Options abound for fantasy waiver scavengers
Waiver-wire searchers, delight: Fantasy owners who need hitting help have a variety of options this week, and those in need of arms will find several appealing two-start options and a pair of enticing relievers.
Maikel Franco, third baseman (Phillies)
Hitting .319 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs across 144 at-bats, Franco deserves a roster spot in virtually all leagues. Although Franco bats in a mediocre lineup, he gains points for playing half of his games in homer-happy Citizens Bank Park. Look for him to be a difference-maker in the power categories for the rest of the season and beyond.
Marcus Semien, shortstop (A's)
Hitting .283 with six homers and seven steals at the end of May, Semien appeared to be the best fantasy shortstop in the American League. But he has crashed hard this month, hitting .231 without a home run or stolen base to his credit. Impatient owners have been sending Semien to waivers in many leagues, but a reemergence is certainly possible.
Brock Holt, outfielder (Red Sox)
Holt -- who is eligible at four positions in most leagues -- is the main beneficiary of Boston's decision to send Rusney Castillo back to the Minors. The 27-year-old has hit near the top of the lineup on several occasions this month and has scored nine runs across his past seven games. Holt will not make a major difference with his counting stats, but he can hit for a high average and represents the perfect injury replacement.
Kevin Pillar, outfielder (Blue Jays)
Pillar earned a lineup spot to begin with thanks to his stellar defense, but his hitting has come alive this month to the tune of a .392 average, four homers and 17 RBIs across 74 at-bats. With a .270 average, six homers, 10 steals and 40 runs across 284 plate appearances this season, Pillar has shown the ability to compile counting stats without lowering a fantasy squad's batting mark. He is a worthwhile option for owners in need of a multicategory contributor.
Alex Rios, outfielder (Royals)
Rios' 2015 season had barely begun when a fractured left hand caused an extended trip to the disabled list. The outfielder has struggled to return to form since his return, but fantasy owners should still have interest in a player who hit .288 with 47 homers and 82 steals from 2012-14.
Kendall Graveman, starter (A's)
General manager Billy Beane rarely whiffs on a young pitcher, but Graveman looked like a bust when he posted an 8.27 ERA across four April starts. After a month in the Minors, the right-hander has turned the corner by recording a 2.27 ERA across his past six big league outings. Mixed-league owners would be wise to add Graveman before he makes a pair of starts at his pitcher-friendly home park next week.
Mat Latos, starter (Marlins)
The right-hander -- who owns a career 3.45 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP -- has compiled a 17-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio across a pair of starts since coming off the disabled list on June 13. With help from a pitcher-friendly home park, Latos could have a productive march toward offseason free agency during the second half. Next week, he will work at home against the Giants before traveling to Wrigley Field to face a strikeout-prone Cubs squad.
Kyle Hendricks, starter (Cubs)
With career marks of 3.33 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, Hendricks should garner plenty of mixed-league attention. However, many fantasy owners have been unimpressed with his mediocre strikeout rate. The right-hander could compile a handful of K's and quality innings next week, when he faces two lineups -- the Mets and Marlins -- that struggle against righties.
Carson Smith, reliever (Mariners)
With saves in five of his past six appearances, Smith has clearly emerged as the Mariners' closer. With a 1.18 ERA, a 0.68 WHIP and 46 strikeouts across 38 career innings, the right-hander has proven that he has the skills to hold the stopper's gig. He could be a second-tier closer for the remainder of the season.
Roberto Osuna, reliever (Blue Jays)
After Brett Cecil struggled during the weekend, Osuna came to the mound in the eighth inning on Monday and struck out five batters across two scoreless innings to secure an 8-5 win over the Rays. The rookie righty has posted a high strikeout rate and a 0.91 WHIP this season, and he has allowed more than one earned run just once in 31 appearances. Osuna could become the lead man in Toronto's newly established closer committee and should be added now in deep-mixed formats.