Welcome to a new series starting this week focused on wavier wire pickups. I will split it up into three parts. The first will be if they are owned in less than 50% of leagues. The second is if they are owned below 25% of leagues and I will round out each article with the hottest hitters under 50% owned. Not everyone plays on the same platform, so there could be some differences in ownership percentage. Also of course people play in different types and depths of leagues, therefore some of these guys may already be owned. If not, hopefully you can grab them before your league mates catch on to how well these guys are doing.
Scooter Gennett- 2B (CIN)
Scooter is on this list thanks to an injury. He suffered from a right groin strain that kept him out of playing until late last week. Second base is one of the deeper positions, but the past two years he has finished the year with over 20 HR while batting over .300. If you need a second half big pickup it could be Gennett especially if he can get hot.
Bryan Reynolds- OF (PIT)
Bryan has quietly been very solid for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The outfielder will obviously not blow you away with power, but can be a constant source of BA. In a time where strikeouts are king and batting averages are lower, Bryan can be the one to even out your daily or weekly averages. He should be getting consistent play time for the rest of the season as Gregory Polanco is injured. Even when he comes back it is expected for the Pirates to sell assets. If they were to sell outfielders I would not expect Bryan to be on that list will it being his rookie year and all the years of control the teams would have. Long term I do not think Reynolds will become a top outfield option, but can be a good OF5 or bench OF.
Oscar Mercado- OF (CLE)
If Mercado is available in your league I would definitely consider picking him up. In a year with lots of injuries and under performing players Mercado has been taking advantage of his opportunity. This outfielder is playing in a weak and beat up Cleveland outfield, and has done well to earn consistent at bats the rest of the season. Long term, he will hold value in dynasty leagues where he can be your OF4 or 5 in a lineup that will hopefully be better sooner than later. In the minors he has shown the ability to steal as the past 4 seasons he’s stolen at least 30 bases. Hopefully Mercado can start stealing more the second half of the season and increase his value even more.
Keston Hiura- 2B (MIL)
If there is one guy in this article to grab it’s Hiura. The Brewers top prospect came up earlier this year and was sent down even though he was hitting great. Well Travis Shaw still has not got it going, therefore Hiura is back up and I think that he is here to stay. He’s someone with a great hit tool and good power and come 2020 he will be drafted in most/all leagues.
Cavan Biggio- 2B (TOR)
The “other” Blue Jays prospect is not getting nearly the same hype as Vlad Jr, as he shouldn’t, but Cavan has been surprisingly useful to the big league sqaud and seemed to have earned an extended stay with the big league club. How well has he been this year, better than Vlad Jr? Don’t take my word for it, look at their season stats coming into Tuesday:
When you compare the stats, Vlad is still better in most categories, but it’s closer than most people would think. Long term I think Vlad grows into the superstar that we all saw in the minors and think he will be. Cavan long term can be a very useful player in fantasy and in real life, but I do not see him as a superstar player, but more of a second tier player in terms of stars. As of right now though, Cavan is nearly hitting .300 with some power and speed over the past two weeks. If you cannot get Scooter I would see if Cavan is available.
Danny Santana- OF, 2B (TEX)
I feel like the Rangers always have streaky hitters, and some of those hitters are sneaky fast outfielders. Right now Danny Santana is that streaky hitter. His overall counting stats are pretty good and you would think that he would be owned more if he weren’t such a streaky hitter. Long term the 27% strikeout rate is too high and I would not expect the pace or counting stats to keep up. Except for time in AAA with the Braves, Santana has not hit double digit home runs in a season. This is a squeeze the orange type player: add him while he’s hot, but be prepared to drop him once he starts to cool off. Unfortunately he may have started to cool off as over the past two weeks he hit .286 AVG and over the past week he has hit below .150 AVG.
Willy Adames- SS (TB)
Depending on your league host site, Adames may also have eligibility at 2B which can also help his value. Adames right now is only 23 years old, so those in keeper/dynasty leagues where he is available may want to give Adames a look. The stats from last year to this year have been very similar except for the average. Overall the average is lower, though over the past two weeks he’s been hitting .275. If you are in a redraft league, Adames at this point is an IL replacement. In a keeper league, he has the potential to be a back end keeper and the same in dynasty leagues.
Chris Taylor- SS, 2B, OF (LAD)
Jason Heyward- OF (CHC)
Dom Smith- 1B, OF (NYM)
Kevin Newman- SS, 2B (PIT)
I put the players in order of interest for me to add to teams. Chris Taylor should play near every day and it was just two years ago where he had a breakout season. Jason Heyward has quietly had a good season in the first half and he has been one of the better Cubs hitters as of late. We may never see the superstar Heyward season again, but he can be rostered on your fantasy team if you need an outfielder. Dom Smith could be put above Heyward, though I’m not sure the playing time will constantly be there. The power bat has been hot as of late, but right now I’m a little skeptical. Newman is the low man on this list, but he has been a hot player. There are a lot of middle infielders that are hitting well right now, and the Pirates offense has not been great. Right now he has 5HR and 5SB, though I don’t see the power continuing for Newman. He has never hit more than 5HR in a season. I see more of a bat with average and some speed, but not too much less.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr., Cole Freel live on Sunday July 7th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #168 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Our guest this week are Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com and his articles publish every Sunday. He focuses on spot starters for the coming week in each article.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #167, 6/23/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #169, 8/4/2019 Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone
@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.