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Fantasy Baseball: Top MLB Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 18 of 2021

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy baseball leagues heading into Week 18 which starts Monday, August 2.

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Friday’s MLB trade deadline was one of the busiest ever and had multiple key players changing teams. Top prospects, All-Stars, Cy Young winners and key fantasy players were moving in all directions, and it was hard to keep up with the flurry of activity. Don’t worry, though, as the dust settles there are some great opportunities to try and grab from your season-long fantasy baseball waiver wires. As you prepare for the fantasy postseason, there are some great potential additions on the waiver wire for many leagues.

In the next week, 13 of the 30 MLB teams play seven games. Fifteen teams play six games, with only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics limited to just five contests. The number of games 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.


2B Cesar Hernandez, Chicago White Sox (vs. KC, at CHC)

The White Sox needed help at 2B with Nick Madrigal out for the season, and they ended up trading Madrigal away for Craig Kimbrel after they acquired Hernandez from Cleveland. Hernandez was acquired in exchange for LHP Konnor Pilkington, and he should step into an everyday role and hit near the top of the potent Chicago lineup. He batted second in each of his first two games with the White Sox, which is a great run-producing spot with so many power-packed bats behind him.

Hernandez had a very strong July, coming into the weekend hitting .289 (24-for-83) over his past 21 games with six doubles, six home runs, a .289 ISO, a .389 wOBA and a 147 wRC+. Hernandez doesn’t have any stolen bases this season, but he did run some during his tenure with the Phillies before going to Cleveland, where he didn’t run at all. His power surge and prime lineup position make him a great pickup for the stretch run if you need help at 2B.


C Keibert Ruiz, Washington Nationals (vs. PHI, at ATL)

The Nationals were one of the most aggressive sellers at the trade deadline and made the biggest trade, sending both Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers. In exchange, the Nationals got the Dodgers’ top two prospects, Ruiz and SP Josiah Gray. Both players are expected to join the Nats right away, and Ruiz should have a clear path to playing time after Washington sent Yan Gomes to Oakland in a separate trade.

Ruiz is the No. 41 overall prospect in the Major Leagues, according to MLB Pipeline. He was tearing up Triple-A, hitting .311 with 16 home runs, a .429 ISO and .413 wOBA in his 52 games with Oklahoma City. He hasn’t translated that success to the big leagues yet, going 2-for-15 in his eight games. With so much opportunity, though, Ruiz could end up being a great fit for a tricky position for the last few months of the season as he tries to establish himself as a key part of the Nationals’ long-term plan.


SP Tylor Megill, New York Mets, (at MIA, vs. PHI)

The Mets strengthened their lineup and added depth to their rotation, but Megill will remain a key part after a very promising July. He has a pair of great matchups this coming week against the Marlins and Phillies, and he brings elite strikeout potential.

In his seven starts this season, he’s 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 3.44 FIP. He has allowed one or zero runs in five straight starts with 27 strikeouts in 26 innings. Megill has also gone at least five innings in all but one of those outings, so he should be able to get some wins if the Mets’ lineup starts being more productive.


RP Kyle Finnegan, Washington Nationals (vs. PHI, at ATL)

The Nationals also traded away their bullpen depth, which leaves Finnegan as their most likely closer moving forward. While the team may struggle to get many save chances for the rest of the season, Finnegan has shown he is capable of converting when given opportunities. In his 44 games this year, the 29-year-old righty has allowed just 15 runs on his way to a 3.21 ERA and 3.71 FIP. He has struck out 46 batters in 42 innings and totaled 11 holds and two saves without blowing a save chances to this point.

Both of Finnegan’s saves this season have come in the past week, and he hasn’t given up a run in 12 of his past 13 games dating back to mid-June. During that span, he has a 2.28 FIP and just a 24.2% hard-hit rate while picking up 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. He should be a good source of saves as long as the Nats stay competitive, and he should have the job the rest of the season, barring injury or collapse.


Specialty pickups to consider

Top of the Lineup Pickup: 2B/3B Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds

Top of the Lineup Pickup II: OF Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers

Back from IL: 2B/SS Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins

Prospect Stepping Into a Good Spot: OF Jake Meyers, Houston Astros

Same Face, New Place: 2B/3B/OF Josh Harrison, Oakland Athletics

Same Face, New Place II: 3B Abraham Toro, Seattle Mariners

Same Face, New Place III: 1B Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee Brewers

Counting Stats Pickup: OF Robbie Grossman, Detroit Tigers

Roster Flexibility: C/1B/2B/SS/3B Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds

Hot Prospect/High upside: SP Reid Detmers, Los Angeles Angels

Two-start Streamer: Michael Wacha, Tampa Bay Rays

Two-start Streamer II: Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants

Saves Pickup: RP David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates

Saves Pickup II: RP Tyler Clippard, Arizona Diamondbacks


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