At this point in the MLB season, it becomes very clear what you need and what you are looking for each waiver period in an attempt to improve your team. The direction your team has traveled in is readily apparent at this point, and to some degree, the MLB waiver wire is always there to help. While it might not be the most ideal fit, there is enough going on here to at least investigate. As players continually move up the fantasy baseball rankings, it is important to continue working the MLB waiver wire. Let’s take a look at the next installment of players who could be of assistance. 



Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Hitters



Esteury Ruiz, OF (SD); FAAB Bid: 8-12%

If you want to talk about the ultimate hype machine, let us introduce you to Ruiz. Promoted due to Jurickson Profar headed to the Injured List, Ruiz stands to receive regular playing time, and as long as he produces at the major league level, San Diego figures to find a spot for him in their lineup. And if he does not, the hope is that he is kept around as a speed option off the bench. After all, it is that speed that we are really after. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Ruiz has already stolen 60 bases this season and that is enough to blind a fantasy manager as we all know how valuable that production can be. It might sound like hyperbole, but Ruiz can truly decide a league with his speed. Of course, he was caught stealing in his first major league attempt but he does have three hits in his first eight at-bats to begin his career. The good thing about Ruiz is that he brought the strikeouts down to 17.2% and 17.6% in his two minor league stops this season while walking 13.8% and 14.1% of the time while hitting over .300. Ultimately, we just want Ruiz to get on base so he can pick up those stolen bases. The allure and buzz is huge here and it is going to warrant a real investment. 




Leody Taveras, OF (TEX); FAAB Bid: 2%

At the end of the day, talent is always going to win out, or at least, it will continue to give you as many chances as possible. In the case of Taveras, it is important to remember that he is still just 23 so expecting to him to have put it all together to this point might be a little unreasonable. What we have seen from Tavares in 26 games (74 plate appearances) so far this season though is enough to make you think that the hype was worthy. Of course, we have to pour some cold water on this and talk about the small sample size and Tavares’ .420 BABIP, and the fact that he strikes out 25.7% of the time with a walk rate of 4.1%, but that is not fun. It is much more enjoyable to look at his .329 batting average, 12 RBI, 12 runs scored and four stolen bases, so let’s do that. At the very least, ride the streak here, do not go too crazy investing, and remember that not too long ago Tavares was a top prospect. 




Carlos Santana, 1B (SEA); FAAB Bid: 1%

Over the past seven days, Santana is hitting .300 with three home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored and that fits perfectly as a depth option. That is a good sign overall for Santana as he is hit .323 in June and is now up to .306 in July as a legitimate veteran piece as we continue to deal with injuries across the league. The fact that Santana is available in 90% of Yahoo leagues certainly helps here which makes him a readily available depth option. 




Andrew McCutchen, OF (MIL); FAAB Bid: 2%

McCutchen has received some coverage here in the past and it bears repeating once again as the veteran outfielder hit .315 in June with 15 RBI and 15 runs scored and has followed that up with a .279 batting average through his first 10 games of July with six runs and five RBI. While McCutchen is not the same player he was a few years ago, there is still a solid outfielder in there that can help most teams. 




Brandon Belt, 1B (SF); FAAB Bid: 2%

Let’s stick with the boring veteran theme here, but for as long as Belt is healthy, he pops up on our radar. The first baseman has seven home runs, 16 RBI, and 21 runs scored through 49 games so far this season and there is a lot to like with his 22.7-degree launch angle and 15.6% barrel rate.


Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitchers



Ranger Suárez (PHI); FAAB Bid: 2%

Thanks to his stint on the Injured List, Suarez dropped down to be rostered in 43% of Yahoo leagues, and while it was possible he returns prior to the All-Star break, he should be back pretty quickly after so it is time to snatch him up once again. It was always going to be pretty difficult for Suarez to duplicate the 1.36 ERA he posted in 39 games last season (12 starts) but he has been a solid option this year with a 4.33 ERA (4.14 xERA) in 15 starts to this point. After allowing just 0.34 home runs per nine innings last year, that has normalized to 1.03 this year but Suarez is still getting ground balls at a desirable rate of 55.1%. There is still enough here to work with to fill out the back of your rotation with the opportunity to benefit if another team had to drop Suarez due to a roster crunch. 




Alex Cobb (SF); FAAB Bid: 1-2%

It might not be lights-out work from Cobb, but you are always going to get a solid outing from the dependable veteran. In 63 innings so far this season, Cobb has 63 strikeouts while keeping the walks at a reasonable level (2.86 per nine innings) which starts us off on the right foot. What I really like though is Cobb’s 62.5% ground ball rate as that does a good job limiting any potential damage. The right-hander’s 4.57 ERA (still good enough for a quality start)  is likely keeping you at arm’s length, but the promise of his 2.85 xERA is what should draw you in. 




A.J. Puk (OAK); FAAB Bid: 1%

Before we get into the work of chasing saves, it is important to remember that closers are not the only the pitchers in a bullpen. It is sometimes too easy to look at things strictly under the guise of starter or closer, but it is not wise to always try and force subpar starting pitchers into your lineup. Instead, give me the more talented pitcher, in this case, Puk, who will strike out a batter per inning (39 in 37 innings) while pitching to a 2.43 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. At this point, we can generally expect a minimum of around four innings per week out of the left-hander, and is that really far off from some of the starting pitchers floating around the waiver wire?




Brett Martin (TEX); FAAB Bid: 4%

When it comes to many things in life, the closer’s job being one of them, it is all about possession and who is sitting in the seat. After the Rangers made a change in the role forcing Joe Barlow out, it appears that Martin has been the clear beneficiary. Whenever a pitcher picks up three saves in a week it is certain to get attention and that is what Martin has done. At this point talking about how volatile things can be would be a broken record but Martin does have a 2.79 ERA (3.20 xERA) and 1.17 WHIP while striking out 24 batters in 29 innings so far this season. 




Kyle Finnegan (WAS); FAAB Bid: 2-3%

With Tanner Rainey sidelined for at least the next two months, saves are up for grabs in Washington’s bullpen. That generally spurs the sites and sounds of vultures descending, and at this point, we are operating under the assumption that Finnegan is leading the pack. So far this season, Finnegan only has one save under his belt, but he did pick up 11 saves last season so this is not completely out of nowhere. While it might not be an especially easy ride with the right-hander, after all it really is not with many closers, he does have a solid 3.89 ERA so far this season while striking out 41 batters in 34.2 innings. At 1.56 home runs per nine innings, we do have to be alert here but his 3.46 xERA and 2.90 xFIP paint a solid enough picture that we do not have to worry as long as we are getting saves. 



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