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The Wire Troll: Maikel Garcia Running Wild for Royals

June 24, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Maikel Garcia is racking up steals for the Kansas City Royals.
Maikel Garcia can help you in steals. (Sports Illustrated)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. As summer begins in earnest, it’s time to get super serious about making a move. Use the waiver wire!

This week, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shohei Ohtani have rightfully been elected as All-Star Game starters; Tampa Bay ace Shane McClanahan is dealing with a back woe; and Lance Lynn (bereavement) has returned to the Pale Hose.

And now, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks

Maikel Garcia, SS/3B, Kansas City Royals (ESPN: 3.6 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Yet another relative unknown in Fantasy circles has emerged in Kansas City in the form of infielder Garcia, signed out of Venezuela in 2016. He impressed in a brief look in the bigs last year, but has taken a step forward this season thanks to his speed. Garcia is heating up with hits in seven straight and (until Friday) runs in six straight, swiping five bags over this stretch while upping his OBP to .377 for the month. The base stealing prowess is the real deal; he bagged 39 thefts in just 118 games last year between Double-A and Triple-A. And while it’s been a slog in KC this season, Garcia’s emergence as a potential ROY candidate has been a real bright spot. Given his plus hit tool, excellent speed, periodic pop (see video below) and potential multi-position eligibility, he makes for a nice addition.

Derek Hill, OF, Washington Nationals (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): The last time we checked in on Hill, he was in Detroit and dealing with an injury. In August, Seattle claimed him off waivers, and then DFAed him in late-October before he elected to become a free agent. Washington signed him to a minor league deal in November, and now he’s up with the club thanks to Victor Robles‘ back acting up again. Hill’s speed makes him an intriguing short-term add in NL-only leagues.

Nick Gonzales, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): After an injury-plagued 2022, Gonzales dipped to No. 76 on our Top 100 Prospects rankings this spring, but he’s bounced back nicely in his first taste of Triple-A (820 OPS) and now he’s getting a look in the Show, making his MLB debut on Friday. Gonzales offers nice extra-base sock and fine on-base skills.

Luis Patino, RP/SP, Tampa Bay Rays (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): Late last season, we correctly surmised that Patino could get another crack with the Rays after injury opened a rotation spot, but he was shredded in a pair of starts down the stretch to put a cherry on a miserable campaign. To make matters worse, this spring he blew his shot at winning a spot out of camp and struggled so badly at Triple-A that he was finally converted into a reliever. But is Patino — the key return in the 2020 Blake Snell trade — finally figuring his shit out in the bullpen? Consider that he’s tossed seven scoreless outings in his last nine tries, including no earned runs allowed through five June appearances. Patino still has a long way to go, but at the age of 23, is still someone worth tracking to see if he can return to the Rays in the second half as a potential multi-inning weapon.

Jordan Hicks, RP, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 8.8 per cent; CBS: 40 per cent): It’s been a long road back from June 2019 TJS for Hicks, one that included an experiment in the rotation last season. And slowly but surely, the results have improved and he has suddenly found himself earning saves again with Ryan Helsley out. Giovanny Gallegos is likely to figure into this mix as well, but for now, Hicks is worth grabbing in all formats, having tossed four straight scoreless outings (three saves and a hold). Hicks has actually been easier to hit in June, but the key takeaway here is he finally seems healthy enough to handle a big workload.

J.P. France, SP, Houston Astros (ESPN: 10.5 per cent; CBS: 48 per cent): Where the hell does Houston find all these pitchers? A 14th round pick from 2018, France has been toiling away in the Astro system since until finally getting a shot this year. And the results — while inconsistent — have been quite serviceable for Fantasy purposes. France’s control has waned this month, yet he’s enjoyed better bottom line numbers. A better record would be nice, but this is a hurler who has managed to stick around in his starts and provide solid ERA and WHIP figures. Realistically, France has only been tattooed once in his nine starts, so if you need a dude that can rack up some frames without killing your ratios, here you go.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Funksters Sly and the Family Stone originated from the superb San Francisco scene in 1966 and remained active until 1983. Here’s one of their many top 10 hits, “Everyday People,” which also appeared on the Somethin’ Else Again compilation.

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