After failing to form a major league team in 2020, Hicks spent the start of this season at AAA (.264 in 110 at-bats with three home runs, 17 RBIs and four steals). When the Rangers needed a replacement due to a catcher injury, Hicks jumped at his opportunity over the past 10 days (7 of 19 with six runs, four home runs and six RBIs). In 2018 and 2019, he hit .234 in 607 at-bats, with the Tigers leading 64 runs, 22 home runs and 67 RBIs. Hicks only works as C2 in formats while his bat is hot.
The window to add Kirk to shallow leagues should close after the All-Star break when the Blue Jays activate him from the disabled list. He has a six-game hitting streak (7 of 18 with three runs, one home run and three RBIs) at AAA.
A pair of injuries in Miami helped Cooper see an increase in playing time over the last 10 days. He has 14 hits in his previous 31 at-bats with six runs, three home runs, seven RBIs and one steal. Over 501 at-bats with the Marlins in 2019 and 2020, Cooper hit .281 with 72 runs, 21 home runs and 70 RBIs. He’s better than a replacement player, but he needs to be in the lineup every day.
The Rays called up Brujan this week after a productive start to his AAA season (.259 with 37 runs, nine homers, 29 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 189 at-bats). He has one hit in his first six at-bats with one run, one RBI and one steal. Its advantage comes in speed, making it a buy-and-hold option for fantasy owners looking to make up ground on stolen bases. However, Brujan needs to work his way to more playing time.
Over the past week, Garcia began to find his groove at the plate (.381 with five runs, two home runs, nine RBIs in 21 at-bats). His ceiling is relatively low, which points to only a backup role in the 15-team leagues. Garcia has speed on his résumé, but he has only two steals in 228 at-bats this year.
The Braves added Arcia to the Major League Baseball roster earlier this week after playing at a high level in AAA (.303 with 41 runs, 13 home runs, 28 RBIs and five steals in 201 at-bats). Ronald Acuña’s injury opens up a better starting opportunity. Since his July 4 call-up, he has seven hits in 20 at-bats with three runs, one home run, five RBIs and one steal. Arcia appears improved as she tends towards a 20/15 type player. It must be collected in all formats.
The exemption cable retread at third base this week is Castro. His power hit continues to miss in action (three home runs in 308 at-bats), but he has a 13-game hitting streak (20 of 54 with eight runs, one home run and 11 RBIs). Castro is worth being a free agent in 63 percent of the 12-team leagues in the high-stakes market. I look forward to an increase in power during the second half of the season.
After 21 quiet at-bats with Cleveland (.190 with three runs), Mercado shone in his last three starts (5 of 11 with two runs, one home run, four RBIs and two steals). His window to start came from an injury to Eddie Rosario. If he continues to hit, the job of center field is up for grabs. In 2019 in the majors, Mercado .269 in 438 at-bats with 70 runs, 15 home runs, 54 RBIs and 15 steals, creating intrigue with his potential fantasy value. Only a short-term flier unless his bat has a follow-up.
Gamel saw his eight-game hitting streak (11 of 27 with nine runs, four home runs and eight RBIs) end Saturday. He has been in the Pirates’ starting lineup 12 of their last 13 games. His long-term risk comes from a high strikeout rate (25.7), which is an improvement over his trajectory in 2019 and 2020 (29.6). Gamel only fills a hole at bat until a better option appears.
Jiménez can only be found in the free agent pool in shallow leagues with short benches. The White Sox cleared him for baseball activities this week, putting him on track to return at the end of the month.
With Trevor Bauer’s status changing and Clayton Kershaw developing a forearm injury over the past week, the Dodgers will extend Price back to the starting rotation. In his last start, he pitched three scoreless innings with three strikeouts while throwing 51 pitches. Price has a 2.00 ERA and 29 strikeouts in his last 27 innings. It will take at least two starts to get to five innings. Any Dodgers starter should be attractive going forward.
McKenzie made a start from the spot Friday night after spending four starts at AAA (3.94 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in 16 innings). He pitched seven scoreless innings with a hit with a walk and nine strikeouts. Despite being tough to hit (.170 BAA) in the majors this season, McKenzie battled his dominance (40 walks in 49.1 innings), leading to eight homers allowed and lopsided stats (5.47 ERA and 1.40 WHIP) . Talent arm, but has risk / reward until more hits are thrown.
After missing a month in AA with blistering problems, Lodolo returned to the mound on July 6. He pitched two hitless scoreless innings with a strikeout. His arm has been electric in his first 32 innings (0.84 ERA with 19 hits, six walks and 46 strikeouts). At 23, his moment is now for the majors, and the Reds could use him down the stretch.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.