It's blast-from-the-past time here in your Wednesday edition of Waiver Wire.
Danny Salazar is on the verge of making a contribution for the first time in two years. Sean Manaea for the first time in one. Adam Duvall already is, his four-hit, two-homer game Tuesday raising his batting average to a sleek .529.
Meanwhile, the Rangers' former closer is about to become their current closer, and we all have reason to be excited about Zac Gallen again.
Let's look at the advisable pickups from across baseball:
Zac Gallen SP
ARI Arizona • #23 • Age: 27
One of my biggest regrets so far this season was declaring Zac Gallen droppable after his first five starts, saying he had no chance of winning games for a bad Marlins team if he was never allowed to go six innings -- something he hadn't done up to the point. A quarter of you may still have a chance to right that wrong. Since my hasty recommendation, he has gone not just six, but seven innings not just once, but twice. This includes Tuesday's outing in which he allowed two earned runs with eight strikeouts. The control that helped propel him to a 1.77 ERA in 14 starts at Triple-A hasn't been quite as advertised, but he releases the ball at a weird angle with a high-spin fastball that doesn't move in a conventional way. He's showing his upside, and you don't write off upside in this pitching environment.
CLE Cleveland • #31 • Age: 33
Danny Salazar hasn't appeared in a major-league game since 2017, having undergone surgery to repair a perpetually sore shoulder, but he's set to rejoin the Indians rotation Thursday after completing an impressive rehab assignment in which he struck out 28 in 17 1/3 innings. Most recently, he threw four one-hit innings for Triple-A Columbus, so he's not quite stretched out to handle a starter's workload yet. The plan is for him to continue the buildup on the fly, though, and while the velocity readings aren't as high, he's showing enough bat-missing potential to suggest he could recapture a portion of what he once was, which would be more valuable than ever in a pitching-thin environment.
Jose Leclerc RP
TEX Texas • #25 • Age: 29
The Rangers' designated closer Shawn Kelley is on the IL, sidelined for an indefinite period of time by a sore biceps. Chris Martin was the presumptive favorite to replace him, but then the Rangers traded him to the Braves Tuesday. It leaves Jose Leclerc, who electrified as the closer down the stretch last year, as the one obvious choice for saves. He blew a save Sunday but deserves a pass given that he was pitching for the fourth time in five days, and it's true he's been much better since the start of May, compiling a 3.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 14.1 K/9 in 36 appearances.
Sean Manaea SP
SF San Francisco • #52 • Age: 31
If your in-season strategy at starting pitcher is, like mine, chase upside wherever it shows up, then you'd be wise not to ignore either Salazar or Sean Manaea, who himself was recently regarded as a Fantasy mainstay but has also been written off because of a shoulder injury. Yes, it's a difficult recovery and pitchers often lose something stuff-wise, but Manaea struck out eight over six three-hit innings in the heavy-hitting Pacific Coast League Tuesday. He's looking at maybe one more rehab start before the Athletics activate him, and there's no harm in stashing him in an IL spot in the meantime.
MIL Milwaukee • #16 • Age: 28
Josh VanMeter was out of the lineup for the first time in six games Tuesday, but it may be the last time for the foreseeable future now that the Reds have dealt Yasiel Puig to the Indians. With VanMeter making his presence known over the past week, going 10 for 19 with three homers, two doubles and two strikeouts, manager David Bell had to find creative ways to get him in the lineup, but now it should be pretty straightforward. And now that we have reason to believe the surprise breakthrough's .348 batting average and 1.097 OPS at Triple-A this year may indeed have legitimacy, he should be of interest to Fantasy players.
Adam Duvall CF
BOS Boston • #18 • Age: 34
The Braves seem fully committed to using Nick Markakis' broken wrist as a chance to reacclimate Adam Duvall, a two-time 30-homer man for the Reds who didn't take well to a part-time role last year and has spent this year beating up on Triple-A pitching. They could just turn back to rookie Austin Riley, but instead, they've started Duvall in five straight. And he rewarded their trust with a four-hit, two-homer game Tuesday, giving him three home runs since his return and 32 home runs in 364 at-bats between the majors and minors this year. There probably isn't a great need for home runs out there, but if he has the playing time, he's a proven source of them.