Under-the-Radar Fantasy Baseball Pickups After the MLB Trade Deadline

We all know that Juan Soto is getting a fantasy boost from being a part of a strong Padres lineup and that Tyler Mahle should see increased production now that he’s out of Cincinnati. Those are the takeaways from the MLB trade deadline that we’ve heard about all day. But what about those other guys?

In this article, I’m going to look at the players who weren’t involved in eye-catching trades and who gained fantasy relevance in the last 24 hours. That could be players who were moved in smaller deals or players who stayed with their teams but could see more value.

The hope here is to focus on low-rostered players who might be available in your leagues, so I’m going to keep it to players who are under 50% rostered in Yahoo formats as a baseline (with one or two exceptions). In order to get in as many names as possible, as we know I love to do, I’m going to keep the analysis short and sweet but feel free to hit me up on Twitter if you want more detail.

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Hitters – Waiver Wire Pickups

Tommy Pham, OF Boston (48% Rostered)

In one of the more confusing moves of the deadline, the Red Sox acquired Tommy Pham from the Reds for a player to be named player or cash. In his first game with the Red Sox, Tommy Pham started in left field and hit second.

Alex Cora has already said that Alex Verdugo will slide over to right field, which means Pham should get everyday at-bats hitting ahead of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Verdugo. That’s much better than the situation he was in with the Reds.

Pham wasn’t great in July, hitting .204 with no home runs and just six RBI in 25 games, but we’ve seen him put together strong stretches (like when he hit .283 with six home runs in June) and his plus plate discipline should lead for lots of runs scored at the top of this lineup.

Joey Gallo, OF Los Angeles Dodgers (27% Rostered)

Listen, I know. I live in New York City and write about New York sports for a living. I’m well aware of how bad Joey Gallo has been. I also know that he hit 38 home runs last year and now could potentially be starting in left field for one of the best lineups in baseball.

Yes, the Yankees are also one of the best lineups in baseball, so I’m not saying this is a slam dunk “must add,” but I don’t think any of us would be surprised if Gallo hit eight home runs in August for Los Angeles.

We have no idea how this will play out when Chris Taylor and Justin Turner come back from injury, but if you’re in a deep league, Gallo might be worth a spot on the bench, just to see.

Brandon Marsh, OF Philadelphia Phillies (10% Rostered) 

Marsh is another player who has failed to deliver and might need a change of scenery. The left-handed hitter is a former top prospect who has struggled in the majors, hitting .226/.284/.353 this season with eight home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs, and eight stolen bases in 93 games with the Angels.

There is still that power/speed combo that entices us. His 36.2% strikeout rate is a major problem, but it had always been around 26% or under the minors, so I feel like it’s an issue that could be corrected.

He’s also headed to play with Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber as the likely starting centerfielder in Philadelphia. We’ve already heard about how Schwarber often works with younger hitters on his team, so I would expect him to take Marsh under his wing a bit too.

If Marsh can even be a .240 hitter instead of a .220 hitter, then hitting six home runs and stealing six to seven bases while hitting in a lineup with those bats could make him fantasy relevant again.

Yadiel Hernandez, OF Washington Nationals (5% Rostered)

Having flashbacks to last season? That’s OK, me too. Hernandez was a useful waiver wire add last season with the Nationals tanking, and he seems set to be the same this year now that Juan Soto has been traded.

Hernandez is locked into an everyday role, and he’s hitting .314/.314/.514 in the second half. Yes, that OBP basically tells you everything you need to know about his patience at the plate, but he makes a lot of contact with just a 17% strikeout rate in the second half and a 22.8% career mark.

He’s also barreling the ball 9.3% of the time with a 42% hard-hit rate, which are both better than last year. His groundball rate is still at 50%, which is not ideal, but he should provide a solid average and maybe five home runs and 40 Runs+RBI the rest of the way, which isn’t bad in deeper leagues.

Daniel Vogelbach, 1B New York Mets (4% Rostered)

Yes, Vogelbach was traded to the Mets a couple of days ago, but he’s a big winner at the deadline because the Mets had been expected to land a full-time DH like Trey Mancini, J.D. Martinez, or Josh Bell.

Instead, they traded for Darin Ruf, who is strictly a platoon bat against left-handed pitchers. That means Vogelbach should be the near-everyday DH for the Mets against righties.

Now, the Mets will also work to get Eduardo Escobar and Tyler Naquin into the lineup against righties too, but I expect Vogelbach to get the vast majority of the starts. When he has started for the Mets, he’s primarily hit fifth, right behind Pete Alonso and ahead of Jeff McNeil and Mark Canha, which is not such a bad place to be.

Vogelbach has an 11.4% barrel rate on the season and has tremendous plate discipline, which should lead to lots of RBI and run opportunities in a world’s better lineup than the one he was in with the Pirates.

Jake McCarthy, OF Arizona Diamondbacks (2% Rostered) 

McCarthy is another player who benefits from a trade that was made a few days ago, but he’s now the everyday left fielder for the Diamondbacks. While hitting sixth or seventh for Arizona might not excite you, McCarthy does have 50-grade raw power and 60-grade speed, which is intriguing for fantasy managers.

So far this season, he has five stolen bases and three home runs in just 46 major league games and had 17 home runs and 32 stolen bases across three levels last season.

He’s been holding his own at the plate too, with a .266/.324/.422 triple slash during his MLB stint this year but that comes with a modest 5.5% barrel rate and 34.1% hard-hit rate. Still, given his everyday playing time and power/speed potential, he’s a solid add in deep leagues.

Jake Fraley, OF Cincinnati Reds (1% Rostered)

I definitely feel like we’ve done this dance with Fraley a bunch of times. However, with Pham now in Boston, Fraley should be the primary left fielder in Cincinnati, which we know is a tremendous hitter’s park. This season, Fraley is only hitting .196/.268/.353 with two home runs and one stolen base in 18 games, but he’s been battling through some injuries as well.

He had nine home runs and 10 stolen bases in 78 games for Seattle last year, so he has that power/speed combo we’re talking a lot about here. Still 27-years-old and with a career .287 minor league average, I think Fraley is worth keeping an eye on, even if you don’t add him right now.

After all, playing in Great American Ballpark revitalized Brandon Drury and Donovan Solano this year, so it’s not a stretch to think it can do the same for Fraley.

Jose Siri, OF Tampa Bay Rays (1% Rostered) 

When the Rays add somebody, you normally take notice. However, Siri had been on radars already after hitting .304/.347/.609 while hitting four home runs and stealing three bases in 21 games with the Astros last season.

He hadn’t put it together at the major league level this year but was hitting .296 in his brief stint in Triple-A. He had also hit .318 in Triple-A in 2021 with 16 home runs and 24 stolen bases, so there is some potential here.

Honestly, he reminds me a lot of Randy Arozarena when the Rays acquired him. Like Arozarena, Siri is a veteran minor leaguer who hasn’t quite broken through at the big league level. He’s a free swinger who won’t take many walks but has good power and speed and plays excellent defense which should keep him in the lineup. That’s worth a lot in deep leagues.

Spencer Steer, 2B/3B Cincinnati Reds (0% Rostered) 

Steer doesn’t have a starting spot right now, so he’s just a name to keep an eye on now that he’s been traded to Cincinnati from the Twins. In 83 minor league games this year, Steer is hitting .269 with 20 home runs, 62 RBI, and 66 runs scored with just a 17% strikeout rate.

He has the type of power that will play up in Great American Ballpark and could be worth a look if the Reds call him up to play 3B.

Samad Taylor, 2B/OF, and Brent Rooker, OF Kansas City Royals (0% Rostered) 

Like Steer, both Taylor and Rooker are simply names to watch now that Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield are no longer in Kansas City. Since Rooker is 27, he might get the first crack if Kyle Isbel continues to struggle.

While Rooker has never put it together at the big league level, he is a career .265 minor league hitter with a .893 OPS. He was also hitting .273 with 19 home runs in 61 games for the Padres Triple-A team this year, so I may be foolish but I still believe there could be some late bloomer potential here. Just for deep leagues only.

Taylor is on here for his speed only. He has 23 stolen bases in 70 games this year and stole 30 bases in 87 games last year. If he were to come up and get a crack at the left field job, he could be a gamble for managers looking for some cheap steals.

Pitchers – Waiver Wire Pickups

Domingo German, New York Yankees (26% Rostered) 

With the Yankees trading Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals and placing Luis Severino on the 60-day IL, Domingo German seems locked into the number five spot in the Yankees rotation.

He has not been great through his first three starts with a 6.39 ERA, 5.42 xFIP, and 5.07 SIERA in 12.2 innings, but he was solid in spurts for the Yankees over the last two years.

We’re still talking about a low 4.00-ERA arm, so you shouldn’t be chasing tremendous upside here, but the team context is great. You can hold him on your roster and pick your matchups and try to maximize his results for ratio and wins.

Jose Quintana, St. Louis Cardinals (23% Rostered) 

You really couldn’t have asked for a better fit for Quintana, who seems to fit a mold of aging, middle-of-the-road lefties that the Cardinals love to trade for at the deadline. However, Quintana on the season has a 20.6% strikeout rate, 1.27 WHIP, 3.50 ERA, and 3.79 xFIP.

Perhaps more importantly, he has a 45% groundball rate and 30% hard-hit rate allowed, which is his lowest since 2015. He will now bring that to an elite defensive infield, which should help elevate his fantasy value.

St. Louis also plays in a sneaky pitcher’s park, and Quintana has just a 10.5% HR/FB rate over his career, so he shouldn’t be a home run risk in his new home park, which only adds to his security. He’s boring but is likely a strong ratio and wins option for the end of the season.

JP Sears, Oakland Athletics (2% Rostered) 

JP Sears isn’t the biggest name headed to Oakland in the Frankie Montas deal (that would be Ken Waldichuk) but Sears is on the 40-man roster and has already debuted in the majors, so he’s going to get the first crack at the rotation spot.

A lefty with a low-90s fastball, Sears had a 2.05 ERA, 4.40 xFIP, 4.17 SIERA, 18.1% strikeout rate, and 0.86 WHIP in 22 innings and two starts with the Yankees this year.

He was tremendous as a starter in Triple-A this year, posting a 1.67 ERA and 29.4% K-BB%. Much of that is thanks to a sweeping slider that plus command of his arsenal, which also includes a fine changeup. He kind of fits the Cole Irvin profile in Oakland of underwhelming stuff but potentially good results.

He should be given a shot here at the end of the season and the minor league numbers are good enough for deep league managers and AL-only league managers to take a shot.

Felix Bautista, Baltimore Orioles (48% Rostered)  

Felix Bautista really should be rostered in more places. He’s been lights out as a set-up man and seemed like one of the top save stash candidates in baseball before the deadline.

He has a 1.65 ERA, 2.43 SIERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 26.2% K-BB% in 43.2 innings. He is now locked in as the closer for a feisty Orioles team that lost Trey Mancini but should still be competitive down the stretch. He needs to be added in all leagues.

Dany Jimenez, Oakland Athletics (34% Rostered)
Ryan Tepera, Los Angeles Angels (8% Rostered)
Rowan Wick, Chicago Cubs (8% Rostered)
José Quijada, Los Angeles Angels (3% Rostered) 

Dany Jimenez is a forgotten man, but he’s back off of the IL and the Athletics traded Lou Trivino to the Yankees, which would make it seem like Jimenez is back in the mix to close in Oakland (yes, even with Zach Jackson getting the save on Wednesday).

Jimenez had a 4.38 ERA, 4.15 SIERA, 21.7% strikeout rate, and 1.26 WHIP and will be closing for arguably the worst team in baseball so don’t go too crazy with your FAAB bids. However, if the A’s win, it will likely be close, which means save opportunities.

Rowan Wick is the last man standing in Chicago, and since the Cubs kept Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, they may win a few games here in the second half. It’s basically the same offense that helped make David Robertson a worthwhile closer, so why not Wick?

Well, Wick hasn’t been as good as Robertson, with a 4.36 ERA, 3.83 SIERA, 21.9% strikeout rate, and outrageous 1.73 WHIP. However, we’ve seen him be an effective reliever in the past, so he’s worth a small bid.

Lastly, in regards to the Angels, it seems like they’ll use a closer committee the rest of the way. In the first game without Raisel Iglesias, the save went to José Quijada, who was used because two left-handed hitters were hitting in the ninth for the A’s. Quijada responded with an eight-pitch ninth inning. 

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