Jose Urquidy, Houston Astros
The latest in a seemingly endless supply of intriguing arms in Houston’s system, Urquidy has been given a chance in the Astros’ rotation after recording a 12.76 K/9 mark since getting promoted to Triple-A. His first two MLB starts weren’t the smoothest, but one came in Coors Field and after a dominant third turn his last time out, Urquidy has an impressive 17:1 K:BB ratio over his first 13.0 innings in the majors. It’s obviously a small sample, but to go along with his silly 28.6 K-BB% (that would rank fourth among qualified starters), he’s sporting a 14.2 SwStr% and an average exit velocity (84.5 mph) well below the league average (87.5 mph). Urquidy has terrific control and command with a plus changeup, and given the advantages that come with pitching for Houston (league-best offense and a pitcher’s park), Urquidy’s rostership should be much higher than 17%.
Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres
He’s having a monstrous July, posting a .992 OPS with three homers and five steals over 54 at-bats. Margot has drawn 13 walks over 17 games this month, leading to a .418 OBP and a move toward the top of San Diego’s lineup. After being caught on nearly half of his stolen base attempts last season, Margot is a perfect 15-for-15 this year, and his strong defense in center field should keep his bat in the lineup once it inevitably cools down. He’s on a 600-AB pace to finish with 15 homers and 38 steals, yet the 24 year old is still available in 80% of Yahoo leagues.
Alex Dickerson, San Francisco Giants
He’s obviously playing over his head (like many of his teammates right now) while hitting .405/.466/.823 over 79 at-bats with the Giants this season, but Dickerson’s 50.0 Hard Hit%, .573 expected slugging and .398 xwOBA all rank top-20 in MLB, so there’s legitimate intrigue for San Francisco’s new cleanup hitter (Oracle Park is as tough as it gets on lefties, but the Giants’ offense actually has the sixth-highest wRC+ — 110 — over the last month). Dickerson is still available in nearly 85% of leagues.
Isan Diaz, Miami Marlins
If you’re in a deeper league and looking for a minor leaguer to stash, Diaz is up to 24 homers and five steals with a .392 OBP in Triple-A this season. The middle infielder wouldn’t be joining an ideal situation in Miami, but Starlin Castro is reportedly on the trade block, so he may at least get a chance with the big club soon. Diaz should be on your radar if you’re looking for a possible power source from middle infield down the stretch.
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox
A more popular prospect, Robert has totaled 13 homers with 25 steals across the minors this season, and he’s boasting a 180 wRC+ since getting promoted to Triple-A. Plate discipline still needs improvement from the 21 year old, but the power/speed combo Robert possesses will have fantasy gamers rushing to the waiver wire if Chicago calls him up, so he’s worth stashing in the meantime.
Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers
It no longer seems farfetched that the 21-year-old gets a chance with the Dodgers this season, as he’s hit eight homers with a nearly unfathomable .483/.558/.944 line (256 wRC+) over 104 plate appearances since getting promoted to Triple-A. The hit tool here is quite impressive, and Lux could be manning second base for the Dodgers at some point down the stretch (or at his natural shortstop position if Corey Seager gets hurt again). He’s available in nearly 90% of redraft leagues, and dynasty gamers should be salivating.
Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks
He had posted a 2.67 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP with a 5.9:1 K:BB ratio since the end of May before Tuesday’s hiccup (when he allowed seven runs in 2.1 innings but posted a 4:0 K:BB ratio and unluckily saw all three of his fly balls allowed leave the yard), and don’t forget how successful Kelly’s run was in the hitter-friendly KBO before joining Arizona this season. The humidor has turned Chase Field into much more of a pitcher’s park this year, and Kelly’s next start is a favorable one in Miami.
Alex Wood, Cincinnati Reds
He’s finally ready to make his season debut this weekend after dealing with a back issue all year, and while durability will always be a concern, Wood should be added to fantasy teams while healthy. The move from Los Angeles to Cincinnati wasn’t ideal for his value, but this is a starter who’s recorded a 1.13 WHIP over the last two seasons, and he’ll have the incentive to finish strong entering free agency after the year. Wood is available in more than 70% of leagues.
Willie Calhoun, Texas Rangers
He was recalled Thursday thanks to the unfortunate news of Joey Gallo hitting the IL, so Calhoun should be looking at regular playing time moving forward (Gallo’s surgery should keep him out until September, and sadly, those rostering him shouldn’t expect the same power from him until 2020). Calhoun has disappointed before and doesn’t run, but he has real power and was hitting well in Triple-A (where he produced seven more walks than strikeouts this season). It certainly helps to hit in Texas (only Coors Field has increased run scoring more over the last three seasons) during the summer months as well, so Calhoun’s a worthy flier.
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
After hitting his third homer in three nights Thursday, Sano should be gone in all but the shallowest of leagues, but his 32% rostership suggests he at least needs to be mentioned here. Sano strikes out a ton, but he’s up to 17 homers with an .899 OPS over 191 at-bats, and his Barrel% (16.4) and exit velocity (92.8 mph) are both in the top 3% of the league. Meanwhile, his 53.6 Hard Hit% is second in MLB, sandwiched between Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo. Sano is 26 years old, and we still haven’t seen what a truly healthy and in-shape version can do until maybe now. He should absolutely be rostered in nearly every fantasy league out there.