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Some of the players I've featured in this space recently continued to shine Wednesday (Randal Grichuk with another two hits, Anthony Santander with another home run) and remain just as available on the waiver wire today. But enough interesting things are happening that I'd rather not rehash the cases I've made for them. Instead, I'll simply refer you back to what I've already written.

I will make an exception for Taylor Ward, though, because he remains widely available still, rostered in just 40 percent of CBS Sports leagues, and because picking him up is no longer just a suggestion. It's a demand.

If you heard his name earlier this year, it was probably in a derogatory way. At 28, he had gotten his chances in the majors already, and yet manager Joe Maddon decided to award him an everyday job ahead of up-and-comers Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, who've been forced to platoon in left field. It seemed like an inexcusable nod to experience for experience's sake -- one that jeopardized the development of more talented players. Plus, unlike Adell and Marsh, we knew Ward wouldn't do any good for our Fantasy teams.

Yeah ... about that.

LAA L.A. Angels • #3 • Age: 28
2022 Stats
AVG
.395
HR
4
SB
1
AB
38
BB
11
K
9

He's been a wrecking ball so far. Since moving to the leadoff spot Monday -- ahead of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, making it arguably the most valuable lineup spot in baseball -- he has both a two-homer game and a near cycle, falling just a single short of the latter feat Wednesday.

It's not all about the lineup spot either. Maddon moved Ward up because of how well he was performing further down, particularly with regard to getting on base. It's something he long excelled at in the minors. In fact, now's a good time to remind you he excelled at everything in the minors, slashing .330/.439/.588 in 179 career games at Triple-A.

So what's changed for him in the majors? He says it's mostly a matter of mental approach.

"Honestly, it's something I feel like should've already been happening, but I'm here now," Ward said. "And I'm blessed to be here and just want to keep the blinders on and stay focused on this season."

To be fair, his previous chances were sporadic and without the firm commitment Maddon gave him at the start of this season. Only time will tell if it's a flash in the pan, but so far his Statcast page is lit up like a Christmas tree. He has a track record to support it, at least in the minors, and is in a prime spot to succeed. At this point, you can't afford to wait and see. Your shot at Ward is now or never.

Let's see who else is available ...

Possible waiver wire pickups
CHW Chi. White Sox • #25 • Age: 24
Rostered
76%
2022 Stats
AVG
.298
HR
4
OPS
.982
AB
47
BB
4
K
8
One of the few hitters who I'd pick up over Ward right now is Andrew Vaughn, who of course isn't as widely available but is available enough to mention here. Any hesitance to add him stems from playing-time concerns, which were real at the start of the season, but with Eloy Jimenez sidelined for maybe the next couple months with a hamstring strain, Vaughn has a chance to solidify his place in the lineup. He started for the fifth straight game Wednesday and seventh in the past eight, hitting a home run and a double. After a disappointing rookie season, the former top prospect is showing signs of a breakthrough, cutting down on his strikeouts and ranking in the top 10 percent in hard-hit rate.
PHI Philadelphia • #28 • Age: 25
Rostered
63%
2022 Stats
AVG
.333
HR
1
OPS
.837
AB
42
BB
6
K
7
Another disappointing player of pedigree last year, Alec Bohm has similarly played his way back into everyday duty, starting nine straight games and getting his primary competition, Bryson Stott, sent back to the minors. His strikeout rate is about half of what it was a year ago -- which is more in line with expectations, frankly -- and he's straight-up obliterating the ball right now, placing in the 97th percentile for average exit velocity. There's still some question as to whether he elevates enough to contribute in home runs, but his .366 xBA and .640 xSLG suggests he deserves even better than he's gotten so far. Most importantly, he plays third base.
TB Tampa Bay • #57 • Age: 26
Rostered
48%
Wednesday vs. Mariners
INN
6
H
2
ER
0
BB
1
K
9
Drew Rasmussen hadn't shown much in his previous three starts, but he was a different pitcher in this one, not only going six innings with a bunch of strikeouts but also piling up 19 swinging strikes. When I say he was a different pitcher, I mean it almost literally. Instead of leading with his fastball, he threw his cutter and slider a combined 68 percent of the time for 17 of those 19 swinging strikes. The two pitches played well off each other, the slider diving and the cutter refusing to, and you saw ugly swings up and down the Mariners lineup. It's a good approach if he can maintain it. Also worth noting is he had a 2.84 ERA as a hybrid starter/reliever last year.
MIN Minnesota • #26 • Age: 29
Rostered
46%
2022 Stats
AVG
.263
HR
4
OPS
.900
AB
57
BB
10
K
11
Max Kepler hasn't mattered much to Fantasy Baseball since his 36-homer 2019, but he's suddenly making noise again, hitting two home runs Wednesday to give him three in his past two games. It's unclear what's actually changed for him by the data -- if anything, he's putting the ball in the air less -- but his expected stats are better than we've seen in recent years. Both he and manager Rocco Baldelli made reference after the game to Kepler swinging with intent, which I interpret to mean taking more aggressive hacks at pitches in his wheelhouse. He's always had good contact skills, and we've seen him deliver big power numbers before. Could be something.
SD San Diego • #30 • Age: 32
Rostered
33%
2022 Stats
AVG
.410
HR
2
OPS
1.070
AB
61
BB
6
K
10
It's kind of amazing Eric Hosmer is so widely available given that his batting average hasn't dipped below .350 since opening day, but his year-to-year inconsistencies have earned him a healthy dose of skepticism. Plus, the hits were mostly singles, his success being largely BABIP-driven, but that's changed recently with him homering in back-to-back games. He isn't hitting the ball especially hard on average and is still putting it on the ground 55 percent of the time, which has long been his problem, but he's pulling it much more often, including in the air. It might help him get more out of the fly balls he does hit. If nothing else, you could roll with the hot hand and see where it goes.
MIA Miami • #55 • Age: 27
Rostered
31%
2022 Stats
SV
4
ERA
5.40
WHIP
1.20
INN
6.2
BB
2
K
4
Though Don Mattingly officially anointed him the closer at the start of the season, something you rarely see a manager do anymore, Anthony Bender looked like he might be on the outs with a blown save and two losses already. Tanner Scott recently got a save instead, reportedly because Bender was unavailable, and Dylan Floro, who closed down the stretch last year, is due back from the IL soon. But Bender recorded his second save in as many days Wednesday, this one of the four-out variety, and may be restoring Mattingly's confidence. He was the Marlins' best reliever last year, after all, so let's not put all our eggs in the Floro basket yet.