The end of August, and summer, is near. A little early this time around, here are five waiver wire additions to take a look at in your fantasy baseball league.
5. Neil Walker, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
Over his first nine games with the Brewers, Walker is hitting .429 (12-for-28) with a home run and five RBI. Going back to his last days with the Mets, he has a hit in each of the last 10 games he has started with 18 hits and a 1.266 OPS over that longer span.
Walker has been a useful fantasy second baseman for a long time now, including this year relatively below the radar, (.280, 11 home runs, 41 RBI). His current hot stretch is coming at a good time for fantasy owners, and Walker is at least worth adding in NL-only leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 21.3%
4. Delino DeShields, OF, Texas Rangers
DeShields has hit leadoff in each of the last 15 games he has started, over a 17-game span, with a .262 average (.357 OBP), six stolen bases and 11 runs scored over that stretch. Overall he is having a solid season, with a .274/.344/.365 slash-line, 52 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts.
DeShields does swing and miss a lot, with 15 strikeouts over the aforementioned stretch and 82 strikeouts in 266 at-bats this year. But the embarrassment stigma attached to striking out is greatly diminished this season, and otherwise DeShields belongs on the radar in deeper mixed leagues.
Anyone looking for a stolen base boost down the stretch should be taking a long look at DeShields. And outside of power numbers, his other counting stats should be helpful too.
ESPN Ownership: 15.2%
3. Blake Treinen, RP, Oakland Athletics
Since being acquired from the Nationals, Treinen has a 2.21 ERA, a 10.2 K/9 rate (2.7 BB/9) and five saves over 20.1 innings (18 appearances). In a unique twist, given bullpen deployment these days, he has gone a total of 3.1 innings while converting his last two saves opportunities.
The A’s won’t be a plentiful and consistent source of save chances, but Treinen should get every opportunity from here on out this season. That stability brings fantasy appeal, since one blown save or a rough outing here and there isn’t likely to bring a demotion from the closer role.
Players in bad teams slip below the radar of fantasy owners at this point in a season. But don’t make that mistake with Treinen, especially if you need saves.
ESPN Ownership: 17.5%
2. Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Since returning from a hip injury on Aug. 18 (six games), Kiermaier is 10-for-25 with three home runs, six RBI, one steal and six runs scored. Overall, over 258 at-bats, he’s hitting .271 with 10 home runs, 11 stolen bases and 36 runs scored this season.
Kiermaier’s Gold Glove defense in center field, which was on display twice Thursday night, will keep him in the lineup as long as he’s healthy. Over the last month-plus of the season, a push toward a 15-15 season (home runs and stolen bases) is on the radar with a batting average and a runs scored total that should be adequate. Four category contribution is hard to find on the waiver wire at this point, and Kiermaier offers that potential>
ESPN Ownership: 20.2%
1. Trea Turner, SS, Washington Nationals
Turner is a unique case for this list, as a top-tier fantasy option that was probably just stashed on the DL by most of his owners. But he is on the verge of returning from a wrist injury, with a rehab assignment kicking off this week, Turner is still highly ranked among fantasy shortstops for the season despite being out since late June.
Turner is probably not available in your league, based on his ESPN ownership rate, but it’s worth checking on regardless of your league host and he should be 100% owned down the stretch.
ESPN Ownership: 94.3%