With July 4th just two days away, and the USA Men’s Soccer team’s unfortunate elimination, the sports world will be focused on baseball for the next few months. Not coincidentally, these are the dog days of summer, which is the home stretch in fantasy baseball. Every fantasy player wants to head into the All-Star break with a full head of steam, and the way to do that might be to add the next best thing off the waiver wire.
Whether it is a free agent pool, a budget-based system, or weekly waivers, playing the wire is a key element to winning your fantasy baseball leagues.
Each week, XN Sports will present an option at each position (if there is anyone worth picking up), and why you should add them.
Without further ado, let’s play the waiver wire:
Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners
Everyone remember when J.P. Arencibia had fantasy value? That is what Zunino is doing at the moment, but with a better batting average. That means that he is one of the more productive catchers in terms of home runs, runs batted in, and even runs scored, but his batting average is, and will, remain low. So far this season, Zunino is hitting .223 with 12 home runs, 32 runs batted in, and 32 runs scored. In the last two weeks, Zunino ranks second among catchers in runs scored, second in home runs, and is tied for third in runs batted in. The only one in front of him in every category is Devin Mesoraco, who is on a tear. Add Zunino if you need help with production, but beware of his batting average.
Eric Campbell, New York Mets
For those in deeper leagues, this may be an option for you. But even for those in standard leagues, keep an eye on Campbell. He is playing every day for the Mets, and is available in nearly every single fantasy league. Why add him? Campbell is hitting .322 with eight runs scored, eight runs batted in, a home run, and a stolen base so far this season for the Mets in just 87 at-bats. But he has been hot with consistent playing time of late. Campbell is 11 for his last 26, which is a scorching .378 batting average. He does not have any outlying value in many other categories, but if you are in a points league, or need help at first base, third base (when he becomes eligible), or in the 1B/3B slot, Campbell is your guy.
Jordy Mercer, Pittsburgh Pirates
Mercer has not been a name thrown around in the fantasy baseball community, but maybe it is time to take a look at him. In the last month, he ranks fifth amongst second basemen in runs scored, third in home runs, is tied for sixth in runs batted in, and is hitting a modest .269. On the season, Mercer is hitting .228, but as we all know in fantasy sports, it is all about what a player has done lately, and if he stays hot for the future. Mercer is available in over 90 percent of leagues, and is eligible at both shortstop and second base. Add him if you need help up the middle.
Henderson Alvarez, Florida Marlins
This is not the first time Alvarez has been a suggested add here on XNSports, but it should be the last time he is a suggested add. Alvarez has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the last month or so. That is not an exaggeration. In his last 53.1 innings of work, he has allowed just six earned runs. For those counting, that is an 1.04 ERA. Those numbers alone mean he should be on a fantasy team, but he is available in over 40 percent of leagues which is absurd. In addition to his ERA, he has a 54.8 ground ball percentage, which is among one of the best in baseball. That goes along with a minuscule 22.9 fly ball percentage, which limits any damage that could tarnish his earned run average. It sounds odd, but add one of the best pitchers in baseball off the waiver wire.