The waiver wire is full of exciting options at the moment. Whether you're in need of a slugger or a speedster, there are hitters who can help you out. And the pitchers are just as exciting, with those who produce strikeouts or saves waiting to join your squad.
Eric Haase, Detroit Tigers (C, 32 percent)
Haase has been one of baseball’s most powerful players of late, having produced six home runs and a 1.833 OPS since the beginning of June. And his hot bat has earned him additional playing time considerations, as 4 of his 17 starts this year have been in left field. Haase will eventually lose playing time when Wilson Ramos returns from the IL, but a Ramos return doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. Those who like to stream their catcher spot in one-catcher leagues should have Haase rostered by now.
Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins (C, 2 percent)
While those who need a temporary catcher should grab Haase, managers who are looking for a long-term solution ought to direct their attention to Jeffers. The youngster enjoyed a successful debut in 2020, hitting .273 with a .791 OPS across 62 plate appearances. He opened this year as the backup to Mitch Garver and also spent some time in the minors to get more playing time. But Garver is now on the IL for an extended period of time, leaving Jeffers as the main man behind the plate. His career .286 average and .829 OPS in the minors should pique your interest.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants (1B, 22 percent)
Having recently returned from the IL, Belt is ready to feast on a favorable upcoming schedule. The Giants face three weak Washington starters this weekend before playing four games against an Arizona squad that ranks last in team ERA. Along with Belt, fantasy managers can consider Donovan Solano (2B/3B/SS) and Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B).
Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds (2B/SS, 39 percent)
The Reds thought so much of India’s potential during spring training that they fit him into their Opening Day lineup with a wacky defensive plan that included Eugenio Suarez at shortstop. The prospect didn’t initially succeed at the dish, but he has taken off recently by hitting .407 with a 1.233 OPS since May 30. India has taken over the team’s leadoff spot, and has an intriguing power-speed mix to go along with his newfound run-scoring potential.
Amed Rosario, Cleveland Indians (SS/OF, 25 percent)
Hitting high in the lineup seems to agree with Rosario, who has been regularly batting out of the two-hole while collecting at least one hit in 9 of his past 10 games. He has also taken over his natural shortstop position from Andres Gimenez, and perhaps a return to the infield has allowed the 25-year-old to focus on his work at the plate. Those who are looking for a power-speed mix should know that Rosario provided 15 homers and 19 steals in 2019 and is in a position to score plenty of runs the rest of the way.
J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners (SS, 13 percent)
Crawford has been the biggest benefactor of Jarred Kelenic’s struggles, as the Mariners shortstop has replaced the prized prospect as the team’s leadoff man. I’m not expecting the 26-year-old to make major contributions in homers or steals, but he should score plenty of runs and has temporary value in 12-team leagues.
Lucas Sims, Cincinnati Reds (SP/RP, 43 percent)
Has Reds manager David Bell finally found his closer? That certainly seems to be the case, as Sims has collected a save in five of his past six appearances. The right-hander is a sensible choice to take over ninth-inning duties, as he entered spring training as co-favorites for the closer role with southpaw Amir Garrett. “Better late than never” is an expression that applies to Sims, who owns a 13.7 K/9 rate and appears set to collect plenty of saves.
Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers (SP, 40 percent)
Skubal may never have plus control skills, but he has harnessed his wildness to the point where his swing-and-miss abilities can start to shine. The 24-year-old has collected 50 strikeouts across his past six starts while also posting a 3.09 ERA and collecting three wins. Skubal’s ability to rack up whiffs is so great that he deserves a spot on all mixed league rosters as long as he isn’t significantly dragging down a team’s ratios.
Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners (SP, 24 percent)
A top prospect, Gilbert is slowly finding his footing. The rookie failed to throw five innings in any of his initial three starts but has struck out 12 batters across 11 frames over his past two outings. His WHIP is down to a respectable 1.25 and if we take out his MLB debut, Gilbert owns a 4.08 ERA. It makes good sense to take a chance on someone this talented who is starting to trend upwards.
Caleb Smith, Arizona Diamondbacks (SP/RP, 11 percent)
Smith entered the season as an interesting late-round sleeper before the D-backs surprisingly sent him to the bullpen after just one start. The left-hander recently returned to the starting five, posting strong results (10 IP, 3 ER, 10 SO) that should put him back on the mixed-league radar. With a lifetime 10.0 K/9 rate, Smith has significant upside if he can limit scoring and receive a bit of run support from a slumping Arizona squad.
Wade Miley, Cincinnati Reds (SP, 52 percent)
Miley is admittedly over by 50 percent cutoff for this article, but the southpaw needs to be rostered in every league for his weekend home start against the Rockies. Colorado has been baseball’s least productive lineup on the road this season, sitting more than 50 OPS points behind the second-worst club. This is an easy chance for Miley to improve on his impressive 2.96 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.