Pickups to start the week off

As someone who is writing this fantasy article from north of the 49th parallel, I would like to open by wishing my American friends and readers best wishes for the Juneteenth weekend.

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Those who have some extra time today may want to enhance their rosters for the coming week by diving in on some of these players. There should be something in this space for everyone, both in terms of short or long-term help and a variety of skill sets.

Oneil Cruz (SS, Pittsburgh Pirates, 41 percent rostered)

Cruz will be a one-time member of this article, as his roster rate will shoot past 50 percent in the coming days. The lanky shortstop was arguably the best 2022 fantasy prospect remaining in the Minors, and he is expected to debut for the Pirates as soon as today. Cruz offers a strong power-speed mix, having already produced nine homers and 11 steals in 55 games at the Triple-A level this season. He should help in most categories right away, with the one caveat being that he may not produce a high batting mark.

Still, Cruz is worth adding in virtually all leagues.

Ezequiel Duran (2B / 3B / SS, Texas Rangers, 35%)

Duran has done a bit of everything in his initial 14 Major League games, batting .291 with two homers and a pair of steals. His 2:15 BB: K ratio doesn’t inspire confidence, but he definitely has plus speed and a bit of pop. With three eligible positions, Duran is the perfect bench bat in leagues with daily moves, while we find out if he can sustain his initial success.

Luis Garcia (2B / SS, Washington Nationals, 13%)

Yahoo! managers have been slow to add Garcia, who has had plenty of success in 19 games since being recalled from Triple-A. The infielder is already in his third Major League season, but at age 22 he still has plenty of time to develop. Garcia was hitting for power in Triple-A and is batting .360 with an .878 OPS for the Nats. He could soon hit from a premium lineup spot in a Nats lineup that has few quality options.

Rookie Luis Garcia is providing early fantasy value. (Photo by G Fiume / Getty Images)

For those who do not need steals, Garcia is a preferable option to Duran.

Orlando Arcia (2B / OF, Atlanta Braves, 19%)

With Ozzie Albies sidelined for at least two months, Arcia is getting an opportunity to be Atlanta’s full-time second baseman. The 27-year-old is unlikely to be a fantasy stud, but he once offered a nice power-speed combo as a member of the Brewers. I’ve already added Arcia wherever possible in 12-team leagues.

Alek Thomas (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks, 19%)

Thomas should be rostered in twice as many Yahoo! leagues. The youngster is a premium prospect who has had plenty of initial big league success by hitting .275 with five homers and three steals across 38 games. And unlike Duran and Garcia, Thomas has shown some plate discipline by producing a 10:25 BB: K ratio. The rookie should be in the Majors to stay and will be a five-category contributor the rest of the way.

Ross Stripling (SP / RP, Toronto Blue Jays, 27%)

Stripling struggled against the Yankees last time out, but his outing wasn’t awful (3.2 IP, 2 ER) and many starters have fared poorly against New York this year. The right-hander has been successful as both a starter and reliever this season, and he is locked into a rotation spot. With a 38:10 K: BB ratio, Stripling has the skills to be a rotation fixture in 12-team leagues and a regular streamer in 10-team formats.

Zach Davies (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 15%)

Davies has been at his best of late, allowing just three runs across 20.2 innings in his past three starts. And the right-hander is striking out more batters than usual, having compiled 20 whiffs across those three outings. Davies is a great two-start option among those who are widely available this week, as he opens the week in San Diego before returning home to face a slumping Tigers lineup.

Tyler Wells (SP, Baltimore Orioles, 6%)

Wells has quietly become one of baseball’s most consistent starters, having allowed no more than three runs in any of his past 12 starts en route. With a 3.62 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP this season, Wells should be a trusted option in a home start against a mediocre Nats offense on Wednesday.

Johnny Cueto (SP, Chicago White Sox, 15%)

Cueto has had some ups and downs, but his overall numbers have been good (2.95 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 33:11 K: BB ratio) in seven appearances with the White Sox. And he is coming off his best start, one in which he allowed two hits across seven shutout frames in Houston. Cueto has an excellent chance to keep things rolling when he works at home against the lowly Orioles on Thursday.

Brad Hand (RP, Philadelphia Phillies, 17%)

The Phillies have moved former closer, Corey Knebel, to a lower leverage role, with Hand getting the first shot at ninth-inning duties. To be clear, the 32-year-old is not entrenched as the team’s closer and may not have the skills to hold the role. But he has been good enough this year (2.21 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) to be rostered by teams who need saves.

Seranthony Dominguez (RP, Philadelphia Phillies, 32%)

Although Hand seems to be ahead of Dominguez in the Phillies’ pecking order, there is little debate about which man is the best pitcher. Dominguez has been terrific this year, posting a 1.73 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and a 34: 7 K: BB ratio. He will have mixed-league value while working in a setup role and would become a top-10 reliever if Hand falters and Dominguez gets closing opportunities.

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