12-team mixed leagues (must be available in at least 50 percent of ESPN, Yahoo, or CBS leagues)
Available: 63% ESPN, 57% Yahoo, 52% CBS
Available: 76% ESPN, 63% Yahoo, 62% CBS
Despite relatively low ownership rates, I’m skeptical that either speedster is still on the waiver wire in shallow mixed leagues. Given a choice between them, I would elect to go with Maybin simply because he has more long-term value. Not only is he guaranteed everyday at-bats, but he’s firmly entrenched in the leadoff spot, which is a great place to be once Mike Trout comes back. Granted, he’s dealt with myriad nagging injuries, including knee soreness and an oblique contusion in just the last few weeks alone, but he’s the more attractive option because of the security. After an ice-cold stretch to open the year, Maybin is hitting .397/.494/.618 with two home runs and 11 stolen bases in the past month.
Meanwhile in Tampa Bay, Smith will occupy the leadoff spot against right-handed pitching and should have a permanent green light on the base paths. He’s a prolific speedster, so even if the playing time becomes sporadic (unlikely, but possible down the road) he has the potential to rack up 30-40 steals easily. Given the dearth of stolen bases league-wide, both Maybin and Smith need to be owned in all fantasy leagues going forward.
Available: 83% ESPN, 77% Yahoo, 57% CBS
There’s no truth to the rumor that a radioactive spider bit Adams the moment he stepped off the plane in Atlanta, but he’s unexpectedly morphed into one of the most productive first basemen in fantasy baseball since his arrival last month. The 28-year-old slugger is hitting an insane .289/.340/.608 with eight home runs, 18 runs scored and 21 RBIs in just 106 plate appearances in a Braves uniform. He hasn’t hit for this much power since his full-season debut back in 2013 when he smashed 17 dingers (.503 slugging percentage) in 319 plate appearances. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Adams recent outburst, especially given his struggles to stay healthy (and productive) in recent years, but there’s nobody standing in his way to everyday at-bats until Freddie Freeman returns next month. There’s a very clear expiration date on this magical elixir, but fantasy owners should enjoy every last drop of power in the meantime.
Available: 66% ESPN, 66% Yahoo, 42% CBS
With a matchup against the Phillies lackluster lineup on tap, Godley is the premier streaming option in shallow mixers this weekend. The 27-year-old owns a superb 2.44 ERA with a 36:13 K:BB ratio over 44 1/3 innings (seven starts), and is expected to remain in the Arizona rotation for the remainder of the year. The immediate forecast is sunny, but there are some clear warning signs on the radar long-term.
A 3.39 DRA indicates that Godley has been a bit fortunate from a run prevention standpoint this season. He’s displayed pinpoint control (2.6 BB/9), while an increased reliance on his sinker has enabled him to not only cut down the extreme number of home runs he has allowed, but also kill a ton of worms (64% ground ball rate) in the process. Those are all positive signs. However, he’s extremely unlikely to sustain a .239 BABIP going forward. We’re also dealing with an extremely small sample. He’s a viable mixed-league asset, but there is some serious regression potential, along with major risk if he’s unable to continue to suppress home runs at an elite rate. Stream with confidence, for now.
15-team mixed leagues (must be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN, Yahoo, or CBS leagues)
Available: 97% ESPN, 99% Yahoo, 95% CBS
With Manny Margot expected to begin a rehab assignment sometime next week, the clock is ticking on the Cordero experiment. Fortunately for the Padres, the 22-year-old is making the potential decision to send him back down to Triple A nearly impossible. It’s been just 60 plate appearances, but Cordero has made the most of them, hitting .339/.383/.625 with eight extra-base hits (three home runs) and a stolen base. Granted, the batting average is fueled by a ridiculous .516 BABIP, but this is exactly the Franchy we were promised. The omnipresent contact issues (he’s already struck out 22 times) leave him with the ultimate high-risk/high reward fantasy profile. He might sink your batting average when the BABIP dragons drag him back toward league average, but there’s some power and some speed. If he keeps hitting home runs, he’s going to be a bigger legend in San Diego than Ron Burgundy. Let’s do this.
Available: 86% ESPN, 83% Yahoo, 66% CBS
Zunino has recorded a .366/.413/.780 slash line with five home runs and 19 RBI in just 46 plate appearances this month. Obviously, small sample and arbitrary endpoint caveats apply, but the 26-year-old has established himself as one of the elite power options at the position hitting 18 taters within the calendar year. The batting average can be unpalatable at time, but the catching landscape is an absolute wasteland (outside of Buster Posey, Gary Sanchez, and Alex Avila) right now. He’s long-gone in two-catcher formats, but it’s staggering that Zunino is this widely available.
Available: 83% ESPN, 62% Yahoo, 57% CBS
The 23-year-old righty was featured in this space a week ago, and the early returns have been extremely encouraging. Through two starts, against a pair of formidable opponents (White Sox and Blue Jays), Faria has allowed just two runs on nine hits with 13 strikeouts and just three walks over 12 2/3 innings of work. With veteran Matt Andriese likely out until early August with a hip injury, Faria will get plenty of opportunities to lock up a permanent spot in the Rays rotation.
Now, let’s pump the brakes on the hype machine for a moment. The raw stuff isn’t overpowering. He’s proven that the fastball/changeup combo can be effective at the major-league level, but he’s extremely unlikely to replicate the elite strikeout rates he posted throughout his minor-league career. That leaves Faria with a razor thin margin for error, and a 5.40 DRA suggests he’s been fortunate so far. A classic high-floor, low ceiling pitching prospect, I’m extremely confident forecasting that Faria will be an asset in deeper mixed leagues for the remainder of the season. However, it’s difficult to envision him as a potential fantasy ace. He will face another tough test on the road in Detroit this weekend. If he emerges unscathed, his fantasy stock will skyrocket. You’ve been warned.
Available: 79% ESPN, 81% Yahoo, 64% CBS
The 27-year-old also returns in this space on the heels of an impressive debut, holding the Braves to one run and six hits while striking out six, and issues just two free passes over seven solid innings. The strikeouts are up. They were up during his brief minor-league rehab stint, and that trend continued last weekend against an Atlanta offense that has picked it up lately. There isn’t immense upside here, and there are no guarantees that he will continue to pitch effectively with a partially torn UCL. This could go south at any time. The immediate risk is also amplified by the matchup against the Nationals on Sunday. However, he’s consistently outperformed his peripherals throughout his career, and is one of the more attractive streaming options this weekend. Embrace the risk.
AL/NL-only leagues (must be available in at least 95 percent of ESPN, Yahoo, or CBS leagues)
Available: 100% ESPN, 100% Yahoo, 98% CBS
Let’s talk Turley. Seriously. My affinity for the 27-year-old southpaw is well documented. I plucked him off the waiver wire in the 20-team, 40-man roster TDGX dynasty league last month. I’m a fan. Not only is his backstory (a 50th-round draft pick of the Yankees back in 2008), and decade-long journey to the majors a compelling narrative, but he’s dominated at the minor-league level this year. In addition to a 2.05 ERA (0.91 WHIP), Turley has struck out 84 batters and walked just 15 over 52 2/3 innings between Double A and Triple A. He was touched up by the contact-oriented Giants in his major-league debut, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks in just four innings, but will get another shot against the Indians tonight. I’m intrigued by the strikeout potential, especially if the Twins are willing to transition him to a long-relief, multi-inning role. He’s someone to at least keep on your radar in deep formats.
Available: 98% ESPN, 99% Yahoo, 97% CBS
The 24-year-old Stanford product has recorded a hit in seven of his nine games since being called up two weeks ago. With a contact oriented approach, Slater has displayed an impressive ability to spray the ball to the opposite field. He doesn’t try to do too much, but he does possess some power (three extra-base hits in 32 at-bats). There isn’t a lot of tangible fantasy upside in Slater’s game, even though he’s hitting .344/.417/.531 in 36 plate appearances. Still, he’s an asset in the batting-average department. It’s the type of profile that can make an impact in an NL-only format. Given the Giants struggles to find a quality option in left field, Slater should be given every opportunity to win that job.