In the last edition of Waiver Wire, I remarked upon the Twins' Jose Miranda and the Royals' MJ Melendez, two impending call-ups whose utility, at least for Fantasy, was in doubt. Both were forced to the majors as injury replacements after slow starts at Triple-A, so it was fair to wonder how much they'd actually play.
So far, so good on that front. Miranda has started back-to-back games, one at third base and one at first. He's only 1 for 9, hitting a double Tuesday, but he has yet to strike out. He was the one who at least showed signs of turning things around at Triple-A, batting .300 (15 for 50) with a homer, eight doubles and three strikeouts in the 13 games leading up to his promotion, and his chances of sticking around are better now that we've learned Miguel Sano needs surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
As for Melendez, he got a start at DH Tuesday. It doesn't mean he's in line for everyday at-bats now, but it does mean he's not just there to back up Salvador Perez while Cam Gallagher is sidelined by a hamstring injury. The Royals are ready to see what he can do, and he made a strong impression Tuesday, going 1 for 3 with a single, a walk and a deep flyout to left.
I still say Miranda and Melendez are only worth adding on an as-needed basis, but given their upside, you'll want to react quickly if either of them catches fire.
Let's see who else is available ...
HOU Houston • #53 • Age: 25
That's two good outings in a row for Cristian Javier since returning to the Astros rotation, lowering his season ERA to 0.96 and his career ERA as a starter to 3.26. That's over 21 starts in all. He's a little unconventional in that he succeeds in spite of a high fly-ball rate, obviously relying on weak contact, but that's a profile that should play even better in our new deadened-ball reality. My only hesitation in adding him is that he might go back to the bullpen once the Astros go back to a five-man rotation, particularly with Jake Odorizzi coming around in his past two outings.
BAL Baltimore • #50 • Age: 27
I'm skeptical this soft-tossing lefty will be of real value in the long run, particularly on a team that won't offer him many chances for wins, and I'm not particularly moved by his 1.48 ERA through five starts. But he also rates well by more reliable indicators of dominance such as xFIP (3.32) and swinging-strike rate (12.8 percent). If he can continue throwing his fastball only one-third of the time, relying more on his offspeed stuff, and begin going six-plus innings with more consistency, he could remain halfway useful.
Tommy Pham LF
CIN Cincinnati • #28 • Age: 34
In this environment, it doesn't take long for a hot hitter to rise to the level of must-add, and Tommy Pham may be in for such a rise. After going 3 for 4 with a home run and a double Tuesday, he's now batting .400 (12 for 30) with two homers and four doubles in his past eight games. Even more notable, he's in the 98th percentile for average exit velocity, making his quality of contact as good as it gets. He hasn't hit many line drives yet, which has helped to suppress his batting average, but with his speed and plate discipline, correction is coming on that front. He's a multi-faceted contributor who could quickly emerge as must-start, as he was just a couple years ago.
ARI Arizona • #53 • Age: 31
Why would you pick up a guy with a .163 batting average? Well, the way this season has gone, he's in good company. Also, the batted-ball metrics point to better days ahead. He homered and doubled Tuesday -- his first multi-hit game, huzzah! -- and given how hard he's impacting the ball on average (93rd percentile), it's no surprise he's up to six home runs already. So why is his batting average so low? He's hitting a ton of fly balls, which normally translate to outs when they don't go over the fence. I'm trusting a higher percentage of them do as the weather begins to heat up. He was a 29-homer guy in 2019, let's not forget.
WAS Washington • #29 • Age: 34
Looking a little deeper into the hitter pool, I kind of doubt this guy has the upside to factor in standard three-outfielder leagues, particularly if he continues to sit against lefties, but Yadiel Hernandez has a unique skill set that could make him a handy player in deeper categories leagues. Namely, he's a good bet for batting average, making consistent contact with an all-fields approach that makes him difficult to defend. He doesn't put the ball in the air much, which will limit his power production but should also work to the benefit of his batting average. He's 8 for 13 in his past three games.
KC Kansas City • #14 • Age: 26
How long we've waited for Edward Olivares to get an extended look in the majors. Adalberto Mondesi's torn ACL may have finally opened the door for him at age 26. He's started five of the Royals' seven games since the injury and went 4 for 5 with two doubles from the leadoff spot Tuesday. He's too old to consider a prospect, but his multi-faceted skill set has been on display in the minors the past few years. At Triple-A last year, Olivares hit .313 with 15 homers, 12 steals and a .956 OPS in just 67 games. At least in five-outfielder leagues, he's worth a shot.