With just 10 days remaining until the All-Star break, fantasy managers should mostly be looking at players who can make an immediate impact on their league’s standings. This week’s list of waiver wire options includes several starters who have favorable matchups this weekend, as well as a few position players who are heading into hitter-friendly opportunities soon.
MJ Melendez (C, Kansas City Royals, 47 percent rostered)
Melendez has posted a mediocre .222 batting average, but that mark doesn’t leave him too far behind several other mixed-league options at the catcher position. Fantasy managers are more likely to add this rookie for his elite power stroke, which has been on display thus far in July (3 HR in 6 games). The lefty-swinging Melendez could rip another round-tripper in the next five days when Kansas City faces six mediocre right-handed starters.
Vinnie Pasquantino (1B, Kansas City Royals, 27%)
Yahoo! managers have been slow to add Pasquantino, who admittedly has given them few reasons to pick him up. But the first baseman showed excellent power and on-base skills during his time in the Minors and should soon make an impact with the Royals. With Kansas City about to face a string of subpar righties, this is the perfect time to give the left-handed hitter a chance.
Luke Voit (1B, San Diego Padres, 39%)
Managers who have some bench room could stash a couple Padres hitters this weekend, as the team is set to open next week with four games at offense-inducing Coors Field. Voit is a solid option from the San Diego group in shallow leagues, while Nomar Mazara or one of the team’s catchers (Jorge Alfaro, Austin Nola) are possibilities in deeper formats.
Connor Joe (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies, 39%)
Like most Colorado hitters, Joe has been much better at home than on the road this season. As the team’s regular leadoff hitter, the outfielder should score plenty of runs next week when the Rockies head into the All-Star break with a string of seven home contests. In fact, starting on Monday, Colorado enjoys a stretch of playing 13 of 17 games at their hitter-friendly home park.
Josh Naylor (OF, Cleveland Guardians, 35%)
The left-handed-hitting Naylor has been awesome against righties this season, collecting 10 homers and posting a .952 OPS. He is in a prime position to be a major source of short-term production between now and the All-Star break, as Cleveland is set to play 11 games across 10 days, with all 11 matchups coming against right-handed starters. And with seven of those games coming against the Royals and Tigers, there are plenty of mediocre hurlers on the docket.
One caveat: Naylor has recently been day-to-day with back spasms, so managers will want to see him on a lineup card before picking him up.
Harold Ramirez (OF, Tampa Bay Rays, 29%)
Ramirez has been a regular during starts in an injury-riddled Rays outfield, and he has the contact skills to be an excellent source of batting average in the coming days. He won’t deliver an impactful total in homers and steals, but the outfielder is hitting .314 and should thrive this weekend when Tampa visits hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park to face a Reds pitching staff that ranks last in ERA.
Tyler Wells (SP/RP, Baltimore Orioles, 49%)
One of the most consistent starters in baseball this season, Wells has gone 15 consecutive starts without allowing more than three earned runs. The right-hander has surrendered just three runs across his past four outings and has an excellent opportunity to stay hot when he works at home tonight against a slumping Angels lineup that ranks 29th in the Majors in OPS since June 1.
Nick Lodolo (SP, Cincinnati Reds, 23%)
Lodolo looked great in his return from the IL on Tuesday, striking out eight Mets over 4.2 scoreless innings. Fantasy managers should expect the rookie to struggle with walks at times, and he is unlikely to be a great source of wins while working in front of a rebuilding Reds team. But Lodolo can deliver plenty of strikeouts and has some serious second-half upside. He should fare well against the Rays on Sunday.
Johnny Cueto (SP, Chicago White Sox, 26%)
Cueto lacks upside but has been a useful streaming option across his 10 outings this year (3.30 ERA, 1.22 WHIP). The 36-year-old should be added and activated in virtually all formats when he works against a Tigers lineup that ranks 29th in the Majors with a .600 OPS vs. righties on Saturday.
Aaron Ashby (SP/RP, Milwaukee Brewers, 28%)
Ashby did not fare well in his return from the IL against the Pirates on July 2, surrendering multiple homers for the first time this season, which contributed to allowing four runs across 3.2 innings. Still, I remain a fan of the lefty’s ability to induce strikeouts and grounders, which should make him a long-term solution in many leagues. Ashby gets a second straight shot at the Bucs tonight, and I expect him to fare better this time.
Joe Mantiply (RP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 5%)
D-backs closer Mark Melancon picked up his seventh loss of the season last night and hasn’t earned a save since June 3. With a 5.22 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP, Melancon should soon be removed from his ninth-inning duties. Mantiply is the likely replacement, having posted a 1.99 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and a 34:1 K:BB ratio across 33 innings.