Heading into the final week of June, here are my five fantasy baseball waiver wire additions.
Note: All stats are through action on June 23, and ownership rates are entering action on June 24.
5. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Adames had two hits in each of the first two games of this weekend's series against the Yankees, including a home run on Saturday. In 14 games since being called up his numbers are not great (.231/.238/.365, two home runs, six RBI) with a lot of strike outs (23) and few walks (three), but the Rays are set to give one of their top prospects a long leash in his first run against big league pitching.
Adames is worth monitoring in mixed leagues, to see if this weekend is the start of a hot streak. AL-only league owners could stash him right now, if only to have a leg up down the road to fill a position that can can be tough to fill.
Yahoo! Ownership: 6% ESPN Ownership: 4.6%
4. Sam Dyson, RP, San Francisco Giants
Since Hunter Strickland went on the DL after punching a door and suffering a broken hand, Dyson has one save followed by allowing four runs (three earned) over his next two appearances (1.2 innings). But he seems certain to keep getting chances to close games, with a run of 12 scoreless appearances in 13 outings prior to to the last two and a solid 3.12 ERA overall this season.
Reyes Moranta converted a save opportunity last Wednesday after Dyson was pulled from the game, so he could be in the mix too. But while Strickland is out (6-8 weeks), I'm leaning toward the guy with a 38-save season on his resume as the better fantasy add.
Yahoo! Ownership: 35% ESPN Ownership: 15.8%
3. Reynaldo Lopez, SP, Chicago White Sox
Prior to a rough outing last Wednesday night against the Indians (four runs allowed, four walks over 4.1 innings), Lopez went at least six innings while allowing three runs or less (the dictionary definition of a quality start) in five of six starts.
Command has been an issue (1.7 K/BB ratio, 3.9 BB/9) to offset a good opponent's batting average (.231), but Lopez has also gotten two runs or less of run support in eight of his 15 starts so far this year to help yield just two wins. In 11 of those 15 starts, he has allowed three runs or less over at least five innings. He has delivered an aforementioned quality start 10 times overall.
It would be nice if Lopez struck out a few more batters (6.5 K.9) and walked fewer. But a quality start two-thirds of the time so far this year and a 3.59 ERA points to a useful fantasy pitcher, even without a pile of wins and an occasional blow-up outing.
Yahoo! Ownership: 22% ESPN Ownership: 20.4%
2. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Cleveland Indians
After sitting out against a left-handed starter on Saturday, Alonso will carry a three-game hitting streak into Sunday and a .314 batting average with eight RBI over his last nine games. For nearly a month now (since May 26), Alonso has mostly hit fifth in the Indians' lineup. Over that span he is hitting .309 (.897 OPS) with 17 RBI and 10 extra base hits (three home runs).
Alonso has remained off the radar of fantasy owners, for some reason. But for those who are still looking for a suitable replacement for Miguel Cabrera, he's a solid option in mixed leagues.
Yahoo Ownership: 33% ESPN Ownership: 36.3%
1. Jason Heyward, OF, Chicago Cubs
Heyward entered action on May 5 with a .218 batting average (.239 BABIP), two home runs and 14 RBI on the season. Since then he is hitting .319 (38-for-119), spurred by some correction in his BABIP (.333), with 16 RBI and 12 extra base hits.
Heyward has struggled to put everything together consistently at the plate in recent years, with clear mechanical issues in his swing sapping his power. But he has found something with his swing path recently, with Cubs' hitting coach Chili Davis as an influence, and better results have come.
Fantasy owners can't be blamed for being slow to get on the Heyward bandwagon. But he has appeal in all applicable leagues right now, and he could be a sell-high trade chip if this recent good streak continues.
Yahoo! Ownership: 8% ESPN Ownership: 14.6%