Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: The Manzardo, the myth, the legend

The latest Rotoworld Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire column breaks down the long-awaited arrival of top prospect Kyle Manzardo, a strong stretch from veteran Jameson Taillon since returning from the injured list, and the strikeout upside of talented pitching prospect Christian Scott as he continues his rapid ascent.

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Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians
Available in 72 percent of Yahoo! leagues

Manzardo finally arrived in Cleveland earlier this week, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts during Monday’s series opener against the Tigers, following a sizzling-hot 29-game stretch for Triple-A Columbus to open the year where he posted a stratospheric 1.017 OPS with nine homers and 20 RBI across 128 plate appearances. The 23-year-old slugging prospect projects as an instant four-category fantasy contributor, given his over-the-fence pop and solid plate skills. However, there might be some initial turbulence as he adjusts to life in the big leagues. It’s worth noting that he got off to a slow start at Triple-A this season before really heating up over the last few weeks. If there’s a big reason to believe in Manzardo sticking around for the Guardians it’s that he’s clearly the superior option at designated hitter moving forward, while also drawing the occasional start at first base when Josh Naylor needs a maintenance day, over struggling in-house alternatives like Estevan Florial and Bo Naylor. If you’re rolling the dice on raw talent, Manzardo is one of the more intriguing offensive prospects in the fantasy landscape, which makes him worthy of a speculative roster spot in all fantasy formats.

Jameson Taillon, SP, Cubs
Available in 55 percent of Yahoo! Leagues

It’s pretty remarkable that Taillon remains out there on the waiver wire in the majority of fantasy formats after reeling off a sublime four-start stretch since returning from a three-week absence at the outset of the regular season recovering from a back strain that sent him to the injured list at the conclusion of spring training. The 32-year-old veteran right-hander hasn’t been overpowering in terms of generating whiffs, but his pinpoint command has enabled him to consistently throw strikes and avoid hard contact. He’s compiled a sublime 1.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 16/5 K/BB ratio across 24 innings (four starts) since making his season debut back on April 19. Despite the lack of immense strikeout upside, Taillon offers some massive appeal for fantasy managers as a back-end rotation stabilizer and finds himself in line for a tasty road matchup on Friday against the division-rival Pirates, who have scored the sixth-fewest runs in baseball and also launched the third-fewest round-trippers through the first couple weeks of the season. Simply put, Taillon needs to be rostered in all fantasy formats until further notice, even if he’s overdue for some slight regression from a run-prevention standpoint.

Christian Scott, SP, Mets
Available in 66 percent of Yahoo! leagues

It’s a daunting matchup on paper, but fantasy managers should strongly consider rolling out Scott on Friday when he takes the ball against Atlanta’s formidable lineup for his second-ever big-league start due to his immense strikeout upside. The 24-year-old top pitching prospect authored an extremely impressive opening chapter to his major-league career last Saturday against the Rays, recording six strikeouts and allowing just one run over 6 2/3 innings. He generated an eye-popping 18 swinging strikes and finished with a robust 35 percent CSW. That’ll work. He’s worthy of a speculative roster spot in all fantasy formats as he projects to make an immediate impact, thanks to stellar control and an ability to consistently miss bats. He’s had some issues with home runs in the upper minors, but it’s a relatively minor concern at the moment. He completed his meteoric rise to the majors this season by compiling a sparkling 3.20 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 36/6 K/BB ratio across 25 1/3 innings (five starts) for Triple-A Syracuse. He possesses the raw talent required to make an immediate impact for fantasy managers, especially since all indications are he’ll be given some extended runway to prove that he belongs in New York for good.

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