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We’re heading into week eight of the fantasy baseball season and so far we’ve built a pretty extensive watch list on both the hitting and pitching sides. This week is no different as we add a number of potentially impact bats and some intriguing arms to the mix.

You’ll also notice some repeats who have seen their ownership rates jump due to recent performance or playing time circumstances. For some, this could be their last appearance in the weekly column as they graduate to waiver add status. You’ll also notice the absence of 19-year-old Juan Soto, whose ascent has been so fast he’s completely skipped over watch status and moved into immediate add territory in all leagues.

Here are this week’s watch list adds:

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Players to watch in 10-team leagues

Jedd Gyorko (1B/2B/3B, STL) - 24% owned
The versatile Gyorko should be adding yet another position to his resume as he’s expected to fill in for the injured Paul DeJong at SS for the next 6-8 weeks. Gyorko has posted an .883 OPS in 27 games so far and could be a useful piece in DeJong’s absence for whatever position you may need him.

Andrew Heaney (SP, LAA) - 40% owned
Heaney dominated the Astros on Monday (8 IP, 1 ER, 10 K) before taking a loss Saturday versus the Rays. However, all four runs he allowed were unearned and he still managed to strike out seven in six innings, though he did walk five. His ERA has dropped to 3.35 and his 3.27 xFIP and 3.54 SIERA both look supportive. Of course, the 10.26 K/9 is pretty sweet, too. His ownership has shot up from 6% to 40% in the last week and he’s now a borderline starting SP in even the shallowest of leagues.

Ryan Tepera (RP, TOR) - 11% owned
Tyler Clippard appears to be the man in the ninth inning right now with Roberto Osuna deactivated, but Tepera is waiting in the wings. The 30-year-old has proven to be manager John Gibbons’ preferred setup man, but Clippard’s performance Saturday may force Gibbons’ hand. Tepera has struck out 25 in 21.2 innings with a tidy 2.91 ERA and 1.15 WHIP and has already proven valuable in holds leagues with seven on the season, though he does have three blown saves.

Travis Jankowski (OF, SD) - 22% owned
Moving on up. Jankowski was mentioned in this space a week ago as a deep league watch but in the last seven days his ownership rate has shot from 2% to 22%, a sign that fantasy owners are placing more trust in him. He’s not going to provide much power but he’s shown an improved walk rate that’s contributed to his excellent .438 OBP. The biggest draw is his speed, as he’s currently 7-for-7 on the basepaths and appears likely to receive playing time despite the crowded outfield situation in San Diego. His .440 BABIP will regress, but with a heavy ground ball lean (69.6%) combined with top notch speed, a higher-than-average average on balls in play is likely.

 

Players to watch in 12-team leagues

Ross Stripling (SP/RP, LAD) - 7% owned
Stripling has filled in admirably in the Dodgers rotation and he should keep getting chances to perform in the short term. On Saturday, he fired six innings of one-run ball with nine punchouts to collect the win, and he’s now struck out 16 batters in his last 11.1 innings. Also, SPARP alert.

Jesus Aguilar (1B, MIL) - 12% owned
We touched on Aguilar weeks ago and it’s time to revisit him again. He’s still just 12% owned but with Ryan Braun back on the DL and Aguilar continuing to rake, he could be a watch list graduate by this time next week. Aguilar has homers in three straight games with six RBI and is hitting .333/.395/.608 on the season.

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) - 11% owned
Gomes is another current watch list member that we need to check in on. He’s upped his batting line to .264/.335/.473 with six homers and 12 RBI through Saturday’s games. Although his strikeout rate remains extremely high at 33.6%, he’s making solid contact when he connects (40.6% hard contact, just 10.1% soft contact). With the dearth of talent at catcher it’s becoming increasingly hard to see why a guy like Gomes remains on the waiver wire in so many leagues.

Devin Mesoraco (C, NYM) - 2% owned
Similar to Gomes, Mesoraco is a bit of a forgotten-about name in the catcher space, but he’s starting to heat up since he was traded from the Reds to the Mets in the Matt Harvey deal. Mesoraco has homered three times in just seven games and although his batting average stands at .190 he’s managed a .965 OPS thanks to a .346 OBP fuelled by a 15.4% walk rate. He’s one to keep a close eye on even in standard mixed leagues, as catcher help is hard to come by.

Franmil Reyes (OF, SD) - 5% owned
Reyes got the call last week as the Padres were looking for a spark with Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe on the DL, but he’s been quiet so far (2-for-17 with 6 strikeouts). Reyes was demolishing Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .346 average, 14 HR and 38 RBI in just 36 games so it was only a matter of a time before he got a shot. He likely gets optioned once Myers and/or Renfroe come back, but as long as he continues to mash in the minors he should get other chances in the big leagues soon.

 

Players to watch in deeper leagues (14-team or AL/NL only)

Ryan Yarbrough (SP/RP, TB) - 2% owned
Is he a starter or a reliever? Does Tampa even know? Yarbrough went 6.1 innings on Saturday and struck out four but he actually didn’t start the game, coming on in relief in the second inning. The Rays have been using Yarbrough in various ways but he’s been getting results, with a 3.54 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 40.2 IP with 35 K.

Sam Gaviglio (P, TOR) - 0% owned
The Blue Jays rotation has been a mess thus far and after a couple of decent performances out of the bullpen Gaviglio made a spot start Saturday, shutting out the Athletics over 5.1 IP with 6 K. The 28-year-old has never been fantasy relevant but he’s at least earned another turn on the hill with Jaime Garcia still on the DL. The righthander has a 0.93 ERA (3.27 xFIP) and 12 K in 9.2 innings overall.

Jaime Barria (SP, LAA) - 7% owned
The 21-year-old Barria was optioned to Triple-A on Wednesday following an impressive performance over Houston - 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K. But, he shouldn’t be down for long. Through 25.1 innings this season he’s posted a 2.13 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. The knock on Barria is he’s not a high strikeout pitcher, having never posted a K/9 over nine in his minor league career. Despite that, he’s still young and develop into a solid back-end piece in deeper leagues at some point.

Seranthony Dominguez (RP, PHI) - 0% owned
Dominguez is a fireballer who has started off his major league career in style. The Dominican-born righty has not allowed a single baserunner in his first 6.2 innings with 7 K. He even picked up his first save on Saturday after throwing two perfect innings, striking out a pair. It’s uncertain which direction manager Gabe Kapler will go with his bullpen but there’s a chance Dominguez could run with the opportunity if given the chance.

John Gant (RP, STL) - 1% owned
Gant has filled in admirably in place of the injured Cardinals starters and though his 4.67 ERA looks unsightly, he’s combined that with a 1.10 WHIP and an xFIP of 3.71 that’s nearly a run lower. He’s had awful luck with stranding baserunners (45.5%) and he’s managed to strike out 18 in 17.1 innings. The Cardinals always manage to churn out pitchers so don’t sleep on Gant.

 

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