So it’s the final week before the All-Star break, where I’m back with my usual Free Agent finds for the week. I’m hoping to get out a couple fantasy All-Star teams for you, but all will be revealed in due course; so let’s quickly get onto those players you should be looking for on your waiver wire. PS I hear my articles have been popular amongst the BFN fantasy league, so make sure to be fast if you’re in that league.
Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres
Yes, the last time I recommended a Padres, it didn’t go so well straight away (but Lamet has turned it around lately); so hopefully the same curse isn’t put on Manny Margot this time around. But Margot was a favourite sleeper pick of mine heading into the year; with a good blend of Power and Speed, whilst seemingly having the Padres CF job on lock-down. After a month out with injury he’s back, and he’s already raking. Since returning he’s hitting .435, with a dinger and 4 Stolen Bases. His primary value will be in his steals, but with a Padres offence slowly picking up as it gets healthier, there may be some counting stat benefit coming too.
Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox
Rodon has been a somewhat forgotten name in fantasy circles, after a bad injury that’s kept him out of the rotation until recently making a comeback. In his most recent outing against the Athletics he went 6.1 innings, allowing 2 ER and a magnificent 10 Ks. His strikeout potential is for real, but in his two starts back he has walked 6 and 3 respectively, which has always been the main obstacle on his way to being a successful starter. I think it’s definitely worth the risk, as he may just be shaking off the rust from the lengthy DL stint to start the season; and he has fantasy number 2 starter potential.
Yuli Gurriel, 1B/3B, Houston Astros
Remember when I told you all to add Marwin Gonzalez a couple weeks ago? Well a lot of the same applies to Gurriel in a stacked Astros lineup that should help him rack up plenty of counting stats. Over the last 30 days, he’s got 6 HRs, 16 Rs and 19 RBIs; all whilst hitting .347 in that time as well. Gurriel came over on a big deal from Cuba in the middle of last season and came over with a reputation for hitting, and hitting a lot. That’s been the way to fantasy relevance in this Astros lineup; and he’s also got a secure spot in the lineup being able to play 1B and 3B (as evidenced by having more ABs than Jose Altuve in those same last 30 days). Yet another Astro to add to the must-start fantasy options.
Deeper League Finds
Deeper league finds are getting harder and harder to come up with. A lot of the team’s best prospects are now up in the big leagues, and the breakout stars of the season are now likely owned in a lot of leagues. However throughout the year, trades and injuries happen; so it’s time to look for opportunistic moves that give some promising players their opportunity.
Arodys Vizcaino, RP, Atlanta Braves
In leagues that don’t count holds, early July is usually the time to pounce on really good relievers who could fall into their respective team’s closer role in the near the future. Vizcaino fits the mould perfectly. With the Braves looking almost certainly out of contention, Jim Johnson is a candidate to be traded, and if not, they may yet demote him from the closer’s role to get a closer look at the young Dominican. With a live arm, closer experience with 21 career saves, and averaging over 10 K/9; he’s the next inline after Johnson; whilst his ERA on 2.38 and WHIP of 1.09 will help those precious ratios whilst you wait for the Saves.
Stephen Drew, 2B, Washington Nationals
The Nats suffered a devastating blow last week when Trea Turner was hit on the hand by an inside fastball, leaving him sidelined for roughly 6 weeks. Up steps Stephen Drew, who has previously been a very useful fantasy asset, if you exclude the his time in the NL East with the Red Sox and Yankees. And with the Nats he’s been hitting .311 as a part-time player, which in the most potent lineup in the National League will let him rack up the RBIs driving in the likes of Harper, Murphy and Zimmerman infront of him. He’ll also gain Shortstop eligibility in fairly short order as well, to give him a little bit of flexibility in your lineups.