On the last day before the All-Star break, here are five fantasy baseball waiver wire adds to target.
Note: All stats are through games on July 14.
5. Stephen Piscotty, OF, Oakland Athletics
Piscotty has an eight-game hitting streak going, with a .324 batting average, four home runs and eight RBI over that span. Going back to June 1, he is hitting .304 with eight home runs, 25 RBI and 12 doubles (.941 OPS) over his last 38 games.
Piscotty was hit in the wrist by a pitch last Wednesday night, but he returned to the lineup for a Thursday afternoon tilt and has kept his hitting streak going. He has hit no lower than sixth in Oakland's lineup since June 20 (23 games-21 starts), so Piscotty is in good position to produce for mixed league owners.
Yahoo! Ownership: 29% ESPN Ownership: 34.5%
4. Jake Bauers, 1B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Target Field appears to agree with Bauers, as he's 7-for-14 with five extra base hits over the first three games of the series against the Twins. Going back to July 1 he has nine extra base hits (three home runs, six doubles) with 11 RBI in 13 games (11 starts).
His overall batting line since being called up in early June is not that impressive **(.264/.383/.520 slash-line), but 20 of Bauer's 33 hits have gone for extra bases and he has started 33 of his 35 games with a regular spot in the middle of the Rays' lineup.
It's easy for fantasy owners to lose track of players who aren't on marquee teams. But Bauers belongs on AL-only league rosters, and he's pushing toward mixed league value.
Yahoo! Ownership: 11% ESPN Ownership: 16.4%
3. Jon Gray, SP, Colorado Rockies
After posting a 5.77 ERA over the first three months of the season, Jon Gray was demoted to Triple-A. In two starts there he had 13 strikeouts with four runs allowed over 10.2 innings. He was recalled to start Saturday night's game against the Seattle Mariners, and looked good allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk over 7.1 innings.
Gray was pretty clearly a victim of bad luck before being sent down. A 64 percent strand rate and a .391 BABIP over his first 17 starts conspired to push his ERA toward 6.00. But he struck out close to 29 percent of the batters he faced over the stretch, and his FIP sat close to 3.00 (3.03 after Saturday's outing).
Pitching in Coors Field is never ideal for a pitcher's fantasy value. But now is the time to get back on the Gray bandwagon, as his traditional and peripheral numbers naturally move closer together.
Yahoo! Ownership: 47% ESPN Ownership: 44.3%
2. Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets
Wheeler has been up-and-down through 18 starts this season, but he has gone at least six innings (7-plus innings three times) in five of his last six starts with 42 strikeouts and 14 walks over 38.2 innings. He pretty much cruised through seven innings against the Washington Nationals on Saturday night, before allowing three runs in the eighth inning.
Wheeler has been mentioned in trade rumors, so his good recent stretch is good for his value if the Mets want to deal him. But it's also a good sign for his fantasy value, and there's mixed league value here regardless of where Wheeler is pitching in a few weeks.
Yahoo! Ownership: 21% ESPN Ownership: 19.4%
1. Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners
Waiver wire additions heading into the All-Star break have to come with some eye on the stretch run of the fantasy season. That's where Cano comes in, as he nears the end of a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Cano can return to the Mariners lineup on August 14. He won't get his job back at second base, with Dee Gordon holding down the fort there, but Cano has a potential place in the lineup as something resembling a utility guy in the mix at first base and as a DH.
There's a case for Cano's target market as a waiver wire add to be limited, since he has to be stashed for another month. But for owners who have a roster spot otherwise taken up by a useless or long-term injured bench player, Cano is a worthy flier to consider.
Yahoo! Ownership: 40% ESPN Ownership: 21.9%