It feels like the 2023 fantasy baseball season was mostly known for MLB top prospects getting the call with a new name popping up almost every week. And the same could be true this week as the Baltimore Orioles called up another top prospect in Colton Cowser. However, as the calendar flipped to July and we inch closer to the MLB All-Star Game, it feels like the theme of late has been returning starting pitchers. Mike Soroka, who was featured earlier this week in the Waiver Wire article, made his second start since returning from his demotion and tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball. But we shouldn’t look at the scoreless start as a positive necessarily. He needed 99 pitches and failed to get out of the fifth inning. Additionally, he allowed three walks and five hits. So it’s fortunate he wasn’t tagged for more damage. As recognizable arms make their return like Tarik Skubal and Alek Manoah, don’t just look at the box score to determine if they’re officially back. Velocity, swinging strikes, efficiency, hits and walks allowed, etc. can shed some light on if a pitcher is performing well. So as we approach the MLB All-Star break let’s take a look at the top fantasy baseball waiver wire adds to bolster your rosters.


Top Waiver Wire Hitters

Colton Cowser, OF, Baltimore Orioles; FAAB Bid: 12-15%

The Baltimore Orioles have seen their fair share of young prospects get called up this year. Jordan Westburg was featured in this article just last weekend and Gunnar Henderson is coming off a phenomenal two-home run performance Thursday night. Now, it’s Cowser’s turn to make some noise. At Triple-A this year, Cowser slashed .330/.459/.537 with ten home runs and seven stolen bases in 56 games. Even last year across High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A he had 19 home runs, 114 runs scored, and 18 steals. He’s the latest fantasy baseball rookie “flavor of the week” and has seen a spike in rostership lately.

Yainer Diaz, C, Houston Astros; FAAB Bid: 6-8%

Diaz is catcher-eligible but of late he’s been featured in Houston’s lineup as the designated hitter, which is perfectly fine for our fantasy baseball lineups. He’s slugging .515 on the year with ten home runs including three since Monday. It’s good to see the power translating from the minors to the big leagues so strike while the iron is hot.

Tommy Pham, OF, New York Mets; FAAB Bid: 6-7%

Pham has been swinging a hot stick the last ten days. Since June 28th he has 15 hits, five of which have been for extra bases, and he’s scored six runs. He’s also hit second in the Mets lineup four straight games so if that’s a trend that sticks then we could see him score more runs if he’s consistently hitting in front of Pete Alonso. Pham also has stolen base potential so he’s a solid add in roto formats where he can help in a variety of categories.

Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Colorado Rockies; FAAB Bid: 6-7%

I wrote up Tovar last weekend and even Howard mentioned him earlier this week in his waiver wire article for the New York Post. I’ll go back to the well and list him again because after a couple games hitting eighth in the Rockies lineup, Tovar led off Friday night and hit a home run in the seventh inning against the Giants. He now has hits in 16 of his last 17 games with 42 runs scored and 44 RBI on the season. He’s a fairly productive middle infielder that has the luxury of playing in Coors Field half the time.

Mickey Moniak, OF, Los Angeles Angels; FAAB Bid: 5%

There’s a good chance Moniak might be floating around the waiver wire in your fantasy baseball league. Following Friday night’s two-hit performance where he collected his tenth home run of the season, Moniak is now slashing .310/.341/.651 and he’s still hitting atop the Angels lineup. The loss of Mike Trout probably hurts his run scoring upside for the next few weeks and he still strikes out at a high clip. As long as he continues to lead off for the Halos and hit .300 he does have fantasy value.

Nick Gonzales, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates; FAAB Bid: 4-5%

Gonzales may have gotten lost in the fold of top prospects getting called up to the big leagues, but he’s made a strong impression with the Pirates the last two weeks. He went hitless Friday night, but he does have ten hits since Sunday with six RBI. He provides some nice depth at the middle infield positions and the plate discipline should improve in time.

Dominic Fletcher, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks; FAAB Bid: 2%

Here’s a speculative add given the injury to Corbin Carroll on Thursday night. Perhaps Fletcher sees a little playing time hitting in a better part of the order, but you won’t get near the power or speed upside that Carroll possesses. But Fletcher is still capable of being a .300 hitter and providing runs and RBI. Now Carroll did start Friday night, but this shoulder thing is worth monitoring because it’s been a recurring issue. If you want to take advantage of another outfielder getting more run due to a superstar teammate missing time due to injury, then you could also consider Jo Adell of the Los Angeles Angels if you can’t get the previously mentioned Mickey Moniak.


Top Waiver Wire Pitchers

Tarik Skubal, SP, Detroit Tigers; FAAB Bid: 8-10%

I mentioned Skubal in last weekend’s waiver wire article and he got the start Tuesday. He only worked four innings, but unlike Michael Soroka, Skubal was far more efficient with the pitch count only needing 57 tosses. He didn’t allow a hit nor a walk and he struck out six. Not too shabby for his first start in the big leagues since returning from injury. In time they will stretch him out and allow him to go longer. He closes out the first half of the season with a home matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Craig Kimbrel, RP, Philadelphia Phillies; FAAB Bid: 7-8%

I noticed Craig Kimbrel was available in a few leagues I’m participating in, then I checked rostership numbers on a few sites and saw he was still floating around on the waiver wire in several leagues. He probably doesn’t move the needle for you if you punt saves or if you’re in a “SOLDS” league. But as we near the halfway point to the 2023 season he’s 5-1 with 14 saves. He only has five strikeouts in his last five appearances which is a bit of a departure from his 13.86 K/9, but I’m not overly concerned about that as of right now. Still just surprised overall that he’s available in some shallow leagues.

Alek Manoah, SP, Toronto Blue Jays; FAAB Bid: 6-8%

If I’m being completely honest, I’d rather Manoah be someone else’s problem, but I did grab him in one league where I’m really hurting for pitching. If he is available (likely only in shallower leagues), and you are struggling with pitching then I can understand why you’d add him. Last week in a start at Double-A he struck out ten across five innings. He still has immense upside as he was an AL Cy Young candidate just a year ago. But he’s been absolutely horrendous this year and looked as if he was struggling to adjust to the new pitch clock rules. This is definitely a “wait and see” kind of waiver wire addition. Did he look good Friday night in his return? Absolutely. But I would prefer to see what he does against a better lineup than Detroit. Pick him up if you are in dire need pitching help.

Tanner Bibee, SP, Cleveland Guardians; FAAB Bid: 6-7%

I might be able to admit I’d rather chase the upside of Manoah over Bibee here. But Bibee has still been pretty productive of late. He’s collected wins in three of his last four starts and four total wins over the last month. He averages nearly a strikeout per inning and limits damage overall. My concern is the control of late has been waning a bit. Through his first seven starts he allowed just ten walks in 39.1 innings of work. Over his last seven starts (35.2 innings) he has 18 walks and even though he’s been getting wins of late he only has one quality start since the beginning of June. I’m not saying the wheels are falling off, but perhaps a few days off are what Bibee needs to get back to form the second half of the season.

Kenta Maeda, SP, Minnesota Twins; FAAB Bid: 5%

Maeda made his return at the end of June following his biceps injury and in his first two starts he collected a dozen strikeouts across ten innings of work against the Braves and Tigers, which were both road starts. On Tuesday, when he took the mound at home against the Royals, he tossed seven innings of one-run ball and notched nine strikeouts. He’s collectively in this group of returning starting pitchers and while he may not garner the attention or fanfare of Skubal, Soroka, or Manoah, he’s at least looked really good in his return. Could the wheels still fall off? Sure, but if he continues to lean on his slider and splitter, he could return some fantasy goodness in deeper formats. He’s rostered in less than ten percent of ESPN leagues as of this writing.

Trevor May, RP, Oakland Athletics; FAAB Bid: 1-2%

Here is a deep league reliever to consider if you’re trying to incorporate more saves into your lineups. The Oakland Athletics haven’t won many games and they likely won’t over their last 70 contests. But May has six saves over the last month for the Athletics. But there are also some red flags. It’s not just his 5.16 ERA, but he has actually walked more batters (20) than he has struck out (19). That’s not exactly a big endorsement we can give a closer, but it does seem like they’re reserving May for the ninth inning for those rare instances when Oakland does have a lead.


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