Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Alec Bohm, Tony Gonsolin, Josiah Gray

img By: Andrew Seifter / @andrew_seifter

This article originally appeared at FantasyPros.com.

This is a column about players to pick up, but let’s not forget about the players who get dropped in our leagues, either. Late April is peak impatient season in fantasy baseball circles, and that means some surprising names could be surfacing on a waiver wire near you.

Case in point: I just scooped up Dansby Swanson off the waiver wire in my league. Yes, Swanson is off to an ice-cold start (39.3 percent K rate = oof), but he’s been a valuable fantasy contributor for several years running, and I don’t expect that to suddenly stop in his age-28 season.

There are plenty of intriguing players of this week’s waiver wire list, but I’d still bet on Swanson being better than at least 90 percent of them. Swanson may not be available in your league, but a Yasmani Grandal, Joey Votto, or Julio Rodriguez could be.

That’s why I make sure to always scan through the drop list in my fantasy leagues, especially those with daily transactions. You know what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Note: Rostered rates are from Yahoo leagues as of Saturday night.

FAABulous Four: Top Waiver Targets

Alec Bohm (3B — PHI): 37% Rostered
After hitting .338 over his first 44 Big League games in 2020, Bohm was a popular breakout candidate heading into last season. He didn’t meet those lofty expectations, though, hitting just .247 average with seven homers and four steals over 417 plate appearances.

Bohm’s post-hype sleeper status for 2022 seemingly took a hit when highly-regarded infield prospect Bryson Stott hit his way onto the Phillies’ Opening Day roster. However, Bohm has clearly been the superior player over the season’s early weeks, prompting manager Joe Girardi to announce that Bohm is locked in as the team’s everyday third baseman moving forward.

Bohm’s Baseball Savant page is the kind that should excite the statistically-minded fantasy manager, a sea of red signifying extremely hard contact and excellent bat-to-ball skills. Any batter hitting .440 is due for some regression, but with a .415 expected batting average, Bohm has mostly earned the terrific results he’s been getting so far.

Tony Gonsolin (SP — LAD): 43% Rostered
Gonsolin struggled with walks and shoulder woes in 2021, but he was still quite good when he was on the mound, posting a smooth 3.23 ERA and 10.51 K/9 rate over 55 2/3 innings. Overall, he’s put up an excellent 2.67 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 9.04 K/9 rate over his first 38 Major League appearances, including 30 starts.

Gonsolin was held to a very limited pitch count over his first couple turns through the Dodgers’ rotation this season, throwing four or fewer inning in each start. That could help explain why he’s rostered in so few fantasy leagues. He cruised through six innings against Atlanta in his most recent start, though, and shouldn’t have a problem going deep enough into games to put himself in line for wins moving forward.

His peripherals don’t back up the 0.69 ERA he’s currently sporting, but don’t sweat it. We’ve seen more than enough from Gonsolin over the last three seasons to justify putting him into our fantasy lineups.

Josiah Gray (SP — WAS): 44% Rostered
One of the main pieces acquired by the Nationals in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade, Gray wasn’t great in his first taste of the Big Leagues last year, and he was also hit around in his first start of 2022. He’s been exceptional in his last two starts, though, giving up just one run in 10 1/3 innings against Atlanta and Arizona, while striking out 13 batters and picking up two wins in the process.

It’s not fair to place expectations on Gray based on the players he was traded for, but there’s a reason that Washington insisted on getting him in the Scherzer-Turner deal. The 24-year-old dominated hitters at every level of the minors, putting up a sub-3.00 ERA at every stop with strong strikeout-to-walk ratios. He has the stuff of a front-end starter, too, including a nasty curveball and slider that both generate plenty of whiffs.

Bumps in the road are always possible for young pitchers, but Gray certainly looks like a long-term building block for the rebuilding Nats. He can be one for your fantasy team, too.

Nathaniel Lowe (1B — TEX): 49% Rostered
Lowe was offered up as a potential breakout candidate in some circles this preseason, and he’s certainly looked the part so far, hitting .412 through his first 55 plate appearances. Lowe’s high batting average has been fueled by a ton of hard contact and continued improvement in his strikeout and swinging strike rates.

The real question in terms of Lowe’s fantasy viability is his power output, or lack thereof. While raw power was considered to be his best attribute as a prospect, his home run power has been slow to develop. He has just one home run so far, and only hit 18 in 642 plate appearances last season. The main culprit is a launch angle that has steadily declined over his four Major League seasons, and currently sits at just 0.9 degrees.

Short of a change in approach, Lowe may have trouble topping 20 home runs again this season, but he should still be able to provide a solid batting average, a handful of steals, and solid run production while hitting in the middle of the Rangers’ improved lineup. At the very least, it’s worth riding the hot hand.

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Comments (1)
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