Fantasy Baseball 2021: Players to Target on Waiver Wire for Week 21

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 22, 2021

Fantasy Baseball 2021: Players to Target on Waiver Wire for Week 21

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Triston McKenzie and Nestor Cortes Jr. have pitched their way on to fantasy baseball rosters in recent weeks.

    McKenzie has had lights out stuff for Cleveland in his past two starts. He fanned 19 batters in two victories over the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels.

    Cortes punched out 14 batters in his past two trips to the mound during the New York Yankees' surge up the American League East standings.

    McKenzie and Cortes are rostered in under 60 percent of Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues, but it will not be like that for long if they continue to show masterful stuff on the mound.

Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    McKenzie has more than six times the strikeouts than hits conceded in his past two appearances.

    The right-handed hurler leaped on to the fantasy radar with his no-hit bid against the Tigers on August 15. He struck out 11 batters over eight one-hit innings. McKenzie followed up that performance by allowing two hits over seven frames on Saturday versus Shohei Ohtani and the Angels.

    He wasn't awful in his starts before August 15, but he did not put up high strikeout totals. He had nine punchouts in his first two appearances in August.

    The fantasy value of the Cleveland pitcher skyrocketed over the past week. If he is available in your league, you should smash the add button to take advantage of his hot streak.

    McKenzie's next start should come against the struggling Boston Red Sox. On Saturday, they were held to one run by the Texas Rangers' Jordan Lyles, who has been one of the worst starters this season.

    Cleveland has nine games with the Kansas City Royals and seven versus the Minnesota Twins in September.

    All of those favorable matchups should make McKenzie the most popular pitching addition between now and his next trip to the mound.

Nestor Cortes Jr., SP, New York Yankees

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    The case in favor of Cortes as the top waiver-wire addition is his availability in Yahoo leagues.

    The Yankees left-hander is rostered in fewer leagues than McKenzie, and he is a strong alternative to Week 21's top waiver-wire name.

    Cortes' breakout performance came on the same day as McKenzie's no-hit bid, as he fanned seven batters over six innings versus the Chicago White Sox. He reinforced his fantasy baseball hype Friday against the Minnesota Twins, conceding two earned runs and striking out seven batters over seven frames.

    Cortes should make his next two starts on the West Coast during the seven-game swing against the Oakland Athletics and the Angels. After that, the Yankees face the Baltimore Orioles on six occasions and take on the Texas Rangers and New York Mets for three-game series.

    With half of the next month carrying favorable matchups, Cortes is worth the addition until the end of the regular season as long as he keeps up his form.

Paul Sewald, RP, Seattle

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Paul Sewald is an intriguing pickup for fantasy baseball players in need of relief help.

    The Seattle Mariners right-hander struck out 22 batters in 13 innings of work in July, and he has 11 punchouts in 7.2 innings in August.

    Sewald has not conceded an earned run in four of his past five appearances and has pitched at least one inning in each of his past 14 trips to the mound.

    The 31-year-old is one to watch on the waiver wire because he picked up saves in two of his past three outings. He has eight saves in 40 appearances this season.

    Even if he does not receive a ton of ninth-inning calls, Sewald has been consistent enough to be a nice piece around the regular closers on your roster.


    Statistics obtained from