Depending on the exact configuration of your season-long fantasy baseball league, it’s probably more than half over already as we approach the July 4th weekend and the All-Star break just a week later. With temperatures rising, offense is starting to boom across the league, so make sure you’re fantasy team has the power bats it needs as well as the arms who can still deliver pitching stats, which will be even more at a premium over the next few months.
This week sets up to be a busy week across Major League Baseball with 17 teams scheduled for seven games. Only the Tampa Bay Rays have a five-game slate with the other 12 teams all playing six times in the coming week. In addition to the weather, pitcher injuries and a lack of spin rate all boosting offense, there are also some very hitter-friendly parks in play this week, led by Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies are scheduled to play seven games this week, four against the St. Louis Cardinals and three against the Pittsburgh Pirates
If your season-long fantasy baseball team needs some help off the waiver wire, check out my top two hitters and top two pitchers to target on waiver wires highlighted below. There are also some specialty options if you're looking to give your team a boost in a specific category at the bottom of the post. Throughout the week, I’m available for lineup and waiver wire advice on Twitter at @ZT_Sports.
OF Steven Duggar, San Francisco Giants (at LAD, at ARI)
The Giants have the best record in baseball by 2.5 games over the surging Astros, but their lineup isn’t stocked with a ton of fantasy studs. They have gotten good production from across the roster, though, and recently, Duggar has been emerging as a solid option who can contribute in multiple categories despite hitting lower in the lineup. Duggar has played 50 games and showcased both power and speed with six home runs and six stolen bases. He’s hitting a very solid .325 with a 36.3% hard-hit rate and a .404 wOBA, per Statcast. He has a 12.5% barrel rate with 10 barrels already in 80 batted balls this season after a 3.9% barrel rate with only eight barrels in 209 batted balls over the past two seasons. His increased barrel rate has helped him to a .250 ISO which would be a new career-high by a significant margin.
This week, Duggar and the Giants are on the road against divisional opponents and are only scheduled to face one lefty, so the 27-year-old left-handed-hitting CF will likely get plenty of time in the lineup. He can help your lineup in multiple ways with power and speed and should be a solid pickup for the coming week if he and the Giants’ lineup continue rolling.
2B/SS Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies (vs. PIT, vs. STL)
The Rockies with seven games at home are definitely a lineup to target this coming week and Rodgers has been one of the team’s best hitters lately. Rodgers has been one of the team’s top prospects since he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and looks like he finally may be finding his way to regular production after a long and injury-filled road to the big leagues. Rodgers has a .189 ISO and .351 wOBA in his 30 games with Colorado this year with four home runs, seven runs scored and 17 RBI.
He has actually been better on the road than at Coors Field to this point in the season, but the lineup around him usually does significantly better at home in the rarified air. Part of that unusual home/road split is that the Rockies have been on the road lately when Rodgers has started to heat up. He has hit .304 with a .261 ISO and .397 wOBA in June with a 43.6% hard-hit rate after posting an awful 10.5% hard-hit rate in May. If he keeps hitting the ball well, he could move up in the Rockies’ lineup, and even if he doesn’t, this has the potential to be a great homestand for him and he should be able to plug any holes you have in the middle infield on your roster.
SP Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees (vs LAA, vs. NYM)
A pair of home starts for Taillon at Yankee Stadium aren’t ideal with its hitter-friendly measurements, but the Yankees’ 29-year-old righty has looked sharp enough to still consider him as a two-start pick up this week with decent matchups against the Angels and the Mets. Taillon is only 2-4 in his 14 starts this season with a 5.18 ERA but a 4.35 FIP that shows he has been unlucky and should see that ERA continue to come down. At home, he has held opponents to a .202 average and posted a 3.04 ERA in 47 1⁄3 innings while picking up 48 strikeouts.
He’s coming off one of his best outings of the year on Thursday, when he held the Royals to one run on five hits over 6 1⁄3 innings with six strikeouts. While his strikeout rate has dipped just a little bit this month, he is still averaging over a strikeout per inning with 69 strikeouts in 64 1⁄3 innings on the season. He has been wildly unpredictable from start to start with some great outings and some disasters, but his CSW rate indicates his stuff has been solid. Despite some inconsistency, he has the potential to be a nice pickup if he can build on that outing against the Royals with two more strong outings this week.
RP José Alvarado, Philadelphia Phillies (at CIN, vs. MIA, vs. SD)
The Phillies named Alvarado their closer this past week, replacing Hector Neris, who was unable to convert three of his past five save chances. If you’re streaming saves or just trying to stay a little competitive in that category, he should be a solid pickup since manager Joe Girardi does like to typically rely on one closer. His tenure as closer didn’t start great, though, after blowing his first save chance after getting the promotion due partly to his own error.
The hard-throwing lefty has put up good numbers this year with a 2.57 ERA in his 28 innings over 26 games this season. The lefty has a 4.37 FIP, which shows he could be due for some regression, but he has been very good at stranding runners with an 80.1% LOB rate. He also provides solid strikeout numbers, like you would want from a closer, with a career-high 30.5% strikeout rate so far this season and a total of 38 strikeouts in his 28 innings.
Specialty pickups to consider
Prospect to Stash Pickup: OF Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox
SB Pickup: SS/OF Myles Straw, Houston Astros
AVG/hits Pickup: 2B/3B/OF Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins
Counting Stats Pickup: OF Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers
C Pickup: C Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds
HR Pickup: 1B C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies
Two-start Streamer: SP Chris Flexen, Seattle Mariners
Two-start Streamer Part II: SP Caleb Smith, Arizona Diamondbacks
Saves Pickup: RP Jordan Romano, Toronto Blue Jays
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