Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Second half adds who can help down stretch and in the playoffs
Heath Cummings gives you five players to add for the stretch run of the Fantasy Baseball season.
While the second half of the baseball season technically started on Thursday, it starts for everyone but the Cardinals and Cubs on Friday. And it's time for you to start thinking about the stretch run.
We're rapidly approaching the end of the regular season in many points leagues, so it's all about getting to the playoffs and dominating once you're there. In Rotisserie, it's past time to start studying your spot in the category standings. Find the places you can make a quick jump up the standings and then find the players who will help you make that move.
There should be a little something for all of you in the five players below.
Remember when Jesse Winker had a nice profile, good plate discipline, but absolutely no power? You'd be forgiven if you don't because he's crushed the ball ever since. Since hitting his first home run on May 24, Winker has a .341/.461/.556 slash line. While it wouldn't be fair to expect that the rest of the year, we are talking about a hitter who has more walks than strikeouts, a 45 percent hard contact rate and a 25 percent line drive rate.
Winker will play every day now that Scott Schebler is on the DL, and quite frankly, he should when Schebler returns as well. He's not yet 25 years old and he's posted a .370 wOBA in 455 major league plate appearances. I won't be totally surprised if he gives us a .300/.400/.500 line in the second half. How often do you find that on the waiver wire?
Tired of hearing about Jake Bauers? Get his ownership above 70 percent and I won't have to yell about him anymore.
A lot of the things I said about Winker are true about Bauers -- a lot of walks and outstanding batted ball data. He's been a must-start first-base option in points leagues since he arrived in the majors, and his outfield eligibility makes him a must in five-outfielder category leagues as well. But there are differences between Bauers and Winker, too.
Bauers strikes out more often than Winker, though his minor-league numbers suggest that may not continue. He also runs more, with 12 stolen bases across Triple-A and the majors this year. Finally, there may be more power potential for Bauers, who is still just 22 years old.
Unless you're in a 10-team categories league that only starts three outfielders, you need to make room for Bauers.
We knew coming into the year Joe Musgrove would be an interesting option in points leagues because of his SPARP eligibility. But an injury delayed his Pirates debut until late-May and he fell under the radar. But looking at Musgrove's numbers through nine starts suggests there may be something to be excited about other than him being a SPARP.
In 53 innings this year, it looks like Murgrove has taken his velocity jump as reliever and kept at least some of it as a starter. His 4.08 ERA and 8.49 K/9 are both acceptable for a starting pitcher regardless of his eligibility. If the .331 BABIP normalizes, we should see his 1.38 WHIP drop with it, which could make him an acceptable starter in category leagues as well. At the very least, Musgrove is a must-start as a relief pitcher in a points league.
As I'm sure you've heard by now, the Padres traded Brad Hand to the Indians, and of that trade already so I'll be brief. If you're playing in a categories league and you're not comfortably in first place in saves, Kirby Yates is an add.
Yates has been phenomenal the past two seasons with 13.0 K/9 and a 1.02 WHIP since arriving in San Diego. There is some risk that he gets traded as well, but it's worth that risk to get him on your roster in a categories league now.
This column is a little light on steals. If your roster is as well, Adalberto Mondesi could be the fix. Mondesi is getting ready to turn 23 years old, and there are signs he may finally be ready for the major leagues. The former top prospect has shown more pop than he ever has in the majors, but his main skill is still speed. In 2016 he stole 33 bases in 99 games across multiple levels. As terrible as he's been as a major-league hitter, he has 19 career steals in 93 games.
If you're wondering about a ceiling, start with his .292/.328/.527 slash line with 36 steals in 128 games at Triple-A. Mondesi could really help your squad as a middle infielder in the second half.
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