MLB Week 21 Hitting Waiver Wire: 1B Reinforcements Are Coming

NamePositionTeamESPN Own %
Miguel Sanó1BMinnesota Twins46.5
Lewis BrinsonOFMiami Marlins40.1
Bobby Dalbec1BBoston Red Sox11
Frank Schwindel1BChicago Cubs17.8
Tyler NaquinOFCincinnati Reds49.5

1. Miguel Sanó | 1B | Minnesota Twins

Oh, Miguel Sanó. One minute you’re crushing bombs and piling up RBIs, and the next you’re striking out so much that your fantasy relevance tanks. Sanó is the epitome of the current power-hungry, strikeout-prone hitting trend in baseball. So far on the season, he is slashing .216/.309/.450 with 50 runs, 20 home runs, 52 RBIs, one stolen base, and a 129-to-44 strikeout-to-walk ratio. As advertised, he’s got a chance to crack 30 home runs for the second straight (full-length) season. He hit 13 in 53 games in the shortened 2020 season, which put him on a 30-homer pace as well. Make no mistake, he’ll hit home runs. He should also see plenty of RBI opportunities for the remainder of the year hitting more towards the middle of the Twins lineup in the absence of Nelson Cruz and Alex Kiriloff. The real reason he made the list however is he seems to be heating up. In the month of August, Sano has a .241 average and an .818 OPS. However, over the last seven games, he’s hitting .292 with a .914 OPS. His strikeout tendencies can make him a bit streaky as a hitter, but we might be seeing him enter a little hot streak here. If that’s the case, you want to be a part of it.

2. Lewis Brinson | OF | Miami Marlins

Remember when Lewis Brinson the prospect was a thing? Drafted by Texas back in 2012, Brinson had a brief and disappointing major league debut at the age of 23 in 2017 with Milwaukee. He’s been with Miami since 2018 and has more or less been just as disappointing. In fact, in 984 career plate appearances, Brinson has a .201/.332/.332 slash line and a 282-to-52 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Why add him though? Well, he’s been good in 2021. Overall he has a .261 average with a .777 OPS. Since coming back up with Miami on July 19th, Brinson has played nearly every day and has slashed .294/.362/.565 with 15 runs, five home runs, 20 RBIs, and a 23-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 94 plate appearances. The strikeouts and walks are a bit troubling, but whose aren’t these days, right? Needless to say, he’s producing right now from the outfield and should be contributing to fantasy teams rather than being wasted away on the free agent list.

3. Bobby Dalbec | 1B | Boston Red Sox

I remember being excited drafting Dalbec really late in fantasy drafts, thinking I would be one of those people that looked like a genius when Dalbec crushed it all year. Well, that didn’t really happen. Through 338 plate appearances this year, Dalbec has a .229/.278/.432 slash line with 33 runs, 14 home runs, 52 RBIs, one stolen base, and a 122-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Yes, the strikeout and walk numbers are horrific and they’re a big reason why he hasn’t been able to find some consistency on the season. I’m here to say though that the Bobby Dalbec coming out party may have already started and you might want to consider jumping on it now. Here are his strikeout-to-walk ratios for each month starting in April and going through July: 5.0, 7.25, 10.7, and 25.0. Yes, he struck out 25 times in July and walked just once. However, that number is down to 2.75 in August (11 strikeouts and four walks). He’s already walked as many times in August as he did in all of June and July. Now here are his OPS numbers each month of the season through July: 0.619, 0.672, 0.780, and 0.541. In August? His OPS is at 1.080. That’s improved strikeout and walk numbers as well as a monstrous OPS in the month of August so far for Bobby Dalbec. Hitting in this incredible Red Sox lineup, there’s a lot of potential there for the rest of the season. Unless you’re absolutely set at first base, corner infield, or DH, consider giving Dalbec a chance.

4. Frank Schwindel | 1B | Chicago Cubs

Frank who? Frank Schwindel. Originally drafted by the Royals in 2013, Schwindel finally made his major league debut at the age of 27 in 2019. He ended up returning to the majors this year with Oakland, only to be released and ultimately claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Needless to say, he doesn’t particularly have a track record of success in the majors. However, for those deeper leagues out there, consider rostering him during this hot streak he’s found himself on. Since being claimed off waivers by the Cubs, Schwindel has played nearly every day and has slashed .390/.429/.729 with eight runs, four home runs, 15 RBIs, and a 12-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 63 plate appearances. It’s only a little over a half a month of production, but it’s long enough to take notice. Take a flyer and see if you can get this level of production from Schwindel the rest of the way. After all, his everyday at bats are pretty safe right now after the Cubs had a fire-sale at the trade deadline.

5. Tyler Naquin | OF | Cincinnati Reds

Remember when Tyler Naquin was a smash-add at the beginning of the season? He OPSed .914 in April and was suddenly rostered in just about every league. He cooled off in May and June and had an abysmal July, finding himself back on the waiver wire in many leagues. However, he’s been absolutely red hot in August, slashing .356/.442/.578 through 52 plate appearances this month. Over that stretch, he has nine runs, two home runs, eight RBIs, one stolen base, and a 9-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Overall, he’s having himself a decent year and could very well finish the season on a hot streak. Keep in mind his peripherals looks pretty decent as well. He’s above average in a handful of batted ball metrics (Average Exit Velocity, HardHit%, Barrell%) as well as expected statistics (Expected wOBA, Expected Batting Average, Expected Slugging). While his strikeout and walk numbers are not great, he’s still managed to be a productive player for most of the season. If you’re missing production in your outfield, Naquin should provide a decent floor with solid upside the rest of the way.

Zach Boeder is a high school math teacher that has a passion for sports and data journalism. Zach received a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Arizona. He currently teaches in Saint Paul and Lives in Minneapolis with his partner Sarah, their dog Dozier, and cat Remy. Zach plans to argue for a very long time that "2020 would have been the Twins' year if baseball hadn't been shut down."

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