, 2.32 ERA, and 12.19 strikeouts per nine innings. It's hard to expect Perez to replicate his minor league numbers, but the 20-year-old did just fine in his first game.

By the time most of you read this, Perez will likely have been picked off waivers, but if he's still available, he needs to be rostered. Perez's next start lines up for Thursday, May 18, against the Washington Nationals. This should be a favorable matchup for the prospect, as the Nationals have scored the fifth fewest runs in MLB this season.

J.P. France, SP, Houston Astros

After a rash of injuries to their rotation, the Houston Astros have turned to 28-year-old rookie J.P. France to fill in, and he's done a great job. In his MLB debut, France pitched five shutout innings while striking out five batters. He allowed just three hits and one walk.

His second game was just as good. He pitched 6.2 innings with three strikeouts. The only damage against him came on a solo shot from Luis Robert Jr. Other than that; he allowed three hits and one walk.

France's next start will come on Wednesday, May 17, against the Chicago Cubs. As mentioned with Varland, the Cubs haven't been great over the past 15 days. Expect France to have another great outing.

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3 comments

John May 13, 2023 - 12:11 pm

Nice work and thank you. Definitely checking about Max. What do you think of Julio Rodriguez turning it around. I gather he’s not far away by the looks of things sabermetrically (is that a word haha). Would you give strider for him?. I don’t think the braves will put him over 160 innings on the year.

Reply
Connor Thomure May 13, 2023 - 12:41 pm

Thank you for reading!
Rodríguez will turn things around it’s just a matter of when. There is something off about his swing that is affecting his timing, he just needs to figure it out (easier said than done)

As far as Strider, I understand being worried about an innings limit, I know there’s been talks about it. He’s been so darn good that I wouldn’t trade him unless you’re getting a top batter like Acuna or Arozarena back.

Reply
John May 13, 2023 - 12:15 pm

Oh. It’s a QS league. My other starters are wheeler, Freddy Peralta, lodolo (might be IL bound now), Garrett, and smyly with maeda on IL

Reply

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