James McCann (NYM); FAAB Bid: 1-2% - If McCann is still available in two-catcher leagues, then stop everything, and run to your waiver wire, double or triple my FAAB recommendation, and submit your claim. However, I would venture to guess that is not the case, and this is more for one catcher leagues. In most 12 team leagues, McCann was likely drafted as one of the last catchers to come off the board and then promptly dropped when he began to struggle. Getting a start at first base two weeks ago has appeared to jump start McCann’s season, and entering play on Wednesday he was hitting .286 with three home runs and eight RBI in his last seven games prior to adding another two hits and an RBI on Wednesday. McCann is still hitting just .228 on the season, he’ll likely finish the season closer to .250, but he has power and appears to be more comfortable at the plate in recent days. While he likely will be splitting time with Tomas Nido behind the plate, McCann will be getting the majority of the playing time, and I think it is telling that New York took advantage of being in an American League park on Tuesday by using McCann at first base and Pete Alonso at DH. Going forward, if McCann picks up an additional start every 10 days or so at first base, it will be a nice bonus considering he has also been batting in the middle of the order for a shorthanded Mets team.
Paul DeJong (STL); FAAB Bid: 2-3% - To say that we have had a lot of injuries this season would be a clear understatement. It doesn’t matter how many spots were added to rosters to account for this because the answer is always the same; it is never enough. With that being said, it is simply impossible to hold everyone on your roster, and tough decisions must be made. On the flip side of that, it also presents opportunity though as these players begin to return. DeJong still needs to play in a few more games at Triple-A as part of his rehab, but that process has already begun. Batting average will always be an issue for DeJong (.177 in 124 at bats this season), but it’s hard to ignore his power output (seven home runs and 17 RBI) and with two stolen bases thus far, he will provide a little help there as well.
Joey Votto (CIN); FAAB Bid: 3-4% - First base and corner infield are often some of the easier positions to fill, but that doesn’t mean Votto should be left sitting on your waiver wire. After missing a little over a month with a thumb injury, Votto returned to action on Tuesday. He was hitting just .222 in 108 at bats prior to his injury as Votto struggles to hit for average for the second year in a row (.235 in 2020) with a subpar BABIP in both seasons. Conversely, Votto is hitting for more power than we had seen in the two years prior as he looks to pick up where he left off (five home runs and 17 RBI through Tuesday). Votto was also back in the cleanup spot on Tuesday, so that bodes well for his run production.
Justin Upton (LAA); FAAB Bid: 4% - Upton had been heating up as of late and the move the leadoff spot has agree with as well. He takes a six-game hitting streak into action Wednesday night and Upton has three home runs and eight RBI over that time frame as well. Depending on the depth of your league, it’s possible you missed your chance on Upton, so act quickly. Despite his struggles in the batting average department (.228 on the season) he has 14 home runs and 29 RBI and it is hard to let that power production go to waste. So far this season, Upton has his best barrel rate (15.1%) and hard-hit rate (47.9%) that is available in the Statcast era.
Eli White (TEX); FAAB Bid: 1% - After a month in Triple-A, Texas brought White back up to the major leagues on Tuesday after parting ways with Khris Davis. White has been in the lineup both games for the Rangers going 3 for 8 with two doubles in his second stint with Texas so far this season. After hitting .343 with three home runs and three stolen bases in Triple-A, White earned another look in the big leagues. Last season White hit just .188 in 19 games with Texas and he was never truly a top prospect, but depending on your league size, at bats could be a valuable commodity so why not roll with the hot hand as we know he will be getting consistent playing time. Just be aware that strikeouts will likely be a problem.
Adam Wainwright (STL); FAAB Bid: 1% - I don’t expect you to get excited about Wainwright, but he is a dependable starting pitcher who takes the ball every fifth day and that counts for something. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 4.03 with seven innings of two run ball against Cleveland on Wednesday for his fourth victory of the season. With a 1.14 WHIP, Wainwright does a good job of limiting opposing baserunners and the potential damage. He should be able to continue that success against the Marlins in his next start.
Tarik Skubal (DET); FAAB Bid: 3% - Skubal started the season off with his share of buzz before promptly struggling. In 21 innings over his last four starts the young southpaw has 37 strikeouts as he begins to make good on that buzz and potential. While he is still not pitching incredibly deep into games, Skubal did pick up a victory in three of those four starts. I’m not ready to say he is completely out of the woods just went as 4.33 walks and 2.17 home runs per nine innings are a bit concerning, but the pedigree is here.
Jameson Tailon (NYY); FAAB Bid: 2% - Taillon’s career in the Bronx hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts, but he is better than what the stat sheet is currently showing for him. The right-hander has only gotten out of the sixth inning once this season but things should get better at some point as he is still hunting for his second victory of the season. Aside from striking out 58 batters in 53 innings, not much is going right for him and his 5.09 ERA, but Taillon’s 3.69 xERA does give us some optimism. Of course, his 4.43 FIP cuts that in half but there are some clear stressors here in his increased walk rate (2.72 per nine innings) and decreased ground balls (34.9%). With that being said, I still expect Taillon to make adjustments and turn the corner at some point and his next start against a Philadelphia team that strikes out a ton might be a good place to start.
Daniel Bard (COL); FAAB Bid: 4-5% - Saves are quite difficult and frustrating to come by and manage throughout a season. With that being said, it was a little surprising to see Bard’s ownership rate in Yahoo leagues at just 42%. Now, I know he isn’t available in any of my leagues and that Colorado isn’t very good, but saves are saves. Bard has saves in each of his last two games and he hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last four. Overall, Bard has seven saves on the season with 3.75 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, so you really are just here for the saves, but 34 strikeouts in 24 innings also helps. Strike when you can though, because Bard’s days in Colorado getting saves are likely limited to the end of July, but every save is important.
Lucas Sims (CIN); FAAB Bid: 6-8% - How big you go here depends on the need for saves and how much of your FAAB is remaining at this point in the season. With a save in all three of his outings so far this month, it is clear that Sims has emerged as the Reds’ closer. Of almost equal importance, Sims didn’t allow an earned run in any of those outings and we are left to stomach his 4.70 ERA in 23 innings so far this season but he does have 35 strikeouts.