Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: MacKenzie Gore, Jesus Sanchez, Jo Adell

img By: Andrew Seifter / @andrew_seifter

This article originally appeared at FantasyPros.com.

This is just my second week writing the FantasyPros waiver wire column, but I am already setting up some ground rules for myself.

Rule number one is that I will do my best to discuss different players in this space each week. I can’t promise there will never be any repeats, but I want this column to explore the full breadth of waiver wire options, rather than just be about me banging the drum for my “pet” players ever week.

That being said, there are plenty of guys I mentioned last week who are less than 50 percent rostered and shouldn’t be. So if C.J. Abrams, Alejandro Kirk, Matt Brash, Tommy Pham, Akil Baddoo, Jeremy Pena, Harrison Bader, or Oneil Cruz are still hanging around on the waiver wire in your league, you still have my full-throated endorsement to go pick them up.

Rule number two is that I am only going to write up players who are rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. So if you’re wondering why I make no mention of Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Wright, Jesus Luzardo, Owen Miller, or Daniel Bard, that’s why. If any of those guys are somehow still out there in your league, they would be at or near the top of my pickup list.

But enough with the legalese. I don’t want to turn into Rob Manfred and get into the habit of messing around with the rules all the time!

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

FAABulous Four: Top Waiver Targets

MacKenzie Gore (SP — SD): 45% Rostered
For the second straight week, let’s lead off with a top-tier Padres prospect rocketing into the Big Leagues. With Blake Snell joining Mike Clevinger on the Injured List, opportunity has come knocking for Gore, a former top-three prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com. Gore plummeted down the prospect rankings following a 2021 campaign that saw him struggle with his mechanics and command of the strike zone, but the pure stuff was always there.

Gore averaged 95.6 miles per hour on his fastball in his MLB debut, topping out at 98.5 mph. He leaned on the pitch heavily, throwing it 72.6 percent of the time, but still held a tough Atlanta lineup to just two runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings.

If he can improve his command of his secondary offerings, he could quickly ascend to must-start status and make it very difficult for San Diego to pull him from the rotation when Clevinger and/or Snell return.

Jesus Sanchez (OF — MIA): 35% Rostered
There are plenty of hitters off to surprising starts, but not many of them have 70 grade power like Sanchez. Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that he’s crushing the ball. The 24-year old slugger was also pretty darn good for the Marlins last season, swatting 14 home runs in just 64 games, and he was even better in the 37 games he played in Triple-A.

Sanchez’s .310 batting average through the first week is heading for a correction, but it’s promising that he’s only fanned five times in his first 30 plate appearances. That suggests he could improve on last year’s .251 mark. It also doesn’t hurt that he is regularly perched in the second or third spot of Miami’s batting order, ensuring plenty of at-bats and run producing opportunities.

Jo Adell (OF — LAA): 45% Rostered
Patience is often severely lacking in the fantasy community, and Adell is a case in point. The Halos’ uber-talented 23-year old was among the most dropped players over the first week of the season, presenting many of you a golden opportunity to benefit from a leaguemate’s folly.

Adell has yet to put up big numbers since his debut in 2020, but give the kid a break; he still has only 80 Major League games under his belt. He hit .289 with 23 home runs and eight steals in 73 games at Triple-A last season, which should give you a decent sense of the kind of upsides he possesses.

Yes, it’s a little concerning that he has 12 strikeouts and zero walks in the early going, but let’s not overreact to 21 plate appearances. Maybe he ultimately needs a little more seasoning in the minors, but he absolutely belongs on fantasy rosters for the time-being.

Merrill Kelly (SP — ARI): 28% Rostered
Kelly has been a pretty pedestrian hurler since he joined the Diamondbacks in 2019, but there is reason to believe he is ready to take a big step forward. He’s been outstanding through his first two starts, throwing 9 1/3 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts in fairly challenging matchups with the Padres and Astros. Most importantly, he’s showing new skills, including improved fastball velocity and more movement on his changeup. He’s got a favorable start against the Nationals coming up, so pick him up now before it’s too late.

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