A little bit of a lighter schedule yesterday, so today we’ll do a combo two-start pitcher/waiver wire look in addition to covering the action on the field.
As always, waiver wire ownership data comes from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship.
Want to subscribe and get this news by 8 am Eastern every day, and earlier most weekdays? Shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Subscribe to FB Now” in the subject line.
- We pointed out the improvement in SP Zack Greinke’s four-seam fastball last time out, and that continued yesterday in Miami, where he shutout the Marlins for seven innings, allowing just seven singles and striking out six. Greinke got 13 called strikes on his four-seamer, which he threw 39 times, and it wasn’t hit well in the seven times the Marlins put it in play, with the non-outs being a pop-up that fell in behind shortstop, a fielding error at second base, and a fly ball single to right field.
- Two-start pitchers: This is an intriguing week for SP Anibal Sanchez and SP Sean Newcomb, who each draw two road starts at the Yankees and Brewers. For Sanchez, you can’t start him – there’s too much risk of a blow-up against two of the top 10 lineups against righties. Newcomb draws two ends of the stick in terms of lineups against lefties – the Yankees have an .813 OPS, good for second in the league (Atlanta is first at .815) and Milwaukee is .678, 25th in the majors. He’s been good on the road, with a 2.49 ERA in 50 2/3 innings, and his strikeout totals are strong (90 in 93 innings), so we’d say take the risk in 12-team mixed leagues and larger.
- 1B Chris Davis Watch: He homered again!!! That’s two games in a row and three in seven games since returning from his exile.
Boston Red Sox
- Two-start pitcher: SP Rick Porcello has been uneven over his last three starts, and he draws SP Max Scherzer in DC on Monday, but the Nationals’ lineup has been so bad recently that we think the risk is limited, and the second start at Kansas City is too good to pass up. Start Porcello everywhere, with confidence.
- Waiver wire: At this point, SP Mike Montgomery (80% owned) is not going to be available much longer after yesterday’s news that SP Yu Darvish’s bullpen session did not go well and that he’s headed back to Chicago for further evaluation. Montgomery needs to be owned in all leagues.
Chicago White Sox
- SP Lucas Giolito was good on paper yesterday, allowing only a run on four hits and four walks over 6 1/3 innings, but he struck out only three and had just four swinging strikes out of 104 pitches. This was a luck-driven successful outing, don’t take anything from it.
- Waiver wire: With the offense improving rapidly, OF Jesse Winker (25% owned) has been able to capitalize on boosting his counting stats to align with his solid plate approach. He has 17 RBIs over the last 30 days, and we’ve said multiple times in the last month that he’s a worthy speculation for a power breakout.
- Waiver wire: This is probably your last chance to add SP Shane Bieber (67% owned) if he’s still available in your league. We’d recommend it. 2B Jason Kipnis (76% owned) has continued to hit over the last week and has had a very good last month or so.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Kyle Freeland will get an intriguing set of matchups next week – the Giants and SP Madison Bumgarner at home in Coors Field on Monday, and the Mariners and SP Wade LeBlanc in Seattle on Sunday. The Mariners are ninth in the majors in OPS against lefties (.759), the Giants are 16th (.711) but missing a key righty bat in 3B Evan Longoria. Freeland has been good enough at home for us to say he’s worth starting in 15-team leagues and should be weighed against good one-start options in 12-team leagues.
- OF Leonys Martin got a day off yesterday, allowing 3B Jeimer Candelario to move up to the leadoff spot, where he went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
- C/1B John Hicks hit cleanup yesterday and went 2-for-3 with a walk.
- SS Carlos Correa sat out a third straight game yesterday with back stiffness, and before that game was over he was placed on the disabled list. This is really starting to become a trend that we’d encourage looking out for – guys sit out two games, and that third game is like a pivot to decide whether a team just bites the bullet and puts them on the disabled list since they’ve already missed 30 percent (or sometimes 40 percent if there’s a day off) of the requisite time needed on the DL. Correa should be back next weekend when he’s eligible.
Kansas City Royals
- Waiver wire: RP Wily Peralta (0% owned) has converted two save opportunities this week, including one in cleanup for his most readily apparent alternative at closer, RP Tim Hill. If you need saves in a deep league, we’d add Peralta immediately.
- OF Jorge Bonifacio returned from his 80-game PED suspension and should be an everyday starter in a corner outfield spot moving forward.
Los Angeles Angels
- Two-start pitcher: SP Andrew Heaney has been giving up a lot of home runs over the past month (seven in four starts and 21 1/3 innings), so there is some level of danger in starting him next week at Seattle and home for the Dodgers. Both teams are in the upper half of the league against lefties in OPS, and Heaney’s strikeout numbers don’t create a ton of upside.
- SP/DH Shohei Ohtani has been cleared to at least become DH Shohei Ohtani on the major league roster in the near future, as an MRI yesterday showed enough healing in his elbow to begin hitting progression in his rehab.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Waiver wire: 2B/SS/OF Enrique “Kike” Hernandez (21% owned) is playing a lot recently – in the past 14 days, he’s picked up 42 at-bats, hitting .310 with five homers, eight RBI, and 10 runs scored, plus a stolen base. His position flexibility and the Dodgers’ willingness to find him starts makes him valuable in deeper mixed leagues.
- SP Trevor Richards only lasted four innings yesterday, continuing his “good start, bad start” trend after a solid outing in Colorado on Saturday. He gave up six hits, two walks, and three runs, striking out three. He gets the Rays next at home on Wednesday and closes out the first half with a two-start week starting July 9 at home against Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
- Two-start pitchers: SPs Brent Suter and Junior Guerra get two home starts next week against the Twins and Braves. Suter’s home run issues haven’t been as bad as May, when he gave up two homers per start in four of his five starts, but the Braves are a very dangerous matchup for him. We’d sit him in all but 15-team mixed and NL-only leagues. Guerra hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last eight starts, and while the strikeout numbers aren’t blow away, we’d say he’s worth consideration to stream in 12-team mixed leagues.
- It was an odd outing yesterday for RP Fernando Rodney to blow his first save in over a month and only his fourth this year. He retired the first two batters in the ninth innings, but then lost his command, walking two, hitting a batter, and allowing a single. It combined to turn a 1-0 game in to a 1-1 game.
New York Mets
- Waiver wire: With trade rumors abound about the rotation, SP Zack Wheeler (53% owned) is not getting enough love for the safety of his rotation spot and performance over the last month – six starts, 38 2/3 innings, 3.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 33 strikeouts.
New York Yankees
- Waiver wire: RP Dellin Betances (31% owned) hasn’t allowed a run in more than a month and has struck out 24 batters in his last 13 innings. RP Aroldis Chapman has been hurt before, and if that happens again, we like Betances to get the role. He should be rostered in all deep mixed leagues.
- C Jonathan Lucroy went 0-for-4 yesterday. We were holding out hope for a power spike from Lucroy beginning some point this month, but it hasn’t come yet, as he has just one double and a triple in 70 plate appearances in June. He’s still stuck on one home run for the season and is a borderline top-20 catcher in mixed leagues at this point based solely on his .261 average. If you’re trying to claw your way up the standings in the second half, you’d be better served taking a risk on a buy-low option like C Robinson Chirinos or C Mike Zunino. They may continue to be awful, but they also have a high-
- Waiver wire: Not only has SP Zach Eflin (82% owned) been dominant over the last six starts (34 2/3 innings, 33 strikeouts, 2.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, five wins), his last three starts before the All-Star Break lineup as: home for Baltimore, at the Mets, at Miami. Those are three terrific matchups based on opponent and/or ballpark.
- Two-start pitcher/Waiver wire: The spot that would get two starts next week is open, but if SP Nick Kingham (4% owned) gets the call, we’d skip him for mixed leagues in a tough week at the Dodgers and home for the Phillies.
San Diego Padres
- Two-start pitcher/Waiver wire: SP Clayton Richard is 46% owned and is our favorite streaming option for next week, with road starts lined up at friendly ballparks for flyball pitchers – Oakland and Arizona. Richard has been good for 6-7 innings and, usually, 1-3 runs allowed in most of his starts. We expect that to continue next week – his last start before the All-Star Break should come at home on 7/13 vs the Cubs.
San Francisco Giants
- RP Sam Dyson has seemingly already reached the end of the line as the Giants’ closer, entering yesterday’s game with an 8-7 lead in the ninth and giving up a mammoth homer to Rockies’ 2B DJ LeMahieu that served as the game-winner in a 9-8 final for the Rox. RP Tony Watson was warming up in the bottom of the ninth as the Giants tried to rally, and manager Bruce Bochy said after that game that Watson is “in the mix” for saves and when talking about both guys plus RP Mark Melancon, said that “if we need them in the ninth, we’ll use them.”
- DH Nelson Cruz’s back seemed fine in his return to the lineup yesterday – three hits, including a two-run homer, and three RBI overall.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Waiver wire: OF Dexter Fowler isn’t getting any better, and OF Harrison Bader (12% owned) has a path to playing time not only through Fowler, but struggles from OF Tommy Pham. Bader could be a good volume play with average production across the board in the second half.
Tampa Bay Rays
- OF Mallex Smith is in a rough stretch at the plate, with just three hits in his last 27 at-bats, but he has picked up the pace on the bases despite those struggles at the dish. He stole his 15th base of the year last night after walking in the ninth inning for his only time on base. He has three stolen bases in his last six starts.
- Waiver wire: SP Mike Minor (16% owned) isn’t a big source of strikeouts, but he has shown a ton of improvement on his main pitch, his four-seam fastball, over the last four starts. He’s got a varied enough set of secondary offerings to take a step forward if he can prevent teams from teeing off on that fastball. There are some rough matchups coming up before the All-Star Break with Houston and Boston, but there’s value if you can stream him.
Toronto Blue Jays
- News to watch today: SP Aaron Sanchez came out of a Wednesday catch session with no issues, so if he gets through a bullpen session today, he’ll be set to return from his finger injury on Monday against Detroit, lining him up for a two-start week.
- More lineup shuffling last night as the Nats’ offense looks to wake up – OF Adam Eaton didn’t start, so OF Bryce Harper led off (and struck out three times), OF Juan Soto hit third, SS Trea Turner hit fifth, and, for the first time since returning, 2B Daniel Murphy hit cleanup. Turner had the best night of anyone, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.