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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Esteury and Leody Steal the Show

Another week, another Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire report here on FantraxHQ. Regardless of what style league you play in and what point of the season it is, we should always be looking to improve our fantasy teams. Whether you’re looking to catch the next red hot breakout, find an injury replacement, or improve in a specific statistical category, the waiver wire can help you accomplish all of those. This week’s report features a pair of speedsters, a new closer in the Lonestar state, a red-hot Twin, some exciting and undervalued arms, and more.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire

Esteury Ruiz (OF – SDP)

After a few seasons of elite speed but mediocre production at the plate, Esteury Ruiz turned the corner in the upper minors this season and transformed into an exciting fantasy dynamo. Potentially that is. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Ruiz slashed .333/.467/.560 with 13 homers and a ridiculous 60 steals in 77 games. On top of that, Ruiz vastly improved his approach at the plate, recording a 13.9% walk rate and 17.4% strikeout rate, both worlds better than his marks in 2018-2021. Hitting more line drives has been greatly beneficial as well.

With the Padres needing a spark, especially in the outfield, Ruiz has a decent shot of sticking as long as he performs at the plate. And so far, Ruiz has done just that with four hits, two extra-base hits, and a steal in his first three games. The speed alone makes him worth a pickup in redraft leagues and if he can maintain some of that offensive magic from the upper minors, Ruiz could be a major impact player over the 2nd half of the season.

Leody Taveras (OF – TEX)

If you need speed and miss out on Ruiz, Leody Taveras is a fine consolation. While Taveras has endured plenty of ups and downs offensively over the years, his speed has remained impactful. He’s been making an impact at the plate as well since being recalled in mid-June, slashing .329/.351/.500 with 12 runs, 12 RBI, two homers, and four steals in 74 plate appearances. This after hitting .294 with seven homers and seven steals in 49 Triple-A games. Even at his best, Taveras has always had an aggressive approach, so I’m not expecting more than a .260 hitter or so moving forward, but that could come with 10-15 steals and 5-8 homers if he can keep a starting spot in the Rangers lineup.

Jose Miranda (1B/3B – MIN)

After a slow start to his Major League career, Jose Miranda has really found his footing over the last two months. Since May 20th, Miranda has slashed .331/.366/.581 with a .250 ISO, .406 wOBA, and seven home runs in 131 plate appearances. He leads the Twins in SLG, wOBA, wRC+, and RBI over this timeframe, which makes it that much more frustrating that they still refuse to play him every day. However, Miranda has played in 9/12 games in the month of July, which is still enough to return solid fantasy value with how he’s been hitting. I’d strongly consider him in all 12+ team leagues for his impact in AVG, RBI, and HR.

Harold Ramirez (1B/OF – TBR)

With the Rays dinged up this season, Harold Ramirez has played a bigger role than anticipated and has even settled in as a middle-of-the-order lineup fixture for the Rays as one of their best hitters. In 255 plate appearances this season, Ramirez has hit .326 with four homers, three steals, 35 RBI, and 30 runs scored. That power/speed pace might not be impressive, but that’s still a 90-run, 10-homer, 8-steal, 75 RBI 650-PA pace with that lofty AVG.

Ramirez’s AVG is no fluke either. He currently sports a .320 xBA and a lowly 13.5% strikeout rate. While Ramirez is a bit on the aggressive side and will chase at a high clip, he makes a high level of contact with an above-average AVG EV and hard-hit rate as well. Even with his lower power/speed output, Ramirez can help fantasy teams solidly in three of five categories without being a zero in the other two.

Nico Hoerner (2B/SS – CHC)

As with Ramirez above, Nico Hoerner doesn’t provide a ton of power or speed, but he’s hitting exceptionally well this season in general. Hoerner currently sports a career .288 AVG with a .308 mark this season to go along with five homers, eight steals, 28 runs, and 26 RBI in 278 plate appearances. Hoerner’s quality of contact metrics aren’t anything to write home about, but his 91.3% zone contact rate, 10.5% strikeout rate, and .320 xBA sure are. He’s also sporting a career-best 15.4% whiff rate. If you’re in need of a batting average boost from a player that won’t hurt you in any one category while also having dual 2B/SS eligibility, than Hoerner is your guy.

Jake Odorizzi (SP – HOU)

After missing nearly two months with an ankle injury, Jake Odorizzi has returned to the Houston rotation and has quietly pitched very well this season. If you exclude his first three starts of the season where he allowed a combined 9 ER in 9 IP, Odorizzi has a stellar 1.87 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with a 2.96 FIP and .185 BAA.  The strikeouts haven’t quite been there, but you can live with the 20.6% mark Odorizzi has in that span if he’s giving you these ratios.

Now, obviously, this level of success isn’t sustainable, but Odorizzi has a 3.93 ERA for his career and 4.21 last season. He’s more than capable of providing a sub-4 ERA and 20+% strikeout rate moving forward. Just remember that Houston is rolling with a 6-man rotation right now which will cost him a couple of starts if they continue this through the end of the season.

Max Meyer (SP – MIA)

A late addition to this waiver wire article, the news broke late Thursday night that Miami was promoting Max Meyer for his MLB debut this weekend at home. With Grayson Rodriguez out until August and neither Daniel Espino nor Eury Perez set to debut this season, Meyer was the biggest remaining pitching prospect to stash in redraft leagues. The former #3 overall pick in the 2020 draft wasn’t having a dominant season in the minors, but still pitching well to the tune of a 3.69 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 7.9% walk rate, and 28.8% strikeout rate. With a plus or better fastball, double-plus slider, above-average changeup, and solid command and control, Meyer possesses borderline ace upside and is worth a look in all 12+ team leagues and some deeper 10s as well.

Reid Detmers (SP – LAA)

You’d think that a recent former top prospect that threw a no-hitter earlier this season would be rostered in more than 10-20% of leagues. But outside of that no-hitter, it’s been an up and down, overall lackluster 2022 campaign for Reid Detmers. However, Detmers has looked much better over his last two starts and starting to miss more bats.

7/8 Baltimore6/2/0/1/727%29%
7/14 Houston6/5/2/3/626%27%

Combined, that’s 12 IP with a 1.50 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts. It was only a matter of time before Detmers began striking out more batters given the top-notch swing-and-miss stuff he showed in the minors. With his stuff and pedigree, Detmers makes for an exciting waiver wire pickup this week.

Brett Martin (RP – TEX)

The Texas bullpen is a mess. But sometimes, messy bullpens create potential waiver wire targets as it has this week with Brett Martin. After Joe Barlow was demoted from the closer role, Martin stepped in and picked up a trio of saves over the last week in four shutout innings. On the season, Martin has posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.17 WHIP across 29 innings, but the strikeout rate has hovered around 20%. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that tick up given Martin’s 29.1% whiff rate and 38.6% chase rate. Even if it doesn’t, it looks like he’s got the 9th for now and is worth a look for any of you that are chasing saves.

Media Credit: Padres, Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire, MLB Pipeline, Twins

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