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Fantasy Baseball: Top MLB Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 20 of 2021

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy baseball leagues heading into Week 20 which starts Monday, August 16.

MLB: AUG 08 Twins at Astros Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Most season-long fantasy baseball leagues are just a few weeks away from the playoffs, so congratulations if you’re reading this post and still tweaking your roster to stay in the hunt. Whether you’re hitting the waiver wire to address a specific need or looking to bolster your team in general, there are some solid options to consider as you look to add just the right pieces to carry you to the pennant. Some of the pickups available are short-term, one-week fill-in options while others can help you the rest of the way through the season.

In the next week, 12 of the 30 MLB teams are scheduled to play seven games, while the New York Yankees are actually scheduled to play eight games all at home, including a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. In contrast, the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals are only scheduled to play five games this coming week, and the rest of the teams are scheduled to play six times. The number of games and upcoming matchups is one factor to consider as you shop the waiver wire. Check out two hitters and two pitchers that I’m targeting highlighted below. There are also some specialty options listed at the bottom of the post.

1B/2B/3B/OF Aledmys Díaz, Houston Astros (at KC, vs. SEA)

Even without Alex Bregman (quad, hamstring), the Astros are clinging to a lead over the Athletics in the AL West. Díaz has stepped into a regular role with Houston, logging most of his work at 3B but also bouncing around to 2B, 1B, SS and OF when needed. He came off the injured list on July 27 and has been red-hot in his 14 games since then, going 21-for-62 (.350) with five doubles, three homers 14 RBI, a .233 ISO and a .406 wOBA. He has a 35.3% hard-hit rate since returning, per Statcast, and he had multiple hits in eight of those 14 games.

All season, Díaz has especially excelled against left-handed pitchers, hitting .339 with three of his home runs, a .268 ISO, .419 wOBA and 175 wRC+ against southpaws. This week, not only do the Astros have a soft schedule against the Royals and Mariners but they are also scheduled to go up against four lefty starters, making Díaz a versatile and productive fill-in at multiple spots.

OF Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles (at TB, vs. ATL)

In 2020, Santander appeared to be a breakthrough performer, posting a .314 ISO, .364 wOBA and 132 wRC+ over his 37 games with the Orioles and establishing himself as one of the team’s best offensive producers. This season, though, Santander stumbled out of the gate and was pretty dismal while battling a recurring ankle injury and also landing on the COVID-19 injured list. In his 58 games before the All-Star break, he only hit .226 with a .156 ISO and .281 wOBA while producing a 77 wRC+ (100 is considered average).

While he was virtually unusable for fantasy in the first half, the 26-year-old seems to have figured something out lately and is starting to look more like the hitter he showed he can be last season. A resurgent Santander has gone 20-for-59 (.339) in his 16 games since the break with four homers, a .271 ISO, .425 wOBA and 175 wRC+. He has a 45.1% hard-hit rate over that span, per Statcast along with an impressive 9.8% barrel rate that shows he’s hitting the ball squarely and getting better results. The Orioles as a unit are a mess, but Santander should continue to get plenty of at-bats and opportunities to show that last year was no fluke, and the early season struggles are firmly behind him.

SP Touki Toussaint, Atlanta Braves, (at MIA, at BAL)

Toussaint is scheduled to face the struggling Orioles in his second start of the week after taking on the light-hitting Miami Marlins earlier in the week. While those matchups are enough to make just about any starting pitcher worth a look, the Braves’ first-round pick from 2014 has looked pretty solid this year in his five starts since being called up. He did get pummelled in one of those starts by the Brewers, but has given up two earned runs or fewer in each of his four other outings. Overall, he has posted 9.22 K/9 with a 4.28 ERA and 4.94 FIP. His ERA drops to 2.25, however, if you exclude that one rough outing.

This will be his first look at each of these teams this season, but he should be able to bring in at least one win with a good chance at two wins since he has gone at least five innings in all but that one bad outing. If he gives five good innings against Miami and Baltimore while continuing to produce a strikeout-per-inning, he’ll be a great short-term addition for the upcoming week.

SP Elieser Hernández, Miami Marlins (vs. ATL, at CIN)

While there are some other strong two-start starting pitching options listed below, there’s also a good chance to look further down the road if you’re in a spot where you can plan for the future and add Hernández. The Marlins’ righty has been sidelined since June with a quad strain. He sustained that injury in just his second start of the season after being sidelined for two months with a biceps injury from April 3 to June 3. He has only allowed three runs while striking out nine in his 7 23 innings this season. He was also excellent in six starts last season, striking out 34 in 25 23 innings over six starts.

Coming down the stretch, Hernández could make a huge impact if he’s healthy. He has been sharp on his rehab assignment, allowing just one run over 11 23 innings and striking out 18. When he’s at his best, he offers a great strikeout rate and tons of upside, so it’s worth stashing him if he’s still available to see when he’s ready to return. Miami has shuffled their rotation around, but there has been no solid plan for Hernandez’s return as of Sunday morning.

Specialty pickups to consider

Power Pickup: Hunter Renfroe, Boston Red Sox

Power Pickup-Coors Field Edition: C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies

Versatile Option Plenty of Volume: 2B/3B/SS/OF Tyler Wade, New York Yankees

Top of the Lineup Pickup: OF Rafael Ortega, Chicago Cubs

Top of the Lineup Pickup Pickup L.A. Edition: 2B/3B/SS/OF David Fletcher, Los Angeles Angels

SB Pickup: SS/OF Myles Straw, Cleveland Indians

C Pickup: Elias Díaz, Colorado Rockies (playing at home this week)

Two-start Streamer: Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers

Two-start Streamer II: David Price, Los Angeles Dodgers

Two-start Streamer III: Cal Quantrill, Cleveland Indians

Saves Pickup: RP Joe Barlow, Texas Rangers

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