The MLB trade deadline looms large in the middle of the upcoming fantasy baseball week as teams make their final adjustments for the two remaining months of the regular season. You also need to be fine-tuning your season-long fantasy baseball team and getting it ready for the stretch run and the playoffs in the coming weeks. While it’s impossible to predict exactly who will move where and what opportunities may arise this week, there are some players who are widely available and should be able to help your team in a variety of areas.
The schedule for the coming week is one of the lightest of the season with five teams only playing five games, 20 teams scheduled for six and only five teams lined up for seven games. The Braves, Red Sox, Reds, Dodgers and Blue Jays are the teams scheduled to be the busiest, so try to go with options from their lineups or rotations if possible.
As you comb through your waiver wire for someone to give your team a boost, start with these four pickups who are widely available.. If you have specific questions about your roster or league format, I’d be happy to answer them on Twitter @ZT_Sports. If these four players aren’t a good fit or are already owned in your league, check out the extra additions listed at the bottom of the page who are also worth considering.
2B/3B/OF JOSH VANMETER, CIN (vs. PIT, at ATL)The Reds have a nice schedule for hitters this week with three games at home at Great American Ball Park before playing four in Atlanta. VanMeter has been working his way into the lineup more and more since his most recent call-up and has played in nine straight coming into Sunday’s action either as a starter or off the bench. During that span, he has gone 11-for-22 (.500) with a double, four home runs and a 1.633 OPS.
VanMeter has had multiple hits in four of his five starts since being called up coming into Sunday and has typically been hitting in the heart of the order. In his time in Triple-A, the 24-year-old raked in 49 games, hitting .348 with 14 doubles, 14 homers and a 1.097 OPS. It looks like his bat is Major League ready and the Reds will likely give him plenty of chances to adjust as they play out the rest of another season where the playoffs appear to be out of reach.
C WILL SMITH, LAD (VS. SF, VS. CWS)Another recent call-up getting plenty of waiver wire attention is Smith. He had a strong showing earlier in the season with the Dodgers, hitting .269 with three home runs and a .999 OPS while filling in a few times when Austin Barnes or Russell Martin were banged up. Smith only hit .269 in his 61 games in Triple-A with the Oklahoma City Dodgers but did continue to show good power with 20 home runs and a .986 OPS.
The Dodgers decided it was time to give Smith a more extended shot and sent Barnes to the minors, opening up opportunities in the time-share with Martin. Smith got his first start since being recalled on Saturday and made an instant impact going 3-for-3 with six RBI, two doubles and a home run. He has rare power for a catcher and should continue to get plenty of chances in one of the best lineups in the Majors. If you’re looking for a strong backstop to help get your team across the finish line, pick up Smith and see if he can develop into the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
OF ANTHONY SANTANDER, BAL (at SD, vs. TOR)The Orioles are well out of playoff contention but have actually been playing a bit better since the All-Star break. Their offense has been helped by a surge from Santander, who has played all three outfield spots and become a regular in the heart of the order.
Since June 28, he is hitting .337 with five doubles, a triple, six home runs and an .954 OPS coming into Sunday’s action. He has been even hotter since the break, going 23-for-65 (.354) with four of those home runs and a .978 OPS coming into Sunday. Santander has hit .354 this season at home and has gone 9-for-23 (.391) against the Blue Jays, so especially for the four-game set starting at Camden Yards on Thursday, Santander should be able to give you some solid offense in the outfield.
SP REYNALDO LÓPEZ, CWS (VS. NYM, at PHI)López had a few good games over the first half of the season, but overall, it was mostly a letdown for the 25-year-old righty. However, he has looked outstanding in three starts since the All-Star break and gets a pair of starts this week against opponents from the NL East.
In those three starts, he is 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 21 innings. He faced the Athletics, Rays and Marlins in those three outings and allowed two runs or fewer in each start. López has always had a high ceiling due to his elevated strikeout rate, so he’s worth picking up to see if he can keep his current run going.
Other options worth watchingBATTERS
- C Christian Vázquez, Boston Red Sox
- C/1B Travis d’Arnaud, Tampa Bay Rays
- 1B/3B Renato Núñez, Baltimore Orioles
- 1B/2B/3B Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies
- 1B/2B/SS/OF Danny Santana, Texas Rangers
- SS Amed Rosario, New York Mets
- OF Willie Calhoun, Texas Rangers
- OF Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees
- OF Oscar Mercado, Cleveland Indians
- SP Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
- SP Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres
- SP Drew Smyly, Philadelphia Phillies
- SP Alex Wood, Cincinnati Reds
- SP José Urquidy, Houston Astros
- SP Asher Wojciechowski, Baltimore Orioles
- RP Chris Martin, Texas Rangers
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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.