- The fantasy baseball waiver wire remains deep at multiple positions, especially outfield.
Earlier this week, we took a deep dive into Ketel Marte’s turnaround in June. The Diamondbacks’ second baseman has been among the best hitters in the majors this month, helping his team climb back to the top of the NL West standings. Paul Goldschmidt is getting more attention, but Marte’s surge has been just as important.
Marte has played two games since we published that story. His line in those two games? He's 3-for-11 with a homer, three RBI and three runs. Marte is now hitting .324/.373/.706 with five homers and 18 RBI in June. He has a better batting average than Freddie Freeman, better OBP than Marcell Ozuna and better slugging percentage than Nolan Arenado. Jose Ramirez and George Springer are both looking up at him on the homer leaderboard in the month, and he has more extra-base hits in June than Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz. Marte has driven in more runs this month than noted run producers J.D. Martinez and Khris Davis. His 1.1 fWAR in the month ranks ninth.
Marte was a popular breakout pick this season after he seemed to figure things out last season. He responded to an early-season demotion, hitting .338/.391/.514 at Triple-A Reno. It took him two months to get going this season, but it seems he has finally put it all together. With fantasy elgibility at second base and shortstop, he can provide help at two of the game’s more common problem spots. Now is the time to grab him. He won’t be so widely available for much longer.
With that, let’s get to the rest of the Waiver Wire.
Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates
Meadows quickly turned himself into a regular for the Pirates, forcing Gregory Polanco to the bench against most lefties. The rookie is hitting .343/.370/.588 with five homers, six doubles and 11 RBI this season. The on-pace game is generally silly, but it’s worth noting that Meadows is playing to a 162-game pace of 28 homers, 73 extra-base hits and 61 RBI. That he’s still so available is a stunner. He should be owned in nearly every league.
Matt Chapman, 3B, A’s
Chapman hit far too many waiver wires when the A’s placed him on the DL with a hand injury. A recent MRI of the hand showed no structural damage, so he shouldn’t spend too much time on the shelf. The 25-year-old is hitting .250/.346/.447 with 10 homers, 12 doubles and 26 RBI in 280 plate appearances. This is easily a starting third baseman in all competitive fantasy formats, not someone who should be available in 60% of leagues.
Jon Jay, OF, Diamondbacks
Jay continues to hit everything in sight as a member of the Diamondbacks. After going hitless in his first 17 plate appearances with his new team, he’s 18-for-43 with a homer, three doubles and three walks in his last 10 games. He has raised his slash line to .311/.378/.392 from .292/.358/.356 in that time, all while setting the table for Paul Goldschmidt, Ketel Marte and the rest of the middle of Arizona’s order. So long as he’s getting on base at this rate, he’s going to be a significant two-category weapon in all fantasy formats.
Delino DeShields, OF, Rangers
DeShields’ path to fantasy relevance is pretty simple. He needs to get on base enough to take advantage of his speed and keep himself at the top of the Rangers’ order. If he does that, he can be lethal in steals, while providing value in runs and both of the primary rate categories, batting average and OBP. He’s finally doing that, going 11-for-30 with six walks in nine games since June 9. He has taken full advantage of all those times on base, swiping three bags and scoring nine runs in that time.
Matt Davidson, 1B/3B, White Sox
We’ve talked about Davidson mostly every week in this space, so we don’t need to completely detail his charms. He’s a high-walk hitter with good pop, belting 13 homers, driving in 26 runs and amassing a .342 OBP in 240 plate appearances. There should be in owner in nearly every fantasy league who could use such a player.
Avisail Garcia, OF, White Sox
Garcia returned from the DL on Friday, going 1-for-4 in his first game back. He spent two months on the shelf with a hamstring injury, but jumped right back to the top of the White Sox’ order, where he should remain for the rest of the season. Garcia enjoyed a breakout season last year, hitting .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers, 27 doubles and 80 RBI.
Scott Schebler, OF, Reds
Schebler has righted the ship after a bad April, hitting .353/.389/.588 with three homers and eight RBI in 72 plate appearances in June. That has his season-long slash line up to .281/.347/.473, to go along with nine homers, 12 doubles and 28 RBI. He’s expected to miss the rest of the Reds’ weekend series with the Cubs while on the bereavement list, but will be back at some point next week.
Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
If you’ve got a roster spot to play with, now might be the time to stash Jimenez. The 21-year-old just earned a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte after raking at Double-A Birmingham to the tune of a .317/.368/.556 slash line with 10 homers and 15 doubles. We are absolutely going to see him in a White Sox uniform at some point this season, and while that might not be until we get closer to the July 31 trade deadline, he’s still worth considering now. Jimenez is likely to be an impact fantasy player on the day he arrives in the majors.
Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers
Pederson has put the his dreadful start to the season in the rear-view mirror, hitting .359/.405/1.103 with eight homers and 11 RBI in June. What’s more, he has forced himself back into Dave Roberts’ lineup on a basis consistent enough to be a consideration in all fantasy formats once again. Strikeouts are likely to remain an issue, but during this hot streak he has fanned in just 9.5% of his plate appearances. It was just two years ago that Pederson hit 25 homers with a .246/.352/.495 slash line. He is showing signs of getting back to being that player.
Jason Heyward, OF, Cubs
Back on May 4, Heyward reached a low point this season. After going 0-for-4 in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, he was hitting .218/.310/.345 with five extra-base hits. He has completely turned around his season, and possibly his tenure with the Cubs, since then, slashing .322/.363/.478 with two homers, eight doubles, 16 RBI and eight walks against 10 strikeouts in 30 games. Not only has he solidified his regular spot in the lineup on a deep Cubs roster, he has hit second in every game he has started since May 31. He has proved himself worthy of a shot in nearly all fantasy formats.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Blue Jays
Grichuk enters play Saturday hitting .197/.273/.441 in 143 plate appearances this season. I fully understand that those numbers do not jump off the page. Consider, however, that on June 2 he carried a .099/.195/.211 slash line. Since hitting rock bottom, Grichuk has slashed .321/.377/.732 with six homers and 15 RBI.
Matt Duffy, 2B/3B, Rays
Duffy quietly has been one of the best players on the Rays this season, hitting .321/.363/.440 with four homers, 14 doubles, four steals and 22 RBI in 251 plate appearances. Duffy missed all of last year and half of 2016 due to injury, but recall that he hit .295/.334/.428 with 12 homers, 28 doubles, 12 steals, 77 RBI and 77 runs in 2015. He can provide fantasy owners with across-the-board production while qualifying at two of the tougher positions in the game.
Mike Montgomery, SP/RP, Cubs
Montgomery had another successful start his last time out, allowing one run on five hits in six innings against the Dodgers. He did walk four batters, but he managed to get himself out of trouble by keeping the ball in the ballpark. Montgomery has now made five starts for the Cubs this season, pitching to a 1.21 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 29 2/3 innings. He has just 19 strikeouts, but it’s looking like he’ll remain in the rotation when Yu Darvish returns from the DL.
Zach Eflin, SP, Phillies
Eflin was effective again his last time out, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk in five innings against the Nationals, earning his fifth win of the season. He struck out five in the start, his third straight outing striking out at least a batter per inning. He now has a 3.44 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 1.17 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings this season.
Pedro Strop, RP, Cubs
Steve Cishek, RP, Cubs
Brandon Morrow hit the DL earlier this week with one of the strangest injuries this season, tweaking a muscle in his back while taking off his pants. The Cubs don’t expect the injury to be serious, but Strop and Cishek could provide short-term value to fantasy owners in need of saves. Joe Maddon likely won’t land on one closer while Morrow is out, but both Strop and Cishek figure to be in the mix.