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The Wire Troll: Seeking Second Half Saves

July 29, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Adam Ottavino could earn saves for the New York Mets.
Could Adam Ottavino take over as the Mets’ closer? (D. Benjamin Miller)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. With August nearly here, we’ve got a ton of options for you in this installment to help you chase down a title.

This week, the Mets waived the white flag, dealing closer David Robertson to Miami (see below for the Fantasy opportunity this opens); Shohei Ohtani recorded his first career complete game; and the ChiSox dealt Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to the Halos.

And now, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks

Adam Ottavino, RP, New York Mets (ESPN: 4.5 per cent; CBS: 18 per cent): It’s been over three years since we last considered the idea that Ottavino might have some Fantasy value, but honestly, that was simply an oversight on our part as he’s been among the top setup men in the game since. And now he likely has a chance to close with Robertson getting dealt (assuming, that is, that Ottavino isn’t also traded). Reportedly, the Mets won’t name a closer now, so expect Brooks Raley and Drew Smith to also get a boost in value, but Ottavino becomes the Met reliever to own even if his record has been a disappointment after racking up 13 wins over the previous two years. Ottavino is using his cutter more than ever this season, but we’re not sure why, as it hasn’t been the most effective offering — we’d rather see him stick to his fastball and changeup. Still, he has the frame to be a workhorse reliever, as he’s shown in many seasons since reaching the bigs in 2010. As long as Ottavino doesn’t serve up gopherballs, he could be quite valuable.

Carlos Hernandez, RP, Kansas City Royals (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Two years ago, Hernandez earned consideration for our Wire Troll All-Star team, but last season he was rancid. Despite a horrid record, he’s bounced back nicely this season, and will likely get a chance to earn saves should closer Scott Barlow get dealt. Hernandez could also be on the move, of course, but given that he’s throwing the ball harder than ever, we’d love to see what we can do as a ninth inning dude.

Enrique Hernandez, OF/2B/SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 6.7 per cent; CBS: 12 per cent): We slotted Hernandez inside the top 95 in our Fantasy Outfield Rankings this spring, but he was not hitting well before getting dealt back to the Dodgers this week. Expect him to get plenty of PT in L.A. given its need for middle infield help and perhaps the occasional appearance in the outfield with Jonny Deluca hurting. Hernandez has done better against curveballs this year, but every other pitch type has given him troubles, so here’s hoping a fresh start in a familiar place can get him back to his 2021 level.

Kutter Crawford, SP, Boston Red Sox (ESPN: 4.2 per cent; CBS: 22 per cent): Just under a year ago we pimped Crawford, and it didn’t pan out as he was shredded and then hurt his shoulder. Well, he’s been generally healthier this year, and has looked very good as a reliever, while proving respectable (if inconsistent) as a starter. But with dramatically improved hit rates this month, Crawford is heading in the right direction, and he’s managed a better record this season. Ironically, Kutter’s cutter has been his worst pitch, but every other offering has been solid as he’s established himself as a useful streaming option.

Others to Consider

Wilmer Flores, 1B/2B/3B, San Francisco Giants (ESPN: 23.8 per cent; CBS: 35 per cent): Flores is crushing all pitch types (except four-seam fastballs), is on an amazing power surge (.895 slugging over the last couple of weeks), and qualifies at three positions. Plus he has his highest BA since 2019.

Robert Hassell III, OF, Washington Nationals (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): Injuries haven’t helped, but Hassell has been slow to adjust to Double-A. However, his power is starting to emerge with two homers in the last five games, and he’s shown he’s capable of handling all three outfield spots. Our No. 29 in this year’s Top 100 Prospects rankings remains a solid dynasty option with buy-low potential.

Kevin Ginkel, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (ESPN: 3.1 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): Ginkel has already matched his career high in WAR and seems to have taken over as the closer in Arizona. He’s never seen more action and is finally again looking like the pitcher that excited Fantasy owners with his stellar 2019 rookie season.

Hayden Travinski, C, LSU Tigers (ESPN: NA; CBS: NA): Coming off a breakout 2022-23 campaign, Travinski surprisingly went undrafted in June. He’ll return to LSU, and if he can build on this season, he should emerge as an intriguing dynasty option.

Johnny Cueto, SP, Miami Marlins (ESPN: 2.9 per cent; CBS: 12 per cent): A Wire Troll All-Star last year, Cueto just keeps on keeping on, looking strong since his return and continuing to help himself as a great fielding hurler.

Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco Giants (ESPN: 3.8 per cent; CBS: 8 per cent): Earlier this week, the Giants recalled Luciano, one of their top prospects. Brandon Crawford (knee) could return soon, but he’s been awful this season and it’s clear San Francisco needed help at SS, so don’t assume Luciano won’t stick around.

J.P. Crawford, SS, Seattle Mariners (ESPN: 10.6 per cent; CBS: 37 per cent): Crawford dealt with a minor knee woe this week, but was back in action Friday and has quietly been productive while proving to be a very good asset in OBP leagues this year.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

It’s been a while since we posted a tune by songwriter Aretha Franklin. Here’s “Without the One You Love,” from that great compilation, Somethin’ Else Again, and originally released on her third album, The Tender, The Moving, The Swinging (1962). In fact, this was the only song she penned herself on this album.

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