- The players fantasy managers should be targeting on the waiver wire.
The last Waive Hello of the first half will serve as the first Waive Hello of the second. With that in mind, we’ll eschew our usual process here, and instead dive right into the quick hitters to ensure that they players we discuss as waiver wire targets before the All-Star break are still targets after the break.
All players have ownership rates of 40% or lower in at least two of Yahoo, ESPN or CBS leagues.
Jason Heyward, OF, Cubs
Heyward’s production has ebbed and flowed during the first half, but he’s been quietly productive for those who have bought into him in fantasy leagues. He’s hitting .270/.361/.466 with 14 homers and 37 RBI, turning himself into an everyday player in what was expected to be a crowded Cubs outfield. If you can live with the inevitable lulls, he’s well worth a shot in most fantasy formats.
Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates
Here we are again, forced to beat the drum for a guy who’s going to finish in the top three in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Reynolds has had an excellent first half, hitting .338/.403/.521 with six homers, 17 doubles and 29 RBI in 238 plate appearances. I don’t have access to the waiver wire rolls in every league, but I’d be willing to bet that he’s the very best player available in at least 75% of leagues where he’s still languishing on the wire.
Yandy Diaz, 1B/3B, Rays
Diaz is heading into the All-Star break on a hot streak, going 26-for-73 with two homers, eight doubles and 10 RBI in his last 79 plate appearances. That translates to a slash line of .356/.392/.548. Before his run, he was hitting .247/.344/.476. He goes into the final weekend of the first half with a .282/.357/.492 slash line.
Eric Sogard, 2B/SS, Blue Jays
Sogard’s .305/.376/.495, nine-homer season to date defies explanation. We don’t need to explain it, though, to appreciate it or benefit from it in fantasy leagues. He’s leading off every day for a Toronto lineup that is starting to coalesce around it’s young talent. The 33-year-old Sogard may not fit that last part, but he’s proving himself a valuable player in all fantasy formats.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Rays
Kevin Pillar, OF, Giants
I grouped these two outfielders together because they share traits beyond a first name and elite gloves. They both offer a power-speed combo that transcends their rate issues. Kiermaier has 10 homers and 15 steals in 291 plate appearances, while Pillar is at 12 dingers and eight swipes in 335 trips to the plate. They aren’t a fit for every fantasy team, but if you’re doing alright in your rate categories, the counting-stat upside they offer is worth adding.
Leury Garcia, SS/OF, White Sox
Garcia has flown underneath the radar the entire first half, even with the White Sox exceeding expectations and looking like they might be a year ahead of schedule. The 28-year-old outfielder is hitting .301/.335/.405 with five homers, 17 doubles, eight steals and 24 RBI in 327 plate appearances. He’s been playing shortstop in Tim Anderson’s absence, as well, and has added eligibility there in many leagues.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Diamondbacks
Like Bryan Reynolds, Dyson seems to be in this space every week. I won’t go too far beyond the case we’ve already made for him nearly a dozen times. He’s the leadoff man for a team ranked 10th in runs per game, and has a .347 OBP and 19 steals on the season. That should get him a spot in all competitive fantasy leagues.
Dylan Cease, SP, White Sox
Cease made his MLB debut on Wednesday, allowing three runs on four hits in five innings, striking out six and walking four in a win over the Tigers. Cease came over to the White Sox from the Cubs along with Eloy Jimenez for Jose Quintana, and it’s already looking like the South Siders will thank their neighbors for that trade for years to come. Before his start Wednesday, Cease spent the entire year with Triple-A Charlotte, amassing a 5.14 ERA and 1.57 WHIP with 73 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings.
Anibal Sanchez, SP, Nationals
Sanchez was excellent again in his last start, allowing one earned run on five hits in six innings, striking out two and walking three. He's been quietly great over his last seven starts, totaling a 2.18 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 34 strikeouts against eight walks in 41 1/3 innings.
In 7 starts since returning from the IL, Anibal Sanchez has a 2.18 ERA and 0.968 WHIP. We talk a lot about the Nationals' "Big 3" but during this run it's legitimately been a "Big 4".— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 4, 2019
Jesse Chavez, SP/RP, Rangers
Chavez has looked good in two starts since moving into the rotation, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits in 12 1/3 innings, striking out 15 and walking none. He has been effective all year, pitching to a 2.97 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with 56 strikeouts against 15 walks in 57 2/3 innings. Chavez should stick in the rotation for the foreseeable future, significantly increasing his fantasy value.
Dinelson Lamet, SP, Padres
Lamet made his return from Tommy John surgery on Thursday, and it was worth the 18-month wait. The 26-year-old allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in five innings, striking out seven while taking a tough-luck loss against the Dodgers. Lamet was a popular breakout pick for 2018 before suffering the injury after putting together an impressive rookie season the year before. He made 21 starts in 2017, totaling a 4.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 139 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings. He may not be trustworthy in a fantasy context right away, but now might be your last chance to acquire him with little competition for his services.
Ty Buttrey, RP, Angels
Brandon Workman, RP, Red Sox
Adam Ottavino, RP, Yankees
Amir Garrett, RP, Reds
Tommy Kahnle, RP, Yankees
Scott Oberg, RP, Rockies
Julio Urias, SP/RP, Dodgers
As always, we close out the Waive Hello with a group of non-closer relievers worthy of attention in all fantasy leagues, even if they don’t save another game all season. Buttrey, Workman, Ottavino, Garrett, Kahnle, Oberg and Urias all rack up gaudy rates and strikeout numbers over a significant enough number of innings to generate fantasy value as setup men.