Friday's MLB trade deadline, as we wait for one or two potentially landscape altering moves that could uncover quite a bit of value on the Fantasy baseball waiver wire. So far, the deals have tended to the smaller end, though there have been a few intriguing names to move in some of the minor deals we've seen so far.
When the Padres acquired Adam Frazier from the Pirates, they sent back infielder Tucupita Marcano, a 21-year-old hitting .272/.367/.444 with more walks than strikeouts in Triple-A this season. It's not yet clear if Marcano will join the Pirates or get more seasoning in the minors, but considering his advanced approach at the plate and multiple seasons with 15 steals in the minors, he could be worth a look in deeper leagues if and when he makes it back to the big leagues.
And then Monday the Yankees made a minor trade in acquiring pitcher Clay Holmes from the Pirates. Holmes is unlikely to have much Fantasy appeal in a stacked Yankees bullpen, but Hoy Jun Park, sent back to the Pirates, could. The Yankees didn't expect much from him -- he was designated for assignment after appearing in just one game in the majors this season -- but what he's done in the minors makes him worth putting on your radar. In 58 games between Double-A and Triple-A, Park has hit .307/.452/.530 with more walks than strikeouts, and he's been even better in Triple-A.
As with Marcano, it's not clear what the Pirates plans are for Park, but his 11 homers and 11 steals make him a pretty intriguing sleeper if he does get the call. And, with the team in the middle of another rebuild, don't be surprised if he does get a chance relatively soon. Keep him on your radars, especially in NL-only leagues, where he's just joining the player pool.
We'll see bigger names and more impactful deals in the coming days, but those are worth keeping in mind right now. If you're looking for more immediate impact, here are the top waiver-wire options to consider coming out of Monday's action:
Jorge Soler RF
ATL Atlanta • #12 • Age: 29
How poorly was Jorge Soler's season going before his recent run of six homers in as many games? Even after this stretch, where he has gone 7 for 20 with the seven homers, he still has an ugly .195/.289/.376 line for the season. It's been hard to pinpoint just why things have gone so poorly for Soler, whose strikeout rate is in line with his breakout 2019 season while he continues to hit the ball just about as hard as anyone in the game. Digging into the numbers a bit, it seems like his swing has just been a bit off for most of the season -- he's traded productive line drives for unproductive higher-launch angle fly balls, leading to bother a lower BABIP and fewer homers. If he's starting to lock in, we know how hot Soler can get; he homered 25 times in 71 games after the All-Star break in 2019. This stretch is no guarantee he has figured it out, but it's worth betting on if all it costs you is some late-season FAB money.
MIN Minnesota • #8 • Age: 30
Maybe 2020 was the outlier for Mitch Garver? He's hitting about as well as he did in 2019, and he's picked up right where he left off since coming back from the IL. After going 2 for 3 Monday, he is 4 for 10 with two homers and two doubles in four games, with no strikeouts on his ledger. His underlying batted-ball numbers largely back up his .911 OPS, and while I wouldn't expect him to continue to hit quite that well, you have to view him as a must-roster catcher at this point. He's been too good.
Joe Ross SP
WAS Washington • #41 • Age: 28
It's hard to quite make sense of why Joe Ross has pitched so well of late, but it sure was nice to see him come back from the IL Monday and pick up where he left off. He shut the Phillies out over five innings in a no decision and now has a 2.37 ERA with 44 strikeouts and only six walks in 38 innings over his past six starts. Ross' velocity has been up in that stretch -- and that continued Monday, showing no ill effects from the elbow inflammation that landed him on the IL -- and his control has been impeccable, though you'd like to see more swinging strikes to back up the strikeout rate. Still, it's worth adding him where available to see if he can keep this up -- especially in points leagues, where he is RP eligible.
Kyle Muller SP
ATL Atlanta • #66 • Age: 23
Muller continues to get results, and I continue to be skeptical of this being sustainable. He limited the Mets to just four hits in five scoreless innings Monday in a win, but he did so with just three strikeouts while also walking two. Since his nine-strikeout effort on June 27, Muller has 13 strikeouts to nine walks in 14.2 innings, and it's awfully hard to succeed in the majors like that. On the other hand, Muller is just 23 and pitching in the majors for the first time, and he has done a very good job of limiting damage on balls in play -- a .335 expected wOBA on contact, compared to a .363 league average mark -- and his slider and curveball have both shown potential as swing-and-miss offerings. Muller could be better than his surface numbers might make you think, and if you're in a deeper league where he's available, he's worth adding to see if he can make things click, because he can be pretty good if they do.