Ah, the trade deadline. A very exciting time for baseball fans and fantasy enthusiasts everywhere. Player values and playing time can be greatly affected by organizational changes, so it’s good to keep tabs on all the moving parts. Usually, when a player is traded, it doesn’t move the needle much in terms of production, but it can boost a few categories, and more importantly, it opens up a spot for a former teammate or younger prospect to be featured in a prominent role.
The players impacted the most are likely closers. Many stoppers become setup guys once traded, and after they lose their save opportunities, they basically become useless in non-hold fantasy leagues. On the flip side, the team that dealt away their closer will now trot out their former set guy(s) in the ninth, creating great fantasy value. The job may be handled by a committee at first, but generally, there’s a standout arm that eventually earns the bulk of the work.
Well, I’m here to help you navigate these tricky waters. The trade deadline isn’t exactly over yet, so more players could be on the move. But for now, here are your 12 best waiver-wire add’s for this week based on category.
All players listed are rostered in less than 55% of Yahoo leagues (or close to it) and are sorted into categories of where they’re most likely to contribute.
Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups
Frelick had a tremendous start to his MLB career, going three for three with two RBIs and a run scored. He was also excellent on defense. Since then, the former first-rounder has continued to hit and score runs. Frelick collected eight runs and seven hits, including a homer, in just six games. The 23-year-old is also surprisingly been hitting cleanup. He’s probably the hottest add this week in fantasy leagues and is worth starting in most leagues while he’s hot.
The former top prospect for the Guardians has done a bit of everything in his rookie campaign for the Rockies. The 6-4 outfielder/first baseman has nine homers, six steals, 22 RBIs, 22 runs, and a .274 batting average over 157 at-bats. Jones excelled in the Minors as well this season, so his performance doesn’t come as a complete surprise. His downfall is his lofty strikeout totals, but he does hit the ball hard and ranks in the top 8% of max exit velo this year. His SLG of nearly .500 reflects the same as his xSLG, too, so it’s not as if he’s just getting lucky.
Jones has the advantage of playing half of his games in Coors but has hit just as well on the road. The Rockies need to figure out if Jones is part of their long-term plans, so he should see plenty of regular playing time down the stretch. He’s been on this list before and is once again worth adding in most leagues.
Casas is hitting fourth in today’s lineup for just the third time all year but deserves to be there. Not only has he been one of the toughest outs in all of baseball, but also has six bombs over his last 11 games. After a miserable April, Casas gradually improved each month and has been unstoppable in July. The Red Sox’s former top prospect is hitting .375 for the month with seven dingers, a .478 OBP, and 16 runs scored. He was sitting against some lefty starters, but I suspect that to be changing soon. Casas is an on-base machine and has been one of the best hitters in the entire league since the All-Star break (.438 batting average). He deserves a roster spot everywhere and can be added for nearly every category outside of steals.
Candelario could still be traded, but even in Washington, he possesses value. Batting third in the Nationals order, the former Tiger has been excellent with runners in scoring position all year. A .289 batting average and .592 SLG with RISP have led to a strong 52 RBIs on the season. With Lane Thomas batting in front of him and Joey Meneses behind him, Candelario’s been put in an ideal spot to succeed. He’s got nine ribbies in his last 11 games, and even if he’s moved, he’ll likely be playing for a contender with a better lineup. Candelario is a strong candidate for the rest of the year to help boost your lowly RBI totals.
Castro hasn’t been great for most of the year, but he could be arrested for all the recent swipes he’s recorded. Castro is tied for the most stolen bases over the last two weeks with none other than Roland Acuna. Castro has totaled seven steals over his last 36 at-bats despite collecting just nine hits. He basically runs whenever he reaches base and has only been caught four times all season. Detroit’s utility man is up to 26 bags on the year and is showing no signs of slowing down. Castro also qualifies all over the diamond, so he’s a nice plug in and play to get you steals.
Maeda has far exceeded expectations since returning from his injury. After starting the year off 0-4 and spending two months on the IL, Maeda was a bit of an afterthought in fantasy leagues. However, the 35-year-old returned with a vengeance, proving to everyone he is still valuable.
Since June 23rd, Maeda’s riffled off five games of two earned runs or fewer and another with just three allowed. His ERA over that span (32.2 innings) is 2.48 with a tidy 1.07 WHIP. Even more impressive are the gaudy strikeout totals he’s registered. Maeda’s K’d 44 batters over those 32.2 innings, good for a 12.12 K/9. His splitter’s been extremely impressive, racking up a 37% whiff rate while leading to just a .180 BA and .197 SLG.
If Maeda’s still available in your league, run, don’t walk to add him because he won’t last.
I was not expecting to put Schmidt under ERA, but after reviewing his starts, the 24-year-old from Georgia absolutely deserves to be here. Schmidt has been quietly solid for New York this season, giving up three runs or less in every game since May 14th. He’s started 11 games over that span and has produced a fine 3.04 ERA. He’s been a steady contributor lasting five or more innings in 10 out of the 11 starts (he lasted 4.2 in the other one), and is currently riding a four-game winning streak.
Schmidt was hardly the pitcher Yankee fans were expecting to be one of their most reliable starters, but outside of Gerrit Cole, he arguably has been. Add Schmidt now to help in most pitching categories.
Crawford won three games in July and is now set to take on Seattle and Kansas City next. The second-year starter strikes out a batter per inning, and limits walks extremely well. He’s also been fantastic on the road this season. With Boston’s surprisingly offensive surge, the Red Sox have been giving their starters a chance to win nearly every time out. Crawford’s a great streamer with two winnable matchups coming up.
Johnny Cueto is an option here after two below 1.00 WHIP outings, but his track record doesn’t exactly build confidence, and the Marlins’ long-term plans are still in question. If you’re desperate enough, you could take a flier on Cueto, but I’d rather have Singer. Singer’s had an up-and-down season but has been on a nice roll lately. Over his last three starts, the soon-to-be 27-year-old produced a clean 1.00 WHIP while striking out 23 batters. He’s also registered a decent 1.20 WHIP over his last seven outings. Singer’s been better than his numbers show and was also solid last year. Take a shot at Kansas City’s hottest pitcher, who hopefully continues to improve.
Santos picked up the latest save for the Chi Sox after Kendall Graveman was traded. With Liam Hendriks dealing with an elbow injury, Santos should be in line to see the bulk of save chances in the south side of Chicago. The rookie right-hander throws 100 and has been exceptional all year. He’s only allowed one homer and 11 walks over 51.1 IP and strikeouts out a batter per inning. He’s worth adding to boost your saves.
Ottavino is another option, although his numbers are not as good. He walks too many hitters and can be home run prone, but with David Robertson out of town, he’ll likely be the one called upon against right-handed hitters. Brooks Raley would be the choice against lefties.
Erik Swanson (RP – TOR): 25% | Yimi Garcia (RP – TOR): 12%
Jordan Romano was just added to the IL with a back injury, so either Swanson or Garcia could take his place in the short term.
Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.