MLB Week 8 Hitting Waiver Wire: Can Andrew Vaughn Step Up For The Injured White Sox?

NamePositionTeamESPN Own %
Andrew Vaughn1B, OFChicago White Sox37.2
Jorge PolancoSS, 2BMinnesota Twins48.9
Robbie GrossmanOFDetroit Tigers31.5
Nick SenzelOFCincinnati Reds35.1
Vidal Brujan2BTampa Bay Rays3.3

1. Andrew Vaughn | 1B, OF | Chicago White Sox

I remember being really proud of myself drafting Andrew Vaughn, feeling pretty confident with his late round value. I also remember a few weeks later, in a roster pinch, dropping Vaughn without much hesitation. It wasn’t a pretty start for the White Sox top prospect, who sat often and struggled when he finally got into the lineup, slashing .179/.343/.286 through his first 10 games. Fast forward a few weeks, however, and the injury to Luis Robert has made Vaughn an everyday player and it seems to be serving him well. For starters, he finally cranked his first major league home run on Wednesday against the Twins. In his last 15 games, Vaughn is slashing .313/.404/.458 with one home run, five RBIs, 11 strikeouts, and seven walks. In addition to his everyday role, he’ll also soon have dual eligibility at first and in the outfield if he doesn’t already. If he’s not already scooped up in your league, he will be soon (I checked tonight’s box scores and Vaughn hit his second home run of the season tonight in the second game of Chicago’s double-header).

2. Jorge Polanco | SS, 2B | Minnesota Twins

We’re starting to see glimpses of what made Jorge Polanco the starting American League shortstop in the 2019 All-Star game. Do we remember the first half of 2019? Through 81 games, Polanco slashed .318/.376/.522 with 12 home runs, 40 RBIs, 56 runs, and a 54-to-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Needless to say, he was remarkable. An apparent ankle injury has hobbled him since, and he just now seems to be feeling healthy again and rediscovering his stroke. So far on the season, Polanco is slashing .252/.319/.407 with three home runs, 16 RBIs, 17 runs, and a 28-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This is not going to get the job done as a fantasy option. However, it’s been a tale of two halves thus far. In his first 16 games, Polanco had a paltry .167/.239/.217 slash line. In the 17 games since his slash line has been .333/.394/.587. All three of his home runs and 11 of his 17 runs have come during that span as well. While he doesn’t necessarily have the career track record to suggest this should be the norm going forward, if he can come even close to reproducing his 2019 numbers he’s a must add for a player that now has dual-eligibility at second and shortstop.

3. Robbie Grossman | OF | Detroit Tigers

You aren’t going to get as excited picking up Robbie Grossman as you would have been had you jumped on, say, Jarred Kelenic before anyone else. Regardless, Grossman is likely outproducing some of the other outfielders you drafted and have kept in your lineup this entire time (We’re looking at you, Ryan Mountcastle). Grossman continues to display the same elite eye at the plate that has landed him a spot on a major league roster for close to a decade now. Still just 31 years old, Grossman is Detroit’s everyday leadoff hitter and continues to produce. On the season, he owns a .242/.381/.387 slash line with three home runs, 17 RBIs, seven stolen bases, and 33 strikeouts to 26 walks. More importantly, however, is the fact that he’s hitting the ball a little harder and elevating it more than he ever has. While he’s a few years behind the trend, he should still start seeing some positive results in the power department. His .387 slugging is nothing to write home about, but his .449 expected slugging and .414 expected wOBA on contact indicates we’ll start seeing some more doubles and home runs from Grossman than what’s been typical for him before. He’s already arguably roster-able, and if his power numbers start climbing, you’ll be upset you missed out on a producing outfielder that was free in mid May.

4. Nick Senzel | OF | Cincinnati Reds

How many chances will we give Nick Senzel to materialize into the talent he was hyped up to be? Despite solid rookie numbers in 2019, Senzel hasn’t quite lived up to his high-profile prospect status. For starters, he’s struggled to stay on the field. Even when he’s on, he hasn’t quite produced as he was expected to. However, he’s healthy now and is hitting leadoff for the Reds potent offense. While it’s just 113 plate appearances, Senzel holds a .260/.336/.330 slash line to go along with one home run, eight RBIs, four doubles, two stolen bases, and 14 strikeouts to 12 walks. He’s also been caught stealing five times, which is an indication that he’s at least getting the green light. With 14 stolen bases in just over 100 games in 2019, and a sprint speed in the 96th-percentile, Senzel should be able to pile up some stolen bases if he stays healthy. A little less swinging and missing and a little more pop could make him a fantasy stud. Nonetheless, his talent profile and spot in a good offense make him hard to pass up. Keep in mind he’s also seeing some time at second base, making dual-eligibility in the near future a possibility. EDIT: Senzel left Thursday’s game with a foot injury. Here we go again!

5. Vidal Brujan | 2B | Tampa Bay Rays

No, I’m not talking about Wander Franco. While Franco should be stashed in his own right, there’s another top prospect likely making his debut in the near future for the Rays and his name is Vidal Brujan. At just 23 years old, Brujan is Tampa Bay’s second overall prospect just behind Franco. He’s playing like it too, hitting .371 with a 1.178 OPS through his first 35 at-bats. Brujan has always demonstrated great plate discipline in the minors, as evident by his tremendous strikeout-to-walk ratios and career .379 on-base percentage. However, his recent power surge is what has everyone really excited about his arrival to the Rays’ lineup. Brujan has already slugged four homers, which matches the same amount he had across 99 games in 2019. While originally an infielder, Tampa has also had him play five games in the outfield and one game at third base, making it appear as if they’re looking for a spot to call him up sooner rather than later.

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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