Fantasy Baseball 2021: Waiver-Wire Players to Pick Up for Week 16

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 18, 2021

Fantasy Baseball 2021: Waiver-Wire Players to Pick Up for Week 16

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Two of the most notable outfield prospects in the American League are expected to receive a good chunk of playing time out of the MLB All-Star break.

    Jarren Duran made his Boston Red Sox debut Saturday, and he is expected to receive every chance to thrive right away at the major league level.

    Jarred Kelenic received his second chance to contribute in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners. His role within the lineup could change in the next week depending on the team's trade deadline movement.

    There are no star prospect pitchers making the move up from Triple-A yet, but there is one young hurler who might deserve your attention after some decent outings prior to the All-Star break.

Jarren Duran, OF, Boston

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Duran went 1-for-2 in his big-league debut Saturday against Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees.

    He was immediately slotted into the No. 6 spot in the order beneath Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe, but that was with Xander Bogaerts out of the starting lineup.

    He will likely start most of his early games with the Red Sox in the bottom third of the order beneath Bogaerts, Devers and Renfroe.

    Duran could force his way up a spot or two in the order if the power he displayed at Triple-A Worcester translates to the American League.

    He had 15 home runs, 32 RBIs and a .926 OPS over 46 games in his lone season at the highest minor league level. In 2019, Duran had a single home run in 82 appearances for Double-A Portland.

    It may take a few games for Duran to get acclimated to big league pitching, but the early returns from Saturday and his Triple-A numbers suggest he is worth the waiver-wire pickup for now.

Jarred Kelenic, OF, Seattle

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Kelenic picked up one hit each in his first two games back from the minors for Seattle.

    After a two-hit night May 14, Kelenic turned in some disappointing numbers in his first spell with the Mariners. He had a batting average under .100 when he was sent back to Triple-A Tacoma.

    In his 140 plate appearances at Tacoma, Kelenic produced nine home runs, 28 RBI and a 1.016 OPS, all numbers that suggest he is ready for the big league call-up.

    Kelenic will not be expected to be the star of the Seattle lineup just yet with Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager and Ty France sharing time in that role.

    If Haniger or Seager draw trade interest before the July 30 trade deadline, Kelenic could be promoted into a larger role come August.

    Seattle is seven games back of the Houston Astros in the AL West and 3.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the final wild-card position.

    The Mariners have two road games in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting the A's and Astros for a seven-game homestand.

    The team's performance in that stretch could be vital to its status as a seller or contender. No matter which way that pendulum swings, Kelenic will face a steady dose of high-quality pitching. If he plays well in those games, he could be used as a season-long addition at outfielder, especially on rosters that recently lost Ronald Acuna Jr.

Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Triston McKenzie's overall numbers are not great, but he displayed his potential to be a decent starting pitcher for Cleveland in his most recent outing.

    The right-handed hurler gave up one hit and did not concede an earned run over seven innings against the Kansas City Royals. He struck out nine batters in that appearance July 9.

    If the quality from that outing parlays into the second half of the season, McKenzie could be viewed as one of the steals off the waiver wire.

    The 1-3 pitcher with a 5.47 ERA drew a tough assignment out of the break against the Astros on Tuesday. That could serve as the ultimate test to see whether the Kansas City performance was a fluke.

    McKenzie is worth the addition for the next week because he is in line to make two starts. The second scheduled appearance should come against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday at home.

    Tampa Bay entered Saturday with the most strikeouts of any team with 935. McKenzie has at least five strikeouts in all but two of his 12 starts.

    If the strikeout rate remains consistent and he cuts down on the earned runs, McKenzie should provide a decent boost to fantasy baseball rosters in need of pitching help.


    Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.