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(Players rostered in under 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Note: Percentages are from the morning of Thursday, July 28
Dustin May, SP, Dodgers (Yahoo: 43 percent rostered)
May is finally back starting games following last May's Tommy John surgery. He's looked good in two rehab starts, too, allowing one run with a 6/3 K/BB ratio over four innings while reporting touching the high-90s on the radar gun. When he was last on a major league mound prior to his operation, May had posted a 2.74 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 35/6 K/BB ratio over 23 innings covering five starts. The right-hander was finally showing he could miss the bats it had seemed like he could with his eye-popping stuff. May is slated to throw three innings in his next rehab start Friday and will probably need a couple more after that before rejoining the Dodgers' rotation. His workload figures to be monitored closely, but May is super talented and has the Dodgers' offense backing him.
Jean Segura, 2B, Phillies (Yahoo: 41 percent rostered)
Working his way back from a fractured finger, Segura began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. The veteran infielder was scorching hot at the plate before getting hurt, batting .307/.352/.446 with four home runs and seven stolen bases in 27 May contests. Segura has been a good bet for average his entire career, and he'll often provide plenty of speed and some pop, as well. The 32-year-old was batting second for the Phillies before landing on the IL and should occupy a prime spot in the lineup again once he returns, which should come in early August.
Jesús Luzardo, SP, Marlins (Yahoo: 42 percent rostered)
Here's another guy on the comeback trail from injury. The Marlins took their time with Luzardo's rehab from a left forearm strain, as he was shut down for a full month and only just a couple of weeks ago began a rehab assignment, two months after landing on the IL. The early returns have been promising, with Luzardo giving up just five hits and three runs while striking out 12 over 11 2/3 innings. Luzardo could have a shot to return at some point next week and will hope to pick up where he left off, as he'll return to a 4.03 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 41/16 K/BB ratio over 29 frames.
JJ Bleday, OF, Marlins, (Yahoo: 7 percent rostered)
The No. 4 overall selection in the 2019 Draft, Bleday's first two seasons in pro ball didn't go as hoped as he finished with a sub-.700 OPS each year. The tide started to turn this season in his first taste of Triple-A, though, as Bleday produced a .835 OPS with 20 home runs over his first 85 games to earn his first promotion to the big leagues. The left-handed hitter had a 27 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A Jacksonville, but he also walked at a 16.3 percent clip and held his own against southpaws with a .806 OPS and seven of his 20 dingers. The Marlins have thrown Bleday right into the middle of their batting order, as he's yet to hit lower than fifth.
Ross Stripling, SP/RP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 45 percent rostered)
It's probably fair to say that the Blue Jays have had to rely on Stripling in their rotation more than they expected. However, as it turns out he's been a godsend, producing a 2.94 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 51/9 K/BB ratio across 67 1/3 innings covering his 14 starts. That includes a 2.33 ERA over nine starts since he re-entered the rotation in early June. Stripling doesn't strike many guys out these days, but his control has been impeccable and he will benefit from the Blue Jays' run support.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Brewers (Yahoo: 44 percent rostered)
Signed to be the Brewers' primary designated hitter, McCutchen wasn't doing much hitting for the first two months of the season with a lowly .575 OPS and three home runs over 38 games. Since then, though, ‘Cutch has perked up with a .296/.375/.466 batting line, seven home runs, 28 RBI and three stolen bases over 45 tilts. McCutchen has been parked in the Brewers' cleanup spot against right-handers and usually moves up to the three-hole versus lefties. The 35-year-old certainly isn't what he once was, but he contributes in both power and speed and occupies a favorable spot in the lineup and plays in a hitter-friendly park.
(Players rostered in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Christian Bethancourt, C/1B, Rays (Yahoo: 4 percent rostered)
On Monday it was announced that Mike Zunino would have season-ending thoracic outlet surgery. On Tuesday it was announced that Francisco Mejía was placed on the injured list with a shoulder ailment. In other words, the Rays are hurting at catcher. Enter Bethancourt, who was acquired from the Athletics earlier this month. Bethancourt's .670 OPS this season isn't anything to write home about, but he has popped five homers and stolen four bases. More importantly, his Statcast data has actually been very impressive, with a 91.8 mph exit velocity along with a sprint speed that ranks in the 70th percentile. There's a 53-point gap between the 30-year-old xwOBA (.347) and actual wOBA (.294). Some positive regression could be coming.
Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals (Yahoo: 3 percent rostered)
Pratto had a breakout season in 2021 between Double- and Triple-A, producing a .988 OPS with 36 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He's followed that up this year at Triple-A Omaha with a .858 OPS, 17 dingers and eight steals. Pratto was recently recalled by the Royals and could be up for good, especially with the team likely to trade multiple players at the deadline. The left-handed hitter has strikeout issues and has struggled this season against southpaws in the minors. However, the 23-year-old top prospect's power is for real and he also offers some speed at a position that doesn't normally have much of it.
Scott Effross, RP, Cubs (Yahoo: 2 percent rostered)
David Robertson is a sure bet to be traded to a contender any day now, which would open up the closer job with the Cubs. The club has seemed to prepare for that fact this week, giving a save opportunity to Effross on Monday (which he converted) and then Mychal Givens on Tuesday (also converted). I'm guessing Givens would be next in line, but he's also a good bet to be traded. Effross is a sidearming righty but has had no trouble with lefties, limiting them to just a .478 OPS (righties have a .587 OPS against him). Since the start of 2021, the 28-year-old boasts a 2.97 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 68/10 K/BB ratio over 57 2/3 innings.
Ranger Suárez at PIT (Yahoo: 50 percent rostered)
Suárez has been a disappointment, on the whole, this season following last year's breakout. The left-hander has been mostly what we expected him to be since the beginning of June, though, with a 2.85 ERA and 30/12 K/BB ratio across 41 frames. That includes two outings when he hasn't allowed an earned run since he returned from the injured list earlier this month. This weekend Suárez gets the benefit of facing a Pirates team that ranks dead-last in the National League with a .288 wOBA.
James Kaprielian at CWS (Yahoo: 5 percent rostered)
Kaprielian this year has mostly failed to build upon a nice rookie season in 2021, especially from a strikeouts perspective. He has been effective of late, though, with a 2.05 ERA and 13/9 K/BB ratio across 22 innings in four July outings. Yes, the strikeouts have still been lacking, but the right-hander's velocity has actually been up a tick this season so hopefully, the swings and misses are coming. This weekend Kaprielian goes up against a White Sox club that ranks 26th in baseball with just a .297 wOBA versus right-handed pitching.
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Rob Refsnyder, OF, Red Sox (Yahoo: 1 percent rostered)
You've probably seen the highlights (lowlights?) of Jarren Duran's center field play lately. I can't imagine that the Red Sox are going to bail on one of their top prospects, but they did give Refsnyder a start in center on Tuesday. The utility player has been a surprise contributor this season with a .894 OPS and four home runs across 108 plate appearances. Refsnyder could get even more of a shot at playing time if the freefalling Red Sox wind up selling at the trade deadline.
Terrin Vavra, SS, BAL (Yahoo: 0 percent rostered)
Vavra was summoned from Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday after posting a .324/.435/.451 batting line with two home runs and five stolen bases in 45 games. The 25-year-old is a career .306/.410/.468 hitter in the minors and is capable of playing all over the field. Vavra doesn't have a clear starting spot with a surging Orioles right now, but his versatility should certainly help playing time efforts and it's possible new possibilities will be opened up post-trade deadline.
Kyle Muller, SP, Braves (Yahoo: 2 percent rostered)
Ian Anderson has been a disaster in his second full major league season, most recently getting carved up for seven runs over three frames against a cratering Angels club. The Braves probably can't put up with him much longer if they hope to chase down the Mets in the NL East. Meanwhile, Muller has had a dominant season at Triple-A Gwinnett with a 2.96 ERA and 117/26 K/BB ratio over 94 1/3 innings covering 16 starts. The left-hander struggled in a start with the Braves earlier this season and was hit-or-miss in 2021. Muller also recently suffered a fractured bone in his non-pitching hand recently, although he'll attempt to pitch through it. He's probably worthy of an opportunity over Anderson at this point.
Adrián Morejón, SP/RP, Padres (Yahoo: 1 percent rostered)
Morejón's current role as a middle reliever with the Padres isn't one that is likely to produce much fantasy value. However, I could certainly see him being used as a trade piece by president of baseball operations A.J. Preller. If that happens, Morejón could receive an opportunity in his new team's rotation. The 23-year-old is very talented as a left-hander with an upper-90s fastball and secondary pitches which flash upside. He would have real appeal in deeper leagues with a rotation spot.