Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper was diagnosed with a small tear in his right elbow. The 2021 NL MVP will be shut down from throwing for the next month while going the rehab route instead of surgery. If this was last season, Harper would have already been sidelined, but thanks to the designated hitter being implemented in the National League, Harper will continue to play.

This is good news for fantasy owners, as we don’t care if he’s in the field or not. However, if the injury doesn’t heal, surgery could be an option later on so this doesn’t linger into next year. We’ll continue to monitor this, but for now, Harper is still a strong fantasy option.

Waiver-Wire Targets:

St. Louis Cardinals Infielder Juan Yepez — The 24-year-old has been in the big leagues for eight games and is batting .400 with two home runs, four RBIs and five runs scored. Even more impressive is that the youngster is batting in the heart of a dangerous Cardinals lineup. Yepez has batted cleanup in three of his games while hitting fifth in the other five. Yepez has been playing outfield as well. It’s only a matter of time before he gains outfield eligibility, which just makes him even more of an attractive fantasy option. Yepez hit 27 home runs in the minors last season and already had nine prior to his promotion this year so the power is legit. Yepez provides power upside, and if he continues to hit in the middle of the lineup, he will drive in plenty of runs as well.

Cleveland Guardians Infielder/Outfielder Josh Naylor — Another power option for fantasy owners is Naylor. The 25-year-old hit seven home runs in 69 games last season and already has five in 20 games this year to go along with 22 RBIs. Historically, Naylor has struggled against left-handed pitching, but this year he’s batting .316 against southpaws. That will probably not continue, but we can ride the hot streak of Naylor. Like Yepez. Naylor is batting in the middle of the lineup, giving him plenty of chances to drive in runs.

Arizona Cardinals Outfielder Alek Thomas — The Diamondbacks’ top prospect and a consensus top-40 prospect was promoted this week and has already made a strong impression. In four games, Thomas is batting .385 with a home run, three RBIs and four runs scored. The 22-year-old displayed power-speed combo in the minor leagues, as he hit 18 home runs with 13 stolen bases in 2021 and had four homers and three steals prior to his promotion. Thomas is still just scratching the surface of how good he can be. We know there will be struggles, but the upside is tremendous. The Diamondbacks are trying their best to protect the youngster by hitting him eighth and ninth, but if he keeps raking, it will be hard to keep him that low. I’m willing to bet on the talent and see what happens throughout the rest of the year.

Baltimore Orioles Catcher Adley Rutschman — The No. 1 prospect in all of baseball by many publications is already 50 percent owned, as many fantasy owners probably drafted the youngster to stash him for when he finally arrives. However, depending on league rules or frustrated leaguemates, Rutschman could be available so he’s worth mentioning. The 24-year-old is fully healthy and continues his rehab in Triple-A, with the next step being his major league debut. I find it hard to believe the Orioles will want Rutschman to make his debut on the road, so with the Orioles about to embark on a seven-game homestand beginning on May 16, this seems like the perfect time to promote the catcher. The Orioles don’t return until after Memorial Day following the homestand. The time is now for the top prospect to arrive, and next week is a strong possibility. He’s a must-add in all league formats.

Cincinnati Reds Reliever Art Warren — If you need saves, Warren is worth an add, but don’t go overboard. Lucas Sims was placed on the injured list, which opens up save chances for a Reds team that has won five of their last seven games. Warren was asked to slam the door on May 12 with the Reds leading by four so he did not earn the save, but at least that gave us an indication of what the team may do moving forward. After allowing runs in three straight appearances, the right-hander hasn’t allowed a run in three consecutive games, which has lowered his ERA from 10.29 to 6.55.

Photo Credit: Steven Goldburg

Phil Backert

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