So, after a couple of weeks away I found the week 18 waiver wire a very refreshing exercise as I had been only able to follow baseball distantly during my holiday. In that time, the trade deadline passed meaning that now we are likely to see some lesser known names starting to become fantasy relevant, which frankly is quite exciting. On the flip side, there are also some names who have now lost nearly all fantasy value as they lose everyday roles. Therefore, the waiver wire becomes an important place over the next couple of weeks as fantasy teams will look to snap up the hot players or try to find replacements for their now defunct players .
Nick Hundley, C, COL: Hundley is quietly putting together a really solid season, batting over .300 with nine homers and five steals. As a guy generally more known for his defensive abilities, it’s no surprise people have been slow to recognize Hundley as the consistent hitter he has been so far this year. At the catcher position the pool is thin and someone this consistent deserves far more ownership than he has currently. He should be owned in all 12 team leagues.
Wellington Castillo, C, ARI: If some hunch told you to pick up Castillo just over a week ago then you absolutely hit the jackpot! With five homers, nine RBI and nine runs scored whilst batting nearly .400 over his last 28 AB’s, Castillo is worth a speculative pick-up in nearly every league depth to see if this power streak continues for another few days. Power from the catcher position is a massive bonus and if you need some help in that category then this is a gamble worth taking.
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Brandon Belt, 1B, SF: I find myself yo-yoing a lot on Belt having loved him for the last couple of seasons, but I am always looking for a reason to believe in him and his little power surge this week is just that opportunity. Four homers in the last fortnight with three in the last five days has moved his season total up to 13. A very streaky player who had a poor June power wise suggest we could be in for a good period here making Belt a potential gamble pick up for corner infield/utility spots.
Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN: Phillips has had a solid couple of weeks in what has been a very all around season. His two homers and four steals in the past fortnight have taken his season totals to seven and 15 respectively. Now, for most positions you wouldn’t even think that important, but at middle infield that is pretty close to must-own in the majority of leagues and an ownership of 60% is a little low for my liking.
Delino DeShields, 2B/OF, TEX (Speed): DeShields looks to have put his lock on the top of the order spot and for a speedy guy that position has an absolute ton of value. His power is non-existent and his steals aren’t of the Billy Hamilton standard, but as a middle infield option he is a nice source of steals with good potential for runs scored. A must-own in all roto leagues where every steal is vital.
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS/2B, TB: Cabrera has been tearing since returning to the line-up just over a week ago hitting an impressive .500 across that span. In that time he has scored 11 runs, driven in six and hit two homers. He left Wednesdays game after being struck in the face in the field but has since been cleared of any issues. If Cabrera stays hot and can have a good second half then he could be an extremely useful commodity at the shortstop position.
Michael Taylor, OF, WSH: Taylor is finally doing what I have been waiting for all season. Taylor is someone I was high on when Span got hurt pre-season and I got my fair share of his shares around my leagues. But, understandably, the young man yo-yoed a little in his rookie season and now as we get deeper into the second half he is coming alive. In the last two weeks he has four homers and four steals with 13 RBI at an average over .300. Taylor has real multi category potential and could easily keep hold of this place for the rest of the season. He needs to be owned in all five outfielder leagues.
Adam Easton, OF, CWS (Speed): Eaton has been on fire the last two weeks, stealing six bases and hitting two homers to bring back memories of the player we were all so excited about in Arizona. This surge has coincided with the improvement across the board for the White Sox and Eaton has now surged up to 66 runs scored this season. He has tremendous value if he can keep stealing because now he sits at nine homers and 11 steals on the season making him a 20/20 potential player. I would go as far to say that I would look to own him in every league.
Rusney Castillo, OF, BOS: So apparently Rusney Castillo only plays baseball in the second half! Since coming up following the trade of Victorino, Castillo has been hitting just under 400 with two steals, one homer and four RBI. He would be higher here if it wasn’t for the fact he is in a platoo situation with De Aza but as Boston slide further out of the race this year Castillo should come more to the fore. Now is the time to buy in before he explodes and becomes hot property.
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Aaron Hicks, OF, MIN: Aaron Hicks has quietly been very effective in the outfield for Minnesota lately. In the last couple of weeks he has two homers and two steals with nine RBI and 11 runs scored. His .333 batting average over that time has dragged his season average over .275 and Hicks is flashing some five category potential in a Minnesota team who seem to be refusing to disappear.
Michael Bourn, OF, CLE (Speed): Bourn is now starting to run himself into fantasy worthiness with six steals in the last fortnight to essentially double his season total. In that period he has been hitting nearly 390 having spent most of the season in the low .220’s. The change has been magnificent and now may be the chance to jump in and grab someone who was once a very valuable fantasy contributor.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, KC (Speed): His hitting is frankly woeful but his speed is a lot of fun. In five outfield leagues Dyson adds a lot of value as a pinch runner who can gain you valuable steals whilst not actually batting enough to do monumental damage to your average. This tactic of searching steals in this way isn’t my favourite but if you have a strong hitting group from the power and average stand point then Dyson’s contribution could be valuable in keeping you competitive in steals.