The second half is officially underway, which means it’s long past time to hold on to any illusions that you’re going to win your league with all of your brilliant draft picks intact. It’s time to throw out what you thought you knew around draft time and make adjustments. Time to decide whether you’re in it to win it this year, and what you might need to make that happen. Time to check narrative and sentiment at the door.
This is especially true for bullpens around, the league where injuries and ineffectiveness have laid waste to seemingly scores of top arms. That’s why we’re here to help, with four targets likely available in your league showing signs that they’re in for a big year.
Fantasy baseball relief pitcher waiver wire: Week 17
Aroldis Chapman, RP, Texas Rangers
Roster percentage: 18.4%
When the Rangers acquired Chapman from the Royals last month, it seemed like only a matter of time before the flamethrower took over the closer’s role from Will Smith. After this weekend, it seems like that moment has arrived: Chapman got his first save chance with Texas on Saturday, despite Smith being fully rested, and struck out two in a clean inning. He’s still yet to allow a run since the trade, and Chapman’s simply been too good this year for him not to man the ninth moving forward.
Tanner Scott, RP, Miami Marlins
Roster percentage: 7.1%
This one is a bit more speculative, but saves are hard to come by in mid-July. Marlins closer A.J. Puk has struggled a bit of late, with five earned runs and two blown saves allowed in his last four innings. Manager Skip Schumaker has reiterated the team’s commitment to Puk in the ninth, but it’s hard to ignore what Scott is doing: The lefty has a 2.91 ERA so far this year, with a whopping 64 Ks in 43.1 innings. He’s racked up four holds already this month — giving him a league-leading 18 — but even if you’re not in a saves+holds league, it’s worth stashing Scott in case Puk continues to struggle. Worst case, he’ll help your Ks and ratios while picking up the odd save for a Marlins team that’s addicted to playing close games.
Yimi Garcia, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
Roster percentage: 0.6%
With Jordan Romano on the shelf with a lower back injury he suffered during All-Star Weekend, it was Garcia getting the call in the ninth for Toronto last weekend. The righty wasn’t perfect, but he got the job done in his lone save opportunity on Saturday. It’s unclear how long Romano will be out, but back injuries can be awfully finicky, and Garcia should be added everywhere in the event that the All-Star needs an IL stint.
Nick Martinez, SP/RP, San Diego Padres
Roster percentage: 6.9%
If the Padres continue to scuffle as we get closer to the trade deadline, it becomes increasingly likely that A.J. Preller will look to move off of some of the team’s core pieces. While Juan Soto and Manny Machado aren’t likely to be on the move, closer Josh Hader very well might be: He’s an impending free agent, and with an 1.06 ERA this season, he figures to fetch a nice return without derailing the team’s long-term future too much. If Hader does get dealt, that would figure to elevate Martinez to the closer’s role in San Diego, as the righty has been San Diego’s most reliable bridge to the ninth inning with a 3.92 ERA and 11 holds.