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Fantasy baseball waiver wire


First, I want to say the best, somewhat-available option for replacing Pujols is Justin Smoak. I've already written about him a few times, and a lot of you have caught on, so he's not as readily available as he once was. Just know that if you're a Pujols owner and Smoak is available in your league, stop reading now and grab him. If Smoak is already owned, then continue on with me as we hop aboard the Machine-Less Express.

Freddie Freeman, Braves -- At the first stop on the Machine-Less Express, we find Freeman, who has started to come on in the last month. On May 21 his OPS was a measly .696. Since then, he has hit three homers and 10 doubles, raising his OPS to .756 through Wednesday. Like Moreland, he has a BABIP that, at .341, seems a bit lucky on its face. Also like Moreland, he has been tattooing the ball, posting a 22.6 line-drive rate for the season, and is north of 30 percent in that category for the month of June. With a medium-term fill-in like any first baseman taking the place of Pujols will be, you absolutely need to grab a guy on the upswing. You're much better off judging him by what he has done in June as opposed to what he has done all year, especially if he did a ton of his damage in April. That's why Freeman and this next guy are worthy stopgaps for Pujols.

Mitch Moreland, Rangers -- Next, we head to Texas, where Moreland has posted a solid-if-not-spectacular, .294/.355/.489 through June 21. On its face, his .327 BABIP looks lucky, and while he likely has been a bit fortunate, he's also sporting a line-drive rate near 20 percent, so he has been hitting the ball hard. He's also in one of the best hitter's environments in the league, both in terms of lineup and home park.

Carlos Pena, Cubs -- The Machine-Less Express makes its final stop in Chicago, where Pena has started to do exactly what the Cubs expected of him. He isn't quite as available as Moreland or Freeman, but if he is he's a better bet than either to come close to replacing Pujols' power. In his last seven games, he has five homers and eight RBI, giving him six homers and 13 RBI in the month of June. At the end of April, his OPS was .175. As we sit here on June 21, it's up to .432. His terrible batting average gets all the attention, but his .352 OBP will help you if you're in an OBP league.

Mike Adams, Padres -- It's hard to believe that Heath Bell has survived as many trade deadlines as he has as a member of the Padres. Every year his name starts getting mentioned as a trade candidate once all the rumors start swirling and every year, he ends up sticking in San Diego. With the Padres 12 games under .500 and Bell in the last year of his contract, I fully expect the latter to change. Assuming Bell does get dealt, Adams would take over in the closer's chair, and there's no reason to expect the Padres would see any dip in performance in their stopper. Adams has been dominant this season, posting a 1.35 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 36 strikeouts against just four walks in 33.1 innings. As we get closer to the trade deadline and the talk surrounding Bell begins to intensify, Adams profile is going to rise. Grab him while you can.

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Andrew Miller, Red Sox -- The no-longer-a-prospect, post-hype guy is always one to take a look at, if for no other reason than the talent that once made him a darling is likely still there. Miller looked good in his first start for the Red Sox, even if a cursory look at the box score might indicate otherwise. Perhaps more importantly, he projects to make three starts before the All-Star break. His opponents? The Pirates, Astros and Orioles. Now is the time to buy in on Miller.

Garrett Jones, Pirates -- Jones is a possible Pujols replacement for reaching NL-only owners. He'll give you decent pop and might throw in a steal or two while Pujols is out.

Jon Jay, Cardinals -- Jay should be the main playing-time beneficiary with Pujols on the shelf. He's got average power and speed and a career .304/.360/.427 slash, although he has been very streaky.

Roger Bernadina, Nationals -- Bernadina will be starting every day with Rick Ankiel on the DL. In the last week, he's 12-for-27 with three homers, seven RBI and a steal.

Carlos Villanueva, Blue Jays -- After surrendering five runs in five innings to the White Sox in his second start, Villanueva has allowed 11 runs in 25.1 innings, going 2-1 in that span.

Carlos Carrasco -- In his last three starts, Carrasco has allowed one run while striking out 17 and walking five in 21.2 innings.