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Don’t brush off Brady Singer

Brady Singer

Brady Singer

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The late Elbert Hubbard once said, “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” In other words, the only way you can fail is if you give up. If you’ve had a rough stretch and feel like your playoff chances are diminishing, you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played before most fantasy playoffs kick off. As long as there’s a literal chance that you can make the playoffs, you need to keep on giving it your all. You didn’t grind through three-plus months of baseball just to give up too soon.

Fortunately for you, I’m here to help you find free waiver wire additions who could boost your playoff chances. In this week’s points league waiver wire column, I broke down why you should consider adding the following six players to your fantasy rosters. Let’s dive into it.

Points League Options

(Players rostered in under 50 percent of ESPN leagues)

David Fletcher SS/2B, Angels (38 percent rostered)

The 28-year-old contact specialist returned to the Angels’ lineup on July 28th after spending over two months on the injured list with a hip injury. Since his return, he’s 4-for-10 with two doubles. Most people know who Fletcher is: a guy who makes a ton of contact, possesses a very limited power ceiling, and chips in some steals on top of it all. He stole a career-high 15 bases in 2021, but the odds of him doing so again are low given his track record on the basepaths.

Even so, there’s no reason why Fletcher can’t be a rock-solid fantasy contributor in points leagues the rest of the way. His advanced plate approach will always lead to a low strikeout rate (9.8 percent career strikeout rate), which provides him with a reliable floor in points leagues. He’s far from the most stirring waiver wire pickup, but he still holds value. Add him up if it makes sense for your fantasy rosters.

Ramón Urías 3B/2B/SS, Orioles (28 percent rostered)

Ramón Urías’ journey to the major leagues wasn’t an easy one. He was signed as an international free agent by the Rangers in 2010, but went on to play in the Mexican League from 2013-2017. The Cardinals signed him to a minor league contract in 2018 and in winter 2020, the Orioles claimed him off waivers. Through 586 career plate appearances, he’s slashing .274/.338/.436 with 69 runs scored, 19 home runs, and 77 RBI. But it is important to note that 11 of those 19 home runs were hit this season. So, what’s fueling this mini power outbreak? A more optimal home run approach.

His average launch angle is sitting at a career-high 12.2° over 188 batted ball events, and he’s been pulling fly balls at a career-high rate. As a result, nine of his 11 home runs have been pulled. If he sticks with this new approach through the end of the season, Urías could reach – or at least come close to reaching – 20 home runs for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old infielder’s never had trouble with hitting the ball hard (45.5 percent hard-hit rate over 393 batted ball events), his overall plate approach hasn’t been too problematic, and he has the tools to be an impact bat for points league rosters everywhere.

Reid Detmers SP, Angels (22 percent rostered)

Reid Detmers started 2022 in the Angels’ rotation, but he was sent to the minors in late June after struggling to the tune of a 4.66 ERA (4.70 SIERA) in 58 innings (12 starts). The Angels figured that some time in the minors could help Detmers, and it looks like they were right. Since being recalled, Detmers has a 1.13 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 31/9 K/BB ratio in four starts (24 innings). What’s changed? Increased slider usage.

His slider has been his second-most used pitch in the month of July (33 percent usage rate). And in his thrilling 12-strikeout performance on July 31st, his slider induced 10 whiffs on 23 swings (43 percent whiff rate), and he commanded the pitch exceptionally well. Detmers has always been a strike-thrower who knows how to command his fastball and curveball. So if he can turn his slider and changeup into true weapons, the young southpaw could be a high-end fantasy option by season’s end. He’s a borderline must-add in points leagues.

Brady Singer SP, Royals (23 percent rostered)

Command is key, especially when you possess a limited arsenal of pitches. Brady Singer is armed with a sinker, a slider, and a changeup. Before 2022, he rarely used his changeup against left-handed hitters. In fact, he seldom used his changeup at all. This ultimately led to Singer being unpredictable from a results standpoint on a start-to-start basis. Unless you’re throwing a 100-mph sinker with a devastating breaking ball, it’s difficult to succeed at the major-league level with just two offerings. Singer seemingly embraced this fact during the offseason, as his changeup has a career-high 15.3 percent usage rate against left-handed batters through his first 84 ⅔ innings.

Now, left-handers aren’t exactly being fooled by his changeup (15.2 percent whiff rate), but it always helps to give your opponent another pitch to worry about. But on top of this increased changeup usage, Singer’s slider command has been very sharp. He’s been routinely locating it down-and-in to left-handed batters and down-and-away to right-handed batters. Consequently, his slider has a career-best 39.2 percent whiff rate. I don’t believe that what we’re seeing is fluky – for the most part. I’m not sure how many more double-digit strikeout performances he has left in him, but Singer has improved in his third major-league campaign. It’s hard to justify not taking a chance on the 25-year-old right-hander at this point.

Deep Points League Options

(Players rostered in under 10 percent of ESPN leagues)

Seth Brown 1B/OF, Athletics (8 percent rostered)

Seth Brown‘s raw power is his best tool, without question. As a minor leaguer, he went yard 93 times over 2,202 at-bats. He also had multiple 30-home run seasons. In other words, it’s been evident that he was going to be a power threat in the majors for some time now. He only has 672 major-league at-bats under his belt at age-30, but over that sample size, he’s homered 35 times. Unfortunately, his struggles against breaking and off-speed pitches limit his overall ceiling. Well, so far in 2022, he’s been whiffing at off-speed pitches at a career-low rate while performing better than ever against fastballs.

As a result, he has a career-best 24.9 percent strikeout rate, 85.9 percent zone-contact rate, and 73.9 percent contact rate through 94 games. As long as he remains healthy, he could finish the year with around 25 home runs and a batting average in the .230-.260 range. Even though he’s an older player, his major-league sample size is small, so it’s not surprising to see him still developing. Brown could be a difference-maker down the stretch.

Andre Pallante SP, Cardinals (4 percent rostered)

The rookie right-hander was drafted 125th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft by the Cardinals. At the time, he possessed a four-seam fastball that was topping out at around 95 mph. That’s changed for the better, as his four-seam fastball has topped out 98.1-mph in his rookie season. He’s also armed with a slider, a curveball, and a sinker. I believe that both his slider and curveball can be plus pitches if he can learn how to properly locate them on a regular basis. I can also see his fastball turning into a slightly above-average offering with improved command.

In his most recent outing, he hurled eight shutout innings while fanning a career-high eight batters. He had no issue with throwing strikes (33 percent called plus swinging strike rate), but his overall command still looked a bit raw. Nevertheless, this start gave us a nice glimpse of his upside. He’s still developing, but if you desperately need some starting pitching help, Pallante’s worth the gamble.