After failing to make a major league team in 2020, Hicks spent the start of this season at AAA (.264 over 110 at-bats with three home runs, 17 RBI, and four steals). When the Rangers needed an injury replacement at catcher, Hicks took advantage of his opportunity over the past 10 days (7-for-19 with six runs, four home runs, and six RBI). In 2018 and 2019, he hit .234 over 607 at-bats, with the Tigers leading to 64 runs, 22 home runs, and 67 RBI. Hicks only works as C2 in formats while his bat is hot.
The window to add Kirk in shallow leagues should close after the All-Star break when the Blue Jays activate him from the injured list. He has a six-game hitting streak (7-for-18 with three runs, one home run, and three RBI) at AAA.
A couple of injuries in Miami helped Cooper see a bump in playing time over the past 10 days. He has 14 hits over his previous 31 at-bats with six runs, three home runs, seven RBI, and one steal. Over 501 at-bats with the Marlins in 2019 and 2020, Cooper hit .281 with 72 runs, 21 home runs, and 70 RBI. He is better than a replacement player, but he needs to be in the lineup every day.
Rays called up Brujan this week after a productive start to his season at AAA (.259 with 37 runs, nine home runs, 29 RBI, and 15 stolen bases over 189 at-bats). He has one hit over his first six at-bats with one run, one RBI, and a steal. His edge comes in speed, making him a buy-and-hold for fantasy owners looking to make up ground in stolen bases. However, Brujan needs to hit his way into more playing time.
Over the past week, Garcia started to find his rhythm at the plate (.381 with five runs, two home runs, nine RBI over 21 at-bats). His ceiling is relatively low, pointing to only a fill-in role in 15-team leagues. Garcia has speed on his resume, but he only has two steals over 228 at-bats this year.
The Braves added Arcia to the major league roster early this week after playing at a high level at AAA (.303 with 41 runs, 13 home runs, 28 RBI, and five steals over 201 at-bats). The injury to Ronald Acuna opens up a better starting opportunity. Since his call-up on July 4th, he has seven hits over 20 at-bats with three runs, one home run, five RBI, and one steal. Arcia looks improved while trending toward a 20/15 type player. He should be picked up in all formats.
The waiver wire retread at third base this week is Castro. His power stroke remains missing in action (three home runs over 308 at-bats), but he has a 13-game hitting streak (20-for-54 with eight runs, one home run, and 11 RBI). Castro is worth a ride while being a free agent in 63 percent of 12-team leagues in the high-stakes market. I expect a bump in power over the second half of the season.
After a quiet 21 at-bats with Cleveland (.190 with three runs), Mercado flashed over his past three starts (5-for-11 with two runs, one home run, four RBI, and two steals). His window to start came from an injury to Eddie Rosario. If he continues to hit, the centerfield job remains up for grabs. In 2019 in the majors, Mercado .269 over 438 at-bats with 70 runs, 15 home runs, 54 RBI, and 15 steals, creating intrigue with his potential fantasy value. Only a short-term flier unless his bat has follow-through.
Gamel saw his eight-game hitting streak (11-for-27 with nine runs, four home runs, and eight RBI) end on Saturday. He’s been in the Pirates' starting lineup in 12 of their last 13 games. His long-term risk comes from a high strikeout rate (25.7), which is an improvement over his path in 2019 and 2020 (29.6). Gamel only fills an at-bat hole until a better option comes along.
Jimenez may only be found in the free-agent pool in shallow leagues with short benches. The White Sox cleared him for baseball activities this week, putting him on a path to return at the end of the month.
With the status of Trevor Bauer in flux and Clayton Kershaw developing a forearm injury over the previous week, the Dodgers will stretch Price out to move him back into the starting rotation. In his last start, he tossed three shutout innings with three strikeouts while throwing 51 pitches. Price has a 2.00 ERA and 29 strikeouts over his past 27 innings. He’ll need at least two starts to reach five innings. Any starter for the Dodgers should be attractive going forward.
McKenzie made a spot start on Friday night after spending four starts at AAA (3.94 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, and 19 strikeouts over 16 innings). He threw seven shutout innings with one hit with one walk and nine strikeouts. Despite being tough to hit (.170 BAA) in the majors this season, McKenzie battled his command (40 walks over 49.1 innings), leading to eight home runs allowed and crooked stats (5.47 ERA and 1.40 WHIP). Talent arm, but he does have risk/reward until he throws more strikes.
After missing a month at AA with blister issues, Lodolo returned to the mound on July 6th. He pitched two no-hit shutout innings with one strikeout. His arm has been electric over his first 32 innings (0.84 ERA with 19 hits, six walks, and 46 strikeouts). At age 23, his time is now to be the majors, and the Reds could use him down the stretch.