2023 MLB Fantasy: Five Hitters to Target on the Waiver Wire (Week 18)

Ezequiel Duran of the Texas Rangers

With a new week ahead of fantasy baseball players, it’s time to get teams sorted for the next seven days. For those in need of an injury replacement or someone to provide a jolt to the lineup, here’s a look at five notable, readily available options to consider.

Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the favorites for the AL Cy Young? (August Edition)

Ezequiel Duran

Rangers infielder/outfielder Ezequiel Duran’s playing time has dipped in recent weeks, but expect that to change fast. On August 6, Rangers third baseman Josh Jung fractured his left thumb attempting to field a line drive off the bat of Marlins OF/DH Jorge Soler. The injury puts Jung in danger of missing the remainder of the 2023 regular season, but it’s an opportunity for Duran.

Duran did make the most of it on August 6, when he belted a home run after coming in to play shortstop after the injury to Jung. Yes, his numbers since the start of July prior to today — .169/.222/.241 with one home run and four RBI in 90 PA — were not great. But, his power does make him an intriguing option nonetheless if he can see more of the field with Jung headed to the IL. However, the presence of Josh H. Smith does make Duran a bit of a risky pickup if there’s a platoon situation at third.

Maikel Garcia

Royals infielder Maikel Garcia continues to be a steady hand in the Kansas City lineup. The 23-year-old recorded a hit in all six games he played this week, including two multi-hit performances. Not to mention, he also picked up three stolen bases across those contests. Garcia’s 34 hits between July 1-August 5 put him in the top 25 of the league in that category.

As we stated earlier in the year, don’t expect much pop from Garcia. On the other hand, his ability to put bat on ball, stolen base potential, and ability to play third and short makes Garcia a useful fantasy target.

Randal Grichuk

New Angels outfielder Randal Grichuk played his first game with the franchise this week after a trade from the Rockies, 14 years after Los Angeles picked him in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He did quite well in his first week with the Angels, as he recorded hits in four of six games. On the season, Grichuk owns a .301 average with 10 home runs — eight of which came after July 1.

While Grichuk has torched hitters since the start of July, he’s been hitting quite well in general this season. The 31-year-old hit .299 between May 1-August 5, and his .848 OPS ranked 35th among hitters with at least 250 PA in that time. Grichuk did, however, have just 29 RBI in that span. Now with the Angels, he’s got the chance to be productive from a fantasy perspective over the coming weeks.

Edouard Julien

Twins 2B Edouard Julien’s been dropped considerably in Yahoo! 12-team leagues in recent days, but there’s opportunity to be had with the 24-year-old. Julien recorded six hits over his last four games, a nice rebound after a tough two weeks. In his rookie season, Julien hit .299 with 10 home runs, 19 RBI, and 33 runs scored across his first 233 plate appearances.

Yes, there are some concerns with Julien’s fantasy value: low RBI opportunities, how much action he’ll see against lefties, and the impact Royce Lewis will have on his playing time once he returns from the IL. Nonetheless, Julien’s power and runs scored potential makes him a nice target. If he’s made available, snatch him up.

Luis Rengifo

Another Angel that made our list is utilityman Luis Rengifo. With a number of injuries to the Angels infield, Rengifo’s stepped up to be a key contributor for Los Angeles. The 26-year-old infielder hit .294 with seven home runs and 13 RBI from July 1-August 5. Rengifo was quite chase-happy in recent years, but he’s cut down on that considerably this season and he’s made the most against mistakes in the zone.

With Zach Neto on the IL, Rengifo figures to get regular playing time at short for the Angels. So long as he stays hot at the plate, the 26-year-old possesses fantasy value.