This is the last time that we will meet in July as the MLB season hums along with August very much on the horizon. Now is not the time to let up on any attempt to improve your team and with the MLB trade deadline just a few days away, player movement will be taking place at warp speed with a vast amount of fantasy baseball fallout. Until that point, here are some options to your consideration when attacking the MLB waiver wire this weekend. 




Waiver Wire Hitters


OF; FAAB Bid: 3-4%
Steven Kwan emerged out of nowhere and shot up the fantasy rankings at the beginning of the season before tailing off pretty quickly and hitting .173 in May. The outfielder picked things up in fast order though hitting .341 in June and .311 in July and Kwan has come out of the All-Star break scoring hot. After a three-hit effort on Friday, Kwan’s hitting streak is now up to 12 games and his batting average to .298. While we are not going to get much power from Kwan, there value in his 48 runs scored and eight stolen bases and it is also hard to ignore his .369 on-base percentage as he walks more than he strikes out; 9.1% vs. 8.3%. 



2B/3B; FAAB Bid: 2%

Nolan Gorman went deep for the second straight game on Friday which gave the rookie 11 home runs on the season through 202 plate appearances. While the power certainly plays, Gorman also has 25 RBI, we do have to deal with a 33% strikeout rate which certainly plays a part in his .230 batting average. The rookie is clearly looking to drive the ball with his 20.7-degree launch angle, but when he does make contact, the quality is there as evidenced by his 13.9%-barrel rate. 



2B/3B/SS; FAAB Bid: 2%

The versatile infielder provides plenty of flexibility and Joey Wendle has also found regular playing time for Miami along with a spot at the top of their batting order. Before going hitless on Friday night, Wendle was hitting .375 in the seven games following the All-Star break and he is hitting a solid .289 on the season. In 190 plate appearances on the season, Wendle does have 21 RBI and 15 runs scored but it is the seven stolen bases that could prove to be an asset down the stretch in conjunction with his batting average and eligibility across the infield. 



1B/OF; FAAB Bid: 1-2%

You are going to have to suffer through Seth Brown’s .230 batting average, but for those fantasy managers searching for power production it might be worth a look. After going deep twice on Friday, Brown is up to 14 home runs on the season to go along with 43 RBI. What might be most surprising though is the fact that Brown has seven stolen bases on the season which is a solid bonus to go along with that power. 


Gunnar Henderson, SS (BAL - MINORS); FAAB Bid: 1%

It remains to be seen what Baltimore is going to do at the trade deadline, but it is also interesting to see the Orioles climb up the Wild Card standings. Gunnar Henderson is getting dangerously close to having nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, and if Baltimore is looking for a spark in their lineup, their top prospect could be to one provide it. Through 85 games between Double-A (47) and Triple-A (38), Henderson has 16 home runs, 61 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases while hitting .312 and .289 at the two levels. It is interesting though to see that the majority of Henderson’s production has translated between the levels although he has not run at Triple-A (just three stolen bases). The other problem is that Henderson’s strikeout rate increased (18.3% to 24.4%) while we saw a decrease in his walk rate (19.7% to 13.1%). Regardless, there is still enough here for Henderson to help both the Orioles and your fantasy team. 





Waiver Wire Pitchers


SP; FAAB Bid: 2-3%

Brady Singer entered his start against the Yankees, in the Bronx nonetheless, from a position of strength and all he did was continue along on that trend with seven shutout innings on Thursday while allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 10. This was after Singer had a 2.37 ERA in his three previous starts while striking out 23 batters in 19 innings. Overall, the body of work out of Singer is pretty solid this season, and is too good for him to be available in 74% of Yahoo leagues as of Thursday evening. The right-hander brought his ERA down to 3.51 (3.58 FIP) as he strikes out 9.67 batters per inning against 2.23 walks. 



SP; FAAB Bid: 2%

The strikeout upside alone that we get from Nick Lodolo is more than enough to put him on my radar, and the fact that he threw six scoreless innings in his last start while striking out nine serves the to reinforce that notion. While Lodolo has struggled overall with a 4.73 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, it is hard to bypass the upside and with just 32.1 innings under his belt in the big leagues so far this season, we should not have to worry about Cincinnati shutting him down towards the end of the season. Luck certainly has not been in Lodolo’s favor so far this year which is clearly evidenced by his astronomical .432 BABIP against and his 13.08 strikeouts per nine offer up real upside. A 4.18 xERA and 4.17 xFIP provide some additional comfort with the ERA and Lodolo’s 3.40 xFIP can really allow one to dream. 



RP; FAAB Bid: 1%

The fact that James Karinchak did not make his season debut until July helps to explain why the right-hander is so freely available, but that also represents a buying opportunity for fantasy managers. While I do not expect there to be anything that happens over the next week to change Karinchak’s role it is hard to ignore what we have seen from him to this point in his first 9.2 innings. While the six walks are a little concerning, after all relievers do have a certainly level of volatility to them, it has not had a negative impact on Karinchak and his 2.79 ERA (1.47 FIP) in large part due to his 17 strikeouts. 



RP; FAAB Bid: 2%

I highlighted Joe Mantiply earlier in the season, but ahead of the trade deadline, I feel like it is a good time to revisit the All-Star. Both Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy could find themselves in new homes by this time next week which would Mantiply in line for whatever potential saves are available in Arizona over the next two months. Through Thursday, Mantiply has a 2.35 ERA (2.55 xERA) in 38 innings this season while striking out a batter per inning while walking just 0.47 and benefitting from a 57% groundball rate. Out of 110 batted ball events this season, opposing hitters have barreled up just two balls against Mantiply and he has limited them to a miniscule 4.4-degree launch angle along with an average exit velocity of just 85 miles per hour. 



RP; FAAB Bid: 1%

With Taylor Rogers continuing his struggles on Wednesday, there was mild chatter about him taking a seat, at least on a temporary basis, from his closing responsibilities. After blowing the save, Rogers had a 7.59 ERA in his last 11 appearances so he certainly is on notice. Barring any trades, the next pitcher in line appears to be Nick Martinez, who has picked up four saves this season. With 3.61 ERA (4.21 xERA), Martinez has not be completely dominant this season but he has gotten better with a 3.38 ERA in June and 2.61 mark in July. 



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