We’ve got one more week of fantasy baseball action before we hit the MLB Trade Deadline this Friday and teams make their final moves to tweak their rosters coming down the stretch. You can tweak your fantasy baseball team for the closing weeks of your fantasy season as well, and there are some nice potential additions on the waiver wire for many leagues. Make sure to follow me on Twitter at @ZT_Sports, where I’ll break down the trades in the coming week from a season-long fantasy perspective as well.
In the next week, 11 of the 30 MLB teams play seven games. The Atlanta Braves and New York Mets actually have an even busier week thanks to a Monday doubleheader, but the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians and Miami Marlins are only scheduled for five contests. The number of names on tap for each team and who they play is definitely one thing to consider as you hit the waiver wire this week. Check out my top two hitters and top two pitchers to target highlighted below. There are also some specialty options listed at the bottom of the post.
1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (at CHC, at NYM)
The veteran 1B is only owned in 33% of Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues but has been an excellent option since returning from his fractured thumb injury in June. In his 40 games since returning, Votto has gone 42-for-142 (.296) with eight home runs and 28 RBI. He has a .225 ISO and .394 wOBA over that span thanks to a 14.0% barrel rate and 49.0% hard-hit rate, per Statcast. He has been getting even hotter lately, too, with a .267 ISO and .445 wOBA since the All-Star break.
Votto has a nice week of matchups ahead of him with seven games on the road, and six of those are expected to be against a right-handed starting pitcher. While he has been better at home than away, his handedness splits are even stronger. He has hit .287 against righties on the year with a .393 WOBA and .246 ISO. Votto isn’t the fantasy force he was in his prime, but he’s still a very useful and reliable bat in the heart of the Reds’ order.
2B/SS/OF Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox (vs. TOR, at TB)
The Red Sox added prospect Jaren Durran to their roster, but they don’t have to rush the speedy rookie into the leadoff spot just yet since Hernández has been on fire lately. The versatile leadoff hitter has been lighting it up over his past 30 games, going 31-for-111 with 20 extra-base hits including nine home runs. During that stretch, he has an eye-popping .351 ISO and a .422 wOBA to boost him to a 167 wRC+.
Hernández isn’t a prototypical leadoff hitter and has only one stolen base all season, but he does provide plenty of runs scores with 50 in his 83 games. His positional versatility not only keeps him in the lineup for the Red Sox just about every day, but it also gives you the flexibility of using him in the outfield or one of your middle infield spots. He’ll start the week facing three left-handed starters in four games against the Blue Jays and then get two more lefties against the Rays. With five-of-seven opposing starters being southpaws, the lefty-basher should be able to stay scorching hot this week.
SP Kyle Muller, Atlanta Braves, (at NYM, vs. MIL)
The Braves have been very cautious with Muller, and his limited pitch count has been the only thing that has held him back from being an even better fantasy option. The 23-year-old lefty has looked sharp in his four starts in the big leagues despite going 1-3. He has allowed just five runs in 18 2⁄3 innings for a 2.41 ERA as a starter and has 22 strikeouts for a 10.61 K/9 rate in those appearances. He has a 3.91 FIP, so there could be a little regression ahead, but he has also faced some tough opposition, including last week’s start against the Padres. He only lasted four innings in that one but gave up just one run on two hits.
Muller will be facing the Mets for the second time in his first start of the week after going four no-hit innings against them on June 21. He needs to sharpen up his command to be able to go deep enough in games to get wins since the Braves are monitoring his pitch count so closely, but the rookie has definitely shown the tools and the upside to be a great option this week in a pair of starts against New York and Milwaukee.
RP Gregory Soto, Detroit Tigers (at MIN, vs. BAL)
The Tigers have been giving their save chances to Soto lately, and the 26-year-old southpaw has converted five saves in six appearances over the past three weeks. He has given up just one hit over his past four chances with five strikeouts and just one walk. He has 11 saves and seven holds in his 42 games this season with just one blown save and 48 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched.
If you’ve been chasing saves all season, Soto is a nice snag coming into a week with seven games against the Twins and Orioles. The Tigers are just six games under .500 and 7-3 in their past 10, so they are trending the right way heading into a week with winnable games, setting their closer up for potentially good numbers.
Specialty pickups to consider
Top of the Lineup Pickup: OF Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers
Still Underowned: 1B/OF Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox
Power Stats Pickup: 1B C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies
C Pickup: Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks
Counting Stats Pickup: OF Robbie Grossman, Detroit Tigers
SB Pickup: OF Greg Allen, New York Yankees
Two-start Streamer: Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
Back from IL with Two Starts this Week: Austin Gomber, Colorado Rockies
One Start but Looking Strong: Tylor Megill, New York Mets
Prospect to Stash: Tanner Houck, Boston Red Sox
Saves Pickup: RP Heath Hembree, Cincinnati Reds
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