Here's a little peek behind the curtain for you. You want to know how I normally organize the players depicted in this Waiver Wire column? By how rostered they are. It stands to reason that the more rostered ones would be the more interesting ones, doesn't it? But that's not always true.
In this case, the most interesting waiver wire pickups from the weekend -- not best, necessarily, but the ones attracting the most page views -- are among the least rostered. So I'll give them some props right here at the top.
The first is Nolan Jones, who most every publication agreed was a top-100 prospect from 2019 through 2021. He fell off the map last year but has come back strong this year and went 5 for 10 in his first weekend on the job, hitting this 457-foot screamer Saturday:
He's also eligible at -- wait for it -- third base. Oh yeah.
The other is Brett Martin, a reliever of fairly ordinary skill who finds himself with the extraordinary task of closing for the Rangers. That's how it appears, anyway, after he recorded a save both Friday and Saturday. You wonder what happened to Joe Barlow, the 26-year-old who's been perfectly serviceable in the role? Apparently, the Rangers wanted to take some stress off him, and I can only imagine how that conversation went.
So anyway, it may not be true that Jones and Martin are the most impactful of the eight players depicted here, but their potential for impact is the most out of proportion with their roster rates. For now, though, to the back of the line they go.
CIN Cincinnati • #21 • Age: 23
Greene's success Saturday against the Rays goes beyond just the stat line. He averaged 100.1 mph on his fastball, up 1.6 mph from usual. Though normally not a big bat-misser, it was responsible for 10 of his career-high 22 swinging strikes in this one, and it sounds like keeping that velocity is a top priority moving forward. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Greene has taken to strength training in between starts specifically for that purpose. He's also throwing two versions of his slider now, one that's more of a sweeper and one that's more of a cutter, which should further enhance his arsenal. I know he has an ERA pushing 6.00 right now, but he seems to be on the cusp of great things.
Alex Wood SP
SF San Francisco • #57 • Age: 32
When a player continues to underperform his peripherals month after month, there does come a point where you have to let it go. But I'm not there yet with Wood, and his latest start Sunday shows why. He threw seven shutout innings on just 83 pitches, striking out eight while registering 14 swinging strikes. His ground-ball rate was as high as usual, bringing his xFIP down to 3.20. His FIP and xERA also paint a much rosier picture than his 4.43 ERA. Durability remains an issue -- this was only his third start of six-plus innings -- but if he begins pitching up to his peripherals, it'll change. He went six-plus 10 times last year.
Paul Sewald RP
SEA Seattle • #37 • Age: 32
Manager Scott Servais will never say it, but I will: Paul Sewald is the Mariners closer. And what a closer he is, boasting a 2.43 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 10.3 K/9. You could argue he was even more dominant last year, so there's a track record here. Sewald was forced to throw 29 pitches in a game that went into extra innings Friday, so it's understandable that Diego Castillo got the save Saturday, but the Mariners went right back to Sewald in the ninth inning Sunday. He now has six of the team's past eight saves, and the only two he didn't get were on days when he wasn't available. It wouldn't surprise me if he's a top-12 reliever the rest of the way.
Josh Rojas 3B
ARI Arizona • #10 • Age: 28
At this point, I don't have much hope of Rojas ever living up to the .332 batting average, 23 homers, 33 steals and 1.023 OPS he put together in the minors three years ago, but he's certainly hot right now, batting .485 (16 for 33) with a homer, eight doubles and two steals so far in July. He's genuinely impacted the ball well during that stretch, too, averaging 94.8 mph in exit velocity with an optimal launch angle. Again, he'll need to sustain it for much longer to convince me he's unlocked some latent potential, but as a quadruple-eligible player (second, third, short and outfield) who's capable of stealing a few bases, he deserves more love.
Reid Detmers SP
LAA L.A. Angels • #48 • Age: 23
What Detmers showed in his return from the minor leagues Friday I thought was even more encouraging than what he showed during his no-hitter in May -- in short, the ability to miss bats. His 13 swinging strikes were a season high, and his slider usage was way up: 41 percent compared to 16.5 percent previously. After being sent down, he discovered a mechanical flaw that prevented that pitch from having its usual bite. He proved it was back in his one start at Triple-A, striking out 14 over six innings. "It was my out pitch last year and this year, I haven't really had that out pitch," Detmers said. Now that his best pitch has been restored, a new world of possibilities is open to him.
Nolan Jones RF
COL Colorado • #22 • Age: 24
The prospecting community seemed to give up on Jones last year after a rough transition to Triple-A followed by season-ending ankle surgery. Even when he was a consensus top prospect, there were critiques related to his high strikeout rate and failure to tap into his raw power. Now, after a 23-game stretch at Triple-A that was productive but nonetheless hindered by his usual shortcomings, he's producing in the big leagues, going 5 for 10 with a 457-foot home run in his first weekend on the job. He's drawn three walks already, which was also his greatest attribute in the minors. We still have yet to find out if he'll play against left-handers. The main reason he'd be worth a shot is if you're desperate at third base. He remains eligible there even though he's an outfielder now.
SD San Diego • #14 • Age: 37
After going 7 for 9 with two home runs over the weekend, Carpenter may have finally secured a more regular role with the Yankees. He was originally filling in for Anthony Rizzo, who's now back, but could continue to start over Joey Gallo, especially after getting some exposure to the outfield this weekend. He's up to 10 homers in 63 at-bats, batting .344 with a 1.306 OPS. It's been a few years since we've seen the 36-year-old perform at a high level, but he spent the offseason learning from Joey Votto what it takes to recapture power at his old age. Pulling the ball in the air more, particularly at Yankee Stadium, seems to be doing the trick. The playing time situation will remain a tricky one, but at this point, the numbers are simply too good to overlook.
Brett Martin RP
TEX Texas • #59 • Age: 27
The left-handed Martin didn't seem like the obvious choice to replace Joe Barlow, who the Rangers surprisingly chose to remove from the closer role this weekend. Dennis Santana had already established himself as the eighth-inning guy, boasts the better numbers of the two and, well, throws right-handed. But there was Martin getting the first chance post-Barlow Friday, with Santana working the eighth, and just to drive home the point, the two filled those same roles Saturday. It wasn't a matchups thing either. Martin faced the heart of the Twins lineup Friday. There's no telling if he'll hold up in the role, particularly since his strikeout rate is subpar, but he does keep the ball on the ground. Anyone with a chance at consistent save opportunities deserves a look in most leagues.