Obviously, the United States would be the number one team I would root for if they were in the World Cup this year, but this is not the case. I was rooting for the German team, but they were unfortunately eliminated during group play. This is the third time in a row that the defending champion of the World Cup has been eliminated following the World Cup in group play. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are the same type of emotions that all types of athletes go through.
One can feel these same types of emotions in fantasy baseball as well. I will try and guess what team each of my waiver wire pickups is probably rooting for in this World Cup. At this point in the season, some players are emerging to become stars on fantasy teams from here on out. Here are a few that can eventually be 'steals' off the waiver wire.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 14 Waiver Wire
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Mark Trumbo, OF, Baltimore Orioles (32% owned in Yahoo)
Growing up as a California kid, I would say Trumbo would be rooting for the United States if they were in the World Cup. Unfortunately, just like me, they are not. Coming from a state where most sports can be played year round, the sky was the limit on what types of sports Trumbo wanted to play. Some will be glad he stuck with baseball with the type of weeks he is having lately.
At this point in the season, we can probably count the Baltimore Orioles out of playoff contention, but there are some positives to take from individual players from the team. Mark Trumbo is one of those players. In the last two weeks, he is hitting .310 with an OBP .356. During this time, he scored nine runs, hit five home runs and collected 12 RBI.
It seems like a far cry from when Trumbo was an All-star in 2012 and 2016. There has been a power struggle these last couple years, as well as a decrease in average. Entering Thursday, Trumbo had at least one hit in each of the games he has played since June 15th. For a guy that doesn’t hit for average, this is a great sign for things to come.
Enrique Hernandez, 2B/3B/SS/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (30% owned in Yahoo)
This is an easy one. “Kike" Hernandez was born and grew up in Puerto Rico, so we know where his loyalty belongs too. He also played internationally in Venezuela and Dominican Republic as a kid. He is just another talented player to come from the Island region.
First of all, if you know me by now, I love the versatility that Hernandez provides for fantasy play. I have picked him up in a couple of my leagues to help me with various guys not playing in my lineup that day or night. With now having more time to play, in the last fourteen days he has been producing at a high level. During this time, he is hitting .310 with an OBP of .383 and filling all categories with 10 runs scored, five home runs, eight runs to go along with a stolen base.
As he is in the SS position, Hernandez provides a great replacement for Corey Seager (his own teammate). He will certainly get plenty of playing time as Roberts has options to put him almost anywhere on the field. It does seem that Roberts is using Hernandez more in center field and Chris Taylor as the Dodgers shortstop for now, but we are just focusing on keeping Hernandez in that lineup and your lineup as well.
Shane Bieber, SP, Cleveland Indians (57% owned in Yahoo)
The running joke is that Canada first inflicted the United States with Nickelback and the US did nothing. Then they gave them Justin Bieber. In 2014, there was a petition going around to send Bieber back to Canada. The petition creator mentioned, “We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.” Justin has always been true to his country and has notably once said that Canada is “the best country in the world.”
Even though Shane and Justin share the last name, Shane is not from Canada, he would be rooting for the United States if they made it to the World Cup.
Shane Bieber, the Rookie, is really putting on a good show since the end of May’s call-up. According to Yahoo, in the last two weeks, Bieber is ranked the 18th pitcher in fantasy. He is coming off of a three-game winning streak where he has only allowed two earned runs, pitched two quality starts and had a combined 21 strikeouts. He has possessed very good command and control entering his first year in the league. Overall, he has an ERA of 2.22 and a WHIP of 1.32.
Act with caution on this one. As a rookie, he is bound to have his ups and downs, but he seems to be getting it a little. He plans to face the not so powerful lineup of the Royals and Danny Duffy this upcoming Tuesday. I would say pitch him with confidence on this start.
Mike Minor, SP, Texas Rangers (10% owned in Yahoo)
I wish I was going more all over the map with these waiver wire pickups, but I am not. After Minor’s senior year of high school, he was drafted by the Devil Rays. He chose not to sign and attended his home state college of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. With the reoccurring theme going on, he would have probably rooted for the United States.
On Wednesday night, Minor took a perfect game into the 7th inning. He ended up giving up a hit to Eric Hosmer in this inning and got defensive help with a home run save from Delino DeShields. Minor as a whole has always been an up and down pitcher but has been riding high in June.
These are players who are better suited to be owned in 14-plus team leagues or deeper roster leagues.
Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds (5% owned in Yahoo)
Winker has been an RBI machine these past few weeks. He collected 10 RBIs on a turnaround type of offense in the Reds. He also was on base over 46% of the time during the last two weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps this type of production up going into the second half of the season.
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