Rafael Ortega (CHC); FAAB Bid: 3-4% - After what transpired last week it is fair to wonder whether or not the Cubs could still field a team. Ortega is trying his best to show that there is still something to watch out of Wrigley Field as he bats atop the order essentially winning out a war of attrition in Chicago’s lineup. Heading into action on Wednesday was batting .419 with for home runs, nine runs scored, nine RBI, and two stolen bases. Ortega is currently working a six-game hitting streak and the journeyman is hitting .316 with six home runs and four stolen bases through 51 games and we know the playing time isn’t in jeopardy for the Cubs’ new leadoff hitter. With a 17.5-degree launch angle, Ortega is going for the long ball while also showing the best hard-hit rate (44.3%) and barrel rate (8%) of his career but just keep an eye on the .383 BABIP. 

Lorenzo Cain (MIL); FAAB Bid: 2% - Cain has struggled with injuries this season but the production has been there when he is on the field. Prior to Wednesday’s game, Cain was hitting .323 in his last 31 at bats with six runs scored and more importantly two stolen bases. The playing time should continue to be there and with six stolen bases in 38 games this year we have to be paying attention. 

Aledmys Díaz (HOU); FAAB Bid: 2-3% - Since returning from the Injured List, not only has Diaz has played every game for Houston but he also took a six-game hitting streak into action on Wednesday. The utility man had two hits in each of his first four games and I would look for him to continue to receive consistent playing time over the remaining two months of the season. His versatility works to his advantage in that department and that is especially the case after the trade of Myles Straw. Diaz’s eligibility at multiple positions (especially on Yahoo) works well here and with a .296 average, six home runs, and 26 RBI through 40 games, the production is pretty solid as well if you are looking to fill in the gaps on your roster. 

Rowdy Tellez (MIL); FAAB Bid: 1-2% - The batting average is going to be a concern, .245 on the season, but with Tellez we are here for the power. Tellez is up to nine home runs on the season in 215 plate appearances but the move to Milwaukee does appear to be suiting him well. After his pinch hit, three run homer on Wednesday, Tellez is up to five home runs in 64 plate appearances with the Brewers and he has been starting (and hitting in the middle of the lineup) for most games so we don’t have playing time concerns either. With Tellez power never really has been the true concern with consistent at bats really being the bigger concern and that doesn’t appear to be an issue. With a 47.7% hard-hit rate and 11.4 %-barrel rate, the quality of contact has been pretty good to this point so the playing time should continue. 

LaMonte Wade Jr. (SF); FAAB Bid: 1% - The qualification for Wade is this an addition strictly left for leagues that allow for daily roster transactions. Against right-handed pitching, you could look at Wade and wonder why his ownership levels are in fact so low when you see him atop the Giants’ lineup. In those 54 games, Wade is batting .284 with 13 home runs and 29 RBI and that is production that is pretty difficult to ignore. Overall, that equates to a solid .253 average on the season as he is hitting just .048 against southpaws with one RBI in 21 at bats. The good news though is that the Giants are selective with his playing time and how Wade’s 10.7%-barrel rate is on display. 

Starting Pitchers

Luis Severino (NYY); FAAB Bid: 1% - At this point, the price on Severino will only continue to rise. We are now in the second installment of the right-hander’s rehab after he moved past his groin injury and to this point things do appear to be going well. On Tuesday, Severino threw 43 pitches in 2.1 innings as he still has a few outings remaining to build up his stamina but we will see him back before the end of the month as the Yankees push for the Wild Card. When healthy there is no disputing what Severino brings to the table so we are getting to must own territory. 

Michael Pineda (MIN); FAAB Bid: 1-2%- Pineda has been limited at times by some elbow issues this season but the overall body of work has been pretty solid when he is on the mound and healthy. This isn’t specifically a streaming add as Pineda faces the Astros in his next start, but more of just a solid option for the remainder of the season. Through 15 starts (76.1 innings as Pineda hasn’t proven to be a true innings eater this season but not many are) the right-hander has posted a 3.89 ERA and 1.21 WHIP while striking out 67 batters and walking just two batters per nine innings. A 4.49 xERA means at worst you will get a quality start out of Pineda, assuming he makes it through six innings, and that is a decent floor from a waiver wire addition at this point in the season. 

Josiah Gray (WAS); FAAB Bid: 1-2% - There is no disputing Gray’s status as a top prospect and that was proven as he was a large part of the Dodgers’ trade for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. Now that he is with Washington, Gray will be given the chance to remain in the rotation all season and he got off to a good start earlier this week with five innings of one run ball against Philadelphia in which he struck out two. In 13 innings overall this season Gray has a 4.38 ERA and that is likely closer to where our expectations should be for him moving forward this season despite his immense talent. But even despite the rookie pitcher disclaimer, Gray is still more talented than the majority of other waiver wire options at this point in the season. 

Relief Pitchers

Ryan Sherriff (TB); FAAB Bid: 2% - We really should just rename this the “chasing saves” section. The way things appear to be going we can include a different Tampa Bay reliever in each volume, and today we are forced to look in Sherriff’s direction. It is clear that all the Rays are going is taunt fantasy owners as they manage their bullpen and that led to Sherriff to getting his first save of the season, and second of his career, on Wednesday against the Mariners with a perfect inning of work. In 9.1 innings of work this season the right-hander has a 4.82 ERA but I wouldn’t be concerned due to his 2.63 FIP and more importantly his 4.2 scoreless innings following his recent promotion. Sherriff should strikeout a batter an inning, and his usage could be frustrating, but this likely won’t be his only save of the season. 

Joe Barlow (TEX); FAAB Bid: 1% - I know I advocated for Spencer Patton on Sunday, and that still stands, but Barlow deserves some attention if you did miss out on the aforementioned reliever. Texas also doesn’t have much invested in Patton so I would expect a short lease and it’s hard to ignore what Barlow has done entering action on Wednesday. It is quite the small sample size since his promotion, 9.2 innings, but the right-hander has microscopic ratios (0.93 ERA and 0.62 WHIP) while striking out 14 batters. Prior to his promotion, Barlow saved seven games in Triple-A while 2.57 ERA in 21 innings.