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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Time for Detmers to deliver

Is Torres poised for a production increase?
Eric Samulski and Scott Pianowski explain why the fantasy outlook for Gleyber Torres is a mixed bag, but fantasy managers could still look to 'buy low' on the Yankees second baseman.

Let’s get right into this week’s pickups.

Reid Detmers - SP Angels - Rostered in 37% of Yahoo leagues

High on the short list of the most frustrating players to roster in recent years stands Detmers, who opened this season by going 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA and a 30/7 K/BB ratio in his first four starts, all of which were against quality teams. He followed that up with his first loss, in which he lasted seven innings and gave up four runs against the Orioles. So, still not bad. These last four starts, though, have seen him given up 22 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings, and he’s getting dropped in a bunch of leagues as a result. Still, this Detmers does seem improved over past versions.

For starters, Detmers currently has a 3.1 K:BB ratio, up from 2.8 last season and 2.7 as a rookie in 2021. His 30% CSW ranks 12th among qualified pitchers, with his 13.9% swinging-strike percentage placing ninth. He’s doing this while also sporting easily the best groundball rate of his career (41%). Although his actual ERA is up to 5.19, Statcast has him with an xERA of 3.44 and SIERA puts him at 3.56. And he’s faced quite the difficult schedule to date, at least until his last start against the Cardinals. Things should get easier from here.

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Detmers is still just 24 years old, and as frustrating as he’s been, he graded out as a league-average starter in his first two years in the leagues. He’s probably better than that now, and even in a bad situation like the one in Anaheim, he appears to me to be a top-50 fantasy starter.

Andrew Vaughn - 1B White Sox - Rostered in 23% of Yahoo leagues

Speaking of players in bad situations, Vaughn isn’t going to find runs and RBI easy to come by even now that he’s heated up for the White Sox. Still, he looks so much better at the plate than he did a few weeks ago, and it paid off in the form of a two-homer game Tuesday. His average exit velocity has come in at 91.9 mph in May, up from 89.6 mph in April, and Statcast thinks his fine .490 slugging percentage in May undersells what he’s actually doing; it gives him an expected slugging percentage of .589.

At this point, it’s fair to say Vaughn is never going to become the player the White Sox envisioned in picking him third overall in the 2019 draft, though it is worth wondering if another organization would have had more success with him. If he resumes slumping this summer, we might find out, since the White Sox are going to run out of patience at some point. Still, it’s more likely that he’ll stick around if his recent play holds up. He’s in a pretty good ballpark for right-handed power, and if he gets back to pulling a few more of his flyballs, more homers should come. He might not be of long-term help in mixed leagues, but he’s at least a fair stopgap for the moment.

Alek Manoah - SP Blue Jays - Rostered in 19% of Yahoo leagues

Expectations were low and rightfully so when Manoah made his season debut last week after a bout of shoulder tendinitis and a lengthy rehab assignment, and Manoah went on to struggle against the Nationals, giving up six earned runs in four innings. Interestingly, though, he showed considerably better velocity in that outing than he possessed for most of last year. In fact, it was the first time he’d averaged 94 mph with his fastball since his 2023 debut on March 30. Pitching again Sunday against the Twins, he was considerably more effective, allowing only three unearned runs over seven innings in a tough loss. It was the first time in 16 starts dating back to last April that he completed seven innings, and he induced 15 missed swings for the first time since his outstanding 2022 campaign.

None of this is to say Manoah is particularly trustworthy at this point. There were a couple of times last year in which it looked like he might be turning the corner, only to fall flat again. The velocity gains are important, but velocity was only part of the issue last year. Manoah still hasn’t solved what went wrong with his slider last season, and two of the three homers he’s allowed in his two starts this year have come on that pitch. He’ll need to make gains there if he’s going to do much to help the Blue Jays and fantasy teams. Still, there’s more reason for optimism than there was a couple of weeks ago. He doesn’t need to be picked up in mixed leagues right now, but he’s worth monitoring.

Quick Hits

- In light of his recent progress in his rehab, it’d be a good time to stash Gavin Williams in the 55 percent of Yahoo leagues in which he’s available. I viewed him as a top-40 starting pitcher before he hurt his elbow this spring. He’s still probably a month away even if things go well from here, but he could be an impact pitcher over the final three months.

- Byron Buxton (knee) is available in about two-thirds of leagues and should be back next week after a brief rehab assignment.

- Junior Caminero was featured here a few weeks back. The Rays have started giving him some time at second base in Triple-A, which could be a sign that a promotion to the majors is growing imminent. He’s hit .314/.379/.562 with seven homers in 26 games for Durham.