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Week 19 Waiver Wire - Outfielders (OF)

Happy start of August, RotoBallers! I don't know about you, but it is getting real hot. Both outside and on the MLB trade wire. The trade deadline has come and gone and fantasy owners now need to manage their own trade deadlines as well. It was hard enough to keep up with trade talks and the rumor mill, but Rotoballer was here to wade through all the conjecture and give you real, actionable advice.

We will continue our dive into the hottest and most interesting options largely available on waiver wires across the country. Since it is August, we also need to make sure to monitor players who have had a change in their fortune because of trades and see how they will impact fantasy squads as well.

Here are your Week 19 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets. Check out the rest of for the content you need to win, and do not forget to follow our team of analysts on Twitter. We have the moves you need to make to get that ring. Happy hunting!

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Week 19 Outfield Waiver Wire Targets

Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB) - 25% owned

Given the dominance of the Yankees and Red Sox, the Rays were never likely to contend for a playoff spot. They have been respectable, though, posting a .500 record and a positive run differential entering Saturday's action. One reason has been the play of rookie Jake Bauers.

The 22-year-old has hit .242/.347/.500 with nine home runs and four stolen bases in 50 games since getting promoted to the majors in June. He has not run as much as fantasy owners might have hoped after swiping 30 bags in his season and change at Triple-A, but Bauers has demonstrated an advanced plate approach (13.1 BB%) and the ability to consistently make high-quality contact (45% hard hit ball rate).

Perhaps owing to the relatively anonymous nature of the franchise which employs him, Bauers has largely flown under the radar in fantasy leagues. You can still pick him up for free in nearly five out of every six leagues at present and he has also garnered OF eligibility.

Ben Zobrist (2B/OF, CHC) - 32% owned

Chicago Cubs second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist has had a really good year as an experienced veteran. He has gotten more playing time than usual, as he has filled in well for Kris Bryant while he recovered from his injury. Since Bryant has returned, Zobrist has mainly played second and has also found opportunities at the top of the lineup. He is slashing .307/.395/.443 this season and has a .365 wOBA. While he only has seven home runs this season, Zobrist has knocked in 42 runs and scored 49 as well.

Known for his patience, Zobrist walks (12.8%) more than he strikes out (12.2%). Zobrist has a .333 batting average since the beginning of July as well, knocking in 11 runs while scoring 11 runs as well. He also has a hit in four of the last five games, including a double in all four of those games, and has even stolen a base in the same time period.

He is definitely a player to hold, particularly considering that the Cubs are healthy and Zobrist has multi-positional eligibility. Zobrist can start in deeper leagues and is a good option for bench depth in more shallow leagues.

Mallex Smith (OF, TB) - 19% owned

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Mallex Smith has hits in five of the last six games and has either a run scored or RBI in four of those six games. Smith has also stolen three bases in his last three games (bringing his season tally to 21) and also has a triple and two doubles in the last four games. Since the beginning of July, Smith is hitting .388 with 11 extra-base hits and, even more impressively, even has a 10.3% BB rate.

Smith has mainly hit at the bottom of the Rays lineup, but his combination of average and speed is very enticing. He does have a .446 BABIP since the beginning of July, but also has a 42.1% hard hit ball rate and 32.1% line drive rate. While his 1.24 GB/FB rate in the same time period is not great, his speed will likely turn ground ball outs into infield singles.

It is not great to target players that hit at the bottom of the lineup, but the Rays are hitting well and Smith has been on a tear. The addition of Tommy Pham, who is on the disabled list, will also help the Rays' lineup as well. While he is a good player to start in deeper leagues, he also has value as a bench player in more shallow leagues as well.

Max Kepler (OF, MIN) - 23% owned

Minnesota Twins outfielder Max Kepler has been a top-75 player over the last 30 days and still is not owned in more than a quarter of leagues. While the 25-year-old Kepler has seen his batting average drop from .243 to .237 since last season, the young German-born Twin has actually had a better offensive season in 2018. Kepler has seen his OPS jump from .737 to .756 since last season and has 14 home runs this season.

As stated earlier, Kepler has really turned it on of late, hitting .281 since the beginning of July, posting a very impressive 13.2% BB rate in the same time period. A .917 OPS is very good from a guy that is expected to be nothing more than an OF3 and he has 37 R+RBI since the beginning of July as well. Kepler has also moved from hitting sixth or seventh in the Twins lineup to mainly fifth or sixth and has responded with 11 extra-base hits.

A patient slugger that has found his way into the middle of the Twins lineup, Kepler has hits in four of his last five games and should be added in deeper leagues. A .292 BABIP since July 1 is also a bit unlucky as well, with Kepler posting a 42.3% hard hit ball rate in the same time period and hitting 21.8% line drives as well. This might be the time to buy Kepler, as the talented lefty appears to be playing to his potential.

Steve Pearce (1B/OF, BOS) - 18% owned

Boston Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce is mainly on this list because of the opportunities that he has with the Red Sox. A three home run game against the Yankees on Thursday absolutely sticks out for fantasy owners and Pearce followed that outing up with another home run on Friday. While these were nice outings, fantasy owners need to remember that Pearce also had five home runs this season coming into the series against New York in just 43 games.

Pearce is now slashing .319/.392/.600 this season and his 39.6% hard hit ball rate is the best of his career, as well as his 25.2% hard hit ball rate. Even if you consider this weekend as an aberration, Pearce still had a .318/.415/.477 slash line for July including five extra-base hits, 13 R+RBI, and a respectable 31.4% hard hit ball rate. When you add in this weekend, his slash line moves to a very appealing .346/.444/.712 after tallying eight RBI in two games.

After posting an .867 OPS in 2016, Pearce took a step back in 2017 with a .757 OPS; his successes in 2018 do not look that crazy considering his strong 2016 season. Even better, Pearce is now in the most feared lineup in baseball and is hitting in the middle of the lineup when he plays. Considering that he does not play every day, fantasy owners need to make sure that he is playing for the BoSox before making your lineup.


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