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Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire 7/10

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Welcome to a late edition of the Waiver Wire. Your guide did not expect this tightrope to be strung up so far after Sunday evening, but better late than never, right? Let’s call it a midnight special, and hope it shines a light on us. With most leagues adapting to rolling waivers, I think all is good in the fantasy baseball waiver world.

The aim of “Walking the Waiver Wire” is to provide players with upside in any league. Shallow league managers may get little more than depth and injury fill-ins. Deep leagues may find that certain players are unavailable entirely. With that said, there is potential for everyone to add quality to their rosters. We’re having one hell of a season with our recommendations and aim to keep it that way. I do not generally repeat players, so you’ll have to go to the archives (link below) for that. With the All-Star break looming, it’s time to really get down to the business of improving our rosters for the stretch run. Use the bat to slap some dirt off of your cleats and dig in.

You can find previous editions of Walking the Waiver Wire right here. Be sure to follow all of our baseball content here.

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***All availability percentages are from Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.***

Upside Adds

Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI) 52% owned

Kelly’s shine has fallen off a bit in 2022, even though his WAR sits nicely at 1.7. This is high time to buy into the righthander from Houston. He is on a bad Arizona team, but could very well be traded after the All-Star break. If he had a decent offense backing him (the Diamondbacks are 19th in runs scored/game), his record would be better than 7-5. Available in 48 percent of leagues, Kelly should be rostered in most deep formats and isn’t currently. The 3.42 earned run average ain’t to shabby. though the 1.23 WHIP could use some help. Kelly needs to cut down on his walks, but if he ends up on a contender he could be a fantasy league-winner. Those that drafted and then eventually dropped him could be sorry in short order.

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Nolan Jones (3B – CLE) 11% owned

There is no reason to run wild because of Jones’ mammoth home run (his first in the big leagues). However, he’s an exciting add in deep leagues thanks to his sheer potential. Cleveland is in the midst of arguably the most competitive 2022 division in baseball. As of now, it appears they are ready to put the rookie on the field as often as possible. He’ll likely play more outfield than anything, but the third base eligibility is a nice touch for those fantasy managers looking for a fill-in. In the minors last season, Jones had 13 homers, 25 doubles, and swiped 10 bags in 99 games. The potential is there.

Nick Lodolo (SP – CIN) 33% owned

The La Verne, CA native was drafted not once but twice in the first round of 2016 and 2019. Lodolo was highly regarded to be an ace for the Cincinnati Reds before hitting the IL with a strained back kept him out nearly 80 days, Well, in his return he went step-for-step with Max Scherzer in a win for the Reds. To come back against one of the best aces in the game and a potent New York offense to boot, the stage was set. Thanks to not having started since April 24, he was pulled just before the fifth inning. However, the 6’6″, 205-pounder still sat down eight Mets via strikeout in 4.2 innings. The future is bright for the highly-touted pitcher, and he should continue to help fantasy managers in 2022. A date with the Cardinals is daunting, but numerous showdowns with the Cubs and Pirates make him a fascinating add in all formats.

Christopher Morel (2B, 3B, OF – CHC) 67% owned

Deep league managers likely don’t have a chance at Morel, but he is criminally under rostered across most formats. As you know, I try to keep this column to players that are owned in 50 percent or less of leagues. Sometimes, though, there are names that cannot be denied. The Cubs’ rookie fits the bill and could be an invaluable bench bat in most formats. A 67 percent ownership means that many deep leagues will not have him available, but it is worth a try. I’d even consider a low-octane trade to acquire him in those leagues, as he should flourish down the stretch. Morel has played in just 50 games. During that time, the rookie has slashed .266/.333/.482 (good for an .816 OPS, for you math geniuses). He has nine dingers and seven stolen bases in limited playing time. In 50 games and 199 at bats, 22 of his 53 hits have gone for extra bases. Torrid.

Anthony Santander (OF – BAL) 40% owned

The fact that a 15 homer, 43 RBI guy is available in 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues is beyond me. I have thought about adding Santander to this column numerous times, but feared my evaluation was incorrect. Spoiler alert: It’s not. He’s not flashy, but a .329 OBP and a consistent baserunner are pluses. He’s the guy you don’t want to go to prom with, but keep him over on the bench in case you need a backup. In all seriousness, though, just because you think of the Orioles as crummy does not mean they all are. Heck, Baltimore has won eight straight and are knocking on the door of .500. Santander has been there every step of the way. Outfields are crowded on most fantasy leagues, but this is a worthwhile bench bat to employ.

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But What About Senzel?

I hear you, baby birds, and I’ll feed you the knowledge. Nick Senzel (29% owned) is on an absolute tear right now and is a DFS darling thanks to a hot stick and low cost. It’s hard to roster Cincy players, though. A team in transition and a finicky manager makes for platoons galore. Even on a hot streak, Senzel is competing with no less than five other outfielders for playing time, and that’s not even considering the return of Jake Fraley. Even further, when rosters expand late in the season he’ll have guys like Aristides Aquino coming around as well. I’ve received so many questions about Senzel in the last few weeks. Here’s how I see it: If you have the roster to ride a hot bat for a stretch, go forth. He is not a long term option, though.

Closing Time

There have not been many developments at the back end of pitching staffs of late. Many shakeups will occur around the August 2 trade deadline and it is never too early to speculate. Sadly, most deals will involve teams not competing this season, so the boon for most fantasy managers should be low.

There are a few names to consider in the present, however. With Joe Barlow seemingly having lost the closing gig in Texas, Brett Martin (7%) seems to be the favorite for opportunities for the Rangers. Barlow could eventually reclaim the role, but for people chasing saves with a roster spot available, Martin looks the part. The 27-year-old southpaw has notched back-to-back saves and carries a 3.00 ERA and 22 Ks in 27 innings.

In South Beach, Tanner Scott (50%, who I listed last week) is trying to put a leash on the closer role. He is 12-for-15 in save chances and appears to be the man in Miami.

Rafael Montero (33%) is worth a speculative add for those with a roster slot. He is probably worth a look for owners of Ryan Pressly, too, as a handcuff. Pressly has done his job fine, but Montero is clearly the more dynamic pitcher. He has six saves to Pressly’s 18, but dwarfs the Astros’ closer in ERA, WHIP, and has 38 strikeouts in 33.2 innings pitched. If your league counts holds, go get him. He’ll help in that category but could also take over the shutdown role with a Pressly misstep.

Best of luck with all of your waiver claims. Hope you get the guys you want.


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