The Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire is always a majestic place following the MLB trade deadline. Basically every move that goes down changes the value of the players involved as well as the value of certain players on each team involved in the trade. Some of those changes are good. Others bad. But here we’re obviously focusing on the good value changes. In addition, we have a few prospects in this week’s report with the potential to give your fantasy squad a boost down the stretch.
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Hitters
Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
Of course you should pick Bo Bichette up if he’s available. Why wouldn’t you? My #9 overall dynasty prospect got the call to Toronto on Sunday and has wasted no time showing why he’s been a top-10 prospect for the last couple of years. Literally, no time. Bichette has started his Major League career on a four-game hitting streak, with multi-hit efforts in his last three. Got that first dinger out of the way as well on Wednesday.
Bo Bichette's first career HR. pic.twitter.com/NzTbPTTM7k
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) July 31, 2019
While I might not have expected eight hits in his first 18 at-bats, the fact that Bichette is finding immediate success is no shock. During his time in the Eastern League, I got several live looks at Bo and came away impressed each and every time. Bichette boasts an easy plus hit tool with phenomenal bat speed and barrel control, plus speed, and enough raw power to be a 15 to 20 home run threat annually. At Triple-A, Bichette was hitting .288 with 18 doubles, eight home runs, and 16 steals in 233 at-bats. I’d expect a similar pace with Toronto making Bo a must-own player in all formats.
Adam Duvall, 1B/OF, Atlanta Braves
Once upon a time, Adam Duvall was nearly the National League’s equivalent to Khris Davis. He didn’t quite have the same power numbers as Davis, but a .240-.250 hitting power bat nonetheless. From 2016-2017, Duvall averaged 32 home runs, 101 RBI, 82 runs, and six steals while hitting .241 in 2016 and .249 in 2017. The calendar then flipped to 2018 and the wheels came off for Duvall. He struggled to stay above the Mendoza line and lost playing time as the season wore on. Maybe all he needed was a change of scenery and a trip down south to get his mojo back. Somewhere I can Austin Powers shouting, “Yeah baby!”
The Braves started Duvall in Triple-A to start the 2019 season and all he did there was mash. At the time of his promotion, Duvall was tied for the Triple-A lead with 29 homes runs. Granted, Kevin Cron hit his 29 in 140 fewer at-bats, but that’s beside the point. Since being called up, Duvall has continued the power barrage, cranking five home runs six games while riding a six-game hitting streak. The average being an asset for you is highly doubtful, but Duvall’s power gives him value and makes him worth owning as long as he’s playing regularly for Atlanta.
Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B, Colorado Rockies
Am I really doing this? Yes, I believe I am. While the Rockies front office will likely read this article and immediately bench Ryan McMahon, the fact that he’s been starting regularly lately and hitting well is dragging me back into this Rockies vortex. Over the last month, McMahon has hit .313 with four homers, two steals, 16 RBI, and 11 runs scored. That’s been good enough to make him a top-100 player over that span. He’s been hitting the ball hard all season with a 42.0% hard contact rate and has been able to use the entire field as well. Basically, he’s now showing us the kind of offensive weapon he hinted he could be back in his prospect days. If McMahon is sitting on your league’s waiver wire, change that. This is too good of a hitter not to own while he’s receiving consistent playing time.
Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers
Due to the Tampa Bay Rays sticking a knife in my soul, I was forced to drop Nate Lowe in several of my leagues yesterday. Who did I pick up? Well in a couple of leagues, the replacement ended up being Willie Calhoun. Though his time with the Rangers has been choppy, Calhoun continues to put his offensive tools on full display, hitting for both power and average. That was status quo for him in the minors as well, so we can look at his .298/.339/.553/.891 slash line and feel confident that he can continue performing at or close to that level. With Joey Gallo on the IL, Calhoun should continue to start regularly for the Rangers and has the offensive potential to make a solid fantasy impact.
Josh VanMeter, 2B/3B/OF, Cincinnati Reds
Some times the name of the game is versatility. That’s exactly been the case with Josh VanMeter in a Reds uniform. The 24-year-old utility man has drawn starts at second base, third base, and in left field this season for Cincinnati and that has gotten him in the lineup more often than not over the last week or so. The departure of Yasiel Puig is a nice little boost for VanMeter as he should get even more time in the outfield now. With his multi-positional eligibility and ability to provide a little of everything offensively, VanMeter is worth adding in mixed leagues to see if the performance and playing time continue.
Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Speaking of Jesse Winker. He’s back baby! Well, kind of. Winker’s back in the sense that he’s hitting well, but Cincinnati still doesn’t trust him against lefties. For the season, Winker has only accrued 40 at-bats against southpaws, recording seven hits and no home runs. But luckily for Winker, the Reds haven’t faced a ton of lefties and he’s still been in the starting lineup five games a week or so, usually in the leadoff spot. With Winker finding his groove and receiving fairly consistent playing time, he’s worth scooping up off the waiver wire for his batting average and moderate power. Those of you in OBP leagues should covet him even more.
Aristides Aquino, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Three Reds in a row? What in the name of Pete Rose is going on? Aristides Aquino sounds like the name of a Greek God or something. While he’s not one, he sure was hitting like a Greek God in Triple-A this season, slashing .299/.356/.636/.992 with 28 home runs in 78 games. He’s always displayed plus raw power, but the contact skills haven’t quite been on the same level. This one is more of a speculative add for NL-Only or deeper mixed leagues with the potential to turn into a standard mixed league option if he hits his way into regular at-bats. And with Yasiel Puig now on the other side of Ohio, Aquino has an opening to do just that.
Trent Grisham, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Here’s another deep league add with the upside for much more. After being drafted 15th overall back in 2015, Grisham has mostly underperformed. A strong plate approach has been the constant for him, but he often was too patient and lacked the aggressiveness needed to put his offensive skills, mainly his plus raw power, to good use. That all changed this season. Grisham has come out of his shell and dominated the upper minors this season, hitting .300 with 54 extra-base hits, 26 home runs, and 12 steals in 370 at-bats. He didn’t need to sacrifice that sound approach either as Grisham has nearly as many walks (67) as strikeouts (72) this season.
Craig Counsell breaks down the changes in Trent Grisham’s approach at the plate that led to his major-league callup: pic.twitter.com/RLuKpMzX1N
— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) August 1, 2019
As I said in my Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report this week, a more aggressive Grisham is a beautiful thing. Now, initially, playing time is going to be a question, but his upside makes him worth stashing in case he works his way into regular playing time. Don’t forget, Ryan Braun is about as durable as swiss cheese.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Pitchers
Sean Manaea, SP, Oakland Athletics
Every time I see the name Sean Manaea, I instantly have flashbacks to the no-hitter he threw against my Boston Red Sox early in 2018 when we were 17-2 and on an eight-game winning streak. Don’t forget either, Manaea was one of the best pitchers in baseball at the start of last season and still carries plenty of fantasy upside following his over 11-month layoff. While the strikeout rate will likely not be overly high, Manaea has the ability to post low ratios and carve out some sneaky-good fantasy value this season. If you need an arm, now is the time to stash Manaea. In his last rehab outing he allowed two earned runs across six innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out eight. He might only need one more rehab start before returning to the Athletics rotation.
Dustin May, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
While other teams went out and traded for pitching help at the deadline, Los Angeles decided to fill from within. After posting a 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 9.3 K/9 in 106.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, Dustin May will now get a chance to show what he can do against Major League hitters. The big right-hander nicknamed “Gingergaard” will make his Major League debut tonight against San Diego. Here’s what I said about May in this week’s prospects report:
“May features a plus fastball in the low to mid-90s with strong arm side run and sink that generates plenty of weak contact on the ground. Offsetting the heater is a plus power curveball that acts like a slider due to its velocity and break, a cutter that flashes plus, and a changeup. While the fastball, curve, cutter combination can be deadly, May’s changeup is well behind the other three pitches, often overthrown without much break. If he can develop his changeup a little more to help offset lefties, May has the potential to develop into a #2 starter capable of low ratios and around a strikeout per inning.”
When the news first broke of May’s promotion, it was unclear just how long he would be up. But now it sounds like May could be up longer.
Dave Roberts said Dustin May starts Friday. He might make more, depending on Ross Stripling’s recovery.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) August 1, 2019
Dave Roberts statement, plus the fact that the Dodgers weren’t shy last year about using Walker Buehler, give me some confidence that May will be up long enough to make an impact in mixed leagues. And who knows, he has enough upside to maybe pitch his way into the rotation for good this season.
Archie Bradley, RP, ARI
After flaming out as a starter, Bradley transitioned to the bullpen and turned into one of the best relievers in the National League back in 2017. In that season, Bradley posted a stellar 1.73 ERA across 73.0 innings, leading many to wonder if he was going to take over the 9th inning duties. That never really came to fruition but with Greg Holland no longer in the closer role, Bradley now has a chance to grab the reigns and run away with the job moving forward. Bradley has a 4.18 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 5.1 BB/9, and 12.2 K/9. You’d like to see that WHIP and walk rate come down, but Bradley has the stuff to succeed in the closer role.
Joe Jimenez, RP, DET
For the last several years, Joe Jimenez has been dubbed the closer of the future for the Detroit Tigers. In now his third Major League season, Jimenez finally gets a chance to take over the role with Shane Green now in Atlanta. With a blazing heater and plus slider, Jimenez has the stuff to excel in the 9th inning and provides considerable strikeout upside even if the ratios are a tad higher than most.
Photo/Video Credit: Alex Fast, Todd Rosiak, Ken Gurnick
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and a contributor in the best-selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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