The fantasy baseball world suffered another injury this past week when Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto landed on the injured list with a shoulder injury. Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. should return soon, but losing multiple first-round draft picks in the month of April has been frustrating.

Waiver-Wire Targets

Kansas City Royals Starting Pitcher Danny Duffy — The left-hander has been a popular target this week, so this will be the last opportunity to acquire the pitcher as he’s right at the 50 percent threshold. The veteran has seen an increase in velocity, which has led to impressive results. The 32-year-old is averaging 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be a career high, and has only allowed one earned run in three starts. Duffy has had an ERA over 4.30 in each of the last three years, so fantasy owners need to be cautious. However, if the velocity increase isn’t a fluke, he could be relied on as a solid back-end rotation option for fantasy owners.

Pittsburgh Pirates Starting Pitcher J.T. Brubaker — Another pitching option for fantasy owners is Brubaker, who is off to an impressive start. Through 15.1 innings pitched, Brubaker has struck out 18 and only allowed three earned runs. The right-hander never struck out a lot of hitters in the minors, but did average better than 9.00 strikeouts per nine innings in 2020 with the Pirates. If choosing between Duffy and Brubaker, I’d lean toward the veteran, but I’m curious as anyone to see if Brubaker can keep up this hot start.

Milwaukee Brewers Catcher Omar Narvaez — Another week of recommending a catcher, which is wild, but Narvaez needs to be mentioned. The catcher is batting .396 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored through 16 games. I love that he is catching on a consistent basis as well because that is always a wild card. To get a catcher who is hitting well and playing daily off the waiver wire is something fantasy owners should capitalize on.

Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Bryan Reynolds — If you’re trying to get by with no Soto or any other injuries to the outfield, Reynolds could be a solid option. The outfielder has collected nine hits since April 16, including a home run. He’s now batting .313 on the season. Reynolds struggled in 2020, but in 2019, he did finish with 16 home runs and a .314 batting average. Fantasy owners can’t expect a lot of production, but I’m confident the batting average will be consistent enough to get through any injuries our rosters may have.

Pittsburgh Pirates Second Baseman Adam Frazier — Someone take my temperature, as I can’t believe I have three Pirates on this list. However, we don’t care about the uniforms, we just care about production. Frazier is producing from the leadoff spot, which is always a priority in fantasy. The infielder is batting .329 with 11 runs scored and two stolen bases. Like Reynolds, I don’t know if this pace can keep up, but ride the hot streak while it lasts.

Los Angeles Dodgers Outfielder Zach McKinstry — The outfielder may have more upside than the Pirates hitters listed above, but McKinstry did get scratched with lower back stiffness April 22, so I’m worried it could be something that lingers. If McKinstry is back in the lineup by the weekend, he’s a fine target. The outfielder is batting .296 with three home runs and 14 RBIs already for the Dodgers and continues to get consistent at-bats.

Phil Backert

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