With the MLB All-Star break right around the corner, the goal of most fantasy baseball owners is to finish the next two-and-a-half weeks on a high note to set the tone for a strong second half to the season.
One of the ways to gain an advantage in your leagues is to scour the waiver wire for a few sleepers who can make an immediate impact on your roster.
Some of the best sleepers available are younger players on contending teams, but if you also do some digging on rosters of teams at the bottom of the standings, you might be able to find a player who contributes right away.
Merrill Kelly, SP, Arizona
Merrill Kelly experienced a drop-off in his recent form Tuesday in an 8-1 loss to Colorado, but he is still worth a taking a look at on the waiver wire.
In his first three starts of June, the 30-year-old gave up 12 hits and two earned runs over 21 innings to earn three straight wins for Arizona.
Now might be the best time to pick up Kelly since some potential buyers could be turned off by his performance against one of his team’s NL West rivals.
One of the reasons why he is still considered a sleeper pick is he was a bit inconsistent before his trio of quality starts.
Two of those victories came on the road against Toronto and Philadelphia, and the Houston native is likely to have a chance to earn a third road win in June against San Francisco at the end of the month.
If anything, Kelly is worth taking a look at between now and the All-Star break to see if he can make a significant impact on your pitching staff.
If the risk does not pay off, he could always be dumped in favor of another hot pitcher in July.
Oscar Mercado, OF, Cleveland
Oscar Mercado will not be a sleeper pick for much longer if he continues at his current pace at the plate.
The rookie outfielder is on a five-game hitting streak that has featured three multiple-hit games, including two hits in Tuesday’s win over Texas.
Mercado’s production at the plate was a bit sporadic in May, but he has turned into a more consistent option since the start of June.
In June, the 24-year-old has six multiple-hit games and he has scored a run in each of his last five games.
Mercado’s ability to get on base is the first of many intriguing qualities that stand out when evaluating his growing resume.
He is not going to overwhelm opposing pitching staffs with his power, but you can’t deny how much potential he has as a fantasy option moving forward because of his high volume of hits and runs.
With a pair of three-game series against Detroit and Kansas City upcoming, now is the perfect time to swoop for Mercado before he is unavailable in most leagues.
Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s Kevin Newman is another player who can produce for your team at a high level by getting on base on multiple occasions in a single game.
Since the 25-year-old plays for a last-place team, he may be flying under the radar, but he is more than deserving of a waiver-wire pickup following an eight-game hitting streak.
In June, Newman has recorded two or more hits in a game on five occasions, including the last two games against Miami and Detroit.
As with Mercado, picking up Newman requires sacrifices in the power department since he has hit two home runs and only driven in 19 runs.
Even though the Californian comes with some risks, he is worth a shot at this point in the season since he has proved he can reach base on a consistent basis.
One factor that is also worth considering with Newman is he has played multiple infield positions and one game in left field for the Pirates, which could help with versatility on certain nights for your lineup.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90. Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.