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Week 20 Waiver Wire: Bend It Like Beckham

Week 20 Waiver Wire
Photo Credit: Keith Allison

I know what you are thinking,  Waiver Wire? Baseball? Are you kidding me? I got to start researching for my upcoming Fantasy Football drafts!

Hopefully, you are one of the lucky Fantasy Baseball owners in which the remaining games still mean something. Scrolling through the waiver wire to find the player(s) to hold off your competitors or vault you to the playoffs is a necessity at this point of the season.

Fantasy owners can now pinpoint players and subsequent stat categories more specifically in order to gain the clear benefits for the final stretch of the season. Owners need to take advantage of any available players and use their waivers process to guide them to the title.

Let me stop preaching and go to the players in the Week 20 Waiver Wire that will gain you the advantage and earn you a spot in your Fantasy Baseball playoffs.

Week 20 Waiver Wire

Catcher

Alex Aliva, Chicago Cubs

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Alex Avila is expected to play regularly now that starter Wilson Contreras was placed on the DL and likely to miss four to six weeks with a hamstring strain. He has impressed the Cubs in all aspects including swatting two homers over his past three starts.

The former Tiger has been fantastic this season, batting .274/.394/.475 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI over 77 games before being acquired by the Cubs to provide depth at the catcher position.

Alex Avila should be scooped up immediately in all Fantasy formats while Contreras is out.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Christian Vazquez, Boston Red Sox
  • James McCann, Detroit Tigers

First Base

Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies

Rhys Hoskins is rated as the Phillies’ sixth-best prospect by MLB.com. He was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley this week after crushing Triple-A pitching to the tune of .284/.385/.581 with 29 homers (tied for second in minors) and 91 RBI (third in minors) through 115 games.

Hoskins has primarily played first base since the Phillies drafted him in 2014. Hoskins still appears to be the Phillies’ first baseman of the future. Currently, Tommy Joseph has a claim on that position. However, the Phillies tried to move Joseph before the non-waiver trade deadline but received little-to-no interest.

In an effort to get his bat in the lineup every day at the major-league level, Hoskins will be broken in as a corner outfielder. Having him in the outfield is a temporary solution to a long-term problem, a way to boost the Phillies’ offense. In the three games in left field in the minors, Hoskins has played an error-free outfield.

Hoskins has the tools to make an immediate offensive impact. The slugger compliments his potent power stroke with solid contact skills, striking out just 75 times across 475 plate appearances this season. In addition, his solid plate approach, leading to a .375 career on-base percentage creates a hot commodity in Fantasy.

Whether at first base or in the outfield, he is definitely worth picking up in standard leagues, whose owners need a power boost. He should already have been owned in NL-Only leagues.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Steve Pearce, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

Second Base

Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals

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On July 11, Kolten Wong was finally activated off the disabled list after being out nearly a month with a triceps strain. Wong had to work his way back into consistent playing time.

The left-handed hitting second baseman has finally put it all together in August. He has reached safely in all 11 games this month. He is slashing .412/.488/.618 over that stretch and elevated his season average over the .300 mark (.303).

Wong has always flashed the potential to be a valuable Fantasy asset, and now he has been focusing on contact and being more selective at the plate. One major component to his 2017 success has been hitting left-handed pitching. From 2013-2016, he hit just .246 against southpaws.

However, this season he his hitting .326 against them. This is a gigantic leap for Wong leading up to this season. He has always been thought of as a platoon player, but now Wong has made himself a must start against left-handers.

I expect better Fantasy numbers down the stretch for Wong. He would be a sneaky add in all leagues as most Fantasy owners are neglecting Wong due to his past production.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Jed Lowrie, Oakland A’s
  • Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies

Third Base

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

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Joey Gallo said over the All-Star break when he declined to show off his prodigious power in the Home Run Derby, that he went over his approach at the plate and decided he needed to be more opposite-field cognizant.

“I wanted to let the ball get deeper,” he said. “I started feeling better and getting more comfortable. Pitches on the outer half that I was missing, I’m able to get the barrel of the bat out there.”

Gallo has produced tremendous results since the All-Star break. He is hitting  .279/.372/.794 with a 1.166 OPS and 11 home runs in 68 at-bats. Through 369 plate appearances this season, Gallo has crushed 32 homers. However, he does already have 139 strikeouts in 103 games.

Gallo has proven himself to be an all-or-nothing type of hitter. Of course, his dismal .212 average is demoralizing, but Gallo is on pace for 46/87/87/10. Which Fantasy owner couldn’t use those power numbers?

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Matt Chapman, Oakland A’s
  • David Freese, Pittsburgh Pirates

Shortstop

Tim Beckham, Baltimore Orioles

Tim Beckham is a former No. 1 overall Draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays and after a hot start to the season, he really started to cool off. He was batting just .193 (16-for-83) with four extra-base hits, five RBI, and five runs in his final 26 games for the Rays. The Rays decided to trade him to the Baltimore Orioles at the trade deadline as the Orioles were looking to shore up their shortstop position with J.J. Hardy sidelined.

Beckham moved to a more hitter-friendly park and a more explosive lineup with the Orioles. The change of address has done Beckham wonders. Since his arrival, he has hit safely in every game with the Orioles. Beckham is hitting .500 (20-for-40) with nine extra-base hits including three home runs, six RBI, and 10 runs scored.

This recent surge has necessitated moving Beckham to the top of the Orioles lineup, which will greatly enhance his Fantasy value.

Beckham is a must-add in all Fantasy formats while he is punishing the ball like this. With Fantasy regular seasons coming down to the wire, you need players like Beckham who are unexpected contributors to vault your team over the top and into the playoffs.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Amed Rosario, New York Mets
  • Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves

Outfield

Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees

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Aaron Hicks was putting together a breakout season when he suffered a strained right oblique. He was hitting .290/.398/.515 with 10 homers, 37 RBI, seven steals and 40 runs scored in 60 games.

He missed a month with that oblique injury and was just activated off the disabled list. The Yankees created the roster spot by deactivating outfielder Clint Frazier. Aaron Hicks will slide right back into everyday playing time.

It seems that Fantasy owners forgot him as he is less than 40 percent owned in ESPN leagues. Hicks has immense potential and is a five-category monster that Fantasy owners are desperate for at this point of the season. I recommend that you pick up Aaron Hicks immediately in all Fantasy formats. He is capable of being a difference-maker for both the Yankees and Fantasy owners down the stretch.

Dexter Fowler, St. Louis Cardinals

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The switch-hitting outfielder has been on the disabled list since July 25 because of a left forearm strain. He has been on fire since coming off the disabled list on Monday. Fowler is hitting 6-for-13 with three doubles, a triple and a homer in four games. In addition, he has a .632 OBP with seven runs scored and five RBI since coming off the disabled list.

The 31-year-old has gone a long way to recover from a slow start this season. He has raised his batting line from .205/.302/.411 to .249/.353/.475 in his past 44 games.

Fowler has reclaimed his role as the Cardinals’ everyday center fielder. Also, he is now settled into the heart of the Cardinals’ lineup and offers cross-category upside. However, he is falling short of double-digit stolen bases for the first time since entering the league in  2008 with only five thus far.

Dexter Fowler is only owned in 45 percent of ESPN leagues which seems quite low for a hitter in the heart of the Cardinals’ lineup. Fantasy owners looking for outfield help should look to add Fowler in all Fantasy formats for the stretch run.

Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres

Manuel Margot has been one of the few bright spots for the Padres this season. He now has 28 extra-base hits in 81 games this season to go along with 11 stolen bases. He has belted three solo home runs over his past two games. Furthermore, Margot has seven home runs and 13 RBI over his past 14 games.

He has shown a surprising amount of power this season with 12 home runs this season while batting primarily out of the leadoff spot for the Padres. Margot, a former top prospect, is on pace for 15 homers and 15 steals this season.

Please be aware that Margot has some very definitive home/away splits. He is slashing .336/.380/.559 at home while hitting only .217/.246/.343 away from Petco Park.

Manuel Margot should be owned and started in NL-Only formats. He has to be considered in mixed leagues especially while playing home games. He is a multi-category contributor who is trending upward.

On-Deck (Players you should consider)

  • Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians
  • Derek Fisher, Houston Astros
  • Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies

Starting Pitcher

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Ryu is coming off an injury that has sidelined him basically for two seasons. It looks like he has finally been able to maintain his health thus far. When he was healthy in 2013 and 2014, he was the team’s third starter.

Ryu has not allowed more than two earned runs in a start since June 11, lowering his ERA from 4.42 to 3.53 over his past six games. He possesses a 3.53 ERA with 89 strikeouts in just under 92 innings pitched. In addition, he is on pace to post the highest K/9 of his career (8.74).

He has been quite phenomenal in his last two starts. He pitched a combined 14 innings without allowing a run and was able to strike out 15 batters while allowing just six total hits. His ERA over the last month is 0.95!

The southpaw is doing well in rounding out the Dodgers’ rotation while Clayton Kershaw (back) and Brandon McCarthy (finger) remain sidelined. Ryu should have a steady spot in the Dodgers’ rotation going forward.

While Ryu is definitely making an impact for the Dodgers this season, he definitely has the potential in making a significant impact for Fantasy owners. Ryu should already be rostered and started in NL-Only leagues. Furthermore, he should be added immediately in mixed formats to help Fantasy owners solidify a starting pitcher slot in your lineups.

Jose Urena, Miami Marlins

Jose Urena has been an under-the-radar contributor while registering career bests in wins (10), ERA (3.76), WHIP (1.19) and innings (119.2).

He holds a 10-5 record but only has 82 strikeouts in 19 starts this season. He has been quite a revelation for the Miami Marlins.

Urena is a solid but unspectacular streaming option in all Fantasy formats.

German Marquez, Colorado Rockies

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The rookie right-hander is fast becoming the Rockies’ best starter and is currently pitching like an ace.

He has gone 4-0 with 41/10 K/BB ratio while lowering his season ERA to 3.88 in his last six starts. In addition, he has provided the Rockies with six straight quality starts, posting a 2.95 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 39.2 innings over that stretch.

Marquez has a 3.42 ERA on the road this season while striking out 54 batters in 52 innings. Also, he has been able to pitch fairly well in the hitter-friendly Coors Field as well. He has posted a 5-2 record with a 4.31 ERA and therefore, he is worth the risk in home starts.

German Marquez is hot and continues to be someone to consider as a must-start in all Fantasy formats. He should be owned in more than half of ESPN leagues.

Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox

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Carlos Rodon is a talented southpaw who seems to be turning the corner after missing almost the entire first three months with a bicep injury. He is just now allowing himself to work deep into the game for the second consecutive outing after failing to pitch a full seven innings in any of his first six starts.

While his overall stats are not impressive, he continues to improve as evidenced by having allowed a combined five runs with a 24/2 K/BB ratio over his last 22.1 innings of work. He has now struck out at least 10 batters in three of his eight starts this season.

This kind of production is what the White Sox and Fantasy owners expected to see from Rodon. Fantasy owners should get ahead of the awareness of Rodon’s comeback. He is talented enough that he should be owned in all Fantasy formats and used in favorable matchups.

Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

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The former top prospect has been excellent in his last three outings. He has allowed just one run in each outing while posting a 22/3 K/BB ratio over 22 innings during that span. He has gone over seven-plus innings in each of those starts to lower his ERA to a season-best 4.79.

While his overall stats this season are unremarkable, he has shown glimpses of brilliance thanks to a career-high 9.95 K/9 rate.

Fantasy owners in need of strikeouts would be wise to grab Bauer off their waiver wire immediately. He is a boom-or-bust Fantasy option.

Warming Up (Pitchers to consider)

  • Jeremy Hellickson, Baltimore Orioles
  • Jordan Zimmerman, Detroit Tigers
  • Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres
  • Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox
  • Chad Kuhl, Pittsburgh Pirates

Relief Pitcher

Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers

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Shane Greene is 3-for-3 in save chances since the Tigers dealt former closer Justin Wilson to the Cubs. Greene was promoted to the closer role based upon his work as the primary setup man for Wilson. He was striking out 25.3 percent of the batters he faced.

In addition, he has not been scored upon since June 24, totaling 17 appearances.

Greene is having a career season, producing a 2.49 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 50.2 innings. His latest role as the Tigers’ closer has increased his Fantasy value to the must-own category in all Fantasy formats.

Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves

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Jim Johnson opened the season as the Braves’ closer, but after blowing his major-league high eighth save, he was removed from the closer role by Braves manager Brian Snitker.

Vizcaino was working primarily as the setup man this season and was producing a 2.38 ERA over 37 games before hitting the disabled list with a strained right index finger on July 5.

Vizcaino was placed in the closers’ role amid Johnson’s struggles and has not disappointed. He represents the future in the Braves’ bullpen. Currently, he is 3-for-3 in save opportunities since taking over and someone who should be rostered in all formats.

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Warming Up (Pitchers to Consider)

  • Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals
  • Blake Treinen, Oakland A’s

Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL and college football (GO BUCKEYES), MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS), and MMA.He is an avid Cleveland and Ohio State fan. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly.Dennis has been competing in fantasy sports for over 20 years, specifically football and baseball.Also, he is the commish for leagues in each sport. Dennis is also an avid DFS player in football and baseball.He is the guy that normally calls out what the game announcer says, before he/she says it. Hopefully, I can help others and learn even more in my pursuit of fantasy sports championships.Coming soon...twitter!
Dennis Sosic

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