With the All-Star break just around the corner, this is a great time for fantasy managers to take stock of their rosters. And the time has come to make tough decisions on underachieving players. Additionally, some managers will be so far ahead or behind in specific categories that they can afford to make unusual drops. For those who want to get aggressive with changing their roster this week, here are some of the top waiver wire options. Managers should especially note that save sources are more plentiful right now than they have been in recent weeks.
Eric Haase (C/OF, 36 percent rostered)
Haase should be rostered in most leagues. The 28-year-old has been among the most powerful catchers this season, producing 12 homers across 144 at-bats. And with Wilson Ramos out of the Tigers organization, Haase has a clear path to regular playing time for the rest of the year. He won’t help with batting average, but Haase is among the top-12 catchers.
Joey Votto (1B, 34 percent)
Votto has fared well since returning from the IL on June 8, posting a .293/.381/.525 slash line. And after many years of toiling in mediocre lineups, the aging veteran is now part of a group that ranks second in the National League with a .751 OPS. As long as he keeps ripping the occasional round-tripper, Votto should be steady and productive all summer.
Garrett Cooper (1B/OF, 12 percent)
Cooper has been among the best hitters in baseball since returning from the IL on June 25, hitting .483 with a 1.581 OPS. He will surely soon cool off and profiles more a steady-but-unspectacular producer, but the career .281 hitter can help teams with batting average and has a clear path to regular playing time now that Corey Dickerson has been traded to Toronto.
Kike Hernandez (2B/SS/OF, 35 percent)
In general, I’m always looking to add shares in a productive Red Sox lineup. Hernandez has been hitting well of late (1.001 OPS since June 20) and is easy to fit into fantasy lineups thanks to his triple-position eligibility. I don’t see Hernandez as a high-upside option, but he is a good bench player for those who are committed to streaming their daily lineups.
Jarred Kelenic (OF, 39 percent)
This is the time to grab Kelenic, who should return to the Mariners outfield shortly after the All-Star break. The elite prospect may have struggled during his initial Major League tour, but he has fared well in Triple-A (1.011 OPS) and has the skills to be a five-category contributor once he returns.
Jake Fraley (OF, 18 percent)
Those who are looking for a diverse contributor with a bit of upside should have Fraley on their radar. The outfielder has produced seven homers and seven steals across 102 at-bats, giving the Mariners the stable outfield production they previously expected to receive from Kelenic. In a perfect world, Seattle soon has Fraley and Kelenic working in tandem.
Robbie Grossman (OF, 33 percent)
Although his batting average is nothing to write home about (.227), Grossman is the only player sitting on waivers in the majority of Yahoo leagues with double-digit totals in homers and steals. Those who need a balanced contributor should add Grossman now, as the Tigers have a favorable hitting schedule in the second half of July.
Logan Webb (SP, 14 percent)
Despite lacking big-name hurlers, the Giants rotation ranks third in baseball in ERA (3.26), with nearly everything going right for those who manager Gabe Kapler tabs for his starting quintet. Webb was effective earlier this year (3.86 ERA, 9.9 K/9 rate) and will return from the IL shortly after the All-Star break. Backed by a winning club with a pitcher-friendly home park, Webb has notable upside.
Tylor MeGill (SP, 7 percent)
MeGill is the latest cog in an effective Mets rotation, having produced a 3.77 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and a 19:6 K:BB line across three starts. He is a great streamer to add right now, as he draws a favorable home start against the Pirates this weekend. My recommendation is to add MeGill right away and then consider keeping him into the second half.
Ranger Suarez (RP, 24 percent)
Working mainly in long relief, Suarez has been very effective this season (0.85 ERA, 0.69 WHIP). Meanwhile, those who have largely been entrusted with the late innings in Philadelphia (Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado, Archie Bradley) have been inconsistent. Manager Joe Girardi was rewarded by turning to Suarez for a save opportunity on July 4, and unlike some 2021 managers, Girardi wants to settle on one ninth-inning man.
Chad Green (SP/RP, 37 percent)
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is a mess right now, having allowed nine earned runs in his past four appearances. Manager Aaron Boone has been non-committal about upcoming save chances, and there are concerns that Chapman’s drop-off coincided with the ban on pitching substances. Green has been great this year (2.23 ERA, 0.72 WHIP) and picked up a save on Wednesday. He could run with the role if Chapman doesn’t get on track.
Anthony Bender (RP, 12 percent)
Having produced a 0.99 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP and a 37:7 K:BB line, Bender has been arguably the best reliever on the Marlins this year. Closer Yimi Garcia has had some hiccups of late, which led to Bender converting a save chance in a one-run game on Monday and pitching the top of the ninth inning in a tie game last night. I’m not ready to claim that the 26-year-old is close to locking down ninth-inning responsibilities, but he’s definitely in the picture and Garcia may be on a new team by the end of this month.