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Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups: Emmet Sheehan, Luis Matos, Tarik Skubal

Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups: Emmet Sheehan, Luis Matos, Tarik Skubal

It’s that time again! Time to get those waiver wire claims in before the start of the week. Thankfully, there are more than a handful of excellent candidates to choose from, so let’s get right to it.

As always, I’ve broken them down into one of the standard 10 categories where they’re most likely to help you. Many of these studs will aid you in multiple ways, but their primary contributions should come from the category in which they are listed.

All players featured are rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. However, many of them won’t last, so make haste when making your decisions!

Without further ado, here are this week’s top waiver-wire add’s based on category.

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Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups

Batting Average

Luis Matos (OF – SF): 34%

With Mitch Haniger expected to miss at least 10 weeks, the Giants have called up one of their best-hitting prospects. Matos was a machine in Triple-A this season, producing an outlandish .398/.435/.685 triple slash line. He also hit seven homers, collected 20 RBIs, scored 21 runs, and stole six bases over just 108 at-bats. The PCL is infamous for inflating offensive numbers but the one stat that stands out is his incredibly low 6.9% strikeout rate. Matos puts the bat on the ball and will get every opportunity to thrive in San Francisco. He is worth adding if you need to kick-start your batting average.

Home Runs

Jake Burger (3B – CWS): 33%

How is Burger still available in two-thirds of leagues? I know he strikes out a lot and can struggle versus righties, but the man hits dingers! Nearly one in every 10 at-bats, to be exact. And he has done it consistently all year long.

The White Sox third baseman takes mammoth cuts and is built like the bouncer at your neighborhood bar. When he makes contact, the ball flies off his bat and results in one of the highest average exit velocities in the league – 92.6. Yoan Moncada‘s back is a mess, so Burger should have no problem finding consistent playing time over the next few weeks. Get the former 11th overall pick with an outrageous 22% barrel rate (tops in MLB) in your lineup now.

Stolen Bases

Dairon Blanco (OF – KC): 3%

Blanco was called up on Monday and started four out of the last five days. He didn’t steal a base but did collect four hits over 14 at-bats, including a triple and a double. The real draw here is the 47 swipes he racked up in Triple-A this season over just 49 games and the 45 he snagged in 2022. Blanco also hit .347 for the Omaha Storm this year and profiles similarly to Esteury Ruiz in terms of fantasy play. He’s not there yet, but he could become extremely valuable in the second half. Now is the time to add him if you’re in search of steals.

RBI

Tommy Pham (OF – NYM): 7%

A fan favorite, Tommy Pham, has been raking of late. Earning everyday playing time with Pete Alonso on the IL, the journeyman outfielder, who doles out slaps on the regular, has collected 15 RBI over the last two weeks. He also hit three home runs, stole two bases, mashed seven doubles, and hit for a .342 average. On the season, the 33-year-old is hitting .333 with RISP and .302 with runners on base. Pham could cool off at any moment, but he was decent in Cincinnati in the summer heat last year and looks to be on a similar run. Bid on Tommy Boy now if your team is lacking RBI.

Runs

Bo Naylor (C – CLE): 12%

It’s Naylor time in Cleveland. No, not that Naylor, his younger brother Bo. Mike Zunino was finally DFA’d by the Guardians (who was really just a stop-gap until Naylor arrived), so now it’s Bo’s job to lose. He’s been an on-base machine the last two years in the Minors, registering nearly a .400 OBP. Naylor also runs well for a catcher, swiping 44 bags over his Minor League career.

The 23-year-old scored 45 runs in just 60 Triple-A games year. Now in the Big Leagues, Naylor is likely to bat ninth, where he’ll serve as a second leadoff hitter (of sorts). Ninth is never an ideal slot for fantasy players, but in terms of runs scored, it’s not a bad spot to be in. He’ll be backed up by some of Cleveland’s best hitters, so if he can continue to get on base, he should score often.

If things go his way, Naylor could end up contributing across the board. If nothing else, he should be able to get on base and score some runs. As a catcher, he doesn’t have to do much to have value. Naylor deserves attention in 14+ competition.

ERA

Wade Miley (SP – MIL): 28%

Miley is back in town and is ready to pick up where he left off (minus the shellacking he took against LA). He continues to defy the odds by stranding runners and keeping runs off the board, leading to a solid ERA. The wily veteran is no stranger to putting up zeros, as he’s registered an ERA below 3.40 for the last three years.

He’ll take on the Pirates today (I’m writing this on Saturday) and is likely to face Cleveland after that. The crafty southpaw controls the zone exceptionally well and often induces weak contact with his sinker and a combination of off-speed pitches. He won’t get you many strikeouts, but the low ERA and WHIP will play nicely. Return Miley to your rosters now that he is back to full strength.

WHIP

Emmet Sheehan (SP – LAD): 27%

Sheehan was dominant in Double-A this season, striking out an impressive 14.85/9 while recording a 0.88 WHIP. The 6-5 220-pound righty debuted Friday night with six no-hit innings against the Giants. He walked two and only struck out three, but the movement on his pitches continued to produce weak contact repeatedly. The extension Sheehan gets off the mound is a major factor in his success, as well as consistently working up in the strike zone.

His stellar numbers in the Minors this year – 24 hits allowed with 88 K’s over just 53.1 innings were already enough to take a flier on. But now, with his incredible debut, his rostership is sure to skyrocket. Sheehan will walk a few, and the league will eventually make adjustments, but for now, he looks like a must-start in fantasy leagues. For those that whiffed on Bobby Miller, Sheehan may be your second chance at snagging a waiver-wire Dodger ace.

Wins

Ranger Suarez (SP – PHI): 28%

Suarez was dismal to begin the season but has since turned it around. Over the last three weeks, Suarez has dominated, turning in four consecutive quality starts. The lefty from Venezuela earned just one victory over the hot streak but did pitch deep into the game in all four. He allowed just four earned runs since May 24 and held opponents to nearly a 1.00 WHIP.

Suarez has made some changes to his pitch selection this season, and now that he’s comfortable with it, his output has improved. He’s throwing his curveball (which he added just last year) more often while throwing his signature sinker much less. Adding in a fifth offering has made the 27-year-old less predictable while still gathering an exceptional amount of ground balls (53.2%). He also rarely gives up the long ball (0.48/9) and is striking out nearly a batter per inning (8.37/9).

Suarez could be in for a big second half now that he’s settled into his latest overhaul. And if he can continue to build upon his success, the wins should start to come. Unfortunately, he’s scheduled to face the Braves next time out but as long as he keeps mixing his pitches, my hunch says he’ll be ok. If you choose to sit him, I wouldn’t blame you, but Suarez has now re-emerged as a solid fantasy starter. If you want him long-term, you may need to pounce now.

Strikeouts

Tarik Skubal (SP – DET): 22%

Skubal is ahead of schedule in his rehab and has already logged eight innings in his starts. The 26-year-old lefty looked extremely sharp in his latest three-inning outing in Triple-A, striking out five of the nine batters he faced. He also struck out seven in his previous five innings. Skubal also has yet to issue a walk or earned run.

The 26-year-old lefty was exceptional last year, finishing with a 3.34 xERA and 2.96 FIP over 21 starts. He has averaged better than a strikeout per inning over the last two seasons and is a must-add now while he’s still available.

Saves

Scott McGough (RP – ARI): 22%

The Diamondbacks signed McGough in the off-season with the hope that he would eventually become their closer. Well, he’s not officially the stopper yet, but lately, he’s looked like a very strong option.

After earning 69 saves over the last two years in the Japanese Central League, McGough has been shutting down Major League hitters like he’s back in Tokyo. The 33-year-old righty hasn’t allowed an earned run since May 12 and has collected two saves over the last week. He’s held opponents to just a .294 OPS in June and has looked extremely unhittable at times. His splitter is downright nasty, and he controls it well. Paired with his mid 90’s fastball and occasional slider, McGough has the tools to become the first-place, D-backs, full-time closer. If you’re lacking in saves, now is the time to add him.


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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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