We have made it to June and injuries are pilling up. The waiver wire might seem thin right now, at least in my league, but if you dig deep enough you can always find a fix. This week we have a couple of options, most of which have potential to grow into a much better player than they have already shown.
Alejandro Kirk – C- Blue Jays (33.9% ESPN)
Kirk is not like many baseball players. His build would lead you to believe he’s many things besides a baseball player, however, the catcher can flat out hit slashing .307/.386/.453 with four home runs and a 142 wRC+.
Although Kirk has shared time with Danny Jansen behind the plate, he has also filled in at designated hitter. Even if he is not playing every day, his production when he does play can outweigh the production of many available everyday options. If he keeps hitting like this, the Blue Jays will have no choice but to find him at bats.
Roansy Contreras- SP- Pirates (12.3% ESPN)
Contreras was being used some out of the bullpen, but has transitioned back into the rotation, where he belongs. Through 23.1 innings pitched, he’s racked up 26 strikeouts and a 1.03 WHIP and 1.93 ERA. His pedigree as a top prospect leads me to believe this is more than a flash in the pan.
Contreras has a lively fastball with a high degree of spin (88th percentile) and velocity (92nd percentile. The movement on his slider and curveball work well off the fastball and show why he has such high upside. You never know what you are going to get with a rookie, but scoop up Contreras now and see how the next few games look.
Graham Ashcraft- SP – Reds (5.7%)
You’ve likely heard of Hunter Green and Nick Lodolo, but Graham Ashcraft has arguably been the best of the three Reds rookie starters. His 1.53 ERA and 0.96 WHIP are impressive for his first three starts. Ashcraft is a groundball pitcher (62.5% groundball rate) which should play well in Great American Ballpark.
The pitch that has carried his success has been the fastball. It does not look like your average fastball, as the movement has been described as a “gyro ball”. At 97-100 miles per hour, hitters have had a tough time squaring it up. The sinker and slider have caught batters off guard, with hitters batting below .160 on each. Ashcraft will likely stick in the rotation, especially with the potential of Luis Castillo being moved in a trade.
Garrett Cooper- 1B/OF – Marlins (4.7%)
Garrett Cooper has hit over .280 for each of the past three seasons and his .297/.370/.442 slash line this year is proof he is a legit hitter in this league. Cooper is not much of a power hitter, with only four home runs, but he can still add a couple to your category while raising the average and offering position flexibility of first base and outfield.
Cooper’s savant page has plenty of red. He ranks in the 75th percentile or higher in Barrel percentage, xwOBA, average exit velocity, max exit velocity, and expected average. A pure hitter in the two-hole, leading to plenty of at-bats per week.
Jose Miranda- 1B/3B- Twins (1.6%)
After batting .344 in 2021 across two levels of the minors, Jose Miranda gained hype coming into the 2022 season.
Miguel Sano’s injury opened the door for playing time, but Miranda’s bat must have been left in St. Paul as he got off to a terrible start. Through his first 14 games played, Miranda hit just .094/.143/.189, with one home runs and three RBIs.
Luckily he has begun to turn things around as of late.
After being moved to a reserve role, recent play has placed him back into everyday at-bats. Since May 24th, Miranda has multi-hit games in five of his past eight games, including three home runs.
The strikeouts are still an issue, but his minor league strikeout rate around 12% leads me to believe contact will be up and K’s will be down. If you need to roll the dice on a corner infielder, Miranda can be a good lottery ticket to play.