Tommy Pham (SD) – Pham saw the ownership dip after a horrendously slow start to the season. And while he’s still hitting just .198 on the year, he’s walking enough to push his OBP to .344. He’s hit leadoff in four of his last five starts and he’s scored a run in six straight games. The Padres do not have a day off in the coming scoring period so volume should be there for Pham. He makes for an okay short-term replacement next week if you recently lost someone like Marcell Ozuna or Mike Trout .
Gavin Lux (LAD) – Lux had a relatively “ho hum” start to the season. He was one of the many players on Los Angeles that dealt with some injuries, but he’s been great more recently. He has six multi-hit games since May 11th with all three of his home runs coming in that span. Despite hitting toward the bottom of the order he’s been scoring runs and driving in his teammates with ten RBI over the last ten days. As the Dodgers get healthy (Bellinger could return this weekend), the lineup will stabilize, and we can possibly witness Lux sustain production the rest of the way. Ownership has been creeping back up after many jumped ship so don’t hesitate to get your guy.
Alex Kirilloff (MIN) – He missed two weeks of action and several owners dropped him. He was rolling with four home runs in three games before hitting the IL and since his return last Friday he has three multi-hit games. The strikeout-to-walk numbers will frustrate you at times, but there’s a learning curve with rookie hitters. In time, he’ll showcase more patience at the dish. The good news is that he’s already flashed plenty of power and this is another player that should be widely added if looking to replace one of your injured outfielders.
Mike Zunino (TB) – It’s been a hot minute since I touched on a catcher so this week I’ll highlight Zunino. Must grab? No. But he’s a good source of power evidence by his .574 slugging percentage and 41.4% hard hit rate paired with his 56.9% flyball rate. I typically fade the catcher position, but I like it when they’re swinging for the fences and Zunino does just that. Now begs the question, should you pick him up in a points league? And I honestly don’t think so. As much as I like the power, he’s striking out at a 38.4% clip so the strikeouts chip into the production he gives you via the home run. But in a roto league or even a categories league where you’re looking for volume, he gets plenty of starts and he has five home runs since May 11th.
Alek Manoah (TOR) – Arguably the hottest name on the waiver market at the moment. Manoah is slated to make his big league debut on Thursday and you can bet I’m streaming him in a couple leagues regardless of the matchup. Manoah wasn’t on too many “top prospect” lists coming into the season. But the big fella (6’6”, 260 pounds) has looked dominant in the minors with 27 strikeouts and three walks in 18 innings of work. Is he going to get a long leash in his debut? Probably not. That’s been the narrative with rookie starting pitchers this year and we should keep our expectations in check.
Luis García and Framber Valdez (HOU) – The Astros have options for their rotation, which is great news because Lance McCullers Jr. surprisingly hit the IL on Wednesday. Garcia lines up as a two-start pitcher next week against Boston and Toronto. Are those great matchups? Of course not. But he’s a pitcher with at least seven strikeouts in four of his last five starts, two of which came against the Dodgers (who he dominated on Wednesday) and the Yankees. He does tend to give up the long ball which is a concern in the coming week, but I do like him as a two-start streamer in 12-team leagues or deeper. And let this serve you as a reminder Valdez is making his return. His ownership has been slowly rising with the news of his return, but he’ll make his debut Friday night against the Padres and then he’s lined up for a start next week against Boston, and the following week he could be a two-start pitcher. If Valdez returns to last year’s form, he’s easily a top 50 starting pitcher.
Merrill Kelly (ARI) – While the Diamondbacks haven’t been very good (they’ve lost 13 of their last 14 games), Kelly has been pretty awesome. He hasn’t gone unscathed in any outing, but we should see some positive regression from his 4.84 ERA if looking at his 4.48 xERA, 4.02 FIP, and 3.89 xFIP. He can regularly last into the sixth inning (he’s coming off three straight quality starts), and he minimizes damage while averaging just under a strikeout per inning. Kelly gets two starts next week with the first coming on Memorial Day against the beat-up Mets lineup.
Griffin Canning (LAA) – Canning’s an interesting grab if he’s still on your waiver wire. He gives up way too many home runs and walks (2.25 HR/9 and 4.05 BB/9), but he’s a volatile player. He’s a lot like Dogecoin. But he has nice upside evidenced by his 10.13 K/9 and he gets a matchup against the Giants next week and then he shapes up to be a two-start pitcher the following week. If you don’t look for him this week, keep him on your radar for the following scoring period.
James Kaprielian (OAK) – Can’t stop, won’t stop writing him up. I’m going to keep him in the reliever section simply because I mentioned five potential starting pitchers to grab in the section above. Kap is a two-start SP/RP next week with the first coming against the Mariners, who he just tossed a gem against to the tune of seven scoreless innings, four strikeouts, two walks, and two hits. His second start next week comes in Coors Field and you don’t need me to tell you how risky that is. But if you want to get off to a strong start next week then Kap against the Mariners can certainly do that on Memorial Day.
Hunter Harvey (BAL) – You’ll see some overlapping players mentioned in this section as well as Joe Gallina’s latest Bullpen Report (published early Thursday morning). César Valdez has looked awful lately with an 8.22 ERA in his last 7.2 innings of work. So with Hunter Harvey eligible to come off the IL next Tuesday, I’m looking to grab him in deeper leagues if I can afford the roster spot. Currently, Paul Fry might get high-leverage work this weekend, but I don’t have a ton of confidence in that assessment. Harvey is rehabbing at the moment and I think he could take the reigns of the job once he’s ready to return.
Carlos Estévez (COL) – Another player from Joe Gallina’s Bullpen Report, as Daniel Bard looked very shaky for a while. He’s settled back in and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last five appearances. He still offers help in K/9 categories, but we should at least be mindful that struggles could return for him again. While he is the presumed closer in that bullpen, he only has five saves two months into the season. Estevez has two, one of which came Monday night. Similar to the Baltimore bullpen you likely won’t get many save opportunities from this team but if you hit on the right closer between these two teams, maybe they can fetch you 10-to-12 saves the rest of the way.