Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Luis Matos headlines 5 hitters worth picking up now

Dalton Del Don reveals the top widely available hitters worth adding on the fantasy baseball waiver wire in Week 8.

Matos wasn’t in San Francisco’s immediate plans until injuries struck the Giants’ outfield, but he’s made the most of his opportunity since getting recalled a week ago. He recorded 11 RBI over Friday and Saturday — the same number Ronald Acuña Jr. has totaled all season. He has twice as many RBI (16) in 26 at-bats over the last week than George Springer has in 159 ABs this year.

Matos has yet to walk, but he’s also struck out just once over 30 plate appearances, so batting average should be a strength. He was struggling in Triple-A (66 wRC+) this year and doesn’t possess a ton of power/speed upside, but he’s going to get a chance to hit in the middle of San Francisco’s lineup. Still, we should temper expectations for homers and steals for the 22-year-old, especially hampered by Oracle Park.

Matos is off to a scorching start after getting recalled to the majors and has his roster percentage jumped accordingly off the big weekend. He's still available in more than 60% of Yahoo leagues.

Schneider hit leadoff over the weekend with George Springer also in the lineup for the first time this season. His 141 wRC+ would be top-25 among qualified hitters, and Schneider entered Sunday ranked top-five in barrels per swing, just behind Juan Soto, Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani (maybe you’ve heard of them). Schneider is a 28th-round pick who seemingly came out of nowhere, but he posted a 142 wRC+ in Triple-A and a 176 wRC+ after his first call up to the majors last season. In fact, Schneider was one of just nine MLB hitters to post a 1.000+ OPS in the second half. He can hit.

Schneider is eligible at 2B and OF, is in the top 15% of the league in xwOBA and is hitting leadoff in Toronto. He shouldn’t be available in more than 75% of leagues.

Nootbaar’s .218 batting average comes with a .275 expected BA, which is one of the biggest differences among all hitters this season. Nootbaar’s contact metrics are impressive, and his max exit velocity is in the top 8% of the league. He also has suffered from having the highest percentage of pitches outside the strike zone called strikes against him this year. Abnormally poor umpiring and a lowly .236 BABIP are sure to regress, and projection systems are bullish, with Steamer predicting a 126 wRC+ rest of the season. Nootbaar hits second against righties, and it’s safe to ignore his misleading batting average.

Nootbaar is available in 65% of Yahoo leagues and should be a productive fantasy outfielder moving forward.

Fry would easily lead all catchers in OPS (1.005) and wRC+ (185) if he qualified, and his walk rate is in the top 2% of the league. He’s become a fixture in Cleveland’s lineup during May, when he’s hit .344/.475/.656 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Fry has moved to the middle of the Guardians’ order behind hitters with strong OBPs, so he looks like an underrated fantasy asset.

Fry entered Sunday ranked as the No. 12 fantasy catcher this season over just 77 at bats (Yainer Diaz was frequently drafted as a top-five C and has provided far less value over 166 ABs), yet he’s available in nearly 85% of leagues despite a new full-time role in the outfield.

Another beneficiary of Steven Kwan’s injury in Cleveland, Freeman has thrived since moving to the top of the lineup. He’s quietly on pace to go 15/25 despite a .221 batting average that looks sure to climb. Freeman doesn’t strike out much (6:5 K:BB ratio over 52 ABs in May) and has solid exit velocity and speed, so his lowly .241 BABIP seems like a fluke. The Guardians have been one of the more aggressive base stealing teams this season, so there’s SB potential. Small sample size alert, but the usually pitcher-friendly Progressive Field has been extremely favorable to hitters so far in 2024, including increasing home runs a whopping 41%.

Freeman is shining in the leadoff spot, eligible at four positions and widely available in fantasy leagues.