We’ve officially passed the two-month mark of the 2023 MLB season, as hard as that is to believe, and “it’s still early!” is becoming a less and less convincing crutch for fantasy managers wondering whether to stick with a draft pick or start scouring the waiver wire. This is especially true at the outfield spots, where injuries (Cedric Mullins the latest among them) and underachievement (looking at you, Kyle Schwarber and Michael Harris II) have wreaked havoc. That’s why we’re here to help, with four targets likely available in your league showing signs that they’re in for a big year.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 11 outfield targets
Jake McCarthy, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Roster percentage: 19%
Fantasy owners who invested a top-120 pick in McCarthy in drafts this spring would be forgiven for totally writing him off after he was demoted to Triple-A last month, but you may want to start paying attention again. McCarthy got the call back up last week, and he’s looking more like last year’s breakout star, slashing .364/.417/.409 with a whopping six steals across his first seven games. McCarthy’s cold start always had a bit of bad luck to it — there’s still a 50-point gap between his xwOBA and his wOBA — and it seems like that’s normalizing a bit, allowing him to run wild on the bases again. He seems locked into regular playing time in Arizona’s outfield once again.
Akil Baddoo, OF, Detroit Tigers
Roster percentage: 1.3%
Largely written off after a tough 2022 season, Baddoo has recaptured some of his 2021 form recently, slashing .299/.397/.493 with three homers and three steals — and, more interestingly, 11 walks to just 10 strikeouts — over 78 plate appearances in the month of May. Detroit still largely shields him from lefties, but he’s made huge strides in cutting his K rate, allowing the power/speed combination to play in games much more often. He could be a legit difference-maker down the stretch, especially with Riley Greene out for the foreseeable future.
Jack Suwinski, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Roster percentage: 6.7%
The rest of Pittsburgh’s offense may have tailed off after their delightful start, but Suwinski has kept on swinging a hot bat, slashing .273/.347/.591 with four homers over the last two weeks. The K rate is still very high — and he’ll sit some against southpaws — but so is the walk rate, making him hugely valuable in OBP leagues. Even if you aren’t in one of those, though, his top-of-the-scale barrel rate, sprint speed and expected slugging percentage will certainly play.
Colton Cowser, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Roster percentage: 0.8%
Aaron Hicks may have been the O’s short-term solution for Cedric Mullins’ injury, but make no mistake: Cowser is the long-term future of Baltimore’s outfield. The former top-five pick has laid waste to Triple-A this year, with a .331/.469/.554 line and almost as many walks as strikeouts over 179 plate appearances. He probably would’ve gotten the call when Mullins went on the IL, except he was also nursing an injury of his own. He should be healthy in the next few days, though, and once he is, expect him to make his MLB debut in short order.