Having a slow start, from a player you drafted, is arguably one of the most frustrating parts of fantasy baseball, if not all fantasy sports. The slump can start early and linger into the season. A majority of players break out of their slump, but there are those whose issues linger into the summer. This season, we saw early slumps from Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt. Both players were drafted significantly high and, while they say fantasy baseball is a marathon and not a sprint, it’s much easier to have bad weeks after you’ve strung together numerous wins rather than play catch up in the summer months. Luckily, a majority of leagues have the waiver wire. If you’re like me, you’ve dabbled a number of times through the free agent pool. If you’re one of the many lucky ones, you were able to grab players that have had tremendous seasons through the half-way point and have paid great dividends for your fantasy teams. We see it each seaso, and this year has been no different with the select few who were not only scooped off the waiver wire, but find themselves playing in the Midsummer Classic. When I think of this season’s waiver wire all-stars, the names Max Muncy and Jesus Aguilar not only have they been godsends, but they been crucial pieces to fantasy success whether it be rostering your team into the top-tier of league rankings or selling high for pieces that will help this season and seasons to come. This week, I want to take a look at those players in this week’s edition of “That’s Amore!” 2018 Waiver Wire All-Stars.
Jesus Aguilar – Milwaukee Brewers
Arguably one of the best fantasy free-agent acquisitions, Aguilar has been dynamite for fantasy teams. Prior to 2018, Aguilar spent time in Cleveland before finding himself with the Brewers in 2017. Entering 2018, Aguilar hit a combined 16 home runs while driving in 58 runs across parts of four major league seasons. When Eric Thames went down with a torn thumb ligament, Aguilar was the player Milwaukee called on to fill the void, full-time, at first base. Aguilar wasted no time hitting a combined .381 from March-May with nine home runs and 30 RBI. The success didn’t stop as he followed up slashing .296/.359/.713 with 14 home runs and 34 RBI through June and the first week of July. Aguilar has been one of the reasons Milwaukee sees themselves atop the National League Central. Nearly undrafted in all fantasy leagues, it’s easy to see why Aguilar is one of the top Waiver Wire All-Stars of the 2018 season and one of the finalists for the final spot on the 2018 NL All-Star team. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo were off to historically slow starts. In numerous leagues I’m in, Aguilar was added by owners that roster either Goldschmidt or Rizzo and he is a main reason why these owners were able to combat their slow starts.
Max Muncy – Los Angeles Dodgers
Like Aguilar, Muncy was a player that went undrafted in nearly all fantasy leagues, but quickly made a name for himself when a spot opened up on the diamond. Receiving the callup on April 17, Muncy helped a Dodgers offense that got off to a slow start. After slashing a combined .234/.331/.499 with seven home runs and 10 RBI through mid-April-May, the super utility player has heated up slashing .298/.442/.682 with 13 home runs and 19 RBI through June and the first week of July. It’s hard to argue against Muncy taking the top Waiver Wire All-Star spot after entering the season with a combined 215 major league at-bats, and not playing a single big league game in 2017. What makes Max Muncy even more valuable to fantasy teams is his position eligibility. Many leagues see Muncy with eligibility at first base, second base, third base and the outfield. Personally, I added Muncy due to a horrific, and on-going, slump by Baltimore second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Not only has Muncy been a staple at the second base position for my fantasy teams, but it’s been great being able to platoon him at different positions. Muncy is up for the final NL All-Star spot and, regardless if he wins the final vote, Muncy will be one of the players in the 2018 Home Run Derby in Washington D.C.
Juan Soto – Washington Nationals
If you’ve listened to any of the early Major League Fantasy Sports radio shows, or read any of my articles, you’ve heard me preach about youth taking over professional sports. By youth, I’m talking about players aged 20-22. Juan Soto takes youth to another level. Like Ronald Acuna, Jr., Soto isn’t able to legally drink in the United States, but he’s taking Major League Baseball by storm. At 19, he’s the youngest player in Major League Baseball and he’s been one of the best outfield acquisitions off the waiver wire. Entering the season, if you would’ve asked me who the first Nationals outfield prospect to be called up was I would’ve immediately said Victor Robles. After a hyperextended elbow saw Robles hit the disabled list, Soto was the first prospect called up amid numerous injuries. May and June saw Soto off to a torrid start slashing .329/.429/.594 with eight home runs and 21 RBI. This was unexpected by many and, unless you’re in a dynasty league, Soto was available off the waiver wire. While he’s slowed down a bit slashing only .207/.361/.276 in the early going of July, he’s been a solid addition to redraft leagues and a find for players looking for youth to keep heading into next season.
Miles Mikolas – St. Louis Cardinals
Pitching has been one of the most frustrating positions in recent years. In one keeper league, I feature a pitching staff that includes Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard and David Price. On paper, it’s hard to argue that any team could feature a better three starters. However, at one point last season I had all three pitchers on the disabled list. Fast-forward to 2018 and I’ve seen Clayton Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard on my disabled list. I wanted to get one of the best starting pitchers added off the waiver onto this list and there’s no better option than Miles Mikolas. After spending 2012-2014 with San Diego and Texas and having little success, Mikolas found himself pitching in Japan and finally tapping into his potential going a combined 31-13 with a 2.18 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and a 3[78:69] K:BB over three seasons in NPB. Drafted in very few leagues, Mikolas started strong going 6-0 with a 2.58 ERA, and 51:7 K:BB through April and May. He’s since gone 3-3 with a 2.84 ERA and [24:10] K:BB. He sees himself tied for fifth with nine wins and — of qualified starters — only Corey Kluber (15) has less than his 17 bases on balls. He’s been a fantastic addition to fantasy staffs and. while his 6.17 K/9 is anything but eye-popping, the fact that he doesn’t walk batters has helped in the WHIP category (1.03) and he’s currently six games over .500. Mikolas comes in as St. Louis’ only All-Star and he’s easily the number one pitching Waiver Wire All-Star.
Blake Treinen – Oakland Athletics & Bud Norris – St. Louis Cardinals
It was a tossup between both closers, and I choose to leave neither off this list. Everyone has their own strategy when it comes to closers and saves, but if you’re like me you usually wait until the later rounds to start grabbing closers. If you were to tell me Treinen and Norris would approach the All-Star Break tied for fifth and tenth in saves, I probably would’ve had my objections. Both closers have done just that, and they’ve been a staple for fantasy teams that roster either, or both, closers. Treinen entered the season with an ADP of 216 and closing for an Oakland Athletics team that wasn’t expect to do much during the season. On the other hand, Norris was overshadowed by fellow free agent signee Greg Holland, but we’ve all seen how the Greg Holland experiment turned out in St. Louis. Both of their respective teams are 10 and 7.5 games out of their divisions, but it’s hard to argue against either closer as waiver-wire gems. A week before the All-Star Break, Treinen has gone 5-1 with 22 saves (24 opportunities), 0.81 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and a [54:12] K:BB. On the other end, Norris has gone 3-2 with 17 saves (19 opportunities), 2.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and a 49:6 K:BB. Both closers can still be had at very a relatively slow price compared to other closers and, if you’re in the market for saves, I’d suggest looking into both players.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday July 8th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #128 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Kyle Klinker. Kyle has been an owner in MLFS baseball, and basketball leagues for over 5 years. He also has a couple of championships under his belt over that span in some tough leagues. We loving refer to him as “The Red Rocket.”
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live June 21st, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #83 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything AFC North!
Kyle is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com going on his 5th year. He focuses primarily on baseball, but is a fantasy football fan and analyst as well.