With the 2023 season turning to July, we are entering what I consider the holiday season of the MLB calendar. Sure, the Fourth is a real-life holiday, but the All Star Game and related break (along with me filling that break by despondently watching paint dry during a baseball-less hellscape) plus trade deadline add some extra layers of fun to the typical rigmarole.

And what better way to get started early on this baseball holiday season than speculating on players whose fantasy fortunes could be altered by the summer hot stove season?

Listen, I know it’s a little early for this type of speculation, and am likely to be wildly wrong with some of the information below. But hell, I know you. You spent all of January blowing real auction dollars speculating on things like the Athletics bullpen and Cardinals starting pitchers and picking Gavin Stone over Bobby Miller. You love this stuff, and you know it.

The stats and ownership percentages below are updated as of noon central time on 6/30.

As always, if you want advice on specific roster decisions you might have, feel free to leave a comment. You can also find me on twitter (@mcouill7).


10/12 Team Adds

Yainer Diaz (HOU, 28% CBS Ownership) – Whoops, already breaking from the theme of the intro as trade deadline considerations aren’t likely to impact Diaz’s future playing time. However, his bat keeps running into hard contact (44.7% HardHit rate) and creating barrels (13.2% barrel rate) in the middle of the Astros lineup (regularly playing catcher or DH and batting fifth). This is a great, steady bat at catcher that should rack up 8-10 homers the rest of the way with the possibility the Crawford Boxes add to the bounty. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Yasmani Grandal (CHW, 48% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Keibert Ruiz (WSN, 44% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Gabriel Moreno (ARI, 34% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Danny Jansen (TOR, 32% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Bo Naylor (CLE, 25% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Patrick Bailey (SFG, 23% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Miguel Amaya (CHC, 3% CBS Ownership) – Alright, back on track with the intro theme now. The Cubs are a five game losing streak caused by David Ross bullpen mismanagement from being sellers at the deadline. Yan Gomes has been a serviceable catcher this year (96 wRC+ with 0.6 fWAR) but fits better on a contender as veteran presence and part-time catcher. Amaya has started playing 2-3 times a week and hasn’t had a wRC+ below 100 at any stop since 2017 in his first taste of A-ball as an 18 year old. Most projections have him hitting .220 – .230 going forward, but he swung such a great bat at Double-A and Triple-A this year (a combined .293 average between both stops), that it’s not hard to see him outproducing those algorithms.  (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Christian Bethancourt (TBR, 16% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB) Blake Sabol (C/OF, SFG, 13% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Connor Wong (BOS, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Matt Thaiss (LAA, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jake Rogers (DET, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Brett Baty (3B, NYM, 48% CBS Ownership) – Baty is already the beneficiary of the notable first trade in 2023 as Fogo-loving Eduardo Escobar being shipped to Anaheim gives the Batman full-time at-bats in Queens. Despite the general malaise that hovers around the Mets right now, Baty has posted a .357/.400/.643 line since Escobar’s departure. (5-7% FAAB)

CJ Abrams (SS, WSN, 35% CBS Ownership) – The Nationals have already begun feeling out the market for a Jeimer Candelario trade, and it’s not hard to see the likes of Lane Thomas, Joey Meneses, Dominic Smith, and Corey Dickerson following the Candy Man out of town. You know what all of those dudes share in common? They currently hit in front of Abrams in the Nats’ batting order. Yes, Abrams currently sports a paltry .233/.279/.390 line so far, but remember, he’s only 22 years old (and young, he doesn’t turn 23 until October). So far in 2023, he’s increased his barrel rate and HardHit rate to 5.8% and 37.0% from 2.1% and 30.7% last year. With a higher spot in the order, Abrams could continue his improvements (check out his rolling wRC+ chart) and be a valuable middle infield piece for the second half. (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Joey Votto (1B, CIN, 48% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ezequiel Tovar (SS, COL, 45% CBS Ownership, 5% FAAB), Jeimer Candelario (3B, WSN, 44% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Triston Casas (1B, BOS, 41% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Ji-Hwan Bae (2B/OF, PIT, 38% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Maikel Garcia (3B/SS, KCR, 31% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Luis Garcia (2B/SS, WSN, 30% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Carlos Santana (1B, PIT, 28% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Zach Neto (SS, LAA, 26% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ronny Mauricio (SS, NYM, 23% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS, MIA, 21% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Edouard Julien (2B, MIN, 19% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Zach McKinstry (2B/3B/OF, DET, 19% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Colt Keith (3B, DET, 8% CBS Ownership) – Keith has shot through the minors and earned a promotion to Triple-A this week after manhandling Double-A with a .325/.391/.585 slash line, good for a 160 wRC+, as a 21-year-old. Steamer already has him projected to a league-average bat in the majors with a 101 wRC+. There’s a pretty easy path to the big leagues for Keith since Jonathan Schoop is obviously getting playing time as the Tigers see if they can salvage any trade value but will likely be cutting him if there are no takers. Stash Keith now before there’s a mad dash for him in a few weeks.  (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Ryan Noda (1B/OF, OAK, 20% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Enrique Hernandez (2B/SS/OF, BOS, 16% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Paul DeJong (SS, STL, 13% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Garrett Cooper (1B, MIA, 13% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Nick Gonzales (2B, PIT, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brice Turang (2B/SS, MIL, 9% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Brandon Belt (1B, TOR, 8% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Eduardo Escobar (2B/3B, LAA, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), David Hamilton (2B/SS, BOS, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Nick Madrigal (2B/3B, CHC, 5% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Andy Ibanez (2B/3B/OF, DET, 4% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Donovan Solano (1B/2B/3B, MIN, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (3B/SS/OF, NYY, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Evan Longoria (3B, ARI, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Christian Arroyo (2B, BOS, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Vidal Brujan (2B/OF, TBR, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jared Triolo (3B, PIT, 1% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Noelvi Marte (SS, CIN, 17% CBS Ownership) – With the Reds in the driver’s seat of the NL Central, in desperate need of pitching, and bursting at the seams with infield talent, moving Marte seems inevitable at this point. His CBS ownership rate is high due to the number of dynasty leagues, so if Marte is available in your deep league, pick him up now. He’s likely to see some playing time this year with a non-contender and flash his bat that could pop a 30 homer/20 steal season at peak. (1-3% FAAB)

Jonathan Aranda (2B, TBR, 10% CBS Ownership) – Aranda is the AL-version of Marte and seems certain to be a trade chip for the Rays as they have no room in the inn for the 25-year-old. Aranda, currently sporting a gaudy 161 wRC+ with 14 homers and a 16.1% BB rate at Triple-A Durham, should immediately walk into a starting role for whatever bottom-feeding team acquires him. (3% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Tommy Pham (NYM, 23% CBS Ownership) – As the floundering Mets grasp at straws to salvage the season, they have ridden Pham’s hot bat as he’s received pretty much full playing time in June with a .329/.371/.598 slash line. Like a great wrestling heel, Pham performs best against his rivals (in his case, his former employers) and gets a trip to San Diego right before the All Star break to show the Dads what’s up. This next week could either cement Pham as a regular in the Mets lineup or earn him a ticket out of the Big Apple at the trade deadline. (3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Jack Suwinski (PIT, 49% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Luke Raley (1B/OF, TBR, 45% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Brandon Marsh (PHI, 36% CBS Ownership Rate, 3% FAAB), Jose Siri (TBR, 28% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jarren Duran (BOS, 35% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF, MIN, 30% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Joey Gallo (1B/OF, MIN, 23% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Nick Pratto (1B/OF, KCR, 23% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Mickey Moniak (LAA, 21% CBS Ownership) – Moniak is a bit like the West Coast version of Pham; it’s even fitting that he plays for the second team in a major media market. And much like the Mets riding Pham, the Angels continue to slot Moniak’s hot bat (a nice 169 wRC+ right now) into the lineup throughout a feisty playoff battle. And again, much like Pham, Moniak will stick in this lineup as long as the hits keep coming or could find himself being a trade chip for the Angels to move for some upgrades at the deadline. (3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Corey Julks (HOU, 19% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Alek Thomas (ARI, 16% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jesus Sanchez (MIA, 15% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Kerry Carpenter (DET, 15% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Will Brennan (CLE, 12% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Ryan O’Hearn (1B/OF, BAL, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Chas McCormick (HOU, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brenton Doyle (COL, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Matt Vierling (DET, 7% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Aaron Hicks (BAL, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Will Benson (CIN, 7% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Drew Waters (KCR, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Edward Olivares (KCR, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Billy McKinney (1B/OF, NYY, 5% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Jake Bauers (NYY, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Franmil Reyes (WSN, 2% CBS Ownership) – After being cut loose by the Royals of all teams, Reyes has found a home in the Nationals organization. While he’s continued to struggle at Triple-A (currently sporting a grody 71 wRC+), Reyes has managed to cut his K rate to 26.0% and raise his walk rate to 13.0% in Fredericksburg. However, as we saw in his time in San Diego and Cleveland, it doesn’t take more than a sliver of playing time for Reyes to produce with his Stanton-ian power. A possible clearing of the veterans from the Washington major league roster via trades could open that opportunity up for Franmil. (1% FAAB)

Conner Capel (OAK, 1% CBS Ownership) – Admittedly, the A’s don’t have much on the major league roster worth trading to contenders at the deadline. However, it seems certain that between Brent Rooker, Seth Brown, and Ryan Noda, one of those guys will be leaving Oakland and open up a strong-side platoon role, at minimum, for Capel. In 83 big league plate appearances this season, he’s looked solid with a 12.0% BB rate, five steals, and 107 wRC+. He could be a sneaky bat that would pace for 15/15 over a full season. (1-3% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Kyle Hendricks (CHC, 48% CBS Ownership) – I won’t lie, I once again don’t know how Hendricks and his 87-mph fastball (that he throws 55% of the time!) are surviving, let alone succeeding. I guess it’s because he’s once again limiting hard contact (22.6% HardHit rate) while striking out no one (4.8 K/9)? Either way, he has a surprisingly useful two-start week upcoming against currently poor offenses, the Brewers and Yankees, in hitter’s parks. The Professor might also see himself moved at the deadline to a contender, which would only boost his value to possibly collect more wins. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Wade Miley (MIL, 48% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Seth Lugo (SDP, 45% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Michael Lorenzen (DET, 39% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Clarke Schmidt (NYY, 37% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), JP Sears (OAK, 35% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Rich Hill (PIT, 31% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Reese Olson (DET, 24% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Matt Manning (DET, 14% CBS Ownership) – After being out since April 11 due to broken foot sustained on a comebacker, Manning returned on June 27 and held the AL West-leading Rangers to two earned runs in 5.2 innings with four strikeouts. It is now or never for the 25-year-old perennially high-ranking Tigers prospect as he looks to find the form that led him to a 3.78 FIP in 63 innings last year. Manning already looks to have a rotation spot for rest of season, but that would be fully locked in if Detroit ships Eduardo Rodriguez out at the trade deadline. (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Paul Blackburn (OAK, 19% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Zack Greinke (KCR, 14% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Luis Ortiz (PIT, 13% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Kutter Crawford (BOS, 12% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Osvaldo Bido (PIT, 12% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), David Peterson (NYM, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jaime Barria (LAA, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Kolby Allard (ATL, 9% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Johnny Cueto (MIA, 8% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Daniel Lynch (KCR, 7% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Adrian Houser (MIL, 5% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Bryan Hoenig (MIA, 4% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jake Irvin (WSN, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Cristopher Sanchez (PHI, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Michael McGreevy (STL, 2% CBS Ownership) – Now making his third appearance in this portion here, McGreevy is the most obvious call-up from Memphis when the Cardinals are ready to transfuse some new blood into their gored starting rotation. In the hitter-friendly International League so far, the 22-year-old McGreevy has a 3.92 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 53.6% groundball rate in 59.2 innings over 11 starts. He should easily be at least average when eventually slotted into a big league rotation. (1-3% FAAB)

Spencer Arrighetti (HOU, 2% CBS Ownership) – With a name ripe for Italian food references, I’m going to restrain myself during this write-up on Arrighetti. Recently promoted to Triple-A after posting an 11.7 K/9 with a 4.15 ERA in Double-A, Arrighetti debuted for Sugar Land on Wednesday night, tossing a solid but unspectacular five innings with five Ks. The Astros need another arm or two around the deadline to keep pace in the playoff hunt, and calling up Arrighetti while moving Ronel Blanco to the pen might be the sauciest move. God damn it, almost was able to hold those pasta references to myself! (1-3% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Hunter Harvey (WSN, 17% CBS Ownership) – After stringing together a semi-detailed, semi-analytical charting of Harvey’s recent usage last week, he even more obviously now looks like the number one saves option in Washington as he picked one up Wednesday night even though Kyle Finnegan was available. Harvey has paired his 98-mph fastball with a 20.1% K-BB% and 10.2 K/9 over the past two years with the Nationals – a classic closer’s arsenal. Plus, don’t discount Harvey’s predestined penchant for saves; his father was my go-to for a Marlins/Angels square in an Immaculate Grid this week. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Michael King (NYY, 31% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Kendall Graveman (CHW, 31% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Adbert Alzolay (CHC, 30% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Bryan Abreu (HOU, 27% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brusdar Graterol (LAD, 22% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Justin Lawrence (COL, 18% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Trevor May (OAK, 7% CBS Ownership) – Now that Hunter Harvey has graduated to the big time (10/12-team consideration), May remains the last widely available closer sitting on waiver wires. Break in case of emergency as needed. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Erik Swanson (TOR, 19% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Josh Sborz (TEX, 10% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Tyler Rogers (SFG, 9% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Andrew Nardi (MIA, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Trevor Stephan (CLE, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jason Foley (DET, 5% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Tommy Kahnle (NYY, 4% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Joel Payamps (MIL, 4% CBS Ownership Rate, 1% FAAB), Griffin Jax (MIN, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Joe Kelly (CHW, 1% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Luis Garcia (SDP, 1% CBS Ownership) – As the Padres slip further out of the playoff race (their Fangraphs playoff odds have now tumbled to 24.4% after starting the season at 85.3%), it’s going to be hard for A.J. Preller to see the free-agent-to-be Josh Hader on his roster and not want to cash him in. Although Nick Martinez plays the setup role in San Diego right now, I think the team prefers him in a longer-relief swing role. That usage pattern can easily open the door to Garcia for saves if he isn’t dealt himself. (1-3% FAAB)

Taylor Clarke (KCR, 0% CBS Ownership) – Scott Barlow and Aroldis Chapman remain the most obvious bullpen arms on the trade block. Per his recent usage as the seventh-inning setup man in Kansas City, Clarke should assume the Royals closer role, you know, if you are desperate enough to look for saves on a team with a .284 winning percentage halfway through the season. (1-3% FAAB)