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Waiver Wire Report: Morales En Fuego

So, here we are in the last week of August. Also known as the dog days of summer. We’re more than 3/4 of the way through the MLB season and still have 30+ games left before the playoffs. I can’t say this enough… keep plugging along. Regardless of whether you play in re-draft, dynasty, roto, or H2H leagues, it’s never too late to improve your fantasy. Nobody wants to be that fantasy owner that stopped trying and spiraled down to last place due to inactivity or be in a league with a few dead rosters. I know, most of you reading this article are in the hunt for a top finish in roto or a playoff spot in H2H, which makes this article especially intriguing for you. Now, let’s see what we can do to improve that fantasy team of yours with some top waiver wire targets, shall we?

Waiver Wire Targets

Amed Rosario (SS – NYM)

Ownership: Fantrax 68%, Yahoo 30%, ESPN 25%

Hopefully, one of these waiver wire reports over the next few weeks will lead off with a slugging Mets first base prospect, but for now, we have a former top shortstop prospect finally beginning to make a name for himself in the fantasy world. Don’t focus on the mediocre season line. Let’s zone in on what he’s done over that last two weeks. Since August 10th, Rosario has hit .310 (18/58) with two homers, 11 RBI, 11 runs, and three stolen bases, while hitting leadoff regularly. Granted, a chunk of those stats came during a double-header when he went bonkers, but it’s still nice to see this former top-10 caliber prospect get some momentum during his sophomore season.

While the surface numbers look solid, a deeper dive into his batted ball metrics tells an interesting story. Since the all-star break, Rosario’s flyball rate has plummeted from 35.1% to 19.6% while his ground ball and line drive rates have risen 9.4 and 6.1% respectively. Is that a bad thing? Quite the contrary, actually. Rosario has never profiled as more than a 10-15 home run threat, but has shown good bat to ball skills and speed upside. The best way to utilize that speed is with more of a contact oriented, line drive approach and using his speed to his advantage. He’s not likely to remain this hot, but respectable numbers in AVG, runs, and steals should be expected moving forward. Shortstop-hungry owners should take notice.

Greg Allen (OF – CLE)

Ownership: Fantrax 18%, Yahoo 13%, ESPN 11%

Just a few weeks ago, Greg Allen wasn’t even a blip on the fantasy radar. One season-ending and life-threatening bacterial infection to Leonys Martin later and Allen is the starting center fielder for the tribe. Luckily, it sounds like Martin will be okay and his replacement is thriving in the expanded role, to say the least. Over the last two weeks, Allen has hit .362 with six steals, six RBI, eight runs, and a home run. On top of that, he had a 14-game hit streak that came to an end on Wednesday.

The speed is why you’re going to want Allen on your fantasy squad moving forward. Over a 435-game minor league career, Allen stole 57 bases per every 600 at-bats. You figure he’ll likely get 100-125 at-bats the resto of the way, which as his rate, would be in the vicinity of 10-15 steals. That sure sounds nice for the last few weeks of roto or for the fantasy playoffs in H2H formats, doesn’t it?

Kendrys Morales (1B – TOR)

Ownership: Fantrax 53%, Yahoo 36%, ESPN 19%

Alright, enough about speed Eric, I could use a little category juice elsewhere. Give me some waiver wire targets with some power! Sure thing, hear you loud and clear. How about a guy hitting .375 with a quintet of ding dongs over the last two weeks which is tied for 4th most in the Major Leagues? I see I have your attention.

Morales has actually been having a fine season, it’s just that nobody has taken notice since the surface numbers don’t jump off the page at you. Both his walk and strikeout rates have improved from last season and his 42.5% hard contact rate ranked 40th in the Majors (min. 300 PA), tied with Freddie Freeman. Morales has been especially hot of late with hits in his last seven games and a total of five home runs, eight RBI, and nine hits in his last four games. That would classify as being mucho en fuego and well worth of an add in standard leagues.

Jeff McNeil (2B/3B – NYM)

Ownership: Fantrax 24%, Yahoo 15%, ESPN 8%

McNeil was my focus player in this report just two weeks ago. I’m breaking my own personal rule of not recommending the same player twice in such a short period of time, but have you seen his ownership numbers? Those are ridiculous. What is everyone waiting on? The Mets to stop paying Bobby Bonilla?

All the man has done is hit .333 since his call up, get a hit in eight straight games now, and chip in solidly in runs and RBI. Sure, he might only get you a handful of home runs and steals the rest of the way, but deserves plenty of additional love in fantasy leagues for his upside in the other three standard 5×5 cats. Plus, he’s eligible at both 2B and 3B in most fantasy leagues. McNeil is one of the hottest waiver wire targets around, and I’m personally taking it upon myself to drive up those ownership percentages.

Michael Kopech (SP – CHW)

Ownership: Fantrax 85%, Yahoo 58%, ESPN 51%

I’ll keep this short as I rambled about Mr. Kopech a few days back in my latest minor league report. Basically, what we have with Kopech is an elite strikeout arm thanks to an electric arsenal, with a strong likelihood of decent ratios as well. He’s likely gone in your fantasy league by now, but just go double-check to make sure.

Trevor Cahill (SP – OAK)

Ownership: Fantrax 67%, Yahoo 51%, ESPN 48%

This Oakland Athletics pitching staff leads the Major Leagues in team ERA since the all-star break and Trevor Cahill is one of the reasons why. In 15 starts, Cahill has registered a 3.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, and a career-low 2.65 BB/9. Outside of a rough patch in June/July where he surrendered 15 runs in 25 innings, Cahill has been straight money this season. He’s been finding success thanks to a much improved slider and changeup from last season. I know he hasn’t been the easiest guy to own in the past, but that’s water under the bridge at this point. It’s all about the here and now, and Cahill is pretty damn good right now, even with a subpar start last night.

Jeremy Jeffress (RP – MIL)

Ownership: Fantrax 51%, Yahoo 54%, ESPN 29%

Bye bye Corey Knebel. With the 2017 all-star closer demoted to Triple-A thanks to a 5.08 ERA, it’s now Jeffress’ time to shine. Try saying Jeffress’ five times fast. This isn’t Jeffress’ first rodeo as a closer. He saved 27 games with the Brewers in 2016 before being dealt to Texas at the deadline where he pitched in a set-up role. Honestly, I’m not sure why this move wasn’t made sooner. Yes, Knebel was a dominant closer last season, but this season has been a nightmare for him. Meanwhile, Jeffress has posted a 1.33 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 10.0 K/9 in 61 innings. If you need a closer, here’s your man.

Eric Cross is the lead MLB writer and prospect analyst here on FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. He is also a member of the FSWA. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.

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