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Happy Fourth of July to you and yours this weekend. I sincerely hope we can put aside the struggle and strife for a couple of days and enjoy our friends and family, and barbecues and swimming pools.  And baseball, of course.  Since you are likely to be busy this weekend (including Michael Simione, who I am sure is smoking meat today), let’s get to our hitting streamers.

Deep 15 Teams (15% rostered or less)

Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox (15% rostered, 4.0 grade)

Boston Red Sox fans lament the treatment of Duran by their upper brass, and I agree with them.  What has taken them so long to give Duran a shot? I am not sure how much power Duran will show in Boston, but in 61 at-bats, he has scored ten runs, hit a homer, and stolen four bases, while hitting a robust .344.  Boston just needs to let this guy play. His high water mark for home runs in the minor leagues has been 16, but his calling card is speed.  As we say weekly, who isn’t looking for speed? Josh predicts a .3/1.8/1.3/.6/.267 week for Duran.  Grab him while you can.

Chas McCormick, Houston Astros (10% rostered, 4.8 grade)

Raise your hand if you realized that McCormick had eight home runs this year; I didn’t know that until I was researching this article.  McCormick is a cheap power play.  After a slow June, he’s hit home runs in his first two July starts, and looks to be getting more playing time with the shoulder injury to Michael Brantley.  If you need outfield help this might be a good play for a week or two.  Josh predicts a .8/2.9/2.7/.3/.238 week for McCormick.

Standard 12 Teams (30% rostered or less)

Juan Yepez, St. Louis Cardinals 1B/3B/OF (26% rostered, 4.9 grade)

All Yepez does is hit.  He’s hitting .281 with 10 home runs, 25 RBI, and 22 runs scored. He’s also eligible for three different positions. In June he hit .281 with five of his homers and 16 of his RBI.  What’s not to like here?  And he’s hitting in a lineup that features several guys like Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Tommy Edman having fantastic years. This is a prolific hitter rostered in only 26% of leagues.  Change that this weekend.

AJ Pollock, Chicago White Sox OF (27% rostered, 6.4 grade)

Pollock is overshadowed on a team of superstar hitters that are not hitting. Slowed by leg injuries in April and May, Pollock seems to be coming around now.  This is as much a play about the White Sox offense coming to life; this team is too good at hitting to be this crummy all year.  They are going to hit at some point.  Pollock hit .268 with two home runs and 13 RBI in June.  He’s playing every day in manager Tony La Russa’s pick-the-lineup-out-of-a-hat batting orders.  Pollock has historically been a better-than-average hitter and will be in the middle of a hopefully potent lineup soon.

Shallow 10 Teams (50% rostered or less)

Christopher Morel, Chicago Cubs 2B/3B/OF (35% rostered, 5.4 grade)

I kept waiting for Morel to cool off, but it has not happened yet. He’s hitting .282 with eight home runs, seven stolen bases and 31 runs.  Full disclosure: he’s also struck out 58 times in 174 at bats, so that needs improvement.  However, he is an exciting player with multiple positon eligibility, which we love, and is inching towards double-digit homers and steals.  Who doesn’t need that, especially at an infield position?  His playing time is guaranteed on a struggling Chicago Cubs team this year. This is a good recipe for value for you.  Josh predicts a .7/3/2.5/.8/.221 week for Morel.

Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers OF (43% rostered, 4.7 grade)

Greene seems poised for a breakout in the Motor City. He was a hot late-round guy in late spring, but a foot injury put him on the IL for the first third of the season.  This week, he had a stolen base and hit his first major league home run yesterday.  Here’s the thing: Greene will add pop and speed to your lineup, and is hitting .302 in his last 43 at-bats. Granted, small sample size, but this player has pedigree. He will not be on the waiver wire for long as fantasy players look for a boost tonight. Greene has been on base at least twice in eight of his last 12 games.  Time to grab this star in the making.  Josh predicts a .6/2.9/2.3/.5/.240 week.

“Easy” Matchups

Baltimore vs. Texas, vs. Los Angeles Angels

Cleveland @ Detroit, @ Kansas City

Houston vs. Kansas City, @Oakland

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado, @ Chicago Cubs

New York Mets @ Cincinnati, vs. Miami

Toronto @ Oakland, @ Seattle

Teams with eight game weeks: Detroit, Cincinnati

Teams with seven game weeks: Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami, New York Mets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington

Team with six game weeks: Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York Yankees, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Texas

Teams with five game weeks: None!

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