Written by: Adam Ehrenreich (@mel_reich)
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A week after the first of hopefully many waiver wire columns, we can already look back and see some of the targets you could have taken advantage of to help your fantasy squad. Ryan Madson was traded along with Sean Doolittle to the Washington Nationals and it appears, for now, they will be sharing the closing duties. Lucas Duda had himself a nice week with 3 HRs and 6 RBI, which certainly increases his potential trade value. Josh Bell started the week with a walk off 3-run homer. Tommy Pham had himself a monster week batting .380 with 2 HRs, 6 RBI and 2 SBs. Mike Clevinger continues to impress and Vince Velasquez had a great return from the DL. The waiver wire is constantly changing, so let’s shed some light on this week’s hot pickups.
C – Mike Zunino – Seattle Mariners (30% Yahoo; 23% ESPN)
Could we be seeing another hot streak ahead? After a monster month of June, Zunino slowed down considerably going into the break. As the second half got going, so did Zunino’s bat. With a .375 AVG, 1 HR and 4 RBI in the last 7 days, it could be time to give the power hitting catcher another shot.
Honorable Mention – Manny Pina – Milwaukee Brewers (7% Yahoo; 6% ESPN) – Stephen Vogt placed on the 10-Day DL
1B – Mike Napoli – Texas Rangers (29% Yahoo; 19% ESPN)
Mike Napoli was a universally owned commodity last season when he surpassed his career high in home runs (he hit 35 on the season). This year, fantasy owners are running away as fast as possible; little do they know he’s on pace to at least meet his total from last year, albeit with a far worse batting average. In the last week, Napoli has batted .381 raising his AVG to .209 from below the Mendoza Line. He has 4 HRs and 8 RBI in the last week and we may very well be in for serious positive regression.
Honorable Mention – Victor Martinez – Detroit Tigers (29% Yahoo; 27% ESPN)
2B- Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves (4% Yahoo; 2% ESPN)
As the trade deadline looms and the Braves (probably) fade from contention, you have to think they will begin moving assets. One of those assets is Brandon Phillips, who can surely help a contender. A potential move would open a spot for the uber prospect Albies to make his big league debut. With plus speed and a great bat, Albies will make an impact from the get-go. Don’t let your league mates get their hands on him first.
Honorable Mention – TJ Rivera – New York Mets (4% Yahoo; 7% ESPN)
3B/SS – Jose Reyes – New York Mets (26% Yahoo, 27% ESPN).
Honorable Mention – Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox (5% Yahoo; 3% ESPN)
Eugenio Suarez – Cincinnati Reds (56% Yahoo; 53% ESPN)
OF – Gerardo Parra – Colorado Rockies (28% Yahoo; 26% ESPN)
Parra has come out of the second half gates on an absolute tear. 2 HRs, 7 RBI and a crazy .565 AVG since the break. With another series in Coors on tap this weekend, it would be wise to see if Parra is still out there to give your team an immediate boost.
Honorable Mention – Nick Williams – Philadelphia Phillies (6% Yahoo; 6% ESPN)
Tommy Pham – Cardinals (58% Yahoo; 52% ESPN) – At this point, he should be universally owned.
SP – Seth Lugo – New York Mets (12% Yahoo; 14% ESPN)
Lugo seems to be back on track following back-to-back quality starts in which he pitched into the 7th inning. Last year, Lugo was a second half darling for many fantasy teams. In deeper leagues, he may be someone to keep an eye on as the season moves forward.
Honorable Mention – Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles (43% Yahoo; 30% ESPN)
RP – *Trade Deadline Looming*
This section is geared toward helping you stash a potential future closer. As the deadline approaches, there could be closers or relievers on the move that may open up opportunity. Keep your eyes and ears open if you’re in the hunt for saves.
Kyle Barraclough – Marlins (13% Yahoo; 5% ESPN) – One domino has already fallen for the Marlins as David Phelps was moved to the Mariners in a trade on Thursday. That leaves only A.J. Ramos (a likely candidate to be moved before the deadline) in the way of Barraclough attaining save opportunities.
Keone Kela – Rangers (18% Yahoo; 13% ESPN) – Kela was activated from the DL on Thursday, and he was in line for the save chances in Texas before injury. With elite stuff, he should be able to seize the gig soon.
Anthony Swarzak – White Sox (18% Yahoo; 6% ESPN) – Last week, I told you to look out for Swarzak. In a deeper, saves-heavy league, you’ve probably already missed your shot. With David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle now sporting pinstripes, Swarzak and Tyler Clippard with most likely share closing duties. I like the former to take the job and keep it (unless he’s traded within the next two weeks).
Ryan Madson -Washington Nationals (56% Yahoo; 25% ESPN) – My gut was pretty much right on this one, and he should be splitting closing duties with Sean Doolittle for the Nationals. If the Nationals don’t make another move for a more well-known late inning arm, I think Madson will eventually claim the full-time job.
Arodys Vizcaino – Atlanta Braves (17% Yahoo; 8% ESPN) – Vizcaino was recently activated from the DL, and the outlook on his health will help determine whether the Braves decide to move Jim Johnson at the deadline. He’s been the closer-in-waiting for nearly a season now, but he could be the ninth inning guy in Atlanta as early as August.
Stay tuned next week for more hot bats, live arms and updates on the closing carousel as the trade deadline approaches.
Thanks for following along!
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