Here at The Buyer’s Guide, we routinely talk about established players, their fantasy trade value, and whether owners should buy, sell, or hold. As in-season trades die down in late July and early August, it’s perhaps more helpful to scour the waiver wire for help.

With that in mind, here are five guys—largely available in most standard leagues—that I’m “buying” down the stretch.

Yangervis Solarte, 3B, Padres
(54.1% ownership, ESPN)

Given Solarte’s positional versatility and his current .295/.362/.519 slash line, it’s a wonder that he’s available in nearly half of ESPN leagues. Part of this is surely due to his time on the disabled list in April and May; however, the relatively anonymity that comes along with playing in San Diego also plays a major role in this. The under-the-radar value on non-contending clubs will actually be a key thread that runs through this piece.

The 29-year-old has historically had minimal fantasy value. Things are looking up, though, because his ISO has risen to .224 and he’s hitting for a high average. One would be correct to question the sustainability of that power increase. He does have an increased swinging-strike rate (7.1 percent is well above his career 5.5 percent) that’s normally associated with power increases, but if one is buying that superficial argument, it should be accompanied with a decrease in batting average.

His average batted-ball velocity isn’t anything special. It’s 91.9 mph, according to Baseball Savant, which is below the league’s average. I’m a bit more taken by the argument that his decreased ground-ball rate (40.4 percent is a career low), which would give him more opportunities to hit homers, but it’s not a huge decrease and his 14.9 percent HR/FB is still near a career high.

So, no, I don’t think he’ll eclipse the 20-homer threshold this season. I think his power production will stagnate a bit. But it’s not easy to get a dude with multiple-position eligibility who can offer a quality batting average and hits in the middle of a big-league lineup. If the power surge continues, it’s just icing on the cake. I’m still buying.

Kevin Gausman, SP, Orioles
(23.5% ownership, ESPN)

Given the name recognition with Gausman, I’m floored that he’s available in over three-fourths of ESPN leagues. He’s also been on a decent run since the beginning of June. Over his last nine starts, he owns a 3.76 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 52.2 innings (22.1 percent). The right-hander also has an 88 cFIP, which suggests that he’ll be 12 percent better than the league-average starter down the stretch.

Gausman’s fantasy stock is attractive. His 11 percent swinging-strike rate and his big-time stuff paint a picture of a high-volume strikeout pitcher. The Baltimore Orioles also boast a potent offense and a quality bullpen, which should give him a decent chance to rack up the wins in August and September.

The 25-year-old (yeah, he’s still only 25) has a better cFIP than Cole Hamels, Masahiro Tanaka, Marcus Stroman, and Johnny Cueto. It’s borderline insane that he’s available in the vast majority of standard leagues. At worst, he should be serviceable. At best, he’s a fantasy stud for two months. Go and grab him.

Travis Jankowski, OF, Padres
(5.6% ownership, ESPN)

This isn’t an endorsement of Travis Jankowski as a player, per se, but rather a recognition that some fantasy owners are chasing a specific category late in the season. The former supplemental-rounder has speed for days and could help a competitive team make up ground in the stolen-base category.

Here are the top five players in stolen bases over the past 30 days:




Billy Hamilton



Starling Marte



Jonathan Villar



Travis Jankowski



Wil Myers



Jankowski has routinely batted atop the Padres’ lineup in recent weeks. In fact, he’s led off in six of the past eight games for San Diego. The 25-year-old is up there because he can steal bases and draw a walk (14.5 percent walk rate). The hit tool remains a major question mark—by which I mean he cannot hit and his swing path looks a bit like a question mark—but fantasy owners who could use a cheap 10-15 stolen bases over the last two months could find some sneaky value here.

Just be sure you’re not torpedoing other offensive categories by starting Jankowski on a regular basis.

Hector Santiago, SP, Angels
(36.3% ownership, ESPN)

Hector Santiago has been my dude for the past two seasons. I pushed him as a fantasy sleeper prior to the season and suffered due to his 5.00-plus ERA through the beginning of June. Since that point, the lefty has turned it around. He has compiled a 2.28 ERA with 38 strikeouts (and five wins) over his last seven starts. He’s only given up three earned runs in the month of July and has lowered his 2016 ERA to a more palatable 4.32.

His 112 cFIP should give us pause, but Santiago has a history of outperforming his peripheral statistics. A year ago, he posted a 3.59 ERA despite an unsightly 122 cFIP. He also has a career 3.68 ERA, which contrasts his career 4.60 FIP. Perhaps that points to unsustainability of that ERA, but we’re also talking about 643.0 big-league innings, so it seems utterly naive to discount the discrepancy as legitimate.

Santiago has the combination of a high fly-ball rate, a low contact rate in the strike zone, and a high contact rate outside the strike zone that often leads to outperforming one’s FIP. We’ve seen that with Marco Estrada in recent years, and it’s something that I discussed last year when he shocked the league with his impressive campaign.

So, yes, I’m as stubborn as a mule and will not back down on my preseason support of Hector Santiago. His recent performance just probably makes that easier to digest for some of y’all.

Zach Davies, SP, Brewers
(31.9% ownership, ESPN)

It’s understandable that no one is paying attention to the Milwaukee Brewers. They’re languishing near the bottom of the National League with a 41-55 record and only six wins in their last 23 games. Still, Zach Davies has quietly been putting on a show.

Throwing out his first three starts in April, Davies owns a 2.84 ERA with a modest 20.8 percent strikeout rate. He’s been a top-50 fantasy starter in that time, too, so it’s surprising that he’s flown under the radar as much as he has. Part of it is surely his nerdy computer-scientist-turned-baseball-player look. Part of it is also probably his underwhelming fastball. What he does do, though, is throw four pitches for strikes and induce a lot of weak contact outside the strike zone.

In fact, his 91.3 mph average batted-ball velocity on line drives and fly balls ranks amongst the best in the league. It should be no surprise that his .280 BABIP is hovering near his career .271 norm. It’s one of the reasons why he’s been able to avoid a sky-high homer rate, despite having a fastball that struggles to touch 90 mph and pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark.

It’s a fine line to walk, definitely. His command has to be very good to be successful. When he throws strikes with all four pitches, though, he gets a lot of weak command and can strike out a fair number of batters. It’s not often that a top-50 starter is available on the waiver wire in late-July. It’s best to take advantage of it.

Thank you for reading

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I'm not sure what it says about my team that I'm already rostering three of these guys. I'd like to think that it says that I'm ahead of the curve, but in reality, it probably just says that I'm desperate.

Thanks for helping me curb my feelings of well... I don't know. But thank you regardless!
It probably means you're in a deep league (like some of mine). I'm looking more at guys like Brock Holt, Jake Smolinski, Ryan Schimpf, Jedd Gyorko, Delino DeShields...and best SP on the wire is looking like Miguel Gonzalez