Fantasy baseball is back after its All-Star break hiatus — and it’s about to get a lot more interesting.
Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is just weeks away, meaning teams already are starting to wheel and deal. Those trades, of course, can have a significant impact on players’ fantasy stock, as new clubs present new opportunities.
As we close in on the July 31 deadline, here are our top five waiver wire pickups for the week ahead.
Ryan Madson, RP, Washington Nationals (52 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Leave it to the Nationals to address their closer need by picking up two relievers in Madson and Sean Doolittle. Madson has more experience as a closer, though — 86 saves to Doolittle’s 36 — and sports an impressive 0.79 WHIP, so he could get first crack at the gig. He’s worth taking a flyer on, as is Doolittle if things change.
Brent Suter, SP/RP, Milwaukee Brewers (27 percent owned)
Suter’s transition from the bullpen to starter is going well — he held the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees to a combined two earned runs over two starts while striking out 13 batters. Manager Craig Counsell confirmed Suter will stay in the rotation for the time being, and the left-hander has a start Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tommy Pham, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (45 percent owned)
Pham’s .306 batting average entering Monday might not be sustainable, but his enticing blend of speed and power (11 homers and 12 steals this season) is no fluke. The Cardinals are thin in the outfield, too, so Pham should have an everyday spot in the lineup.
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Boston Red Sox (55 percent owned)
Rodriguez appeared to be having a breakout season before a dislocated knee sidelined him for over a month. The young left-hander returns from the disabled list Monday, though, carrying a 3.54 ERA and a 3.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio into his outing against the Toronto Blue Jays. Get him while the getting’s good.
Tommy Kahnle, RP, Chicago White Sox (8 percent owned)
Want to get a step ahead? Do yourself a favor and grab Kahnle. The right-hander has been excellent as Chicago’s setup man this season, and the White Sox’s current closer, David Robertson, is drawing very strong interest on the trade market ahead of the deadline. Kahnle is the logical candidate to take Robertson’s place, and he’s less than 10 percent owned right now.
Thumbnail photo via Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports Images