|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Luis Urías||3B, 2B, SS||Milwaukee Brewers||26.5|
|Yonathan Daza||OF||Colorado Rockies||14|
|Jonathan India||3B, 2B||Cincinnati Reds||51.4|
|Akil Baddoo||OF||Detroit Tigers||24.5|
|Keston Hiura||2B, 1B||Milwaukee Brewers||59.6|
1. Luis Urías | 3B, 2B, SS | Milwaukee Brewers
Is it time to start putting a little bit of respect on Luis Urías’ name? A former San Diego Padre that debuted at the age of 21, Urías is still just 24 years old and is finally putting together a solid offensive season in his year four season. Through 285 plate appearances, Urías is playing nearly every day and slashing .247/.338/.771 with 38 runs, 10 home runs, 39 RBIs, three stolen bases, and a 65-to-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio. For a player that is eligible at three different infield positions, that’s really difficult to pass up on. Even more encouraging was his month of June, where he slashed .284/.365/.510 with five home runs, 16 RBIs, 23 runs, one stolen base, and a 21-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Over that month of June, Urías was one of the top-scorers at all three of his positions.
2. Yonathan Daza | OF | Colorado Rockies
Yonathan Daza? Yes, Yonathan Daza. In deeper leagues, at least. I’m not here to tell you that Yonathan Daza is going to win you your league. I am here to tell you there is production to be had with him, and he’s owned in just 14% of ESPN leagues. A long-time minor leaguer, Daza is finally getting his opportunity with the Rockies and is making the most of it (he made a brief major league debut in 2019 and it didn’t go particularly well). Having been a mainstay on the roster for the entire season now, Daza is slashing .321/.414/.778 with 20 runs, two home runs, 25 RBIs, two stolen bases, and a 43-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 71 games and 235 plate appearances. With such great contact skills, he should continue to contribute in batting average. He’s also cemented himself atop the Rockies lineup, hitting in front of the likes of Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, C.J. Cron, and Ryan McMahon, which should yield solid production in the run department for the rest of the season. Again, the lack of home runs and stolen bases doesn’t make Daza particularly exciting, but he’s a great pickup in deeper leagues to shore up the end of your roster.
3. Jonathan India | 3B, 2B | Cincinnati Reds
India made my list a few weeks ago, and I’m putting him back on. He’s still just 51.4% owned in ESPN leagues despite slashing .303/.425/.880 in June with 24 runs, three home runs, nine RBIs, four stolen bases, and a 25-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. For a player that is eligible at multiple positions and has been contributing in multiple categories, it’s hard not to continue recommending him as a waiver wire pickup. Especially when he seems to be getting better throughout the year. While April and May weren’t spectacular, and any India owners probably lost faith in him over that stretch, it’s probably time to jump back on the train. Overall, on the season, India is slashing .262/.374/.396 with 37 runs, six home runs, 30 RBIs, six stolen bases, and a 58-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Admittedly, his batted ball peripherals aren’t going to scare any opposing pitchers, as he’s amongst the lowest in the league in terms of Average Exit Velocity and is only in the 33rd-percentile in terms of Expected Slugging. However, he is providing enough runs and hits in points leagues to be valuable and contributed across multiple categories in the month of June in Rotisserie leagues. He’s also virtually cemented himself at the top of the Reds lineup, which has proven to be a valuable spot to be in behind the likes of Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos.
4. Akil Baddoo | OF | Detroit Tigers
Remember when Akil Baddoo was the talk of the town in April? Detroit’s Rule 5 draft pick plucked from Minnesota’s farm system exploded out of the gates to the tune of a 1.024 OPS through his first 15 games as a major leaguer. The blend of size, pop, and speed for a 22-year-old had many Detroit fans claiming they found a secret gem in the offseason. Soon thereafter, however, Baddoo came crashing back down to Earth and began finding himself on the bench more often than not, particularly against left-handed pitchers. From games 16 through 40, through the end of May, Baddoo slashed .200/.347/.697 with 26 strikeouts in 75 plate appearances. It soon became clear that he was swinging and missing and striking out at a clip far too high to be an above-average hitter in the major leagues. However, consider what happened in June. In 22 games in the month of June, Baddoo slashed .348/.434/.889 with 11 runs, zero home runs, three RBIs, and a 13-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This shows an awful lot of maturity for a player that is just 22 years old, who appears to have to sacrificed swinging for the fences in lieu of making contact and getting on base. If he can somehow find a balance between the plate discipline he has shown in the month of June and the pop he had earlier in the season, he’ll suddenly become a remarkably valuable player in fantasy.
5. Keston Hiura | 2B, 1B | Milwaukee Brewers
I know, I know. Fool me twice, right? Hiura was remarkable as a rookie in 2019 but has not been great since. He played nearly every game in 2020 and saw a drastic reduction in his production, including an approximate 100-point drop in batting average and an over 200-point drop in OPS compared to his rookie year. The start to this season was bad as well, as Hiura slashed just .167/.268/.292 in 24 games in April. What became apparent very quick was the lack of plate discipline was finally catching up to him. He led the National League in strikeouts in 2020 and had a 29-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in April of this year. This horrid start earned the 24-year-old a trip back down to the minors. A brief return led to another demotion back to the minors, and Hiura has once again been called back up. It’s only been seven games and 28 plate appearances, but Hiura has three home runs, 10 RBIs, six runs, and an 8-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that span. While eight strikeouts in 28 plate appearances is still bad, it’s actually lower than the 30% clip he posted in his wonderful rookie year. We saw enough with Hiura in 2019 to get excited about his fantasy potential. While his ownership percentage is relatively high for my waiver wire posts (59.6), that number will only climb if he can continue this nice (second) return to the majors in 2021. Give him another chance!