Top fantasy baseball free agents by position

Mark Trumbo is heating up and worthy of a pickup in your fantasy league. Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Typically, Eric Karabell provides fantasy baseball managers with his weekly blog entry to identify undervalued players who could potentially be available in your league(s). Once again, I've been tasked with taking over his tour around the waiver wire -- albeit with a bit of an extra focus on points formats.

So let's get to it! Players rostered in more than half of ESPN's standard leagues are not eligible for inclusion on this list.


Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds (28.4 percent rostered): Since June 10, Barnhart has hit safely in 10 of 11 starts, slashing .298/.389/.447 in the process. For the season, he's hitting .404 against left-handed pitching, a huge improvement for the switch-hitter who had previously struggled (.240 lifetime) from the right side of the plate. Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Plawecki, who I talked about yesterday, should also be in the catcher conversation.

Others: Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians; John Hicks, Detroit Tigers; Austin Romine, New York Yankees

Corner infield:

Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros (49.2 percent): Gurriel's absence from fantasy rosters is in large part due to his February left hand surgery, which caused him to be missing from most drafts this season. However, after a slow April once he returned to the field, Gurriel has hit .319 with 30 RBIs since May 1. It's about time he broke that 50 percent threshold.

Matt Duffy, Tampa Bay Rays (30.2 percent): I realize that Jake Bauers and his .945 OPS since getting called up from the minors on June 7 is more "exciting" of a player, but why nobody seems to have noticed that Duffy is sixth in the AL in batting average (.317) is beyond me.

Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins (36 percent): Dietrich is hitting .368 in June, with 5 home runs and 11 RBIs. He's had multiple-hit games in 10 of his 19 starts since the turn of the calendar page. Trade talk has begun to buzz around the versatile fielder, with a rumored move to Milwaukee starting to pick up some steam.

Others: Yolmer Sanchez, Chicago White Sox; Ryon Healy, Seattle Mariners; Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies

Middle infield:

Jose Peraza, Cincinnati Reds (37.9 percent): Base stealers can have slumps, too. Peraza went 0-for-1 in stolen-base attempts June 1-20, despite a .364 OBP. However, since then, he's gone 5-for-5 on the base paths, with two triples and a home run to his name. "Slump" ended.

Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians (16.7 percent): I get it. When a player in his 30s is dancing around the Mendoza line for the season and battling neck injuries, you don't want to rely on him in fantasy. That said, Kipnis is hitting .290 this month, with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs. He's reached base safely in 12 straight games. There's still some gas left in this tank, folks.

Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks (38.3 percent): Writing off a middle infielder who is hitting just .216 after the first two months of the season is understandable. However, while you were busy ignoring him, Marte has slashed .286/.337/.631 with 15 extra-base hits (5 home runs) and 18 RBIs with a 46.6 hard-hit percentage in June.

Others: Devon Travis, Toronto Blue Jays; Johan Camargo, Atlanta Braves; Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs


Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles (23.8 percent): Not only is Trumbo in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak during which he's batting .333 with 5 homers and 12 RBIs, but he was able to do so in a stretch that included six games of "no DH" play in road interleague games. If his knee can endure that much wear and tear, he should be fine going forward.

Stephen Piscotty, Oakland Athletics (19.7 percent): It's easy to forget sometimes that baseball players are human. With all Piscotty was dealing with off the field early this season, it's not surprising that he struggled on the diamond. With the passage of time, though, it seems his focus has returned, to the tune of a .299 batting average, 4 home runs and 14 RBIs in June.

Gerardo Parra, Colorado Rockies (20.4 percent): Over the last 18 games, Parra is batting .400 with 20 RBIs. The uptick in production could not have come at a better time for the Rockies, as they have lost David Dahl to a broken foot, an injury that all but guarantees playing time for Parra well into the second half of 2018.

Enrique Hernandez, Los Angeles Dodgers (13.8 percent): Apart from joining the Dodgers' battery, Hernandez has played everywhere for Los Angeles this season. Most recently, he's been filling in for Chris Taylor at shortstop. Even with Taylor expected back in the starting lineup as soon as Thursday, Hernandez should continue to get regular at-bats all over the field, given his .333 average and 6 home runs since June 10.

Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres (20.4 percent): It seems that Margot is going to remain an up-and-down option, but when he's up, he's very good indeed. Against Miami and St. Louis, he hit .444 in five games. Then, in six against Atlanta and Oakland, he hit. .211. Next, he went to San Francisco for four games and hit .500 for the series before batting .083 in a trio of Texas contests. Home for a set with Pittsburgh seems promising, but after that, perhaps it's back to the fantasy bench.

Others: Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees; Jose Bautista, New York Mets; Gorkys Hernandez, San Francisco Giants

Starting pitcher:

Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers (48.7 percent): Overall, I think the jury is still out on exactly how good Peralta will ultimately be at this level, but there's no denying that a 13.9 K/9 rate and a 0.71 WHIP through four big-league starts is quite impressive. My one concern is that Peralta's deceptive delivery has been allowed to flourish because he's allowed so few baserunners. Yet, even in such a small sample size, batters are hitting .300 against him with a runner on first. Can he succeed when he can't deceive? We shall see.

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians (34.7 percent): Here's another 3-0 newcomer. Unlike Peralta, however, Bieber is allowing a ton of hits, as his 1.32 WHIP will attest. What has been impressive is that Bieber appears to be "pitching" rather than "throwing" and is relying less and less on his fastball (64.8 percent in his debut, 50.5 percent in start No. 4). He's not going to make a lot of players miss at the plate, but he may be able to keep them off-balance enough to avoid giving up a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

Jonathan Loaisiga, New York Yankees (22 percent): After calling him up from Double-A on June 15, the Yankees are trying to keep the rookie's pitch count per game at no more than 90. As a result, he's only been facing 19 hitters per game. Until New York is ready to let him pitch deeper into games, he's probably not trustworthy enough to use in leagues with a cap on starts. That said, his mix of pitches bodes well for future success.

Others: Eric Lauer, San Diego Padres; Ivan Nova, Pittsburgh Pirates; Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies; Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals

Relief pitcher:

Kyle Barraclough, Miami Marlins (47.7 percent): In his last 19 appearances, Barraclough has allowed just one hit (.018 BA) and zero runs. He's gone 6-for-6 in save chances since taking over Miami's closer job from Brad Ziegler. Even though wins may be hard to come by for the Marlins, I'd sure feel better about looking for saves here than, say, Jeurys Familia in New York.

Matt Strahm, San Diego Padres (1.1 percent): While Strahm has been holding down the role of "opener" for the Padres this month while the team deals with rotation injuries (Bryan Mitchell, Jordan Lyles), he's made the most of those outings with a 12.2 K/9 rate. In the meantime, he's earned wins in two of his last three relief outings, including Tuesday night. Deep-league fantasy managers take note.

Others: A.J. Minter, Atlanta Braves; Lou Trivino, Oakland Athletics; Ryan Tepera and Seunghwan Oh, Toronto Blue Jays; Sergio Romo, Tampa Bay Rays