Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Ben Brown leads priority pickups

Every fantasy season is a mess in its own unique way, but baseball has really outdone itself in 2024.

We are only one-third of the way through this thing and we’ve already lost the game’s consensus top hitter and top pitcher to season-ending injuries. Baseball’s top prospect was called up to great fanfare, but later returned to the minors after hitting just .059. Corbin Carroll suddenly can’t hit, Pablo López can’t pitch, and … well, it’s rough out there.

But the waiver wire is always there for us, offering players we'll drop next week hope to those with roster needs. Let’s review a few recommended pickups to patch your struggling lineups ...

Just in case you missed the highlights from Brown’s most recent start, here’s a taste:

He has high-90s velocity and his curve is pure evil. Brown was nearly perfect on Tuesday, firing 7.0 scoreless no-hit innings against the Brewers while striking out 10. He may yet end up in a relief role for Chicago, but, whatever he’s doing, he’s going to pile up Ks at an extreme rate.

You might recall that Brown was rocked in his MLB debut, but in a dozen subsequent appearances, he’s delivered a 1.61 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 54 Ks in 44.2 innings. He’s a priority add ahead of Sunday’s start against the strikeout-prone Reds.

Schneider has been batting leadoff for the Jays over the past two weeks, with solid results. He’s reached base at a .356 clip for the season while hitting for power (6 HR) and swiping three bags. He also hit 21 homers at Triple-A Buffalo last year plus another eight in the big leagues, so we know the power is legit. If you’re looking for a power/speed combo player with run-scoring upside (and positional flexibility), Schneider might just be your guy.

Gonzales has feasted since re-arriving in the majors, slashing .313/.375/.547 for the Bucs over 18 games with eight extra-base hits and a pair of steals. He’d been utterly dominant at Triple-A earlier in the year, batting .358 with a 1.039 OPS and 20 XBH in 30 games. At some point, we probably need to simply accept the fact that this man can hit. His power has generally been of the doubles variety, but his average and on-base skills will definitely play. Eligibility at both middle-infield spots boosts his profile, too.

Bailey was known to be an incredibly valuable real-life catcher entering the season, but his bat has exceeded expectations to this point. He’s hitting .299/.353/.477 at the moment with four homers in 123 plate appearances, and he’s been terrific in the Statcast categories as well (90th percentile EV, 73rd percentile hard-hit rate). Bailey’s most recent homer was a grand slam off Reed Garrett, which is no small achievement:

If you’ve been unsatisfied with your fantasy backstop situation, Bailey can certainly help.

Winn carries an 18-game hitting streak into the weekend series at St. Louis, which is plenty impressive. We’re not exactly on DiMaggio Watch just yet, but 18 is a big number. His contact rate is well above league average, even if the quality of contact leaves something to be desired. Winn has also stolen seven bases so far this season and he’s just two years removed from a 43-steal campaign in the minors, so he can be an asset across multiple categories.

Soriano’s season has been a bit of a roller coaster, but the Ks have been consistent (8.8 K/9) and his fantasy ratios are within the acceptable range (3.61 ERA, 1.19 WHIP). On his best days, his stuff is as electric as anyone’s. He has a triple-digit fastball, mid-90s split and a vicious curve. Upside doesn’t get much more obvious than this. Soriano draws a Friday start against the Mariners, the team that currently leads MLB in strikeouts. It seems like a decent time to test-drive the 25-year-old righty.