Written by: Adam Ehrenreich (@mel_reich)
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Another week is in the books, so let’s look back at some of the targets you could have taken advantage of to help your fantasy squad. Mike Zunino and Mike Napoli continue to mash, both hitting multiple home runs within the past week. Jose Reyes continued his hot month with 4 RBI and 2 SBs and Eugenio Suarez stayed hot with 3 homers. I hope you got your shares of Rafael Devers. The Red Sox third baseman made his long anticipated debut on Tuesday and his ownership spiked immediately. Nick Williams continues his impressive stint with the Phillies. He’s not going anywhere.
Now let’s dive into this week’s waiver wire options, with a strong focus on the upcoming trade deadline and prospect call ups.
C – Hector Sanchez – San Diego Padres (9% Yahoo; 7% ESPN)
Sanchez has been filling in for the concussed Austin Hedges, but it looks like he has no intention of giving the job back once Hedges is healthy. With 4 HRs, 9 RBI and a .342 AVG in the last two weeks, Sanchez looks like he is here to stay now that he’s received a full-time opportunity.
Honorable Mention – Carson Kelly – St. Louis Cardinals (1% Yahoo; 1% ESPN) – Will serve as Yadi’s backup but keep him on your watch list
1B – Josh Bell – Pittsburgh Pirates (45% Yahoo; 31% ESPN)
How Bell is over 50% owned yet is simply criminal. The positive regression that he is experiencing has raised his BA from .227 to .253 in the last 3 weeks. He now has 18 HRs and 55 RBI and is on pace for a 30 HRs, 85 RBI season. Greg Jewett of Fantrax put together a great article comparing Bell to Freddie Freeman. I’d take a shot on a cheaper Freeman any day of the week.
Honorable Mention – Mike Napoli – Texas Rangers (29% Yahoo; 18% ESPN) – Still hot, still on pace to crush last year’s HR totals
2B- Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves (4% Yahoo; 2% ESPN)
Double dipping here because as the trade deadline looms, I get more and more excited for Albies. The Braves continue to fade from contention, so 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. Dansby Swanson was demoted Wednesday night, so stay tuned.
Honorable Mention – Corey Spangenberg – San Diego Padres (15% Yahoo; 13% ESPN) – Been extremely hot the last 2 weeks with all the opportunity for playing time.
3B/SS – Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers (30% Yahoo, 23% ESPN).
Gallo had a monster week with 4 (solo) home runs, but the bigger surprise was his .333 BA over that span and a SB to boot. The hotter it is in Texas, the quicker the ball leaves the yard. Gallo could be in for a big August.
Honorable Mention – Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox (39% Yahoo; 31% ESPN) – Called up this week and will surely play every day unless he fails to contribute in his first MLB stint. If he is somehow still available, make him yours today.
Jose Reyes – New York Mets (26% Yahoo; 31% ESPN) – still swinging a hot bat and stealing bases.
OF – Randal Grichuk/ Harrison Bader – St. Louis Cardinals (31% Yahoo; 21% ESPN) / (3% Yahoo; N/A% ESPN)
Dexter Fowler’s injury opens up a slew of playing time, and since Grichuk has returned from the minors, he’s batting .368 with 4 HRs and 7 RBI. He has the tools to succeed and was a big prospect merely a year or two ago. Don’t write him off just yet. Bader got the call on Tuesday and should get a long look the next few days leading up the deadline. Believe it or not he’s not in ESPN system yet, so he could be a sneaky add once he’s available.
*Bader was officially added to the ESPN player pool on Wednesday so get your waiver claim ready*
Honorable Mention –
Lewis Brinson – Milwaukee Brewers (3% Yahoo; 4% ESPN) – homered in his first game back in the majors
Jorge Bonifacio –Kansas City Royals (2% Yahoo; 3% ESPN)
SP – Brent Honeywell – Tampa Bay Rays (10% Yahoo; 3% ESPN)
If you just lost Clayton Kershaw this section is for you. Jake Odorizzi was placed on the DL and as of right now, Wednesday afternoon, there has not been a replacement named in the rotation. If Honeywell gets the call, he probably won’t look back. He is an elite prospect with excellent AAA numbers, and with Chance Adams not coming up for the Yankees this year, Honeywell should be the top prospect stash as the deadline approaches. He has higher upside than most starting pitchers on the waiver wire and can help fill that Kershaw void.
Honorable Mention –
Seth Lugo – New York Mets (20% Yahoo; 20% ESPN)
Jordan Montgomery – New York Yankees (34% Yahoo; 35% 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 – Miami Marlins – One domino has already fallen for the Marlins as David Phelps was moved to the Mariners in a trade last Thursday. That leaves only A.J. Ramos (a likely candidate to be moved before the deadline) in the way of Barraclough attaining save opportunities. Look out for Junichi Tazawa as well.
Keone Kela – Texas Rangers – Kela has been the Rangers best reliever to date and while Alex Claudio has performed well, he’s one slip-up away from handing over the job for good.
Tyler Clippard– Chicago White Sox – Last week, I told you that you were probably too late on Swarzak. Well he now joins David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle as White Sox relievers to change jerseys. Swarzak will now be pitching for the Brewers, which leaves the closer position wide open in Chicago. Tyler Clippard will most likely take hold of closing duties.
Sean Doolittle -Washington Nationals – Looks like I was only half right on this one. Doolittle has gotten the last few save opportunities and should be grabbed in all save-heavy leagues as he is an elite lefty.
Arodys Vizcaino – Atlanta Braves – Jim Johnson’s struggles might make it hard to trade him (though his FIP and xFIP are both substantially better than his woeful ERA), but it still pays to keep an eye on the situation. Vizcaino has been the closer-in-waiting for nearly a season now, but he could be the ninth inning guy in Atlanta as early as August.
New York Mets – Addison Reed should be traded at the deadline which would open up a few potential candidates until Jeurys Familia is ready to come back. If Familia is available he makes for a nice DL stash. Otherwise, look at Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins (if not traded) or Paul Sewald to get a shot at the gig.
Kirby Yates/ Carter Capps – San Diego Padres – Brandon Maurer was traded to Kansas City leaving Brad Hand with the job, for now. Hand has been the highlight of too many trade rumors this year to be wearing a Padres jersey come August, so look for Yates or Capps (still in rehab; considered closer of the future) to get a shot before season’s end.
Others to monitor:
Michael Lorenzen – Cincinnati Reds – Raisel Iglesias trade
Carl Edwards – Chicago Cubs – Closer of the Future/ Wade Davis injury history
Shane Greene/ Bruce Rondon – Detroit Tigers – Justin Wilson trade
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!
Featured image courtesy of Pirate Breakdown