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Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups: Luis Rengifo, Steven Matz, Graham Ashcraft

Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups: Luis Rengifo, Steven Matz, Graham Ashcraft

It’s that time again. Time to get those waiver-wire claims in before the start of the week! Whether your team needs a complete overhaul or just a few key replacements, you’ve come to the right place. Here you will find this week’s top waiver wire adds based on category. These players won’t last long, however, so make haste when making your choices.

I hope some of you were able to pick up Zack Gelof two weeks ago when he was rostered in just 7% of leagues. Since then, he’s been on a tear, launching five homers and stealing three bases. He’s also registered a .952 OPS. Bradley Singer was also a standout. Singer was featured in last week’s piece and nearly threw a perfect game against the Mets. That’s just the type of impact some of these young players can have, so it’s never a bad idea to take a flier on the ones with proper upside.

If you missed out on those guys, no need to panic, as there are still plenty of solid options this week. Let’s get right to it. All players listed are rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo Leagues and are broken down into categories of where they’re most likely to contribute.

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Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups

Here are this week’s top waiver wire options based on category.

Home Runs

Marcell Ozuna (OF – ATL): 49%

Our old friend, Marcell, is hitting dingers again. Ozuna always had it in him, but occasionally he feels the need to swing at balls even the catcher has trouble reaching. However, all is forgiven when he’s regularly planting balls into the seats. Over the last eight games, Ozuna has four homers and seven RBIs to his credit. He’s up to 23 on the year and is an excellent candidate to get you some much-needed thump (93% barrel, 97% max exit velo, 94% xSLG) off the waiver wire list.

Runs

Randal Grichuk (OF – LAA): 36%

Grichuk loses the advantage of Coors, but his playing time will no longer be a factor in Anaheim. With numerous starters on the IL, the Angels added CJ Cron and Grichuk to help pick up the slack. The 31-year-old outfielder is hitting .305 on the season with nine homers, 41 runs scored, and a .850 OPS. He hit a home run in his debut for the Halos and has collected five hits over his five games there. Phil Nevin has yet to solidify his lineup spot, but it should only be a short amount of time until he settles in and his production improves.

Grichuk has the tools to succeed, and now he has a regular spot to do it. He also has the most hits of any player rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues over the past two weeks. Take a shot on the former Cardinal, who’s reaching base at a career-high 36%.

RBI

Yainer Diaz (C – HOU): 25%

Diaz is making the most of his newly found playing time. Still alternating with Martin Maldonado, Diaz has started eight out of the past 13 games for the ‘Stros at either catcher or DH. During that span, the rookie backstop knocked in 11 runs to go along with four homers and two doubles. Diaz exhibits exceptional power (13% barrel, 45% hard hit) to his pull side, which has helped lead to an outstanding .515 SLG and .273 average. He keeps his strikeout rate low for a slugger at just 17.6%, and there’s even room for improvement considering his .274 BABIP.

With the Astros in contention to win their third straight division crown, Diaz could eventually overtake Maldonado as the favored starter (if he hasn’t already) in light of his offensive production.

Batting Average

Luis Rengifo (2B, SS, 3B, OF – LAA): 35%

Rengifo is finally doing what most of us pundits thought he would do at the beginning of the year, which is hit! The Angels’ leadoff hitter has been on fire lately, scattering 17 hits over his last 54 at-bats (.315 BA). Even more impressive has been his quality of contact. Sweet spot and barrel percentages have more than tripled since the early days of the season, which have helped lead to a 1.050 OPS since July 22. Rengifo’s been doing a bit of everything, and he qualifies at nearly every position. He should be on rosters everywhere.

Stolen Bases

Anthony Volpe (SS – NYY): 50%

Volpe’s been dropped in several leagues, which for some, might be the right decision. But for those in leagues that require an MI or are low on steals, he may just be the perfect fit.

Volpe’s up to 20 steals on the year and paired with the occasional homer. He’s a decent play. Plenty of fans have soured on the young prospect calling for his demotion, but he still holds value in leagues as long as he’s starting and running. He’ll have his fair share of 0-for nights, but if steals are what you’re after, Volpe’s a decent play.

ERA

Steven Matz (SP, RP – STL): 45%

Matz delivered back-to-back quality starts for the first time all year and finished July with a 2.17 ERA. After finding some success in relief (1.64 ERA over six relief appearances in June), Matz has worked his way back into the Cardinals’ good graces. The veteran lefty has found his control of late, surrendering just six free passes over his last six games. Matz has also kept the ball in the yard, having allowed just two home runs (both in the same game) since May 24th. He’s set to take on the Rockies today (Saturday), but his next scheduled start is a juicy one against Kansas City. He deserves a spot in most leagues while he’s pitching well.

WHIP

Graham Ashcraft (SP – CIN): 39%

Ashcraft isn’t the easiest pitcher to trust in fantasy leagues, but he’s been much better of late. The sophomore starter has been excellent in seven straight starts recording a 1.14 WHIP. The hard-throwing righty has given up two runs or less in every outing since June 30th and is even pitching deeper into games. His ERA for those six weeks is 2.05 despite only striking out 16.7% of batters. Ashcraft’s been getting it done with weak contact and lazy fly balls and is worthy of a roster spot in most leagues.

Strikeouts

Seth Lugo (SP, RP – SD): 47%

Lugo’s breaking stuff has been especially sharp of late, racking up 24 strikeouts over his last 20 innings. The 6-foot-4 starter is coming off of a nine-strikeout performance in Colorado and now has 88 strikeouts in 89 innings for the year. The 33-year-old has also done well keeping runs off the board, registering a 2.89 ERA over his last six starts. He’s a solid back-of-your-rotation type to help earn you at least a strikeout per inning.

Wins

Jameson Taillon (SP – CHC): 36%

Tailion wasn’t gonna stink forever and has now won four out of his last five games. His LOB rate was high, but he drastically cut down on homers, which lead to a fine 2.08 ERA during that stretch. He’s a bit of a risky play considering his career and season, but I’m willing to ride the hot streak until it fades out. Taillon is lined up to take on the Mets next.

Saves

Kyle Finnegan (RP – WAS): 48%

Like so many other jobs in D.C., it’s been a revolving door at closer for the Nats. With Hunter Henry still down with a strained elbow, it’s been Finnegan once again collecting saves. The third-year stopper has only allowed two runs since June 9th and has already collected five saves since Henry’s departure just over two weeks ago. The Nationals don’t win many games, but Finnegan is still worth an add for those in search of saves.

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

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