The start of July means we’re more than halfway through the fantasy baseball season mathematically and on the verge of the All-Star game, which takes place this year in Cleveland. Before we get to the break, though, we’ve got another week of solid action. In some formats, this “week” includes the few games after the break as well, so make sure to double-check your format to see how aggressively to attack the next seven days.
The Tigers, Royals, Angels, Brewers, Pirates, Padres, Rays, Rangers and Blue Jays play seven games before the break, but the Diamondbacks, Indians, Rockies, Astros and Mets only play five games. The Red Sox and Yankees both play six after a travel day Monday on their way back from London. Make sure to keep a close eye on roster moves as we get to the end of the week since teams sometimes take advantage of the upcoming break to shuffle their rotation and roster around.
If you’re in the market to improve your team, there are lots of options that make sense on the waiver wire. If you have specific questions about the way you should adjust your roster, send them my way on Twitter @ZT_Sports. If you’re looking for a place solid place to start, check out the following four pickups, who are widely available and can give you a nice boost this week. There are also some extra options at the bottom of this post who can give you a boost if they’re still available and provide what your team needs in a waiver wire pickup.
OF ALEX VERDUGO, LAD (vs. ARI, vs. SD)Verdugo has moved into the second spot in the Dodgers order since Corey Seager (hamstring) was put on the IL. Verdugo has flourished in the spot and has really heated up over the past couple weeks. He had started 17 of the past 18 games for Los Angeles before being left out of the lineup Sunday and had gone 27-for-73 (.370) with five doubles, five home runs, a stolen base and a 1.049 OPS.
At Coors Field this week, Verdugo started the series with three straight multi-hit games, going 7-for-15 with two homers and five RBI. He is set up for another good week this week since all seven of the Dodgers games are at home, where Verdugo is hitting .346 on the season with a .932 OPS. He’s the best bat to bolster your OF this week and offers excellent average. There are some power plays in the list below that may get more home runs, but they can’t match Verdugo’s consistency and premium lineup place in a top offense.
SP LOGAN ALLEN, LAD (vs. SF, at LAD)The Padres have gotten two great starts from Allen, who gets a great matchup on Monday against the Giants. The 22-year-old lefty made his Major League debut against the Brewers and threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five. He struck out five more batters in his second start which came Tuesday in Baltimore. He did allow two runs and watched his ERA rise to 1.38, but picked up his second win to move to 2-0.
Because Allen has options left, he could end up back in the minors as the Padres shuffle things around before the break, but he’d be hard to send down if he has another impressive outing Monday. He struggled with a 5.15 ERA in 13 starts this season at El Paso but seems to have found a very nice groove. Especially for his Monday start, Allen is a starting pitcher worth adding. If you can afford a long-term look, Brendan McKay of the Rays has a better long-term upside. However, this week his only start is scheduled to come against the Yankees, so he’s more of a swoop and stash option than someone who can help you right away like Allen or Adbert Alzolay (mentioned later).
2B/SS KEVIN NEWMAN, PIT (vs. CHC, vs. MIL)The Pirates moved Newman into the leadoff spot toward the end of May, and the 25-year-old has flourished as an on-base machine and has been a regular in our “other options.” He doesn’t offer a ton of power and the Pirates lineup can be hit or miss, but he has shown he can be a big-time contributor of average and runs scored.
He entered Sunday’s game with a 19-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .384 with a 1.040 OPS and four stolen bases to go with 12 runs scored. Newman’s success goes back much further than just this hitting streak, though, and he has hit .337 since coming off the IL with a finger injury in early May with an .882 OPS. He has been most effective against right-handed pitchers, which sets up well for him since the Pirates are only scheduled to face one left-handed starter in their seven games before the break.
SP ADBERT ALZOLAY, CHC (at PIT, at CWS)Alzolay has been solid in his two games for the Cubs, allowing just two hits and two runs in 8 2/3 innings against the Mets and Braves. He came in after an opener in his Major League debut and got a win and five strikeouts in four innings. He got the start against the Braves Tuesday night and struck out four but also struggled with his control, walking four and only lasting four innings due to an elevated pitch count.
The 24-year-old rookie is expected to get the start on Monday in a favorable matchup against the Pirates and could return for a second outing against the White Sox later in the week. Alzolay could also get sent back to the minors in a roster shuffle later in the week, but there’s a lot of upside to value if he does get that second start of the week.
Other options worth watchingBATTERS
- C Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles
- 1B/2B/3B, Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox
- 1B/OF Dominic Smith, New York Mets
- 2B Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers
- 2B/OF Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays
- 2B/3B/OF Jeff McNeil, New York Mets
- 2B/SS/OF Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2B/SS/OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
- SS/OF Leury García, Chicago White Sox
- OF Franmil Reyes, San Diego Padres
- OF Jason Heward, Chicago Cubs
- OF Ramón Laureano, Oakland Athletics
- SP Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays
- SP Jesse Chávez, Texas Rangers
- SP Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants
- SP Anibál Sánchez, Washington Nationals
- SP/RP Liam Hendriks, Oakland Athletics
- SP/RP Roenis Elías, Seattle Mariners
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.