Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Is Brent Rooker's power for real?
Yusei Kikuchi, SP/RP, Toronto Blue Jays (51% rostered)
Kikuchi surpassed the 50% threshold recently, so consider this a last call for the Toronto starter. He flashed before during his time with the Mariners, specifically with his repertoire, but his fly ball tendencies hampered his floor, and it doesn't look like he has fixed that homer problem much this season either.
That floor is being somewhat salvaged this season, though, as a member of the Blue Jays, as Kikuchi is 4-0. The biggest improvement he has made is cutting his walk rate while keeping his strikeout rate respectable. That his velocity is the highest it has been in his career is the icing on the cake, helping his whiff and chase rates to above-average marks.
There will undoubtedly be some regression to Kikuchi's front-facing numbers, especially pitching in the AL East, but go check if he's still available in your league if you're lacking in wins and strikeouts.
MacKenzie Gore (42%) and Keibert Ruiz (49%), Washington Nationals
Speaking of strikeouts, Gore has been racking them up this season. He has an above-average K% of 31.5, and while he's still walking too many batters, he has been able to keep them in check. ERA estimators don't expect too much of a change in his current 3.00 mark either, so his stuff is playing well and likely will continue to do so. The Nationals won't win many games this season, but Gore has been an ERA and strikeout asset; add him ahead of his next start against the Cubs.
Last call here for Ruiz, who looks like he's heating up at the plate. The young catcher is 6-for-his-last-16, bringing his season average to .284 and his OPS to a solid .763. We'd love more power from the catcher position than Ruiz has offered so far, but he has shown double-digit-homer potential in the minors before, so expect some positive regression there (Statcast says Ruiz's current subpar .407 SLG should be 38 points higher).
If nothing else, Ruiz represents hitting stability at an unstable position. Go check if he's available.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (33%)
I initially considered Geraldo Perdomo (24%) in this spot, but the D-backs tend to sit him against lefties; they'll face two lefty Rockies starters this weekend. Gurriel doesn't have that issue, and he will likely see his playing time increase even more now that Arizona has optioned Jake McCarthy to the minors.
It has been a relatively slow start for Gurriel in every category but batting average this season. The 29-year-old's OBP has been drastically lower than his career averages, so expect some positive regression to hit in that department, helping his bottom line. That regression might come as soon as this weekend when the D-backs get their first series of the season at Coors Field. Gurriel could have a chance to rack up some counting stats up in the thin air. Stream him with confidence.
Brent Rooker, OF, Oakland A's (43%)
It never feels good to recommend a player from an abysmal team, but we fantasy managers just want the numbers. And Rooker's numbers are very, very good right now — especially in the power department. He has seven home runs this season, and Statcast is projecting him to have a monstrous .647 xSLG.
It remains to be seen how long the good times will last for the 28-year-old, but feel empowered to ride the wave as long as they do, especially if you need help in homers and RBIs.
Jack Suwinski (31%) and Vince Velasquez (28%), Pittsburgh Pirates
I wrote about the surprising Pirates already, so I won't spend too much time repeating myself here. There's just no ifs, ands or buts about it: Suwinski has been one of the best hitters in baseball of late. He has hit safely in five straight games and has stolen all four of his bases during that stretch, too.
He should not be rostered in less than half of leagues — not while this hot stretch is going.
Like Suwinski, you could make the argument that Velasquez is currently punching above his weight class so far this season. I say, so what? He'll face the Nationals in his next turn, which is a near-ideal matchup to deliver his fourth consecutive quality start. Velasquez is fully approved for streaming services.