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Week 21 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Bogaerts, Gray, Ross

Red Sox IF Xander Bogaerts
Red Sox IF Xander Bogaerts

Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; World infielder Xander Bogaerts (2) attempts to steal second base during the first inning of the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Anytime we see a top prospect hit the waiver wire, fantasy owners go nuts. In the case of Xander Bogaerts, the hype might be justified. A power-hitting shortstop is difficult to find in any league and stumbling across one who can also bat for a good average this late in the season is a huge break. Let’s take a look at what fantasy owners may be able to expect from the 20-year-old infielder and some other great targets to claim on the ole’ waiver wire this week.

Xander Bogaerts (Owned in 18% of Yahoo Leagues): There have been many exciting prospects to crack the Bigs this year with varying levels of success. Now, the focus turns to Baseball America’s eighth top prospect Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts has had an impressive season split between Double-A and Triple-A, putting up a .297/.388/.477 line with 15 HR, 44 XBH, 67 RBI, 72 R, and seven steals over 116 games. Last season, the 20-year-old infielder put up a .307/.373/.523 line with 20 HR, 81 RBI, 60 XBH, and 71 R while splitting the season between High-A and Double-A.

It’s unclear exactly how the Red Sox will use their young shortstop but I doubt they would call him up to sit him on the bench. Bogaerts has very similar numbers against righties and lefties which means he will likely platoon with Stephen Drew at short and play against lefties and possibly platoon with Will Middlebrooks at third and bat against righties. Only time will tell how much playing time he’ll garner but the Red Sox made Jose Iglesias a viable fantasy commodity in a similar role earlier this year and Bogaerts’ bat is far, far better.

Sonny Gray (23%): After I’ve harped about him all season, Gray has finally become a regular in the A’s rotation and is paying off for anyone that invested in him early. In two games since moving from the bullpen to the rotation, Gray has surrendered just two earned runs and 16 base runners over 14 innings while striking out 14 batters. The top prospect had a solid 3.42 ERA and 9.0 K/9 in 118 Triple-A innings this season before being called up.

Tyson Ross (33%): Ross has been one of the most impressive players of the second half and has looked like the best starter the Padres have had in a while. In five starts since moving to the rotation, Ross has posted a ludicrous 1.32 ERA and .149 BAA along with 36 K/10 BB. He’ll surely come back down to earth at some point but he’s a must-own until he does.

Zack Wheeler (41%): For all the concerns about his control, Wheeler has had a very solid rookie campaign and continues to improve every time out. Over his last eight starts, Wheeler is 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA and 44 K/19 BB. His last start was his best yet as he held the Padres to one run and one walk over six innings while striking out 12 batters. In his previous start, Wheeler held the DBacks to one run over 6.1 IP while striking out four and not walking a single batter. He’s worthy of a roster spot now and will be a must-own going into next season.

Jedd Gyorko (32%): Rookies tend to be streaky and inconsistent and Gyorko has fit that mold this season. Over his first 58 games of the season, Gyorko owned a promising .288/.347/.468 line with eight home runs, 25 RBI, 35 R, and 24 XBH. He got hurt in the beginning of June and struggled after coming back in mid-July, batting just .111 with two homers, six RBI, and 22 SO/2 BB over the next 19 games. He seems to have recaptured his early-season fire of late, putting up an impressive .345/.345/.759 line with three home runs, five runs batted in, three doubles, and four runs over his last eight games. While we’d like to see him walk more, Gyorko is finding his stroke once again and could be a big help to your fantasy team’s playoff chances.

Emilio Bonifacio (15%): Bonifacio struggled mightily in Toronto and was sent to the Royals in a freebie trade last week. The Royals are a very interesting team this season with a lot going for them in the second half. We’ve already seen Justin Maxwell go from mediocrity in Houston to a promising outfielder with a .406/.472/.813 line with three home runs, seven RBI, and eight runs over his first 14 games in Kansas City. Bonifacio seems to have found a similar spark, hitting three doubles and stealing four bases in his first five games with the Royals. While his .263 average leaves much to be desired, he should be a great source of steals for any fantasy team looking to improve their speed numbers in the late stages of the season.

Khris Davis (4%): Davis has cracked the Brewers lineup and has hit his stride with more regular playing time. In nine games since becoming a starter, Davis has put up a .357/.406/.857 line with four home runs, eight RBI, two doubles, and nine runs. In the minors, Davis has seen looked increasingly promising. While his batting average fluctuates, his .288 career BA is as good as you’ll find in the Brewers farm system. At the same time, he’s hit 13 home runs over 69 games this year and has averaged 17 over his last four years. He also has some speed but gets caught stealing too often to be a real threat in the Majors. He’s on fire and has the potential to be a very good hitting outfielder so he’s worth taking a shot on – at least in shallower leagues.

Brett Oberholtzer (6%): Oberholtzer has come on strong in his first four big league starts, going 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA, .214 BAA, and 18 K/5 BB over 26.2 IP. It’s even more surprising considering his 4.37 ERA in Triple-A this season. Still, with a very good looking start in the Majors and 8.1 K/9 in the minors, Oberholtzer could certainly be a serviceable pitcher, especially in deeper leagues.

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