While constant planning and preparation should always be on the agenda, having a few days without games during the 2022 MLB All-Star Game break is always a great time for planning and reflection. The fantasy baseball waiver wire is always going to be there to help out your rosters, at varying degrees of course. MLB top prospect Max Meyer headlines this week's waiver wire targets after recently making his big-league debut in the Miami Marlins rotation. Some of the top hitters to add to your fantasy baseball lineups include Nico Hoerner and Aaron Hicks. Plus, Miguel Sanó should be on your radar as he makes his way off the MLB injury report. Let’s dig in deeper and take a look at those who have, or expect to, move up the fantasy baseball rankings and rest-of-season MLB projections. As a reminder, the general set of parameters I operate under is those players who are rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues with the intention being not to repeat players. Check out previous fantasy baseball waiver wire articles for more options. Plus, the fantasy baseball stock watch is another useful tool for your rosters. Heading into the second half of the 2022 MLB season, here are some players that I recommend adding off the MLB waiver wire as possible fantasy baseball sleepers.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Hitters
Nico Hoerner, SS (CHC) – FAAB Bid: 4%
If you are looking to plug a gap or improve your middle infield (shortstop specifically), Hoerner is an excellent candidate. He took a seven-game hitting streak into Saturday’s doubleheader before going hitless in seven at-bats. Still, Hoerner responded the next day by picking up three hits to finish the first half of the season with a .307 batting average. While he only walks 4.1% of the time, his .344 OBP is still strong enough to be an asset due to his batting average. Plus, the shortstop does a good job putting the bat on the ball as he only strikes out 10.7% of the time. There is not much power here – five home runs – but Hoerner has stolen nine bases. The knock with him is going to be just 29 runs scored and 27 RBI, but we can also blame the Chicago Cubs’ lineup for that. Although. Hoerner has picked up speed with 20 of those runs coming since June 1st. At the very least, you are getting a strong batting average with some stolen bases with the Cubs' shortstop.
Josh Naylor, 1B/OF (CLE) – FAAB Bid: 2-3%
Through 62 games this season, Naylor has gone deep 13 times and it's not very hard to see him finishing as a 30-home run hitter with a full season’s worth of at-bats. With 47 RBI over that time period, we now very simply could be looking at a 30/100 hitter who is also going to provide a strong batting average at .274 (.276 BABIP). This has come with a strikeout rate of just 16.2% as Naylor shows off his power with a .233 ISO. With a 12-degree launch angle, the Cleveland Guardians' slugger has not completely sold out for the long ball and he has a strong 10.2% barrel rate. We can feel good about what we have seen to this point with Naylor's 13.4 expected home runs, per Baseball Savant.
Aaron Hicks, OF (NYY) – FAAB Bid: 1-2%
Hicks started off strong this season with a .306 batting average in April before making a 180-degree turn and hitting .127 in May. After a solid June in which he hit .247, the New York Yankees outfielder has turned the corner again with his best month to date through 12 games in July. The success did begin in June as he drove in 11 runs while scoring 10 times in 24 games. Still, Hicks has already surpassed that this month with 11 RBI and 11 runs scored while going deep three times so far. He finally appears to be healthy and based on the Yankees' other options, Hicks will continue to play every day – especially if he continues to hit like this.
Cal Raleigh, C (SEA) – FAAB Bid: 2%
We are forced to look at catchers differently in fantasy baseball and in Raleigh’s case, we are getting regular playing time coupled with power. So there is some value present for the Seattle Mariners catcher. This is especially true as he is rostered in just 14% of Yahoo leagues, but his real value is either in two-catcher leagues or as a streaming option for those in search of power. In his 25 June games, Raleigh went deep six times while driving in 14 runs. Through 14 games so far in July, he has three more home runs along with 11 RBI to give him 13 home runs and 34 RBI in 62 games so far this year. Seattle appears to be committed to getting regular at-bats for Raleigh and while we do have to work with a .206 batting average, it can only go up from here based on his .227 BABIP. The power is real, though, as evidenced by his .263 ISO. With his 22-degree average launch angle, it is clear what Raleigh’s intentions are and he does make strong contact as evidenced by his 15.2% barrel rate and 47.7% hard-hit rate.
Miguel Sanó, 1B (MIN) – FAAB Bid: 1%
After being out for more than two months with a knee injury, Sano is on the verge of returning and he is also available in 91% of Yahoo leagues. By no means should everyone rush out to acquire him, but the price is cheap. If you are looking to add some power, the Minnesota Twins' slugging first baseman is worth the speculative add. While Sano had just one home run in 54 at-bats prior to his injury, we have seen him slug at the major league level before and he did go deep twice in Triple-A on Saturday.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitchers
Max Meyer (MIA) – FAAB Bid: 4-6%
If you are in a league with any type of long-term ramifications, then this FAAB bid number should be higher – although I would have expected him to already be rostered. The same also goes for deeper leagues where pitching is scarcer. We always have to be careful with young pitchers, and that logic was evident in Meyer’s MLB debut as he allowed five runs on seven hits in his against the Phillies. After a quick, and successful, rise through the minor leagues, it was the tale of two games for Meyer in his first turn through the Miami Marlins' rotation. He retired 10 of the first 12 batters he faced before getting into trouble in later innings. On a positive note, Meyer only walked one batter and struck out five. It looks like his next start is coming against Pittsburgh, which should go better.
Zach Plesac (CLE) – FAAB Bid: 2%
Sometimes there is value in simply being available and that is the case with Plesac, who's sitting on waivers in 58% of Yahoo leagues. After a successful but questionable 2019 season (3.81 ERA/5.48 xERA) and a good, but short, 2020 season (2.28 ERA), the right-hander hit a bit of a rough patch this year. With a 4.02 ERA in 94 innings so far, it does appear that Plesac has corrected himself – but his xERA (5.62) and FIP (4.22) tell conflicting stories. The good news is that, at 2.20 batters per nine innings, Plesac does limit the walks even if he only strikes out 6.51 batters per nine innings. While we do not want to put too much stock in wins, the Cleveland Guardians' starter only has two of them in 17 starts this year. Still, the overall body of work has been pretty solid at least from a streaming perspective if you are looking to fill innings with Plesac.
Germán Márquez (COL) – FAAB Bid: 2%
Don't look now, but through three starts in July, Marquez has a 3.66 ERA with opponents hitting just .211 against him. It has been far from a banner year for the Colorado Rockies' right-hander, but we have seen enough of him in the past to know that Marquez is a solid pitcher who can offer up some value. At the very least, with his 4.20 ERA on the road, he can be a streaming option with a little bit of upside away from Coors Field.
Jason Adam (TB) – FAAB Bid: 1-2%
The save that Adam picked up on Sunday was just his fourth of the season, but the right-hander continues to be an especially strong option out of the bullpen for Tampa Bay this year. In 38.1 innings, Adam has 46 strikeouts along with microscopic ratios (1.41 ERA and 0.70 WHIP). Out of 83 batted balls, opposing hitters have just two barrels against Adam to go along with a 25.3% hard-hit rate. The quality of contact he is generating is simply not very strong, which bodes well for his rest-of-season success in the Rays' pen.
Jhoan Duran (MIN) – FAAB Bid: 3%
While he is not officially Minnesota’s closer, Duran did pick up his sixth save of the season on Sunday with two shutout innings. In general, that has been par for the course with the right-hander this season as a dominant weapon out of the Twins’ bullpen. Minnesota has not been hesitant to use Duran in high-leverage situations and with a 2.36 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 42 innings, he has delivered while striking out 51 batters. There is no reason why that level of success won't continue and, as an added bonus, you should continue to get a few more saves thrown in the mix as well – at the very least. This is a situation of targeting the skills and not strictly the ninth inning role for Duran.
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Related MLB Links:
- July Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings
- Fantasy Baseball Daily Round-Up
- MLB Injury Report
- Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire
- MLB Prospect Reports
- Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch