As we embark on another week, it is always a good time to look at improving your fantasy baseball team. In this installment, I take a look some recent risers in the fantasy baseball rankings who could help your lineups, even if on a temporary basis, as well as some pitchers who are slated to take the mound twice. Let’s dig into some MLB Waiver Wire picks as we head into the next lineup period. 

Waiver Wire Hitters


Bryson Stott, 2B/SS (PHI); FAAB Bid: 3%

Stott’s rookie season began with a fair amount of buzz, but the middle infielder was not necessarily ready to meet those expectations. With the release of Didi Gregorius, it is clear that Philadelphia now trusts Stott and he has been rewarding their faith in him. Over the last seven days, Stott is hitting .526 with six runs scored for a surging Phillies team as he turns the corner on a first half that saw him bat just .188. Since the All-Star break, Stott is a .309 hitter and it is impressive to see a young hitter with a strikeout rate of just 16.4%. It appears that Stott has gotten swept up in Philadelphia’s success and with Bryce Harper set to return as a DH shortly, that should also benefit the rookie. 


Mike Yastrzemski, OF (SF); FAAB Bid: 1-2%

If you look at Yastrzemski, the outfielder does not really stand out from the pack, but he can be a consistent producer and the fact that he is available in 74% of Yahoo leagues also helps. Over the past week, Yastrzemski has gone deep three times in 22 at bats which gives him 12 home runs and 44 RBI on the season after getting off to a slow start. The thought process here is that Yastrzemski continues to hit for power with the hope being that the Giants generally stick to using him against right-handed pitching against whom he has the platoon advantage. After hitting 25 home runs last season, we know Yastrzemski is capable of producing in the power department and he is currently sporting a career high 11.1%-barrel rate along with his normal launch angle between 18 and 19 degrees. 


Aledmys Díaz, Everywhere (HOU); FAAB Bid: 4%

Alright, so maybe I am taking things a little far by listing “everywhere” in the spot in which I would generally list positional eligibility, but depending on the league (we are looking at you Yahoo), I am not wrong. Diaz’s versatility helps in setting a fantasy lineup each day but it also means that there is a better chance of him being part of a strong Houston lineup on a daily basis. Diaz has shown the ability to hit in the clutch and he should be in the lineup on most days. The utility player is hitting .258 this season in 268 plate appearances with 10 home runs, 32 RBI, and 31 runs scored. 


David Fletcher, 2B/SS (LAA); FAAB Bid: 2-3%

Not only is Fletcher back and producing for the Angels, but we have seen him batting leadoff in each of his last four games. In the 12 games since his return, Fletcher is hitting .333 with two home runs, 10 RBI, and five runs scored and he is the perfect example of a player that will not hurt you and should also provide some average stabilization with some counting stats even if he is not truly a power threat and might not go deep again for the rest of the season. 


Rougned Odor, 2B/3B (BAL); FAAB Bid: 1%

I apologize if I am putting you to sleep here, but injuries happen and holes need to be filled. The fact that Odor is hitting .368 over the past week and has positional flexibility in the infield for Baltimore team that continues to be surprisingly competitive. While it is safer to generally avert your eyes to Odor’s batting average, there is some power and run production here with 11 home runs and 41 RBI in 99 games. The home run upside gets a slight boost based on his career high 22.6 degree launch angle, but this is ultimately something I am looking at on more of a temporary basis. 

Waiver Wire Pitchers


Aaron Civale (CLE); FAAB Bid: 1%

A quick look at Civale’s 6.05 ERA and 1.41 WHIP through 58 innings this season is certainly enough to send any sane person running in the opposite direction. At the same time, I never said I was sane and Civale is taking the mound twice this week so that puts him squarely on the radar.  After being out of action for a month, the right-hander made his return this week with four innings of two run ball on three hits while not walking a batter and striking out four. The matchups are favorable for Civale this week, Detroit and the White Sox, and with a strikeout per inning this year, we do get some value there. Civale’s .345 BABIP and 58.6% strand rate should regress to the mean and his 4.71 xERA and 4.07 FIP also reflect that. 


Justin Steele (CHC); FAAB Bid: 2-3%

Do not look now, but Steele is having a pretty solid season for the Cubs even if he rostered in just 22% of Yahoo leagues. We get two starts out of Steele this week and after seeing him strikeout 25 batters over his last three starts, it is hard to argue with the upside there. We do have to allow for the caveat, it makes it both more and less impressive, that Steele only made it through 14.1 innings in that stretch but his ERA was just 1.26. On the season, Steele is averaging right around five innings per start, but he does have a 3.63 ERA (3.67 xERA) while striking out 9.38 batters per nine innings and generating a 50.7% ground ball rate. Opposing hitters have just a 3.4%-barrel rate against Steele this season and he has a good matchup against Washington to begin the week prior to facing Milwaukee to close out the week. 


Mitch Keller (PIT); FAAB Bid: 2%

As we look to maximize our starts in the last two months of the season, Keller pops up on the radar. The right-hander only has four victories in 20 starts this year, so the chase for victories is not really the focus here but there is no reason why he cannot pick up a win in his second start of the week against Cincinnati. In his last three starts, Keller’s ERA sits at just 2.60 bringing his mark down to 4.25 on the season (3.89 FIP). We have waited a while for Keller to realize his billing as a top prosect, but the right-hander appears to have settled into a solid groove as a reliable starting option. With an average exit velocity of 88.8 miles per hour, hitters generally are not making loud contact against Keller who has improved throughout the season culminating with a 2.61 ERA in July. 


Dustin May (LAD); FAAB Bid: 5%

I apologize for the duplication as May has been discussed in the space previously, but your window is closing quite quickly. When we last saw May prior to Tommy John surgery, he had a 2.93 ERA in 113.2 career innings with the Dodgers while striking out close to a batter per inning. All reports and indications are that May has not missed a beat based on what we are seeing out of him in his rehab outings. After what is scheduled to be his last rehab outing on Sunday, May is slated to rejoin the Dodgers’ rotation, and at that point your window to acquire him will likely be closed as, as of Thursday night, he was already rostered in 53% of Yahoo leagues. 


Rowan Wick (CHC); FAAB Bid: 3-4%

Despite the fact that Wick has settled into the closer’s role with the Cubs after they traded the majority of their bullpen, he is still available in 81% of Yahoo leagues as of Thursday night. After picking up saves in three straight outings, seven overall, it is getting hard to ignore the right-hander. While Wick does walk about four batters per nine innings, he has a solid 3.97 ERA (3.54 FIP) so far this season with 9.25 strikeouts per nine innings. Wick has been able to navigate a .380 BABIP, and most importantly, he has appeared to have some level of comfort in the ninth inning. 


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