Waiver Wire Wisdom (7/20)

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The latest waiver wire pickups article by Fred Zinkie:

Could your fantasy team use more power? What about saves? Steals? Runs, RBIs or wins?

Regardless of your holes, the fantasy waiver wire has a plug or long-term fix to pick up today. Check the following 10 men — all sitting in waivers in many leagues, and all ready to help you win.

Yasmani Grandal

Yasmani Grandal, catcher: Highlighted by a 5-for-5, three-homer, six-RBI effort on July 8, Grandal has ripped eight round-trippers across 62 at-bats since June 21. Given the recent power binge, the 27-year-old is now tied for third in homers and sixth in RBIs among players at his premium position. Mixed-league owners who are in need of power numbers should be willing to live with Grandal’s .208 batting average in order to gain his counting stats.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Ryon Healy, third baseman: Impressed by Healy’s .326/.382/.558 slash line in the Minors this season, A’s management decided to push Danny Valencia to a reserve role in order to give the prospect an extended look in the big leagues. Even though the 24-year-old does not possess a speed component in his game, his ability to hit for a high average and mix in the occasional round-tripper could make him a useful corner infielder for the remainder of the season.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Yulieski Gurriel, third baseman: After signing the 32-year-old to a five-year, $47.5 million contract, Astros management is likely willing to add him to their postseason push as soon as he becomes familiar with the organization. Fantasy owners need only to see Gurriel’s video-game-like .500/.589/.874 slash line in the Cuban National Series in 2015 to realize that he is a better stash option than any of the touted youngsters in the Minor Leagues.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Didi Gregorius

Didi Gregorius, shortstop: Although he is not regarded as one of the top batters at his premium position, Gregorius has hit .360 with seven homers and 20 RBIs across 111 at-bats since June 14. The hot stretch is surprising when considering that the shortstop had not previously hit over .265 or ripped more than nine round-trippers in a single season, but the left-handed-hitter has the benefit of a home park that is especially power-inducing for southpaw sluggers.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Randal Grichuk, outfielder: Grichuk was a popular ’16 draft-day asset after hitting .276 with 17 homers across 323 at-bats last season. A slow start to the current campaign caused the 24-year-old to take a brief demotion to Triple-A, but since returning to the Cards on July 5, he has hit .342 with four homers across 38 at-bats. Even though Grichuk’s substantial strikeout rate makes him unlikely to be a batting-average asset, he could rip enough round-trippers to help shallow-league owners in the second half.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Michael Conforto, outfielder: Like Grichuk, Conforto is back in the big leagues after a strong debut season, sophomore struggles and a brief demotion to the Minors. With 19 homers across 394 career at-bats, the outfielder has the necessary power to help mixed-league owners when he is also hitting for average. Even though an elevated strikeout rate contributed to Conforto’s first-half struggle to collect base knocks, he has also been hampered by a .264 BABIP.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola, starter: Following an ace-like start to the season (2.65 ERA, 0.99 WHIP across 12 starts), Nola regressed badly and produced a 13.50 ERA and a 2.56 WHIP across his final five starts prior to the All-Star break. After the Phillies wisely gave the talented 23-year-old an extended break from July 3-18, he responded by tossing six shutout frames against the Marlins in his initial second-half start. Smart owners will scan their waiver wire to find out if an impatient competitor dropped Nola during his month-long downturn.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Matt Shoemaker, starter: Across 11 starts since May 21, Shoemaker has posted a 2.36 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and an eye-popping 88-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Having faced the Red Sox, Orioles (twice), Tigers, Indians and Astros (twice) during his hot stretch, the right-hander’s success cannot be attributed to a favorable schedule. With the potential to be a mixed-league ace during the second half, Shoemaker should be a lineup fixture in all formats.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Mike Leake, starter: After a bumpy five-start stretch to open his career with the Cardinals, Leake has posted a 3.16 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP across his past 13 outings. The steady right-hander has even added a strikeout component to his game by compiling 21 whiffs across his past two starts. Backed by a contending Cardinals squad with a strong lineup, pitcher-friendly home park and strong defensive catcher in Yadier Molina, Leake should post low ratios and a high win total in the second half.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Ryan Dull, reliever: In addition to the possibility that he may be traded this month, closer Ryan Madson (five blown saves, 3.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) may not have a firm grip on the ninth-inning gig in Oakland. If Madson is pitching for a different club or working lower-leverage innings by August 1, Dull (2.05 ERA, 0.74 WHIP) is a strong candidate to anchor the A’s bullpen. Wise owners will add Dull now, rather than eventually participating in a race to the waiver wire or FAAB bidding war for his services.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB

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1 Comment

LOVE this addition to the blog. Thanks guys!

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