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Hot wire: 10 men to pluck off fantasy waivers

June 28, 2017

Could your fantasy team use more power? What about steals? Runs, RBIs or wins?Regardless of your holes, the fantasy waiver wire has a plug or long-term fix to pick up today. Check the following 10 men -- all sitting in waivers in many leagues, and all ready to help you

Could your fantasy team use more power? What about steals? Runs, RBIs or wins?
Regardless of your holes, the fantasy waiver wire has a plug or long-term fix to pick up today. Check the following 10 men -- all sitting in waivers in many leagues, and all ready to help you win.
Tyler Flowers, catcher, Braves
Sure, Flowers is unlikely to hit .331 the rest of the year due to an expected regression of his .403 BABIP. But with an outstanding 25.4 percent line-drive rate and a solid 35.7 percent hard-contact rate, the 31-year-old should continue to rank among the few catchers who post a helpful batting mark. Also, wise owners will notice his .346 BABIP from 2014-16 before expecting too much batted-ball regression.
Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Ian Happ, 2B/OF, Cubs
Happ has started to reward manager Joe Maddon for sticking with his prized prospect, batting .316 with five homers across 57 at-bats since June 13. As part of a talented Cubs lineup that could catch fire at some point this summer, the 22-year-old offers a high ceiling to those who are seeking a multi-position asset with a potent power stroke.
Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues
Franklin Barreto, shortstop, Athletics
Promoted to the Majors on June 24, Barreto has thus far had an impressive debut by hitting .308 with a homer across 13 at-bats. And as the top prospect on a team that sits in 13th place in the American League standings, the 21-year-old should need only to show that he is not overwhelmed in the Majors in order to stick with the big club for the remained of the season. Those who need steals should make a move for Barreto, who swiped 30 bags in the Minors a year ago.
Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Carlos Gomez, outfielder, Rangers
A frustrating fantasy asset at times in recent seasons, Gomez was sitting on waivers in many mixed leagues when he possessed a mediocre .246/.331/.423 slash line upon returning from a month-long DL stint on June 16. But the veteran has caught fire since his return, compiling six homers and 16 RBIs across 37 at-bats. Also a contributor in the steals department (24 swipes since the outset of 2016), Gomez should be part of the active lineup in virtually all five-outfielder leagues until his bat cools off.
Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues
Mallex Smith, outfielder, Rays
Given the dearth of elite speedsters on the waiver wire, Smith should be owned in virtually every league. After all, the sparkplug is getting regular work out of the leadoff spot in a productive Rays lineup and has logged 25 steals across 313 career plate appearances. Owners in search of a player who can compile runs and swipes without negatively impacting the batting-average category should search for this lifetime .266 hitter right away.
Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues
Michael Taylor, outfielder, Nationals
Fantasy owners should view Taylor as a poor man's version of Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton, who has been a popular recommendation in this space during 2017. Although frequent strikeouts will likely soon push Taylor's .281 batting average towards his career .240 mark, the outfielder has the necessary blend of power and speed (11 homers, nine steals across 228 plate appearances this season) to contribute in a variety of ways on any given day.
Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Mike Fiers, starter, Astros
While many fantasy owners lament the inclusion of wins as a pitching category, they must also acknowledge that compiling victories serves as roughly 25 percent of starting-pitcher production in a roto league. And when seeking to chase wins, owners would be wise to start by looking at those who are pitching well on a team with the best winning percentage (.667) in baseball. Having gone 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP across six starts since May 30, Fiers possesses the necessary combination of personal success and supporting cast to earn a roster spot in many mixed leagues.
Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues
Sean Newcomb, starter, Braves
In general, fantasy owners are too enthusiastic to add top prospects when they arrive to the Majors. However, owners have been surprisingly slow to pick up Newcomb, who has started his career by posting a 1.48 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP across four starts. Given the dearth of quality pitcher options, the left-hander with strong swing-and-miss skills (lifetime 10.7 K/9 rate in the Minors) should be rostered in virtually every format.
Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Luis Castillo, starter, Reds
Wise owners will look past Castillo's mediocre big league debut (10 baserunners across five innings) against a potent Nationals lineup and instead notice his elite fastball velocity (98 mph vs. Washington) and impressive 81:13 K:BB ratio across 80 1/3 innings at the Double-A level this season. The right-hander could find consistent success while being supported by a lineup and bullpen that rank in the top half of baseball in runs scored and ERA, respectively.
Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues
Arodys Vizcaino, reliever, Braves
With roughly one month until the trade deadline, smart owners will be on the lookout for relievers who could take over the ninth inning from a traded closer. And if the Braves ship veteran stopper Jim Johnson to a contender, the club will almost certainly turn to Vizcaino (10 saves in 2016, 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP in '17) to take over the closer's role.
Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB.