It’s that time again! It’s time to turn your attention to the waiver wire, where there are still plenty of overlooked players just begging for your attention. These “free agents” can help you right now in at least one of the major categories. There is still an ample amount of time to make up ground, especially in shallow leagues, so pay attention, or you’ll miss out on these guys as they’re quickly gobbled up.
Here are 10 players rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, which are worth immediately adding. Most of these guys will aid you in more ways than one, with their primary contributions coming in the category under which they are listed.
Rafael Ortega (OF – CHC): 31%
Rafael Ortega is a run-scoring machine, and he doesn’t care if you don’t know who he is. The Cubs’ newest and most productive leadoff hitter has been nothing short of extraordinary. Since becoming the Cubs’ everyday table-setter, Ortega has scored 11 runs in nine games. He has recorded 15 hits in that span, including five home runs, nine RBIs (out of the leadoff spot!), and two stolen bases. His rostership shot up 30% in just two days, and now is the time to grab him if you want any chance of obtaining his services.
Aledmys Diaz (1B/2B/3B/OF – HOU): 17%
Aledmys Diaz, anyone? Yes, sir, he is quietly raking and is definitely someone who deserves your attention. Since returning from the injured list, the six-year vet has been on fire, producing 11 hits in 31 at-bats, increasing his season average to .295.
After crushing Mariners’ pitching upon his activation, Diaz (and the ‘Stros) traveled to San Francisco, where opposing teams regularly struggle. The Giants’ staff ranks first in almost every pitching category at home, but they were simply no match for Aledmys. He destroyed their offerings, collecting five hits over three games, including three home runs. Then he traveled to LA, where they faced a record amount of boos and trash can bangs to take on Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer. However, Diaz was still able to continue his hitting streak while working deep into counts and proving to be a tough out.
Diaz has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but when he’s right, he’s right. He went on a tear at the end of last season, finishing 18 for 48 (.375 BA). With Alex Bregman suffering a setback in his rehab and Myles Straw now in Cleveland, there should be plenty of regular PT for Diaz going forward. Add the multi-position eligible Diaz now for his upcoming bouts with Minnesota and Colorado.
Yadiel Hernandez (OF – WAS): 5%
Yadiel Hernandez has filled in nicely for the depleted Nationals. With so many players sent off to greener pastures, the organization has turned to the Cuban-born, minor-league masher to fill their shoes. Hernandez has seven RBIs and an eight-game hitting streak since slotting into the 5-hole behind team leaders Juan Soto and Josh Bell.
Hernandez has always crushed Minor League pitching but has regularly been blocked at the Major League level. He was able to fill in here and there as an injury or covid related replacement, but overall he has spent most of his time down on the farm. Finally given a chance, look for Hernandez to flourish and continue to build upon an already impressive stat line – .312/.372/.459. He will very likely stick at the position for the duration of the season and should be rostered in all deeper leagues moving forward.
Amed Rosario (SS/OF – CLE): 27%
Amed Rosario can’t wait around all day for the Indians’ lineup to knock him in and has taken matters into his own hands. With the roster somewhat depleted, the Indians are looking to win with speed these days, and it’s evident across the lineup. Now batting out of the two-hole, Rosario is no different, having stolen three bases already this week. His total for the year now sits at 12 after averaging over 20 in his two previous (full) seasons. He has been hitting extremely well over the last month (24 for 78) and is worth claiming now if you need help in the steals department.
Edward Olivares (OF – KC): 4%
All aboard the Edward Olivares train. You heard me right, Edward Olivares. The ex-Padre has all the tools to make a splash at The Show, and now is finally his time.
Olivares possesses that rare power/speed combination that fantasy and real GMs drool over. The talented Olivares doesn’t strike out much either, a rarity for today’s game, helping him maintain a respectable average to go along with his homers and steals. With Jorge Soler out of the picture, there shouldn’t be anyone left standing in the way of the Venezuelan star. Add him now before the rush and expect eight to 10 homers and steals the rest of the way.
Merrill Kelly (SP – ARZ): 30%
Merrill Kelly is racking up wins despite pitching for Arizona and having very little bullpen to speak of. He is not a star by any means and doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, but he does well by pitching deep into games. Over his last four starts, Kelly has averaged above seven innings, with two of those outings coming against the highly potent Dodgers and Giants.
Kelly has surprisingly earned five wins with only one loss over his last nine games (many of them coming against above .500 clubs). He surrendered just 16 earned runs over his last 59 innings, good for a fantastic 2.44 ERA. Pitching efficiently and lasting nearly eight innings a start, Kelly gives managers a great chance at earning a victory each time out. Add him now for hopefully a few more wins down the stretch.
Madison Bumgarner (SP – ARZ): 34%
Bumgarner has looked exceptionally sharp lately, but it could be due in part to the competition he has faced. The Giants have been obviously solid this year, but the Pirates, Cubs, and Rangers are hardly a lineup to get excited about. That said, the veteran’s WHIP stands at an impressive 1.15 for the year, and he continues to strike hitters out. While pitching for the lowly D’backs, Bumgarner won’t likely earn many wins, but you could do a whole lot worse when looking to lower your WHIP. He is also someone you don’t have to worry about facing an innings limit down the stretch. Add the crafty left-hander now and start him in favorable matchups.
Cal Quantrill (SP/RP – CLE): 20%
Cal Quantrill appears to have finally gotten his act together. After so many ups and downs throughout his career, the former prospect has strung together five straight quality starts. He has given up a total of three runs over his last four games and has held opponents to just one home run in those outings.
So what exactly has changed for the Stanford alum? After reviewing his Statcast pitch-by-pitch breakdown, Quantrill seems to be favoring his slider more often, especially deep in the count. He also hasn’t been afraid to throw it when behind in the count. When the batter is looking for a fastball or sinker, Quantrill has been getting hitters out via the slider, inducing weak contact and a lot of ground balls. It has worked exceptionally well lately and has kept the ball in the yard. His sinker also looks to have a slightly sharper break, further aiding his soft contact rate.
Hopefully, Quantrill can keep it going and is worth an add for his juicy matchup against the Tigers Friday night.
Dylan Floro (RP – MIA): 22%
Last week I wisely pointed out Washington’s Kyle Finnegan as the top add for saves, but I also mentioned Anthony Bender as a possible candidate. While I did favor Finnegan over Bender for a number of reasons, it should have been Floro, who I also highlighted.
The ex-Dodger has been great all year for the Fish, and with Yimi Garcia out of town, the Marlins have turned to Floro for save situations. While Bender may have better “stuff” (and filled in admirably Thursday night after Floro pitched the last two games), he didn’t have the best July, while Floro has been fairly steady. He converted his first two opportunities, and with a quality starting staff, the Marlins should be in for plenty of close games. Add Floro and his 2.64 ERA now if you need a boost in saves.
Josiah Gray (SP – WAS): 30%
Gray deserves consideration simply for his potential alone. He has looked just above-average so far in his three Major League outings, although it’s not exactly what fantasy enthusiasts had hoped for. Through three games (two starts), Gray’s ERA sits at a pedestrian 4.85 with a 1.38 WHIP. He has registered 15 K’s over 13 innings and looked better in his latest start against the Phillies – five innings, one run allowed.
Gray has the ability to be a star in the league for years to come, and with so few innings thrown in the minors this year, he should be fine to start every five or six days throughout the remainder of the season. Add the talented Gray now in all leagues where he’s available.
Reid Detmers (SP – LAA): 16%
Another intriguing arm I have to include is Reid Detmers. Yes, he was shelled by Oakland in his first start, and trying to keep up with Joe Madden’s wacky 7-man rotation is tough, but anyone who strikes out 97 batters in 54 innings in Double-A deserves recognition. If you have the room, stash the 2020 10th overall pick and see how he performs in his next start.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.
Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.