Fantasy baseball managers can often fall into a bad habit during the summer months. They are often seen pressing the cruise control button and falling into lulls. This is especially true for those teams that are lower in the standings. Managers often start to think about their next fantasy football team.
It seems like either one or both of these theories is true, judging by the roster percentages in ESPN leagues. There are still a few highly skilled players who can help you capitalize on your opponents. These are the nine players I recommend that you grab from the waiver wire immediately if they're available in your league, or trade for if they're already gone.
, SP, (Available in 87.4% ESPN leagues, as of Wednesday morning). He has had only five starts in the big leagues and is now coming off a most recent start against him. But the point here is how the right-hander does it. could His raw talent and incredible speed are what he has achieved. His fastball has an average velocity and spin that is nearly twice that of major-league players. He has also been able to get batters to miss half the times they swing at his slider. And he has a curveball in development that can be used against lefties. Contreras will be added to the strikeouts. He could make 120 K's if he made 16-18 more innings, which is quite reasonable given his current innings total.
, OF/2B/3B, (19.7% available): Although he was a novice, he has now become a successful player in the No. For a team that loves a friendly environment, Drury is the 2nd line spot. Drury's stats are impressive, with a.239% ISO, HR rate (5.5%), Statcast hard contact rate (48.7%), and swinging strike rate (6.5%) all easily surpassing his personal bests. Drury brings three-position eligibility with him and his Reds will play 52 of the final 99 home games, following this mid-week series on the road.
, OF, (30.2% available): In truth, I don't like Garcia's skill set. Especially in points-based score, he's a free-swinging type with power and speed who has little to offer in sabermetric play. Garcia's speed, power, and velocity are excellent. Statcast rates him at the 90th, 80th, and 80th, respectively, in terms of hard-hit rate, sprint speed, and average exit velocity. Garcia's quickness, which is a plus for his bat, must be universally rostered in this steal-starved era. Keep in mind that the Rangers attempted to steal under Chris Woodward. By far the most often of any team this season, doing so on 8.6% of their opportunities per Baseball-Referance.com, after Woodward's 2021 team ranked fourth-best in that category (6.5%).
, RP, (66.8% available): He is a top-10 positional hitter, and there's less debate about the team’s closer role. Helsley's improvements this season to his fastball were among the most significant of any pitcher's in regards to a pitch. His 99th percentile average velocity (98.9mph) and spin rate combined with minimal downward movement make it nearly impossible to prepare for it for opposing hitters. If Helsley had been the Cardinals' closer in 2022, he would have been universally regarded as a top three ranked reliever.
, C, (28.6% available): Kirk's 123 fantasy-points thus far rank second among all eligible players. Kirk's 88.3% contact ratio is ninth best among players with at most 180 plate appearances. This feat is rare for a catcher. The Blue Jays have recently recalled a top prospect Fantasy managers may not view Kirk as a well-respected player or a regular member of the Blue Jays' lineup. It's a complete misinterpretation, and it could make Kirk a desirable trade target. His 29 total starts since May 1 are tied for 10th, and his 126 plate appearances rank 9th among all catcher-eligibles.
, RP/SP, (52.1% available): You should always look for pitchers with distinct tweaks. If they're part of an organization that assists pitchers in making such adjustments, you can be more likely to trust them. Springs has made great strides in his changeup. He now throws it 36.6% of all time. Statcast has rated the pitch as a top-20 overall pitch in terms Run Value. Springs is now locating his three-pitch options better than ever before during his pro career. Don't let your competition play with the Rays' ability to cap starters' innings or mix and match pitchers. Grab Springs by trading.
RP/SP, Atlanta Braves (66.7% available): Since being a 2020 fourth-rounder in 2020, Strider has soared through the Braves' organization, reaching the big league rotation 16 days ago. This is largely due to his four-seam fastball. Strider averages 98.3mph and has a spin rate of 77th percentile. He also has an unhittable slider. His changeup could improve as he gains rotation experience, and he may be a man for whom we are making a top-20 case in 2023. Consider this your last chance to secure Strider at an affordable price.
, OF/1B, (57.4% available): Vaughn, despite the team's recent rash of injuries, has been the No. 2 spot in the White Sox lineup for 15 of their past 18 games. Vaughn has been the White Sox No. 2 hitter for 15 of their last 18 games. This speaks volumes about his development. His batting averages of.333/.383/.486 have included two home runs and 15 RBI. He also has an 83.3% contact percentage that reflects his improved approach. Vaughn is a solid contact-quality player with a career Barrel rate of 9.7% and hard-hit rates 47.2%. Any increase in overall contact will only support statistical growth. Vaughn might not be a superstar, but that doesn't make him a player you should give up on free-agent lists.
, 1B, (44.4% available): He is in a bit more of a power slump, not having a homer for 15 games straight. However, that's not surprising given his 33.8% career chase rate. Tellez still has an 88th percentile barrel rate for the season — and his 11.1% in that area since being acquired by the Blue Jays on July 6 is also very impressive. He also has a 72nd-percentile hard-hit rate, and an 85th per centile expected wOBA. He still receives middle-of the-order assignments for a Brewers club that has one of the most powerful power-hitting environments in the world.