Need some help in your fantasy league? We all do at some point during the season. Lead fantasy sports writer Michael Beller provides his best waiver wire additions this week. All players are available in at least 60 percent of leagues.
Drew Smyly, Rays (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $10): Smyly, who has been sidelined since May with a partial tear in his labrum, will throw a simulated game on Tuesday. If all goes well, he’ll go on a rehab assignment. He’s still about a month away from returning, even on the most optimistic timeline, but he can be a major help for a playoff-bound owner when he’s back on the mound.
Aaron Nola, Phillies (Mixed: $5, NL-only: $14): Nola, the Phillies top prospect, will make his major league debut on Tuesday. He split his time between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season, posting a 2.39 ERA and 92 strikeouts against 18 walks in 109 1/3 innings. He’s not 2013 Jose Fernandez, but he should be owned across the board heading into his first start.
Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks (Mixed: $2, NL-only: $10): The 23-year-old Ray has had a couple nice starts in a row, allowing a total of two runs with 12 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. In 55 frames this season, he has a 2.29 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 1.07 WHIP and 46 strikeouts against 12 walks. He’s not a matchup-proof guy, but he’s worth a shot in deeper leagues.
Rafael Soriano, Cubs (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $14): Soriano should join the Cubs bullpen after a likely brief stint with Triple-A Iowa. Once he’s with the big league club, he could very well take over as the team’s closer. That potential alone is worth adding him now.
Jason Motte, Cubs (Mixed: $5, NL-only: $13): Until Soriano officially takes over the closer, however, Motte appears to be the man in the chair. He has been very good since the end of May, converting his last four save opportunities, allowing two runs with six strikeouts in nine innings.
Jenrry Mejia, Mets (Mixed: $1, NL-only: $6): Mejia’s back in the Mets bullpen after missing nearly the entire first half of the season due to injury and suspension. You should only consider him if you’re in a deep league, and likely only in ones that include holds as a category, but he can be an asset in such leagues.
Justin Bour, Marlins (Mixed: $4, NL-only: $16): Bour has had a nice season to date, hitting .267/.342/.489 with 10 homers and 28 RBI. He has really struggled against lefties, but the Marlins are giving him the chance to prove he can be their everyday first baseman.
Danny Espinosa, Nationals (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $15): Espinosa provides a ton of flexibility since he’s eligible at first, third, second and short, and he started turning it on right before the All-Star break. Given that flexibility and regular spot in the Washington lineup, he should really be owned universally in leagues that have middle and corner infield spots.
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers (Mixed: $1, NL-only: $11): Ramirez’ days as a top fantasy third baseman are long gone, but he can still provide some pop at a relatively shallow position. He could be on the move by July 31, so be careful with him in NL-only leagues.
Rougned Odor, Rangers (Mixed: $7, AL-only: $18): It’s a surprise that Odor is still as available as he is, given all the hype that has surrounded him for the last few seasons. He has been swinging the bat well since coming back from the minors, hitting .261/.335/.433 with five homers and five steals.
Yunel Escobar, Nationals (Mixed: $2, NL-only: $12): Escobar was dealing with a hamstring issue right before the All-Star break, but he went 6-for-13 in his last three games before the break, and 3-for-5 in the first one after it. Like his teammate Espinosa, he provides major flexibility in leagues that start corner and middle infield spots.
Delino DeShields, Rangers (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $14): DeShields continues to do what he does best, and that’s score runs and steal bases. In 203 plate appearances, he has scored 37 times and swiped 15 bags. He also brings stability in the rate categories, hitting .276 with a .367 OBP.
Nori Aoki, Giants (Mixed: $14, NL-only: $26): Aoki had a CT scan over the weekend that showed his fractured fibula is nearly completely healed. He’s on track to return before the end of the month, though he will go on a short rehab assignment before joining the Giants. He’s hitting .317 with a .383 OBP and 12 steals on the season.
Adam Eaton, White Sox (Mixed: $3, AL-only: $10): Eaton has finally started to get going on the plate in the last few weeks, hitting for of his seven homers on the year in the last 16 games. Ignore the season-long numbers and ride out his hot stretch. It could be the sign of a turnaround.
Kyle Schwarber, Cubs (Mixed: $12, NL-only: $26): The Cubs recalled Schwarber after placing Miguel Montero on the DL, and the rookie promptly went 3-for-4 in his first game back in the majors. He’s not going to play everyday, but he has already proved himself at the plate in his brief time with the Cubs this year. Get him now if you can.