Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’ve now reached August, and with it, the end of the trading deadline. Likely your only recourse for improving your team now comes off the wire.
This week, it was announced that current projections for the 2019 MLB season will result in 600 more homers than ever before, which is probably no surprise to those of you that like to bet against other people with betting exchanges, and were expecting power to continue to explode this year.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks…
Anthony Banda, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (ESPN: unowned; CBS: 1 per cent): Banda is nearly ready to return from Tommy John surgery that has sidelined him since May 2018. Yes, this is a longshot to help, but remember how effective he looked early last season before getting hurt. Banda’s K rate left something to be desired, but it was a small sample size. He’s currently rehabbing at Triple-A, and while the results haven’t been spectacular, the key takeaway here is that he’s healthy. The Rays have plenty of pitching injuries, so Banda may very well be called upon to help soon. Remember that at the beginning of last season, he was considered a top 10 prospect in the Tampa system, so he bears watching. As a refresher, see the video below for a look at Banda pitching two years ago while he was still in the D-Backs’ system.
Trent Grisham, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (ESPN: 2 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Grisham has been recalled from Triple-A, delivering an RBI in his MLB debut on Thursday. He was hitting much better at Double-A, earning a late-June promotion to Triple-A, where he’s been ridiculously productive. All told, Grisham has enjoyed a serious breakout year, striking fear into the hearts of minor league pitchers. The Brewers plan to shift Ryan Braun to first base to open up more PT for Grisham, so consider him a nice speculative add in NL-only leagues.
Austin Nola, 1B, Seattle Mariners (ESPN: 2.6 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): Nola went yard on Wednesday, part of a second straight three-hit game, raising his BA to .356. He currently only qualifies at first base in most leagues, but could very well earn qualification at second base, and possibly catcher and third base as well — something that would really hike his value. Nola, a 29-year-old rookie, has looked very productive in his first taste of the bigs and while it’s been a long road for this 2012 fifth round pick to get the majors, he’s making the most of his opportunity. Nola could stick as a super sub and be quite useful if given enough PT.
- The Jays are starting to roll and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been a huge reason why, smacking another two bombs Thursday, giving him three homers and nine RBI over the last two. He’s got four homers, 16 RBI and a .393 BA — over the last week. Smokin’!
- Jack Flaherty‘s dominant performance on Thursday (seven shutout innings, one hit, two walks, nine Ks) helped the Cards surge into first in the NL Central. He was struggling in June and into early July, but has been rolling since, hurling five straight starts with two or fewer earned runs allowed, lowering his ERA nearly a full run over this stretch. Flaherty has been more hittable this year, but he looks poised for a big finish.
- Have you noticed that Michael Pineda has only surrendered one earned run in five of his last nine starts? He’s lowered his ERA from 5.34 to 4.15 in the process, looking like a Fantasy factor for the first time in several years. Pineda’s record isn’t awesome, but he’s won three of his last four decisions and is commanding our attention.
- Dillon Tate has been rudely welcomed to the bigs, giving up three homers in his first two appearances covering five innings. The thing is, he’s only given up one other hit, one walk and fanned five. Once the gopheritis is reined in, Tate could be a nice multi-inning weapon for the Orioles.
- Nicholas Castellanos singled in his Cubs debut, the only hit for Chicago against Flaherty on Thursday. He also drew a walk as he tries to rebound after a somewhat down July (756 OPS). After a career year in 2018, Castellanos has regressed this season, especially in terms of getting on base. Let’s see if a winning environment can help him pick things up — he’s certainly been a much better player away from Comerica Park this season (860 road OPS vs. 715 at home).
- Marcell Ozuna (finger) is clearly ready to rejoin the Cardinals. On Thursday, he went 3-for-4 with a double, homer, walk and five RBI in his third rehab game at Triple-A. Before getting hurt, Ozuna was having a career year, power-wise, with 35 extra-base hits and a .256 ISO.
- Max Fried has been extremely inconsistent this season, but Thursday we got to see the good version of him as he held the Reds to four hits and a run over six frames, fanning four and walking none. At 115 IP, he’s at his highest total since his full-season debut in 2013, so keep an eye on how he fares and if the Braves have any plans to limit his workload down the stretch.
- Although he’s been reduced to a backup role at this stage of his career, Matt Wieters still has some serious pop. He continued to build on his career-best ISO by doubling Wednesday and then smoking a three-run homer on Thursday. Unfortunately, the strikeouts keep coming too, as Wieters has whiffed nine times over his last seven games, raising his K rate to a career-worst 25.4 per cent.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Solomon Burke was one of the founding fathers ’60s soul music. Here’s another track from his 1972 soundtrack album to the blaxploitation movie Cool Breeze, “PSR 1983.” The song was arranged by the great Gene Page, most famous for doing the soundtrack to another blaxploitation classic, Blacula.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball pickup of the week is.