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Waiver Wire Report: Gung-ho for Jung-ho

Today’s article is all about redemption. Several of the players below were desirable fantasy targets at one point in their career but for one reason or another, had dropped off the fantasy radar.  Well, guess what? They’re back…. kind of. Back on the map enough to warrant waiver wire pickups in fantasy circles.

Top Waiver Wire Pickups for Week of June 11

Hitters to Target

Carlos Gonzalez (OF – COL)

Ownership: Fantrax 62%, Yahoo 37%, ESPN 29%

Some of you must be thinking, “Hey, I remember this guy! He used to be really good.” Indeed he did, in what seems like a decade ago, Carlos Gonzalez was one of the top fantasy outfielders around. From 2010-2013, “Cargo” recorded four straight 20/20 seasons with at least 70 RBI, 72 runs scored, and a .295 average. Then the injuries and poor play set in. He did manage a career-high 40 homers back in 2015, but for most of the last four seasons, Gonzalez has been hurt or non-productive.

Now, that’s not to say he’s been unusable in the fantasy world. Gonzalez can still swing a potent stick at times and that includes over the last two weeks where he’s hitting .405 with two homers, 10 RBI, seven runs, and one steal in 42 at-bats. You can thank a 44.4% hard contact rate in June for his recent spike in production.

David Dahl’s injury opening up more playing time doesn’t hurt either. With Dahl out for several more weeks, Gonzalez should have a full-time outfield spot locked up with the chance to provide some solid across the board fantasy production.

Jake Bauers (1B/OF – TB)

Ownership: Fantrax 32%, Yahoo 5%, ESPN 4%

This might not be your super exciting, haul ass to the waiver wire type of prospect promotion, but there’s definitely some lasting fantasy appeal here. Here’s why. Firstly, Bauers should be in the lineup on a regular basis. The Rays weren’t getting much from their first base, designated hitter, and left field spots which are where Bauers will get his playing time, with the majority of his starts coming at first base. Secondly, he can do a little of everything to help you out across the board.

In 197 Triple-A at-bats, Bauers slashed .279/.357/.426/.784 with five home runs and 10 steals and has averaged 14 homers and 17 steals per 600 at-bats since the start of the 2016 season. I know, those numbers aren’t overly sexy, but that’s never been Bauers game. He’s more of the safe, under the radar type of contributor than a fantasy star. Think of Brandon Nimmo for a comparison, especially with the strong on-base skills. With regular playing time in his future, Bauers makes for a decent waiver wire pickup in AL-Only and deeper mixed leagues.

Jurickson Profar (SS/2B/3B – TEX)

Ownership: Fantrax 62%, Yahoo 28%, ESPN 44%

Maybe one day we’ll be able to live in a world where Jurickson Profar decides if he wants to be a productive long-term hitter or not. Whichever it is, at least we’d finally have some clarity. There’s no doubting Profar has been a colossal bust so far in his Major League career. Coming into the 2018 season, Profar had a .229 career average with just 12 home runs, 53 RBIs, 75 runs, and five steals in 633 at-bats. Did the Rangers rush Profar and promote him before he was ready? Most definitely. But that’s in the past and now we need to figure out if Profar is worth rostering in fantasy leagues moving forward.

To put it simply, the answer is yes. Over the last month, Profar is hitting .260 with four dingers, 19 RBI, 18 runs, and two steals. Oh yeah, did I mention the 11 doubles? This strong stretch has him on pace for nearly 100 runs and 100 RBIs. You just don’t find that type of production from a middle infielder on the waiver wire every day.

While Profar might not ever live up to the expectations he had as the No. 1 overall prospect, he needs to be owned while he’s hitting this well. His defensive versatility should help keep him in the lineup even after Elvis Andrus returns, too.

Jung-ho Kang (3B/SS – PIT)

Ownership: Fantrax 11%, Yahoo 12%, ESPN 1%

After nearly two full years away from baseball, Jung-ho Kang is finally nearing his return to action. Despite the time away, Kang’s offensive potential makes him an intriguing target. Through his 739 career at-bats, Kang’s stat line stands at 36 home runs, 120 RBI, 105 runs, and eight steals with a .273/.355/.483/.838 slash line.

Granted, this was all during 2015-2106, so I can see why some are skeptical. Would it help to know that he’s recorded seven hits in his first 17 minor league at-bats with three of those hits clearing the outfield fence? Little more confident now, aren’t we? It also helps that light-hitting Jordy Mercer currently occupies the shortstop position, With Kang’s return fast approaching, now is the time to grab and stash.

Pitchers to Target

Mike Soroka (SP – ATL)

Ownership: Fantrax 56%, Yahoo 22%, ESPN 14%

After making an appearance here earlier in the season, Mike Soroka enjoyed it so much that he decided to come back for an encore. His three starts with the Braves before going on the DL were up and down, but the overall stat line was mostly solid. Soroka registered a 3.68 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, and 9.2 K/9 across 14.2 innings. That WHIP isn’t appealing to the eye, but the rest of the line definitely works for fantasy purposes.

Soroka has dominated so far on his two rehab outings for Single-A Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett, firing eight innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out 10 batters. He seems fully over the sprained shoulder that sidelined him and should re-join the Braves rotation in the very near future. Make sure he’s not floating around in your league. He’s one of the top waiver wire pickups we’ll see this year on the pitching side of things.

Clay Buchholz (SP – ARI)

Ownership: Fantrax 42%, Yahoo 32%, ESPN 34%

Just when you thought he was done, Clay Buchholz pops back up like a stubborn zit on the face of a teenager. Buchholz has made four starts with the Diamondbacks this season and three have ended as quality starts, with the fourth outing only being one inning short of a quality start. In those four starts, Buchholz has a 1.88 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 1.1 BB/9, and 7.9 K/9. The strikeout rate has never been anything to look at (6.9 for career), but Buchholz has proven time and time again that he has the ability to be a fantasy asset when he’s pitching well.

Have a question about a player who wasn’t covered here? Ask below or find me on Twitter. Check back next Friday for more waiver wire pickups.

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