Fantasy Baseball: Top 5 Week 18 Waiver Wire Adds

Aug 1, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Trea Turner against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Trea Turner against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

With a just over a month left in the fantasy baseball season, owners are looking for upgrades for the playoffs. Here are the top 5 adds for Week 18.

The fantasy baseball waiver wire is filled with talent. The trade deadline opened up a lot of spots for players to jump in and show management and fantasy owners what they got. Most of the time, it’s worked out. There are those that feel the pressure and collapse. Most of the players on this list received their opportunity from a job opening and took advantage of it.

There is one player that has been a fringe hitter, but is heating up at the plate and owners need to take notice. Obviously, or else he wouldn’t be on this list.

All five of these players are owned in less than 60 percent of ESPN leagues, making them available to most owners. There are a couple of top prospects on this list, so they are already owned in deeper leagues.

The players listed here play all over the diamond. There is one catcher, one second baseman, one shortstop and two closers. In what looked like shallow positions at the beginning of the season, there are players at all four worth picking up in August.

A colleague or I have written about a couple of these players already, but they are still widely available. So, with another week in the books, I need to bring up these players again. These aren’t players that can give you one extra home run or a start; they are difference makers and could win you a championship.

Without further ado, let’s begin the top five waiver wire adds for Week 18. It starts with a catcher/DH who plays in New York.

Next: Yankees Getting Younger

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

With all the moves the New York Yankees have made over the last month, Gary Sanchez is one of those players benefitting. They traded Carlos Beltran and “forced” Alex Rodriguez into retirement, leaving the DH slot wide open.

Brian McCann is still hitting well enough to remain as the team’s catcher. Sanchez does have a couple of starts at catcher, but he is only DH eligible for now. He may get eight more starts during the season to earn in-season eligibility.

Since being called up on August 2, Sanchez is 5-for-15 with three runs and three RBI. He wasn’t a big power hitter in the minors, 18 is his career high. He is more of a contact hitter, career .275 average in the minors.

He is the lowest-owned player on the list at just 5.5 percent. If you want someone to slot in as your utility hitter or need another bat, Sanchez is someone to own for the final month of the fantasy baseball season.

Next: Washington's Prospect

Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /

Yes, surprisingly Trea Turner is still available in a lot of leagues, 46 percent to be exact. While some of the league formats don’t allow for Turner to be owned, there are plenty others that require his services.

He worked through the minors as a shortstop, but with the power success of Danny Espinosa, Turner moved over to second base. The move doesn’t seem to be affecting his hitting either.

He is hitting .318/.356/.529 with two home runs, 12 RBI, 13 runs and a 20:4 K:BB ratio. He also has eight steals. He is another prospect that didn’t crush the ball in the minors, but homered in back-to-back games. Turner will likely drive in the runs with doubles, though.

Turner is on a five-game hit streak as the Washington Nationals leadoff man. With power potential and a high batting average, Turner has a lot of upside for the rest of this season and beyond.

Next: New Closer in Milwaukee

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Tyler Thornburg was a big benefactor from the trade deadline. The Milwaukee Brewers traded both of their top relief pitchers, Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith. This left Thornburg to take over the closing job and is doing just as well as the other two names.

In 46 games, he has a 2.22 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, three saves and 20 holds. Thornburg is a big strikeout guy, posting a 12.3 K/9, 61 strikeouts in 44.2 innings, and just a 2.8 BB/9 ratio. He has the stuff to be a top closer for the rest of the season.

In his last 13 innings, Thornburg has allowed just one earned run, striking out 17 and walking three.

The Brewers are not a contending team this season. But the offense is still putting up enough runs to give Thornburg some save opportunities. Despite having the job in Milwaukee, he’s owned in just 28.1 percent of leagues.

There are plenty of saves to be had on the waiver wire and Thornburg’s potential 10 to 12 saves could change the standings in most leagues.

Next: Tampa Bay's Slugging Shortstop

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Tampa Bay Rays received Brad Miller from the Seattle Mariners in the offseason, I moved Miller up in my rankings. The pitching in the American League East could be considered subpar compared to that of the AL West. The ballparks favor the hitters, too.

This season has clearly been Miller’s best of his career. He has 20 home runs, 45 RBI and a .256 average in 101 games. The average may not be where you’d like it for a hitter, but it’s the effect from becoming a more power hitter.

With the Rays shifting around some players in the outfield, Miller gained eligibility out there. Having someone with both shortstop and outfield eligibility gives you more flexibility in your lineup, which is important in the home stretch of the season.

Miller is owned in 41.1 percent of leagues. We’ve talked about Miller throughout the season, which puzzles me as to why his ownership percentage is still as low as it is.

Next: Seattle's New Closer

Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports /

Edwin Diaz is the most added player in all ESPN leagues, up 40.2 percent over the last week, and with good reason.

The Seattle Mariners started the season with Steve Cishek as the closer. He pitched well in the first three months of the season, 19 saves in 23 opportunities with a 2.45 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Then came the downfall.

Cishek already had a few blown saves, but July was the tipping point. In his last 11.0 innings, he had a 6.55 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, six saves in eight chances. This forced manager Scott Servais to make a move.

Diaz has six earned runs on 27 hits and eight walks in 29.0 innings. He has a 1.86 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with four saves. He has an insane 17.4 K/9 with a 2.5 BB/9. He has 18 multi-strikeout games in 28 appearances.

As one of the best closers available, he my No. 1 waiver add for week 18.

Next: Wrap Up

As I mentioned earlier, the waiver wire is rich with talent, regardless of your league format. Whether it’s another hitter or closer, these players need to be owned before the fantasy baseball season ends.

These players, especially the two closers, have a lot of value in the final weeks. Unless another injury happens to a current closer, Thornburg and Diaz may be the last two closers that are still available.

Next: Phillies call up Jake Thompson

With week 18 starting on Monday, the season is quickly coming to a close. If you want to make a push for the playoffs, then you need to add at least one of these players to your roster. There has to be someone you currently own that is worth dropping.