The MLB All-Star break is the ceremonial halfway point of the season and a nice break in the grind of the fantasy baseball season. It’s also a great time to step back and re-evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your roster and find any adjustments that can help you in the second half. It should be an entertaining All-Star break with a huge MLB Draft starting Sunday night, the Home Run Derby on Monday and the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.
Most teams get four days off, Monday through Thursday, but the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees get back underway a day early on Thursday. The Twins-Tigers and the Marlins-Phillies get their series started with doubleheaders on Friday, and the Twins have another twin bill on Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
To help you find the right additions to give your season-long fantasy baseball team a boost, check out 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.
OF Eloy Jiménez, Chicago White Sox (vs. HOU)
Jiménez has been an awesome source of power in both of his seasons in the Majors and seemed to be ready for another huge campaign this year before disaster struck. While trying to rob a home run from Sean Murphy in spring training, Jiménez suffered a torn left pectoral muscle, and it was initially feared that he would miss the entire season. Since that happened multiple weeks before the season started, Jiménez went undrafted in many leagues or has been dropped as a result of his expected absence until late in the season.
However, Jiménez is ahead of schedule and is already on his rehab assignment. While he will probably still take several weeks to ramp up before being ready to return, now is the perfect time to swoop in and stash the slugger. He should be back this month barring a setback and could be a huge impact bat coming down the stretch. He’s still only 24 and put up outstanding numbers last year with 14 home runs and 41 RBI in 55 games along with a .263 ISO, .373 wOBA and 140 wRC+. He’s one of the best young sluggers in the game, so if there’s any way you can add his thump to your lineup, make the move now.
2B/3B/SS Luis Urías, Milwaukee Brewers (at CIN)
Another 24-year-old who can give your lineup a nice boost is Urías, who has stepped up lately and offers plenty of positional versatility in the infield. He was acquired by the Brewers in the Trent Grisham trade from the Padres in what was seen as a “change of scenery” move for two underperforming prospects. Grisham stepped up and has become a key part of the Padres’ offense, but Urías struggled early in the season. His issues were one of the main reasons the Brewers traded for Willy Adames (who is also worth pickup consideration if you need a SS). Since the Adames deal, though Urías has been playing much better and has helped fill in at 3B and in place of Kolten Wong, who has been on the injured list multiple times.
Over the past six weeks, Urías has hit seven home runs in 37 games while also stealing three bases. He has hit .254 with a .204 ISO, a .346 wOBA and a 117 wRC+. He has hit leadoff or second in the order in each of his last 15 games with four homers 10 RBI and 11 runs scored over that stretch. He offers good counting stats from the top of the order in Milwaukee and provides a nice blend of power and speed that allows him to contribute across the board in multiple categories.
SP Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners, (at LAA)
If you’re looking for a hot young pitching addition, Gilbert is one of the best names still available in over 50% of leagues. The rookie has gone 3-2 in his 10 starts for the Mariners, striking out 53 batters in 48 2⁄3 innings while posting a 3.51 ERA and 3.19 FIP.
Gilbert has been especially locked in since the start of June, going 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 2.92 FIP in his six starts. He threw seven shutout innings against the Yankees in his most recent outing allowing just one hit and striking out eight. He has been relying heavily on his slider, which resulted in 11 swings-and-misses the 19 times he threw it against New York. While many pitchers have struggled lately with the added focus on sticky substances, Gilbert has gotten better, and he will look to continue his breakout campaign in the second half.
RB Joakim Soria, Arizona Diamondbacks (vs. CHC)
After highlighting three young players to start this post, it’s time to go to an old reliable option to close things out. That seems to be Arizona’s plan as well since they have made Soria their go-to option at closer lately. If you’re trying to stream saves, Soria is a great option to add since he has pitched well all year and seems to be just locking up this role.
The 37-year-old righty has had success as a closer in the past in stops with the Royals, Rangers, Tigers and White Sox. He picked up saves on Wednesday and Friday of this past week and has allowed just one run over his past 10 outings while also picking up 10 punchouts. The Diamondbacks haven’t been winning a ton, but it looks like Soria will get the chance to get saves when they are leading in the ninth.
Specialty pickups to consider
Counting Stats Pickup: 2B/OF Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox
Leadoff Bat Pickup: 2B/3B/SS/OF David Fletcher, Los Angeles Angels
Power Bat Pickup: 1B/OF Garrett Cooper, Miami Marlins
Hot Bat Pickup: OF A.J. Pollock, Los Angeles Dodgers
C Pickup: C Joey Bart, San Francisco Giants
Roster Versatility Pickup: 2B/3B/SS/OF Leury García, Chicago White Sox
HR Pickup: 1B Bobby Bradley, Cleveland Indians
Hot Bat in a Bad Lineup: OF Ben Gamel, Pittsburgh Pirates
SB Pickup: OF Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers
Saves Pickup: RP Heath Hembree, Cincinnati Reds
Prospect to Stash Pickup: OF Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox
Two-start Streamer: None this week due to shortened schedule
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