With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game now behind us, many fantasy baseball fans believe we’re headed into the second half of the season. But nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, we’re heading into week 15 of the fantasy baseball season. Generally speaking, for most head-to-head leagues (which make up the vast majority of leagues), there are only 20 weeks of play in the regular season. This means that there are only five weeks left after this elongated 11 day cycle that we are about to enter.
Therefore, it’s time to really position yourself to not just make the playoffs, but push for a title. Whatever your team’s needs, there are likely options if you’re willing to take bold steps. In previous columns I’ve suggested players like Andrew Benintendi and Garrett Cooper before they were signed up in just about every league. This week, I’m divulging a few players you’ve heard of, and maybe one you haven’t.
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Week 15 Fantasy Baseball Top 4 Waiver Wire Pickups
1. Esteury Ruiz – San Diego Padres 2B/OF
The first player on this list is someone you should probably go after before you finish reading this article. I made the huge mistake of waiting an extra week in a few leagues and I paid the price. San Diego Padres rookie Esteury Ruiz was called up just over a week before the all-star break.
He was fielded before the call in many leagues. Ruiz was then picked up shortly after the call in numerous others. However, it is still available in over half of the fantasy baseball leagues on Yahoo. Why that is, I don’t know. But it creates opportunities for you. This kid has elite potential.
🚨 FYI – Minor League Player of the Year (by far) was called up this week
.333 with 13 HR and 🔥60 SB🔥 on just 291 AA & AAA AB
Must add for homies who need SB. Pray he doesn’t slip a few bags 2 days or the FAAB price goes from “significant” to “max bid” for some
—Gekko Industries (@GekkoIndustries) July 17, 2022
Across Double-A and Triple-A this year, Ruiz hit .333 with 13 home runs, 60 stolen bases and 84 runs scored. He did it in just 291 at-bats. It’s literally crazy. I don’t care if you already have speed on your list. It’s worth picking up if it’s available, as it can turn a more well-known speedster on your roster into a business asset.
In his six games with the Padres, he finished eighth or ninth overall. With the top of the San Diego order as strong as they are, they’re likely to score a ton of points. But also, the top of the Padres order isn’t known for hitting for average, so if he gets to 1st and they can’t get him into scoring position for Manny Machado to come in, just wait. you to let him run at will.
2. Ross Stripling – Toronto Blue Jays SP
Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling definitely needs to be held in more leagues. His roster percentage currently sits at 40%. He spent much of the first half of this year getting out of the bullpen, which is probably why. But since moving into the starting rotation in early June, he’s looked like a solid number two starter for fantasy baseball teams.
Still, he’s Toronto’s fourth starter in their rotation. This means he gets more favorable throwing matches. But his attack will be just as good. It’s a win-win. Since joining the rotation, Stripling has allowed a total of nine earned runs in 43 1/3 innings. That’s an ERA of less than 2.00. What he is doing is not unprecedented for him either. We’ve seen this level of production from Stripling in the past with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 14, 2022
Do yourself and your rotation a favor and go get Stripling before it’s too late. Oh, and his first four starts off the break are at home against the Cardinals, Tigers, then Minnesota and Baltimore.
3. Ramon Laureano – Oakland Athletics OF
It’s not the first time I’ve suggested Ramon Laureano to people. We all know that’s a decent power-speed combo that’s usually hard to come by. Because he spent time suspended from baseball for PED, everyone seems to ignore him.
His roster percentage has gone up since we first suggested him to fantasy baseball managers, but not enough.
He has only played 59 games this season. During that time, he has eight homers and nine stolen bases. Extrapolate that over an entire season, and you have a 20-20 guy. Yes, his batting average isn’t ideal, but he’s also not a complete killer as he hits around .240. Knowing the trade rumors that have surrounded Laureano this year, he could very well end up in a much better lineup and stage of production. That would probably make him a must-see storyline.
4. Kyle Finnegan – Washington Nationals PR
Every year in fantasy baseball, closures become available as the season progresses. Well, it happened once again. Nationals closer Tanner Rainey has been announced out for the rest of the year with injury. Nats manager Davey Martinez has already named Finnegan his new closest. Still, his roster percentage sits at 16%.
#FantasyBaseball Backpick Ratings
Kyle Finnegan was named closer to the Nationals by his manager, while Rainey is out for the year. It has less desirable ratios, but if you’re looking for backups, it’ll have volume in the 9th ROS
— BackPickFantasyBaseball (@BackPickFantasy) July 16, 2022
His numbers are by no means stellar, but he’s always been a hard-throwing relief pitcher. To be successful in a closer role today, you almost always need a good takeout rate.
In his four seasons in baseball, Finnegan posted a 9.8 K/9 rate. This will certainly do the trick. If you need a closer, just have a spot on the burn list that you could grab and use to trade, Finnegan is a name to have.