Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Manny Being Manny
Each week in this Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire piece, I do my best to provide you with some players that can give your team a boost and might be available in your fantasy league. Some weeks are tougher than others without much talent emerging on the waiver wire that particular week. This is not one of those weeks. We have a little bit of everything this week including a couple of power bats, a power/speed threat, a high-upside rookie infielder, a potential top-30 SP ROS, and even a potential top-10 catcher for the rest of the season. So, let’s not waste any more time and get right to it!
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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Hitters
Anthony Santander, OF, Baltimore Orioles
When it comes to the last two weeks, few Major League hitters have been hotter than Anthony Santander. In that span, Santander has hit .354 with four home runs, 10 RBI, and 10 runs scored in 48 at-bats, pushing his season average up to .299 for the season. While he hasn’t found much success at the Major League level before this season, Santander showed glimpses of decent upside in the minors with a .290/20/10 season in 2016 and averaging right around 20 homers and 12 steals per every 600 at-bats. As a prospect, he displayed above-average to plus raw power so I’m expecting the power to remain at around a 25-homer pace the rest of the way to go along with a .270-plus average as well.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 29, 2019
Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets
The fact that Amed Rosario is available in half of fantasy leagues surprised me. He’s one of six shortstops with double-digit home runs and steals and is currently on a .273/75/18/74/18 pace. That’s pretty solid right there, Certainly worthy of a spot on fantasy rosters, that’s for damn sure. That batting average is trending up too, with Rosario hitting .314 over the last month with 17 runs scored, hitting mostly out of the bottom-third of the order. With his ability to chip in across the board production, Rosario ownership rate needs to be much higher than it is right now.
Luis Urias, 2B, San Diego Padres
Yes, I know, Luis Urias’ first two stints in the Major Leagues haven’t quite gone according to plan. Alright, they’ve been terrible. But that’s all in the past now and we must not forget that Urias has proven himself to be one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues over the last few years. Urias displayed plus contact skills, a sound plate approach, and the ability to use the entire field. The 2019 season has brought more power for Urias as well which isn’t just a product of juiced baseballs or the hitter-friendly PCL. There was always more power upside in Urias’ bat than his single-digit home run totals let on and that’s finally showing up consistently this season. Don’t let this 1/16 stretch since his recall deter you. This is a hitter through and through with .300/20 upside.
Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s about damn time. Call me crazy, but a playoff-caliber team giving semi-regular at-bats to a guy hitting .196 doesn’t exactly make a whole lot of sense. Finally, the Dodgers agreed and optioned Austin Barnes to Triple-A yesterday with Will Smith making his way up to Hollywood. In 61 games for Triple-Am Oklahoma City, Smith was slashing .269/.381/.605/.986 with 20 home runs and nearly as many walks (39) as strikeouts (49). The plus power has always been apparent with Smith, but the improved approach has really helped him take off this season. Smith has improved his walk rate from 10.6% to 14.6% while dropping his strikeout rate from 27.7% to 18.3%. The contact skills will keep his average in the .250-.260 range more often than not, but that should come with a solid OBP and 20-plus homer pop.
Renato Nunez, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
Every season it seems like there’s a player or two that have hit for 30 homers or so but are so inconsistent that they spend most of the season going back and forth between fantasy rosters and the waiver wire. The 2019 version of that type of player is Renato Nunez. As we approach the final third of the season, Nunez finds himself on a 35/90 pace, but back to back months of a sub-.220 average cause many fantasy owners to kick him to the curb. I’m not guaranteeing Nunez won’t have another month where he barely cracks the Mendoza line, but he’s worth adding to ride out this hot streak for as long as it lasts.
Renato Nunez clears the seats with a monster grand slam. pic.twitter.com/fspxvI6PKN
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) March 4, 2019
Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres
Speaking of inconsistent, welcome back to fantasy relevance Manuel Margot. This entire San Diego outfield has been a hot mess this season with Wil Myers leading that charge with a .214 average and 36.1% strikeout rate. That poor play has kept Myers on the bench more often than not and given Margot a chance to re-emerge as the everyday centerfielder. He hasn’t spoiled the opportunity either, hitting .268 with four homers, six steals, and 19 runs over the last month. Recently the Padres moved Margot up into the #2 spot in the order right between Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. With that cushy lineup spot, we can expect plenty of runs to go along with his speed, modest power, and a batting average that definitely won’t hurt you.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire – Pitchers
Alex Wood, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Hey, look who it is. it’s our old pal Alex Wood getting set to make his 2019 debut. Back spasms have kept Wood out of Major League action all season but it appears those issues are behind him now. Let me put this as simply as I can. Go add Alex Wood now if he’s available in your leagues. Over the last two seasons, Wood has combined for a 3.20 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, and 8.2 K/9, and finished 9th in the NL Cy Young voting in 2017. He’s not a safe bet to remain healthy for a full season, but we don’t need him to right now. With only two months left in the season and a fresh arm, there’s considerable upside here for the stretch run with the potential for Wood to be a top-30 fantasy pitcher the rest of the season.
Reynaldo Lopez, SP, Chicago White Sox
Command, command, command. When Reynaldo Lopez is commanding his arsenal, he’s shown us how good of a pitcher he can be. Just take a look at how he ended 2018 for a perfect example of that. In Lopez’s final seven starts spanning 45.2 innings, he posted a stellar 1.38 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9. and 9.5 K/9. He was commanding his pitches better and throwing more strikes than he was earlier in the season. Crazy how that can help, right?
Reynaldo Lopez is pumping 99 mph CHED 🔥 pic.twitter.com/N9aejdGjlh
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) July 25, 2019
That same sort of inconsistency has plagued Lopez this season, but he’s starting to follow a similar course as last season’s strong finish. While his 5.52 season ERA doesn’t make you want to run to the waiver wire, he’s turned things around with a 1.71 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and 10.7 K/9 in his last three starts and hasn’t walked more than two batters in an outing since June 4th. While Lopez is pitching like this, he needs to be owned in all mixed leagues.
Zac Gallen, SP, Miami Marlins
Why the bleep is Zac Gallen available in over 2/3 of fantasy leagues? That’s not right. Apparently, 2/3 of leagues don’t appreciate a 2.76 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and a 10.7 K/9. Fine, more Gallen shares for the rest of us. Outside of an abbreviated start on July 2nd, he’s gone at least five innings in every start and has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start. Gallen has been especially good in his last three outings, surrendering just three earned runs on nine hits across 17.1 innings. Sure, the control has been a tad off of late, but Gallen displayed plus command and control throughout his minor league career, so I don’t expect this to be a long-term issue. If he’s available in your league and you need pitching help, Gallen is a great fit.
Jose Urquidy, SP, Houston Astros
The Houston Astros are cruising towards another AL West title, but have struggled to find consistency in the back end of their starting rotation. It’s only been one start, but Jose Uriquidy did his best to stake a claim for that #5 starter spot, tossing seven innings of one-run ball allowing just two hits and striking out nine against the Rangers over the weekend. This after posting a stellar 12.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 at Triple-A to go along with a 4.08 ERA. Urquidy has always been able to miss bats and limit the free passes well, making him an intriguing waiver wire addition now that he’s in the Astros rotation.
Photo/Video Credit: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire, Baltimore Orioles, Alex Fast, Pitcher List.
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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