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Let's get one thing straight: Your waiver wire today begins and ends with Joey Gallo.
He's that important. Since getting drafted by the Rangers in 2012, he has emerged as the minor leagues' best pure power hitter, having homered 40 times in 2013 and 42 times last year, and in more recent years has shown he's not completely all-or-nothing, batting .314 with a .425 on-base percentage at Double-A Frisco this year.
Are strikeouts a concern? Sure, and colleague Chris Towers did a nice job explaning the pitfalls of such a high strikeout rate. But ultimately, he concluded what I myself believe:
"His upside is so high that you can't risk someone else riding his 30 homers to a championship. In the end, you have to add him and ask questions later."
Is there a chance Gallo bombs in his first look in the majors and finds himself back in the minors two weeks from now? Absolutely -- a good chance. In fact, general manager Jon Daniels has stressed that Gallo's promotion is intended to be short-term, just until Adrian Beltre recovers from a sprained thumb. But I remember the Rangers saying something similar when Jurickson Profar, another big-time prospect, got the call as an injury replacement in 2013, and he ended up sticking around (with mostly underwhelming results, but still). Gallo could force the issue.
And forcing the issue for him could be something like what Giancarlo Stanton accomplished as a rookie in 2010, homering 22 times in 359 at-bats. Just the possibility of that sort of production is worth a roster spot, even it's ultimately a waste.
If we had some kind of forewarning of Gallo's promotion, you probably wouldn't even have this chance. He would be as widely stashed as Carlos Correa is. That's the kind of upside he has.
Joe Panik, 2B, Giants (60 percent owned)
Boy, the contrast between Gallo and this guy couldn't be any greater, right? We go from a player with seemingly limitless power to one known for his lack of power.
But Panik may be turning over a new leaf. He's not going to threaten for 20 home runs or anything, but right now he's on pace for a dozen along with 34 doubles. His .451 slugging percentage ranks seventh among all full-time second basemen, and while his contact rate is as high as you'd expect, he has also become a more patient hitter, actually outpacing Josh Donaldson in walks with 20.
Consequently, he ranks seventh among second basemen in Head-to-Head points leagues and 11th in Rotisserie. Granted, we're catching him at his hottest -- he's batting .364 (20 for 55) with two homers and five doubles in his last 14 games -- but as little as he strikes out, he shouldn't fall victim to prolonged slumps.
I'm thinking his performance is legitimate, and if that's the case, he's widely overlooked at what's still one of the weakest positions in Fantasy.
Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers (55 percent owned)
For all the anxiety over Alex Guerrero's playing time (or lack thereof), we've somehow overlooked the production of one of the players interfering with it -- a player who was once regarded as a Fantasy mainstay and is hardly washed up at 33.
Yes, Ethier appears to have rediscovered his form from 2008 to 2012, when he hit .288 with an average of 21 home runs and an .844 OPS, twice making the All-Star team and once ranking among the top 10 outfielders in Head-to-Head points leagues.
Granted, he has taken some lumps in recent years, but just when you think he's petering off this year, he comes roaring back with a stretch much like his last 10 games, during which he has hit .324 (11 for 34) with two home runs. His batting average hasn't dipped below .286 since becoming a regular April 25.
At some point, you just have to conclude he's back. Peripherally, he looks like the player he once was. And while Yasiel Puig is nearing a return, Carl Crawford is far from it. Ethier isn't coming out of the lineup any time soon.
Preston Tucker, OF, Astros (31 percent owned)
Speaking of not coming out of the lineup, Tucker has started nine of the last 10 games for the Astros, five of which have come against left-handed pitchers. That's notable because he bats left-handed. If he's getting that opportunity at this stage of his career -- and in the three-hole, no less -- the Astros must really like what they see.
And why wouldn't they? He's batting .308 with a .907 OPS in 20 games so far. He doesn't have a huge home run total, but he had 10 in 100 at-bats at Triple-A Fresno. Clearly, the power is there.
It's possible Colby Rasmus, who has been forced to split time with Jake Marisnick in center field, overtakes him again at some point, but the Astros' confidence in Tucker -- particularly at a time when they're looking to compete -- earns him the benefit of the doubt in five-outfielder leagues.