The Major League Baseball trade deadline is quickly approaching, which means fantasy owners need to be paying attention more than they already do. It’s already challenging to navigate the numerous injuries along with the normal roster management. Dealing with players being traded is a different challenge, as there is a fantasy impact for every move that is made.

The first domino to fall involves the Minnesota Twins trading designated hitter Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays. Cruz can wake up from a nap and hit a home run so his fantasy value doesn’t change much, but there’s a chance he could hit more home runs as he plays in more hitter-friendly ballparks in the American League East.

Waiver-Wire Targets:

Los Angeles Angels Outfielder Brandon Marsh — The Angels promoted one of their top prospects in Marsh, and it appears the Halos will play him every day until the team gets healthier. Marsh is trying to take advantage, as he has already collected four hits since July 18. The 23-year-old has shown the ability to hit for some power in the minors while also stealing bases, which makes him fantasy relevant. I can’t guarantee he will be with the Angels when Mike Trout returns, but if he’s going to play every day, he’s worth an add for fantasy owners.

Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Josiah Gray — Another rookie who could help fantasy owners is the 23-year-old righty. Gray allowed three home runs in his debut as a reliever, but will enter the Dodgers’ starting rotation for now. Despite allowing those three home runs, Gray struck out seven in four innings and induced a lot of swinging strikes. The stuff is electric. Gray ranks as a top-100 prospect in all of baseball and averaged double-digit strikeouts per nine innings during his minor-league career. Like Marsh, Gray could be a temporary solution for the Dodgers. Even if he’s on a pitch count, he should provide a boost in the strikeout department for fantasy owners.

Colorado Rockies Starting Pitcher Jon Gray — I usually don’t recommend a starting pitcher on the Rockies, but Gray has actually pitched better at Coors Field than on the road. He has a 3.14 ERA at home compared to a 4.54 ERA away from Coors. I also believe there’s a strong chance Gray is traded before the deadline. That could help his overall fantasy value despite his struggles on the road this year. The right-hander has completed six innings in each of his last three starts and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last five. Even if Gray remains with the Rockies, the recent streak suggests he should be on fantasy rosters.

Boston Red Sox Infielder/Outfielder Enrique Hernandez — Fantasy owners who need a boost in offensive production can look towards Hernandez. The 29-year-old has been batting leadoff for a good Red Sox offense and is having a strong July. He has hit six home runs with 14 RBIs and 10 runs scored this month. Hernandez having eligibility at multiple positions makes him a nice target while in the midst of a hot streak.

Phil Backert

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