As we approach Memorial Day the baseball season is nearly one-third over. On the same note, fantasy baseball owners should be taking real stock of their rosters and making adjustments.
It’s a little early this week, with Monday’s holiday in mind, but here are five must-adds off your fantasy baseball waiver wire looking ahead to next week.
Note: All stats are through May 23.
5. Pedro Strop, RP, Chicago Cubs
Strop is getting close to returning from a hamstring issue. He had a 2.53 ERA and four saves over his first 11 appearances of the season, before a blown save on May 6 took his ERA north of 5.00 and he went on the IL a couple days later.
Steve Cishek has done fine closing games for the Cubs recently, so Strop may not take the role back immediately. But it’s worth at least stashing the Strop as Joe Maddon perhaps mixed and matches save situations until one guy stands out. Cishek is also worth checking on for availability in your league.
Yahoo! Ownership: 45%
ESPN Ownership: 18.6
4. Scott Oberg, RP, Colorado Rockies
With Wade Davis (left oblique strain) out for awhile, Oberg will step in as Colorado’s closer. He has a 1.77 ERA over 18 appearances this season, but with 3 strikeouts and 11 walks over 20.1 innings. But his peripherals were good last year (8.7 K.9, 1.8 BB.9) with a 2.45 ERA, so his current rates (5.8 K/9, 4.9 BB/9) will ideally normalize back to that level.
Davis could return quickly, but oblique injuries can linger and a lengthy absence is easy to predict. As long as he’s pitching, Oberg will meet the opportunity for saves with immediate fantasy value. If he struggles, Bryan Shaw and Carlos Estevez become interesting.
Yahoo! Ownership: 28%
ESPN Ownership: 3%
3. Ian Desmond, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies
Over his last 11 games, Desmond is hitting .361 (13-for-36) with two home runs (seven extra base hits), six RBI and nine runs scored. He’s been playing center field for the Rockies, but he carries first base eligibility in fantasy leagues.
The Rockies are welcoming the Baltimore Orioles, and their pitching staff that’s on pace to shatter the record for home runs allowed in a season, to Coors for three games starting Friday night. So Desmond has a very good chance to keep his hot streak going, to say the least.
Desmond is hitting the ball in the air more than he did last year, and his increased barrel rate shows he’s squaring the ball up more regularly. There’s some definite add and sell-high appeal here, but Desmond is worth a look in mixed leagues.
Yahoo! Ownership: 37%
ESPN Ownership: 54.3%
2. Scott Kingery, 3B/SS/OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Kingery went 2-for-4 against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, which gives him a hit in three of his four starts since returning from the injured list. He has started three of those four games in center field, but prior to being sidelined he saw action a shortstop (five games), third base (three games) and second base (two games).
In his 19-game sample thus far in 2019, Kingery is hitting .362 with two home runs, six RBI, two stolen bases and seven runs scored.
A move up the batting order would be nice, but if he keeps hitting that should be in order. Being eligible at up to three positions further bolsters Kingery’s fantasy value, and he’s a below the radar must-add right now.
Yahoo! Ownership: 31%
ESPN Ownership: 5.7%
1. Lucas Giolito, SP, Chicago White Sox
While weren’t looking, Giolito turned from a failed former top prospect into an ace. With his shutout of the Houston Astros Thursday night, he is 5-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 36 strikeouts and nine walks this month (33.1 innings). He has gone at least seven innings in three of his last four outings, with a 0.64 ERA with 29 strikeouts over that span (28.1 innings).
Overall for the season, Giolito is 6-1 with a 2.77 ERA, a 10.2 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9 (59 strikeouts, 19 walks) over nine starts (52 innings).
Somehow, Giolito is owned in less than 40 percent of ESPN leagues. It’s easy to be a skeptic, but below the surface signs show Giolito has found something and now looks like the time for fantasy owners to get on board.
Yahoo! Ownership: 64%
ESPN Ownership: 39.3%