We have reached the All-Star Break and no matter where your team is in the standings right now, you definitely could use a trip to the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire. Whether you are trying to solidify your lead with some infusion of production, or whether you are floundering towards the bottom and looking towards next year, you should never stop playing in 2016.
We have already chronicled guys like Jose Reyes, Didi Gregorius, Danny Duffy, and J.A. Happ that are still widely available in many Fantasy leagues. While we offer you three new hitters and three new pitchers, be sure to look back at some of our past waiver articles to see if any other guys might be available in your leagues that can help you win a title.
On the hitting side we have a highly touted hitting star who got off to such a putrid start that he was sent to the Minors only to re-emerge. We have a catcher who got off on the wrong foot thanks to some injuries but has been white hot since the calendar turned to July. Finally we have a hot shot first base prospect who might not be up long but if he hits could be in a prominent spot in a playoff race.
On the pitching side we have a relief pitcher on a World Series contender who will get some run thanks to a fairly significant injury to the ninth inning incumbent. We also have another closer role that has come open because of a trade in the National League West. Finally we have a young pitcher in the National League East who might not be a dominant strikeout pitcher but who has been solid the last month to six weeks who can help you by not hurting you going forward.
As we come out of the All-Star Break there is still ample time to make your move towards the top of the standings. The Fantasy Baseball waiver wire is still your best way to try to make a move towards the top of the standings. If you want to read more of what I have written you can go to www.fightingchancefantasy.com or follow me on Twitter @fightingchance.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Week 15
Randal Grichuk, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
After an impressive partial season in 2015, Fantasy owners had really high hopes for Grichuk in 2016. I don’t need to tell you what a colossal disappointment he has been. It got so bad that the Cardinals decided that it would be better to send him to the Minors for a few weeks to try to get his head straight. Fantasy owners didn’t have any patience to wait, and he was sent to the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire in huge numbers.
It was the week before the All-Star Break that Grichuk came back to St. Louis. It certainly seems like the few weeks he spent at Triple-A has paid dividends. He has at least one hit in all seven games he played in, including three multi-hit games. He also has hit two home runs and driven in four runs in those seven games. The Cardinal outfield is a little crowded with Matt Holliday, the emergence of Stephen Piscotty, and Tommy Pham. However, Grichuk was a no-brainer option in April and as long as he keeps hitting, he will continue to get regular at-bats from this point forward.
Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Not only are his ridiculous dreadlocks offensive to the eye, but Pirates first baseman John Jaso really hasn’t brought much in the way of production. He has just four home runs and 25 RBIs at the break. This prompted the Pirates to call up Josh Bell for a few days to give the kid a look at a position. Who knows how long this promotion will last, but Bell certainly is worth a look in deeper Fantasy leagues.
It has been an impressive first half for Bell in the Minors as he has hit .324 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs. He runs a little bit, but he has been more of a hindrance than help as he stole one base in the Minors, while being caught six times. Bell had a pinch hit grand slam in his second at-bat with the Pirates, and if Pittsburgh is smart they will keep Bell up and let him play every day. Jaso is a career journeyman, and you already know you will get subpar production from him and playoff teams need to get power from their corner infield spots.
Yasmani Grandal, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
Grandal’s 2016 started with injury, and when he was able to play he was very far from impressive. On June 30 he was batting .179 for the season with seven home runs and just 29 RBIs. What started as a hopeful year from those who drafted him in March turned into a tire fire. As a result, Fantasy players from coast to coast wanted nothing to do with him.
He has been much more successful since the calendar turned to July, and Grandal is probably one player who was hoping to skip the All-Star Break. Grandal had a three home run game among his five homers in the month of July, and he’s also driven in eight runs this month. The catcher position has been a disaster this Fantasy Baseball season, and Grandal is owned in about 20% of leagues across the big sites. Grandal has a real shot at 20 home runs at the catcher position this season, and his .212 average at the break absolutely has to go up. Look for a great second half from the Dodger backstop
Koji Uehara, RP, Boston Red Sox
For the last few years, Uehara has served as the closer for the Red Sox, and for the most part he had been very successful. He had an elite strikeout percentage, and although his career high was 26 saves, Uehara still had strong Fantasy value because of his strong numbers across the board. The Red Sox had the ability to make a huge splash in the offseason by bringing in perennial All-Star Craig Kimbrel and they did just that, pushing Uehara to a set up role.
A knee injury is now going to cost Kimbrel at least a month, and despite the fact that the Red Sox traded for Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara will serve as their closer for the time being. In the few days before the break, Uehara collected two quick saves, despite allowing one earned run. He won’t give you elite closer numbers outside of the strikeouts, but if Uehara is still on the Fantasy Baseball waiver wire, you need to add him quickly if you are in need of saves.
— Nocturnal Group (@NMGRadio5) July 10, 2016
Tyler Clippard, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Clippard has bounced back and forth between a closer and set up role throughout his Major League career, and when he was with the Diamondbacks we assumed he would not be getting saves. However, Arizona had the opportunity to trade closer Brad Ziegler and that opened the door for someone new to get the chance to finish the ninth inning for a team who may have packed it in for the season.
The Diamondbacks have said that Clippard and Daniel Hudson could share the closer duties, but even Hudson has gone on record as saying that Clippard is better suited for the job. I wouldn’t grab Clippard and think that all of your problems at closer are solved, but at least in the short term he should provide you with saves and some strikeouts. Clippard is far from an elite closer, but he will get the opportunities and will help those of you who work all year for saves.
Zach Eflin, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Eflin was one of the pieces the Phillies obtained in the Jimmy Rollins trade, and with the injury to Vincent Velasquez, he was given his opportunity in the big leagues. Eflin was having a great year in the Minors with a 2.90 ERA and a WHIP under 1.00. He isn’t an elite strikeout pitcher as he had 55 whiffs in 68.1 innings down on the farm.
He got off to a rocky start by getting shellacked for eight earned runs in less than three innings in his Major League debut against the Blue Jays. In his five starts since then, he has allowed just a total of eight earned runs. He really doesn’t walk batters very often, which also helps to keep his WHIP down. On the down side, he doesn’t play for the best team, and the lack of strikeouts is a bit of a bummer. However, at 22 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him and could really help you if you need a boost in ratios.