In every fantasy sport, playing the waiver wire is as important to long-term success as a solid draft. Fantasy baseball, in particular, contains an unprecedented amount of league scoring settings, ranging from rotisserie to head-to-head with subsets for each. Still, the large pool of players generally allows for midseason acquisitions that can help bolster any roster. It’s just a matter of finding the right piece.
Below are this week’s suggested waiver wire adds, currently owned in less than fifty percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Rougned Odor – 2B – Texas Rangers
Sometimes it takes a little adversity to translate struggles into success. Odor was widely considered a top breakout candidate this year, furthered by another injury to fellow middle infielder Jurickson Profar. The increased playing time proved to be too much for the young second baseman, and he was ultimately sent down to the Minors with a dismal .147 batting average and a mere four extra base hits.
The demotion was the best course of action for those fantasy baseball owners who were not carrying Odor, at the time. By now, he has likely hit the free agent market in most formats, and his value is completely depressed to the point that he is worth a flyer. Whenever a player fails to meet expectations, there is validity to the fact that, at one point, he was worthy of such lofty goals. With nothing more than a bench player to risk, take the chance now on Rougned Odor.
Jung Ho Kang – SS – Pittsburgh Pirates
Little was known about KBO standout Jung Ho Kang prior to the 2015 season except that he brings an abnormal amount of power to the shortstop position. Ironically enough, home runs have been scarce — four to date — but Kang has been a solid contributor in nearly every other category. For a shortstop who is also eligible at third base, there is more than enough to warrant a starting position in a fantasy roster.
The beauty of Kang’s game is that power potential rarely vanishes completely. He should continue to adjust to the Major League game, and the home runs should start to increase. Even if they don’t, he is a formidable starting shortstop, especially compared to the other pathetic options on the market.
Will Venable – OF – San Diego Padres
It was hard to buy into Will Venable’s 2013 season, during which a 30-year-old outfielder who had never cracked 15 home runs suddenly popped 22. Adding to the disbelief, Venable also swiped 22 bags. The following season, Venable fell from his high stature, proving his naysayers right.
One year removed from his worst season, Venable has balanced out and returned to his own personal mean. This time, the keys are consistency and opportunity. With Wil Myers out of the lineup for an extended period of time, again, Venable is the man most likely to steal the at-bats. With Matt Kemp and Justin Upton anchoring the heart of the Padres’ lineup, Venable has value wherever he bats, although he should rack up runs scored if he continues to leadoff.
Ervin Santana – SP – Minnesota Twins
Ervin Santana would not have competed for the American League Cy Young award, but the right-handed pitcher should have been a valuable piece for most fantasy rosters. With half of the season behind him by the time he toes the rubber for the Minnesota Twins, Santana has a long layoff to battle, but he is one of the rare cases that does not include injury. With that, he should be in game-shape rather quickly.
Don’t miss the opportunity. Santana, now pitching for a team that has surprised most with a winning record in late-June, could easily be the best pitching option on the market. He was nearly owned in all leagues following preseason fantasy drafts, as his ownership should begin to climb as his early-July return to the Majors draws near. Healthy and pitching for a playoff contender, Santana could be the boost fantasy owners need to make a late-season push.
Williams Perez – SP – Atlanta Braves
This week’s version of Chi Chi Gonzalez, Williams Perez is having one of the most impressive, unsustainable stretches of baseball possible. Prior to his bout with the New York Mets, Perez held a 2.29 ERA, averaging 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Even with a down performance – four earned runs in six innings against New York — Perez picked up another win, and still features a fantastic 2.78 ERA. In seven starts, Perez allowed one earned run or less while pitching five innings or more five times.
As was the case with Gonzalez, Perez clearly will regress in the near future, but his value remains high. Pitching for the Braves, Perez will reap the rewards of a solid defense, led by Andrelton Simmons and Nick Markakis, as well as face poor offenses in the Mets, Marlins, and Phillies on a fairly regular basis.
Vincent Velasquez – SP – Houston Astros
With the abundance of hitting talent the Astros have promoted in recent years, it’s easy to overlook their pitching prospects. Proof of this phenomenon can be seen in the muted excitement behind Lance McCullers‘ emergence, despite a 2.45 ERA on the American League’s best team.
Trumping McCullers in the rankings is recent call-up Vincent Velasquez, a strikeout-happy pitcher ready to take the next step. With only three games under his belt, to date, Velasquez has performed exactly as the rookie should, striking out seventeen batters in thirteen innings of work, but sporting expected inconsistency and short outings.
Velasquez’s future looks bright, and the Astros have made a killing off trial by fire, so the right-handed pitcher should receive every opportunity to develop on the fly. As his performances strengthen, he will become harder to obtain. Don’t sleep on a 23-year old strikeout pitcher on a hungry team with a potent offense.
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