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: $6, AL-only: $12): Smyly will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday as he continues to work his way back from a minor labrum tear. Assuming all goes well in the minors, he should rejoin the Tampa Bay rotation sometime in mid-August. He had a 2.70 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings before suffering the injury.
Kyle Hendricks, Cubs (Mixed: $2, NL-only: $10): Hendricks has put together a few useful outings in a row, going four consecutive starts allowing one run or zero runs before allowing five to the Reds (but struck out nine batters). He’ll start twice next week, taking on the Rockies (in Chicago) and Brewers.
Mike Leake, Reds (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $11): Leake has been great in his last three trips to the mound, allowing a total of two runs while fanning 18 batters in 22 innings. Leake is one of the hottest commodities on the trade market and could be freed from the Great American Ballpark banbox by the end of the week. If he’s still on the Reds on Tuesday, the ground-ball specialist will take on the Cardinals.
Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays (Mixed: $2, AL-only: $7): The Blue Jays activated Sanchez over the weekend, and the rookie will now work out of the bullpen. Based purely on talent, he’s probably the best pitcher in the pen for Toronto. That could land him in the closer role sooner rather than later. If you have a roster spot to play with, roll the dice on Sanchez.
Ken Giles, Phillies (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $9): Giles has probably appeared in this space more than anyone this season. The trade deadline looms, and the Phillies are still working hard to find a taker for Jonathan Papelbon. If they’re successful, Giles will take over as their closer.
Jeremy Jeffress, Brewers (Mixed: $2, NL-only: $5): The Brewers have made Francisco Rodriguez available, and he’s likely to draw plenty of interest from teams in playoff contention. Should the Brewers deal him, Jeffress is the odds-on-favorite to become the new closer in Milwaukee.
Trevor Plouffe, Twins (Mixed: $8, AL-only: owned): Plouffe homered in consecutive games last week to up his total to 14 on the year. There are justifiable reasons why he’s widely available, but he’s slugging .459 and has 54 RBI and 48 runs on the year. He also brings eligibility at both first and third.
Kelly Johnson, Mets (Mixed: $5, NL-only: owned): Johnson played his way into a playoff race, earning himself a trade to the Mets last week. He’ll likely be the team’s primary starter at third base with David Wright on the shelf, and should hit in the middle of the order. Johnson is hitting .277/.322/.463 with 10 homers this year.
Tyler Saladino, White Sox (Mixed: $2, AL-only: $7): Those of you in deep leagues may want to give Saladino a look. He’s regularly starting at third and hitting second for the White Sox, and is 15-for-49 in his first 12 games. The 26-year-old struggled in the minors this year, but he hit .310/.367/.483 at Triple-A Charlotte last season.
Cesar Hernandez, Phillies (Mixed: $3, NL-only: owned): Hernandez continues to get on base and steal bags, and that should keep him in the good graces of the fantasy community. His batting average is down to .273, but he still has a .357 OBP and 13 steals in 265 plate appearances.
Javier Baez, Cubs (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $10): Baez is working his way back from a broken finger, and is expected to be back on the field by early August. He appeared to be nearing a promotion right before he suffered the injury, and could still make a fantasy impact in deeper leagues.
Delino DeShields, Rangers (Mixed: $4, AL-only: owned): DeShields hasn’t been the most consistent player this year, but he has done enough to warrant more looks from fantasy owners. Second basemen with the ability to steal at least another 10 bases this year aren’t exactly easy to find.
Nori Aoki, Giants (Mixed: $5, NL-only: $15): Aoki is expected to rejoin the Giants on Monday for their series opener with the Brewers. The 33-year-old is having the best year of his career, slashing .317/.383/.385 with 12 steals and 33 runs.
Michael Conforto, Mets (Mixed: $3, NL-only: $12): The Mets promoted Conforto, their top hitting prospect, last week. He raked at Double-A Binghamton this year, hitting .312/.396/.503 in 197 plate appearances. The 22-year-old never played at Triple-A so there will be some growing pains, but he can be useful in all fantasy formats.
David Peralta, Diamondbacks (Mixed: $5, NL-only: owned): Like Aoki, Peralta is simply another outfielder quietly having a strong season that should be getting him more notice from the fantasy community. He’s hitting .269/.342/.485 with nine homers in a prime spot in the middle of the Arizona lineup.