Happy Thursday, everyone! The Home Run Derby field is now set and here are your participants for 2023: 

Wednesday's action was filled with some career-high totals and standout performances from across the MLB by some of the hottest players in Fantasy Baseball right now. Perhaps no player has been on a hotter streak than Braves 1B Matt Olson. Olson cracked his 29th home run of the season on Wednesday. Despite his impressive performance, he was surprisingly not included in the Home Run Derby. Since being dropped down to the fifth spot in the lineup on June 15, Olson has smashed 11 home runs in just 18 games. He currently ranks sixth overall in Roto and is the fifth-best hitter in H2H points. With 68 runs and 70 RBIs, his batting average of .254 shouldn't overshadow his exceptional contributions to your Fantasy team. Olson was pinpointed as one of the best post-hype sleeper picks of this draft season and he's returning first-round value on a mid-round investment.

Let's dive into some of the other standout performers now:

Career high for Lopez

Pablo Lopez delivered a stellar performance in his latest outing, recording his first shutout and complete game of his career against the Royals. He allowed only four hits, issued no walks, and struck out a career-high 12. Lopez showcased a diverse pitching arsenal, with his fastball, changeup, and curveball all working effectively. With a 3.89 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 138 strikeouts over 111 innings, Lopez has been a reliable Fantasy option. Keep an eye on his 14.5% SwStr rate, indicating his ability to generate swings and misses. Lopez is an excellent candidate to trade for right now. We discuss Olson and Lopez on the FBT in 5 podcast here.

Senga time

Kodai Senga had an impressive outing against the Diamondbacks, tying his season-high with 12 strikeouts. He pitched eight innings, allowing only one earned run on four hits and a walk. Senga exhibited great command, recording an 18 swinging-strike total on 107 pitches. He mixed his pitches effectively, relying heavily on his forkball and showcasing improved velocity on his cutter, fastball, and curveball. With a 3.31 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 112 strikeouts over 88.1 innings, Senga has established himself as a top-tier Fantasy starting pitcher.

Waiver wire pick up of the year?

Bryson Stott had a fantastic game, going 4 for 5 with two runs scored and his 15th stolen base of the season on Wednesday. He finished the game with five hard-hit balls and has been performing consistently throughout the season. Stott currently boasts a .304 batting average with seven home runs, 15 stolen bases, and a .769 OPS. While his .344 BABIP may be on the high side, his expected batting average (.262) and expected slugging percentage (.366) suggest he is still providing solid production for Fantasy managers.

Can't stop Elly

Elly De La Cruz had another impressive performance on Wednesday, going 3 for 6 with a home run and stolen base. His fourth home run of the season traveled an impressive 455 feet with an exit velocity of 111.6 mph. De La Cruz has been a consistent contributor with both power and speed, tallying 11 stolen bases to go along with his four home runs. Keep an eye on his continued production.

Waiver-wire hitters to consider

  • Colton Cowser: After picking up his first career hit, Cowser finished the game 1 for 3 with a walk, run, and RBI. He's only 50% rostered and worth considering as a potential addition to your team.
  • Jack Suwinski: He hit his 19th home run of the season and currently boasts a .236 batting average with 19 home runs, seven stolen bases, and an .891 OPS.
  • Joey Votto: Votto went 3 for 5 with his fifth home run in the past 13 games on Wednesday. Although his batting average is currently at .205, he has an impressive .885 OPS and is offering power and production.
  • Garrett Cooper: Cooper went 2 for 4 with a double, walk, and three RBIs. Over the past 27 games, he has been performing well with a .296 batting average and six home runs. Despite his solid performance, he is only rostered in 15% of leagues.
  • Edouard Julien: Julien went 1-for 2 with a walk and his sixth home run of the season. He currently holds a .258 batting average with an .811 OPS. It's worth noting that he has struggled against left-handed pitchers, with a .133 batting average and .266 OPS in those matchups.
  • Yainer Diaz: Diaz had a strong game, going 2 for 4 with a double and two home runs. Since the start of June, Diaz has been hitting well, maintaining a .291 batting average with eight home runs. Overall, he has a .267 batting average, 10 home runs, and a solid 90.6 average exit velocity.

Deeper Leagues

  • Will Benson: Benson went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and his seventh stolen base. He has seen a significant improvement in his batting average, now hitting .287 with an .833 OPS. With increased playing time, he has the potential to be a valuable asset in deeper leagues.
  • Tony Kemp: Kemp went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and his eighth stolen base. Over the past 18 games, he has been hitting .333 with two home runs and four stolen bases. Despite his recent success, he is only rostered in 6% of leagues and holds second base and outfield eligibility.

News and notes

  • Shohei Ohtani was in the lineup as the DH Wednesday despite dealing with that blister. Jo Adell was also in the lineup against a RHP in Seth Lugo. Taylor Walls was on the bench.
  • Mike Trout underwent surgery on his fractured left hamate bone Wednesday. He's set to miss the next 4-6 weeks.
  • Astros GM Dana Brown said that a decision hasn't been made regarding whether Jose Altuve will go on the IL, but he could be held out of the lineup through the All-Star break. He's dealing with left oblique tightness.
  • Brandon Woodruff threw off flat ground the past few days and is aiming to throw a bullpen session this weekend. He's been out since mid-April with a Grade 2 subscapular strain.
  • Clayton Kershaw said his shoulder injury is trending upward and that he feels confident he'll be ready to pitch after the All-Star break.
  • Esteury Ruiz will undergo X-rays and an MRI on his right shoulder Thursday.
  • Ketel Marte has missed two straight due to lower-back soreness. 
  • Cristian Javier will not make another start before the All-Star break. He was originally slated to start this weekend.
  • Bryce Miller, who was placed on the IL with a blister on his right middle finger, is "not going to pitch for a while". 
  • Rowdy Tellez was placed on the IL with right forearm inflammation, apparently, something he's dealt with for a little bit now. Brian Anderson was activated from the paternity list.
  • Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Justin Turner could be used at second base in the coming days as the team looks to jump start its offense.
  • Trevor Story could be ready for a rehab assignment immediately after the All-Star break. He had internal brace surgery on his right elbow back in January.
  • Zack Greinke was placed on the IL with right shoulder tendinitis.
  • Yankees reliever Jimmy Cordero has been suspended for the remainder of the season for violating MLB's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.