Written by: Adam Ehrenreich (@mel_reich)
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Another week in the books, let’s look back and see some of the targets you could have taken advantage of to help your fantasy squad: Ozzie Albies was called up and will be the starting second baseman in Atlanta going forward. Pick him up if you still can. Joey Gallo is on a tear, totaling 6 home runs, 10 RBI and a .289 AVG in the last two weeks. Rafael Devers continues to move up in the Red Sox lineup with his impressive play. Arodys Vizcaino, Shane Green and Tyler Clippard are all officially closing for their respective team.
Now let’s dive into this week’s waiver wire options, with a strong focus on the domino effect from the trade deadline as well as prospect call ups.
C – Christian Vazquez – Boston Red Sox (5% Yahoo; 4% ESPN)
Vazquez was considered to be the catcher of the future for a while, and he is hot right now and living up to the hype. In his last 17 at bats, he is batting a cool .588 with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 1 SB.
Honorable Mention – James McCann – Detroit Tigers (6% Yahoo; 8% ESPN) – Alex Avila was traded and McCann is batting .429 with a 1.074 OPS in the last week.
1B – Lucas Duda – Tampa Bay Rays (15% Yahoo; 18% ESPN)
I mentioned Duda a few weeks back and the potential to settle into a DH role for an AL squad. I predicted the Yankees (with Duda now playing in Tampa, at least I got the AL East right). Duda is entrenched in the DH spot now and since being traded, he is batting .375 with 3 HRs and 4 RBI. He should continue to produce.
Honorable Mention – Tommy Joseph – Philadelphia Phillies (16% Yahoo; 10% ESPN) – He continues to do his best to hold off Rhys Hoskins.
2B/SS- Steven Pearce – Toronto Blue Jays (7% Yahoo; 5% ESPN)
Do two walk-off homers in one week get you excited? How about 10 RBI in 7 days? Well Pearce is back and healthy and ready to pick up his mashing ways from seasons past. He could be a sneaky add with multi-position eligibility.
Honorable Mention – Wilmer Difo – Washington Nationals (10% Yahoo; 9% ESPN) – He’s been batting at the top of the Nats lineup and scoring tons of runs.
3B – Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers (42% Yahoo, 28% ESPN).
How he is still under 50% owned is a shocker to me. Gallo had a monster week with 3 home runs, 5 RBI and an absurd 1.108 OPS to pair with his .250 AVG over that span. With 6 HRs in the last two weeks, Gallo is hot and squaring up the ball. He has hit three straight homers to dead center instead of his vintage dead-pull. Times are changing for Gallo.
Honorable Mention – Howie Kendrick – Washington Nationals (18% Yahoo; 10% ESPN) – With a 5 hit game this week, Kendrick is contributing for the NL East leading Nationals.
OF – Manuel Margot – San Diego Padres (28% Yahoo; 28% ESPN)
The reigning NL Player of the Week has been tearing the cover off the ball batting .400 with 3 HRs, 7 RBI and 1 SB in the last 2 weeks. He’s been leading off or batting second for the Padres and should continue to see ample opportunities to produce.
SP – Josh Hader – Milwaukee Brewers (3% Yahoo; 3% ESPN)
Purely speculative, but I think it’s almost time for the Brewers to audition Hader for his future role as an ace. In the last month in relief, Hader has pitched 10 innings to the tune of a 1.69 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 15.19 K/9. Once he gets his shot as a starter his stock is going to rise drastically.
Honorable Mention –
Parker Bridwell – Los Angeles Angels (43% Yahoo; 43% ESPN) – He’s been excellent in his last 25+ innings of work. 1.69 ERA and 0.90 WHIP to be exact.
RP – *The Trade Deadline Dust Has Settled*
This section is geared toward helping you stash a potential future closer. The deadline has now passed and closers and relievers were on the move opening up numerous opportunities. Here are the top guys to grab.
Junichi Tazawa/ Brad Ziegler/ Kyle Barraclough – Miami Marlins – A.J. Ramos was traded to the Mets (more on this later). Ziegler has been tabbed the closer for now, but I can see Barraclough taking the role once he is off the DL
Texas Rangers – This is a sticky situation so wait for the dust to settle. I think Keone Kela is the closer by the end of August.
Tyler Clippard – Chicago White Sox – Still the closer. Not a great option but he has the job.
Sean Doolittle -Washington Nationals – Brandon Kintzler was traded to the Nationals as well, but I think Doolittle has done enough to hold the job for now. We’ll see next time there’s a save opportunity for Washington.
Arodys Vizcaino – Atlanta Braves – Jim Johnson was put on irrevocable waivers and pitched in the 7th this week. Vizcaino got the save on Wednesday and has taken the reigns as the closer of the future.
AJ Ramos New York Mets – In the surprise deal of the weekend, the Mets traded for Ramos, who is under team control next year as well. With Addison Reed now in Boston, Ramos will be the closer until Familia returns and is insurance for next year as well.
Brad Hand – San Diego Padres – Hand stayed in San Diego and will remain the team’s closer for the time being. He is one of the elite relievers in the league this year and should be owned universally.
Shane Greene – Detroit Tigers – Justin Wilson was traded to the Cubs and Shane Greene has subsequently converted back-to-back saves opportunities. He could be good enough to hold the job all year, but keep an eye on Joe Jimenez who was recently recalled from AAA
This will be the last week of the closer carousel. Next week I will start to cover prospects as we approach September call-ups.
Thanks for following along!
Featured image courtesy of the Baltimore Sun