As we near both the midpoint of June and the MLB regular season, most teams have fewer than 100 games remaining. If you’re in a season-long fantasy baseball league, it’s starting to get “late early” around here, as Yogi Berra would say. After a lighter week last week, every team is back for at least six games this week, except the Texas Rangers, who only play five. The Colorado Rockies are back at Coors Field for a seven-game week, so they should be set up for a big week along with the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers, who each get a series in the rarified air of Denver.
If your season-long fantasy baseball team needs some help off the waiver wire, you can start your search for upgrades with my top two hitters and top two pitchers to target on waiver wires highlighted below. There are also some specialty options if you're looking to give your team a boost in a specific category at the bottom of the post. Throughout the week, I’m available for lineup and waiver wire advice on Twitter at @ZT_Sports, where I’ll send out streaming starting pitching options along with pickup alerts. As always, remember to consider your specific team needs and league rules when making your pickups.
SS Willy Adames, Milwaukee Brewers (vs. CIN, at COL)
The Brewers acquired Adames in a mid-season trade from the Rays, and the change of scenery has done the 25-year-old righty a world of good. The park factor upgrade from Tropicana Field to American Family Field is significant, and this week, Adames gets a four-game set at Coors Field, which gives him an even bigger short-term upgrade.
In his 19 games with the Brew Crew prior to play on Saturday, Adames went 20-for-68 (.294) with a .191 ISO and .375 wOBA backed by an impressive 48% hard-hit rate. Adames brings plenty of power potential to his seven games this week and actually moved to the cleanup spot in Milwaukee’s lineup on Saturday. He has been on the fringe of fantasy usefulness the past few seasons, but the move to Milwaukee may be what makes him a must-own moving forward.
OF Justin Upton, Los Angeles Angels (at OAK, vs. DET)
On May 23, the Angels tried moving Upton to the leadoff spot vs. the Athletics, and the experiment has resulted in one of the best hitting stretches of Upton’s time in Los Angeles. In his 16 games after moving to the leadoff spot, Upton went 19-for-49 (.322) with five doubles, six home runs and 17 runs scored. He has also posted a .390 ISO and .468 wOBA over that span, along with a 46.3% hard-hit rate.
Upton has been crushing lefties all season with a 41.2% hard-hit rate, resulting in a .358 ISO and .418 wOBA against southpaws. In good news for Upton and any team that has him for the coming week, the Angels are scheduled to face four left-handed starting pitchers this week, which should set up him for continued success.
SP Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers (at KC, at LAA)
The Tigers have been getting solid starts from Mize after a couple of rough outings early in the season. Over his past eight games, he has been on point with a 2.70 ERA and just a .257 wOBA against. He has an 8.1 K/9 over that stretch and just a 1.1 HR/9. He has turned in a quality start in all but one of those eight outings and has at least six strikeouts in five straight.
Detroit made Mize the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, but shoulder issues have delayed his arrival in the Majors and limited his effectiveness at times. His stuff has been sharp this year, and his CSW% has increased from 23.9% last season to 27.1% so far this season. Right now, it looks like Mize will start Tuesday against Mike Minor and the Royals, then again on Sunday, June 20 against Dylan Bundy and the Angels. Both offenses have struggled and veteran pitchers have been hit hard, which could set Mize up for the coveted win-win week.
SP Tucker Davidson, Atlanta Braves (vs. BOS, vs. STL)
Davidson is another two-start SP to consider picking up after the 25-year-old southpaw became the latest in a long line of Braves’ starting pitching prospects to arrive in the majors. Davidson has made three starts and allowed just 10 hits and three runs in 17 2/3 innings for a small-sample ERA of 1.53 to go with his 4.24 FIP and 7.13 K/9.
The only hesitation in going with Davidson is he hasn’t shown he can sustain this kind of success at the Major League level, and he starts the week in a difficult matchup vs. the Red Sox. Boston is a little less of an intimidating matchup for southpaws, and they’ll also be in Atlanta, which takes away the DH from the lineup. Davidson is a high-risk add but comes with good long-term upside if he can secure a spot in Atlanta’s rotation moving forward.
Specialty pickups to consider
Coors Field Special: 2B/SS Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies
AVG/hits Pickup: SS/OF Amed Rosario, Cleveland Indians
HR Pickup: 3B/OF Miguel Andújar, New York Yankees
Counting Stats Pickup: OF Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates
SB Pickup: OF Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers
Playing Well in a Bad Lineup Pickup: OF Jake Fraley, Seattle Mariners
C Pickup: C Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels
IL Returner Pickup: 2B/3B/SS/OF Dylan Moore, Seattle Mariners
Two-start Streamer: SP Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays
Saves Pickup: RP Kendall Graveman, Seattle Mariners
Saves Pickup Part II: RP José Cisnero, Detroit Tigers
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