We’re back with the remaining 13 teams who required waiver wire/two-start pitcher outlooks for the week, as well as insight from last night’s full slate of games.
As always, waiver wire ownership data comes from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship.
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- Waiver wire: RP Yoshi Hirano (9% owned) has allowed runs in only three out of the 14 weeks so far this season – one each in weeks two and three and three in week six. He’s a smart pickup if you’re hoping to get lucky with a closer situation that is volatile due to both health and performance, as RP Brad Boxberger isn’t a lock in either area.
- SP Julio Teheran’s velocity was down to his pre-injury stint levels last night, with his four-seam fastball averaging 90 mph after two games at 91.4 mph. But he had a terrific night against the Cardinals, shutting them out for six innings an allowing just two walks, a single, and a double, striking out four. We have no idea how to use Teheran on a start-to-start basis, because his best skill is innings volume and playing with a good offense that should give him win opportunities.
- Waiver wire: There are spots where 1B Chris Davis (12% owned) may fit on your roster in shallow mixed leagues. We’re proponents of the idea that if you’re in the middle of the pack in your league at this, the halfway point of the season, you need to attack your weak points hard and with risk in order to have a shot at breaking through in the second half. Let’s say that Davis has 100 possible outcomes for the rest of his season – 98 of them are bad, but two of them involve him hitting 20+ homers and batting a respectable number like .240 or .250. If you’re lagging big in power, why not take the shot on Davis? You’re not going to find many guys on waivers who have seasons of 38 and 47 homers in their record in the last three years.
Boston Red Sox
- 1B/OF Steve Pearce was acquired from Toronto on Thursday and got an opportunity right away, starting at first base on Friday and batting cleanup. He went 2-for-4 with a double and a single. This was against lefty SP CC Sabathia, and Pearce’s most obvious fit is as a platoon partner for 1B Mitch Moreland. This does hurt Moreland a little, as he had been getting starts against lefties, so if you were starting him without looking at weekly matchups, you want to start doing that to count the number of lefties Boston will face each week. Pearce is an AL-only play.
- The top of the Cubs’ lineup last night included three of our favorite under-the-radar hitters in the league, which regular readers of the newsletter have heard all about this year, and they all had big nights. OF Albert Almora Jr. led off and went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored; OF Jason Heyward went 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBI, and three runs scored; and 2B/OF Ben Zobrist went 1-for-3 with a homer, two RBI, two runs scored, and a walk.
Chicago White Sox
- Two-start pitcher: SPs James Shields and Lucas Giolito each get two starts road next week against the Reds and Astros. Even though both are coming off good outings this week, we can’t recommend either beyond AL-only leagues, though Shields’ risk level in these hitter-friendly parks has dropped a little in our eyes since he’s gone three straight starts with equal or more ground balls than fly balls.
- 1B Joey Votto went 1-for-3 with a single last night – other than a five-game stretch in the middle of June where he hit two home runs, Votto hasn’t homered since May 13.
- SP Trevor Bauer took a hard-luck loss, his sixth of the season, last night, holding the A’s to six hits, a walk, and two runs over 6 2/3 innings while striking out eight.
- 2B/3B Jose Ramirez stole his seventh base of the month last night, matching his total from the first two months of the season combined. He’s on pace for a 47-homer/28-steal season, which would place him squarely in the discussion as a top-5 pick in 2019 fantasy drafts.
- SP Tyler Anderson was dominant in Los Angeles last night, shutting out the Dodgers for eight innings, striking out eight and allowing only four singles and a walk. Anderson has a 3.48 ERA on the road compared to 5.26 at home. His final two starts before the All-Star Break are both lineup up at home against San Francisco and Arizona.
- RP Wade Davis allowed a solo home run last night, but with a three-run lead he still converted his 23rd save of the season.
- Two-start pitchers: SP Michael Fulmer is a must-start in all formats, despite a difficult road start at the Cubs. He gets a good second start at home against Texas and is generally not a risk for a blowup. It’s a different story for SP Mike Fiers, who gets the Blue Jays on the road on Monday and the Rangers at home on Saturday. The Jays are a top-10 offense in OPS against righties and are sixth in the majors in OPS at home. Fiers gives up a ton of fly balls, making that a big risk for a home-run fueled disaster, even though he’s allowed one run in three of his last six starts. We’d sit him in all mixed formats unless you need volume and can afford the risk on your ratios.
- Waiver wire: RP Hector Rondon (91% owned) should be 100% owned because of his performance level and his high probability of getting the bulk of the saves in July. After that, it is up in the air, as the Astros are likely to make a move for a bullpen piece before the trade deadline.
- With OF George Springer slumping over the past week or so, he sat last night, but did enter in the ninth inning as a pinch runner.
Kansas City Royals
- OF Jorge Bonifacio got his first start of the season in left field last night, batting fifth. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Los Angeles Angels
- OF Kole Calhoun was moved up to the leadoff spot last night, bumping 2B Ian Kinsler down to the seven-hole in the order. Calhoun has been better in June (.281, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 6 runs scored in 36 plate appearances), so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on if he’s given more shots at the top of the lineup.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- SP Rich Hill was very sharp in terms of command last night, striking out 10 Rockies in 6 2/3 innings, but taking the loss after allowing just a solo homer, plus a double and four singles. Hill’s velocity on his four-seam/curveball combo (they made up 109 of his 110 pitches) was above average for him, and he’s shown improved stuff in each of his three outings since returning from the disabled list.
- Waiver wire: 3B/OF Derek Dietrich (75% owned) has hit .368 with six homers, 16 runs scored, and 12 RBI over the last month. He’s been used in more than just a platoon role after sitting versus most lefties earlier in the season.
- OF Keon Broxton has proven his fantasy value as a rare power/speed asset before, and with playing time available due to OF Lorenzo Cain’s injury, he took advantage last night with a huge game, hitting two home runs and a single, driving in four, scoring three times, and stealing a base.
- Two-start pitchers: SPs Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi draw a tough road start against a Brewers team that is in the top half of the league in OPS against righties and at home, but OF Lorenzo Cain is out and there’s no DH. That is good enough for us to recommend us using both guys in all formats, as the second start comes at home against Baltimore, the 27th ranked team in the majors in OPS against righties (.674).
- 1B Joe Mauer went 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI out of the leadoff spot yesterday, pulling out of a recent slump that coincided with his return from a neck injury.
New York Mets
- 3B/OF Jose Bautista went 2-for-4 last night with a walk, a double, and a run scored. He’s been good enough recently to wonder how the Mets will approach his playing time when OF Yoenis Cespedes returns from his hip injury. Bautista has multi-hit games in three of his last seven starts, with nine hits total over that time, including six for extra bases.
New York Yankees
- 1B Greg Bird’s starting job doesn’t seem entirely safe, if you read the New York papers, but he had a big night last night hitting out of the seven hole, with two solo home runs. Bird’s underlying contact and power metrics make it look very possible that a big power stretch is in his future, so don’t give up on him until the Yankees start taking away his playing time.
- Waiver wire: SP Chris Bassitt (1% owned) has been very good in his four starts over the last month, striking out 18 in 22 1/3 innings with a 2.82 ERA and 1.16 week. On Tuesday, he gets his one start of the week at home against San Diego, a perfect matchup of a bad team in a pitcher-friendly park. Bassitt gets two starts in the last week before the All-Star Break, both on the road against Houston and San Francisco.
- SP Nick Pivetta made a bunch of mistakes early with his four-seam fastball yesterday, and he had the misfortune of facing a lineup due for a big game, as the Nationals pounded him for seven hits, including three home runs, for seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. We pointed out after his June 18 start the Pivetta had ditched his slider in favor of a curveball to serve as the main support pitch for his fastball. This start makes us wonder if teams now have the book on Pivetta’s curveball and are going to wait out his fastball, which hasn’t been a positive value pitch for him in his last seven starts.
- 1B Josh Bell went 2-for-5 last night with a double, two runs scored, and an RBI. His power hasn’t come through in June, with a .360 slugging percentage after being at .484 in May, but he’s cut down on his strikeout rate from April to May and May to June, so we believe there’s potential profit with Bell in the second half, especially as he continues to narrow the gap in his splits as a switch-hitter.
San Diego Padres
- 1B/OF Wil Myers stole his first base since returning from his oblique injury, a positive sign in a solid night where he went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
San Francisco Giants
- Waiver wire: SP Dereck Rodriguez (8% owned) avoids a start in the three-game series at Colorado next week, instead drawing the Cardinals at home, and with his 24 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings this month, that’s a pretty good matchup with St. Louis ranking in the top half of the majors in highest strikeout percentage against righty pitchers (23.1%).
- RP Will Smith was brought in with the Giants up 2-1 in the ninth inning last night, and he earned his first save of the year by striking out two batters and getting the last out via fly ball. This looks to officially be a closer by committee in San Fran.
- Waiver wire/Two-start pitcher: SP Wade LeBlanc (18% owned) is a smart add in deep leagues for two starts next week, staying home to face the Angels and Rockies. LeBlanc has 33 strikeouts, a 2.68 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 37 innings at home this year, and both teams are exactly league average against lefties, ranking 15th and 16th in FanGraphs’ weighted Runs Created Plus statistic, which accounts for park factors, an important item when weighing the Rockies. We like LeBlanc a lot next week relative to his high availability.
- SP Marco Gonzales pitched his first career complete game last night, limiting the Royals to a single run in the ninth inning and striking out seven with no walks.
St. Louis Cardinals
- RP Greg Holland has now put together five scoreless appearances since returning from the disabled list on June 19. After striking out two of the three batters he faced yesterday, he now has seven strikeouts in those five appearances against a total of 16 batters faced, with no walks and only two hits allowed.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Waiver wire/Two-start pitcher: SP Nate Eovaldi (48% owned) gets dual honors this week, as he’s been solid this month with 30 strikeouts and a 0.82 WHIP in 35 1/3 innings, and he draws two pitcher-friendly park road starts next week against weak lineups in Miami and the Mets. Eovaldi is our favorite two-start streamer that is relevant in all formats next week.
- The pitching and injury luck for the Rays has been incredibly awful this season – after emerging as a viable-enough option to move from bullpen “opener” to full-fledged starting rotation member, SP Wilmer Font left last night’s game after five innings with a lat strain that will likely cost him significant time. He had limited the Astros to a hit and two walks prior to that, with three strikeouts. He was charged with an earned run after RP Diego Castillo allowed a two-run homer that included a man on base from Font.
- OF Nomar Mazara looked fine yesterday after having some hamstring tightness issues earlier in the week – he went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, three RBI, and two runs scored.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Waiver wire: With 1B/OF Steve Pearce off to Boston, OF Randal Grichuk (84% owned) should be owned in all leagues now, as he’s going to play every day for the rest of the year and his power has shown up in June, with four homers in the last two weeks.
- SP Aaron Sanchez won’t be ready to rejoin the rotation on Monday, lining up SP Ryan Borucki for a potential two-start week next week.
- Waiver wire: SP Jeremy Hellickson (35% owned) will be back today at the Phillies, and he was very good in his eight starts before getting hurt, allowing three runs just once and pitching to a .92 WHIP in 43 1/3 innings, with 34 strikeouts and six walks.
- OF Juan Soto’s ascendence to superstardom continued yesterday with another two-homer game, giving him eight home runs on the season. He tacked on two singles, drove in five, and scored three times. He’s now hitting .336 with a 1.067 OPS on the season.