Fantasy Baseball: Walking the Waiver Wire 7/3

Fantasy baseball waivers

The way to win at gambling is taking calculated low-risk opportunities. Only shooting for longshots is the easiest way to be a handed a shovel that you’ll use to dig yourself a hole. Navigating fantasy baseball waivers is a lot like that, too.

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. Smart gamblers have the biggest stacks of chips. Time to toss a few in the middle to nab the next big pot.

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

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

Upside Adds

Tommy Pham (OF – CIN) 56% owned

After last week’s entry, I fielded a lot of questions about Reds outfielder Nick Senzel. There is no doubt that his talent is off the charts and he is a highly desirable DFS play during his hot streak. However, Pham is the outfielder to roster in Cincinnati. The players in the Queen City are tough to decipher as there are platoons all over the field. Pham has been consistent, if not necessarily amazing in 2022. There is a double-bonus here as the Reds are expected to be busy at the trade deadline again. Plenty of Cincy players will be moved. A guy like Pham will benefit either way, as he’ll either be dealt to a contender that gives him more opportunities to cross the plate or drive in teammates, or given the everyday job in the outfield when the roster thins. For the season, Pham is slashing .257/.349/.426 (a .775 OPS for you non-mathematicians) with 11 ding-dongs, 46 runs scored, and 34 RBI. He’s added six stolen bases for good measure.

Christian Walker (1B – ARI) 47% owned

I make it a point to try to never repeat names in this article. Sometimes, though, a name bears repeating. How Walker is still available in over half of all Yahoo! fantasy leagues is completely beyond me. The 31-year-old has played 76 games entering Sunday and has put 21 baseballs over the fence. That’s a torrid pace. While Walker is only batting just over the Mendoza Line (.206), any team that can sacrifice a bit of average will get a pure power hitter who has scored 40 times and driven in 42. Never mind the fact that after the trade deadline he is a prime candidate to land on an offensively loaded team that will only continue to drive his numbers higher.

Tanner Scott (RP – MIA) 42% owned

It’s rare to be promoting a guy who just had a bad outing, but here we are. Scott blew a save on Sunday but was awarded a victory as the Marlins beat Washington in extras. His 4.06 ERA and 1.26 WHIP aren’t much to look at, but with plenty of fantasy teams chasing saves at this point of the season, he’s easily worth an add and remains available in 58 percent of leagues. The southpaw logged his first save on April 23. However, he did not have another until he took over closing duties in the month of June. Prior to today’s blown chance, Scott had three wins and eight saves in nine chances while pitching to a 2.13 ERA over 13 appearances. He’s had 21 strikeouts in just 12.2 innings of work while allowing three runs and holding opposing batters to a .156 average. He should be on a roster in all formats.

Josh Winckowski (SP – BOS) 16% owned

The 24-year-old rookie had a tough go in his first major league start on May 28, but since then has begun to heat up while staking a claim to a spot in the rotation. The righty is 3-2 in five starts, and one of those losses came on Saturday in a game where he went six innings while allowing just one earned run and punching out seven. In fact, if you remove the first start (where he likely had some jitters), he’s since amassed a 1.96 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. His strikeouts started low, but he had a career high six in his six-inning, one run loss on Saturday. The potential is there, and he’s pitching for a team whose offense has catapulted to No. 9 in runs scored per game. It all adds up for Winckowski to be a valuable addition to rosters, even with a matchup against the Yankees looming. As with all rookies, you may still want to hold him out of a few tough matchups.

Juan Yepez (1B, 3B, OF – STL) 41% owned

The Cardinals rookie has quietly started off on a great foot in St. Louis. The positional flexibility is a nice addition to most rosters and Yepez is slashing .281/.323/.515 with 10 homers, 22 runs scored and 25 RBI in just 171 at bats. The Cardinals will continue to find a place in their lineup for him, and it doesn’t matter where he is hitting. He’s most often found in the sixth slot, but in an offense that potent (fourth in the majors in runs/game), he’ll get plenty of opportunities. There are not enough people talking about his impressive first-year campaign, and he is certainly under-rostered in fantasy leagues.

License to IL

Dustin May (SP – LAD, 27%) is progressing well in his post Tommy John surgery rehab. He’s nearly set to hit the minors for some tune-ups. The Dodgers have been linked to several starters in the trade rumor mill, but if reports of May hitting triple-digits on the radar gun are true, they might be able to stand pat. If you’ve got a spot to stash him in, you could be rewarded before the end of July.

In Oakland, the closer role still very much belongs to Dany Jimenez (33%), as the combination of Lou Trivino, Zach Jackson and A.J. Puk have not taken advantage of his absence. Jimenez does not get a ton of save chances with the Athletics, but if you’re desperate, he’s likely available. He could be moved at the deadline, which would actually hurt his value as he’d likely find himself in a setup role for a different team.

There are quite a few guys returning shortly, but most are likely spoken for in most leagues. Nevertheless, it’s worth checking for names like Seiya Suzuki, Tyler Stephenson, Tyler O’Neill, and Chris Sale. These guys will all be back soon and are rostered in under 90 percent of leagues. Of course, the Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer type guys will definitely be unavailable. Regardless, do your due diligence because nothing hurts more than seeing an opponent add a guy you did not know what available.

Toss ’em O

You can stop monitoring Stephen Strasburg, Jack Flaherty, Andrew Heaney, and those types. Once one setback hits, it’s almost a slam dunk that guy is not going to be right even if he makes a return this season.

Best of luck with all your claims. Here’s hoping you get all the guys you want and continue building depth and upside to lineups.

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Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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