As the 2023 MLB season flips the calendar to the month of July, we’re entering that home stretch of the fantasy baseball regular season, especially with the MLB All-Star break looming in just over a week. As Adam Ronis alluded to earlier this week, there have been plenty of rookie and top prospects called up to the show that have made a dramatic impact. No one more so than Elly De La Cruz of the Cincinnati Reds as he’s already scored 20 runs in as many games and he hit for the cycle in just his 15th career game. There are still other top prospects that await their turn to be called up such as Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Colton Cowser, Kyle Manzardo, and more. This week does feature another trendy prospect that was recently called up that is worth looking at off the waiver wire, but overall it does look to be another week where we preserve a little bit of the FAAB budget and maybe see if any news breaks for prospects or players returning from injury in the coming week. With that said we can still look to the fantasy baseball waiver wire for some pieces to add for the upcoming scoring period.
Top Waiver Wire Hitters
Jordan Westburg, SS, Baltimore Orioles; FAAB: 12%
Westburg got a night off on Friday, although he did strike out when he was called upon to pinch hit. But he got the call earlier in the week, and from Monday through Wednesday, he collected five hits, two runs, and a pair of RBI. He hits a little too low in the lineup, but if he performs well across a larger sample size then it’s entirely possible he can hit a little higher and get more plate appearances.
TJ Friedl, OF, Cincinnati Reds; FAAB: 12%
The FAAB budget might honestly be a bit light so you’re welcome to bid more if you must. There’s plenty to like about Friedl. He hits leadoff (mostly), he plays in Great American Ballpark, the Reds are one of the hottest lineups in baseball, and the guy is hitting .320 on the year. Since June 20th he’s collected three home runs with ten runs score, while driving in six, and swiping six bags.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Colorado Rockies; FAAB Bid: 10%
Cron made his return earlier in the week after being out since roughly mid-May with an injury. Cron’s overall slash line isn’t great at just .235/.284/.416 but since returning he has a hit in three straight games with three runs scored over that span as well. There’s optimism the 29-year-old can turn it around in the second half of the season. He hit 57 home runs with 194 RBI in his first two years with the Rockies so we know what he’s capable of when healthy.
Jose Siri, OF, Tampa Bay Rays; FAAB Bid: 8-10%
Look, I know Adam has posted Siri in these articles plenty of times. I have to edit and publish his Saturday waiver wire pieces every weekend. I know he’s made an appearance in this series plenty of times. Siri doesn’t play every day, and when he does, he usually hits in the bottom of the order. He’s only hitting .233 on the season but he’s also slugging .558 and has 16 home runs on the season. Since last Friday he’s appeared in six games and hit four home runs. He’s going to be one of those guys you teeter with between adding and dropping, I’m well aware. But he’s been absolutely raking over the last week.
Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Colorado Rockies; FAAB Bid: 7-8%
Tovar currently rides a 13-game hitting streak and he’s scored two runs in each of his last three games with six RBI in that span. Since Memorial Day he’s hitting .336 with a .921 OPS and the Rockies have actually moved him up to the two-spot in the lineup. Obviously, he gets the bump due to playing in Coors Field, but he’s putting the bat on the ball plenty and has been playing very well of late.
Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees; FAAB Bid: 6-7%
Volpe’s seen his rostership drop a bit of late, but he seems to be hitting better. The Yankees/Cardinals game on Friday was rained out so the team gets a doubleheader on Saturday. Since June 13th Volpe is hitting .349/.440/.535 with six runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. He is likely still hitting toward the bottom of the order, but he’s been getting on base and that just means the top of the order has been driving him in.
Bo Naylor, C, Cleveland Guardians; FAAB Bid: 3-5%
Naylor finally collected his first career home run on Wednesday, but he’s still only slashing .182/.250/.273 but it’s been in a small sample size. He does have five hits since Sunday and keep in mind, this was a guy that had 13 home runs and two steals at Columbus earlier this year and last year he was a 20/20 player across Double-A and Triple-A. You likely aren’t starting him in shallower one-catcher leagues but I think he has potential in two-catcher formats or deeper leagues.
Top Waiver Wire Pitchers
Tarik Skubal, SP, Detroit Tigers; FAAB Bid: 8-10%
From the sounds of it, we should see Tarik Skubal get the call to the Tigers in short order. It doesn’t sound like they want him getting anymore starts in the minors as he works his way back from injury. It’s probably a good look to get him into the rotation after the team lost another southpaw, Matthew Boyd, to a season-ending injury. Skubal made some improvements in 2022 with a 3.52 ERA, nearly a strikeout per inning, and he only gave up 0.69 HR/9 last year. He likely won’t get a long leash when he is called up as the outings will be brief, but they’ll extend him overtime as he works his way back.
Brayan Bello, SP, Boston Red Sox; FAAB Bid: 8-10%
The numbers on paper actually look great for Bello. The 3.08 ERA on the year looks good, but over his last seven starts he has six quality starts and he hasn’t allowed a home run in his last six appearances. On Thursday he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins. It was kind of an odd outing because, as someone who was physically at the game, he didn’t have the greatest control for someone flirting with a no-no. But overall, he’s been pretty solid for Boston between the quality starts and pitching deep into games. He gets a pretty tough matchup at home against the Texas Rangers next week so use your best judgment.
Jordan Hicks, RP, St. Louis Cardinals; FAAB Bid: 8-10%
Let’s touch on some relievers, shall we? Hicks has converted five straight saves and is a strikeout machine. He can absolutely help out K/9 if that’s a category your league incorporates. But for as hard as he throws, he’s due for some control issues because he also has a 5.67 BB/9. You have to take the good with the bad. And considering he’s on the Cardinals, it might be more bad than good because St. Louis sits at the bottom of the NL Central and the save opportunities might be difficult to come by on a consistent basis. But he does have five over the last two weeks and if he’s available he should be on your roster if you need saves.
Scott McGough, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks; FAAB Bid: 8-10%
The FAAB bid for McGough depends on how much you need saves right now. McGough took the loss on Wednesday surrendering three earned runs while recording just one out. Since June 11th he has five saves and has basically taken over as the closer in Arizona. Despite the blowup on Wednesday he still touts a 3.00 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and has 50 strikeouts in 42 innings of work in 2023.
Dane Dunning, SP, Texas Rangers; FAAB Bid: 7-9%
It depends on what site you play on, but I’m seeing him available in plenty of ESPN leagues. Dane Dunning doesn’t fit the normal profile of a player I want on my fantasy baseball team because he doesn’t record a ton of strikeouts. And then he goes out and sits down ten Tigers in a near complete game on Wednesday. Such is life, but the guy still has a paltry 5.71 K/9 on the year. But he’s been pitching well of late. He’s 7-1 on the season with three straight quality starts and he is slated for two road starts in the upcoming scoring period against the Red Sox and Nationals. One slight note to keep an eye on; he only has a 0.56 HR/9 on the year. That’s great. But all five home runs he’s surrendered have come in his last five starts. Is that enough to turn me off to his two starts this week? Probably not, but something to keep an eye on when setting your lineups.
Kyle Bradish, SP, Baltimore Orioles; FAAB Bid: 6%
We have a pair of Kyle’s coming up in the pitching section, and this is a repeat player from Adam’s mid-week article. Bradish has been a solid pitcher of late. He hasn’t been too much of a victim of the long ball in 2023 and he has at least seven strikeouts in three of his last four starts. Don’t take that as scripture in the sense he’s definitely getting seven strikeouts per start going forward. He only has an 8.38 K/9 on the year. But overall he’s been an innings eater that can limit damage and he has a great matchup at home against the Twins on Saturday if you’re looking for a streamer.
Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs; FAAB Bid: 4-5%
Hendricks will never light up the stat sheet with an abundance of strikeouts. But he eats up innings. And if you’re looking for a two-start pitcher in the coming week he gets a pair of road starts against the Brewers and Yankees. Hendricks has only made seven starts this year and has a 2.81 ERA and has only yielded two home runs. He might be more of a deeper league target but the upcoming matchups aren’t awful.
Emmet Sheehan, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers; FAAB Bid: 3-4%
Sheehan is such a conundrum because if he struggles then he’s likely given a short leash by the coaching staff. I didn’t think he’d stick in the rotation past two starts, but he’s coming off a decent start in Coors Field where he gave up three earned runs in five innings. We haven’t seen the strikeout upside that he flashed in the minors, but he gets a home matchup against the Pirates prior to the All-Star break. Pittsburgh currently rides a four-game winning streak, but it also wasn’t too long ago where the offense struggled to score runs amidst ten straight losses.