We are in the stretch run for fantasy baseball. Some teams are entering their playoff rounds while others are preparing to do so. Because of this, traditional waiver wire advise means nothing. At this point it does not matter what kind of potential a player has. At this point it doesn’t matter if the BABIP or xFIP say a player has been lucky. The only thing that does matter is what a player is doing now. Regardless of whether they are lucky or good; as long as they are producing they are worthy of a roster spot.
With that in mind, here are the players that are hot, followed by a number of guys who are not. If a player is not hitting, then wasting a roster spot on them while there are worthy alternatives available is a futile gesture. Use your best judgement when it comes to cold players; the deeper the league the lower the talent level of the replacement player on waivers is.
All stats are for the past two weeks unless stated otherwise.
Ownership levels for hot players are under 50% on Yahoo and ESPN.
The Hot List
Alex Bregman (3B/SS): Batting .306 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. He is the 5th ranked shortstop, 5th ranked third baseman and 30th ranked overall hitter on the ESPN player rater during this span.
Sandy Leon (C): Batting .410 with three home runs, six RBIs and 10 runs scored. Only Russell Martin and Gary Sanchez have been more productive the past two weeks.
Chris Carter (1B): Batting .271 with five home runs, 10 RBIs, 11 runs scored and two stolen bases. He is the fifth ranked first baseman and 25th overall hitter on the ESPN player rater. The batting average could bottom out at any time, but he has been a constant source of power, runs and RBIs each month.
Tim Anderson (SS): Batting .356 with two home runs, eight RBIs, 10 runs scored and two stolen bases. He ranked right behind Bregman on the ESPN player rater and is more readily available.
Keon Broxton (OF): Batting .267 with three home runs, five RBIs, nine runs scored and six stolen bases. The batting average has dipped this past week, but so far it has not affected his counting stats. Keep an eye on this daily.
Brandon Moss (1B/OF): Batting .286 with five home runs, 11 RBIs and eight runs scored. Those numbers put him in the top-10 on the ESPN player rater. His average against lefties isn’t bad, but his production against them is non-existent so stick to righties (.271 with 21 home runs).
Angel Pagan (OF): Batting .415 with one RBI, three stolen bases and 10 runs scored. Pagan can be good as a fourth outfielder or if you’re just looking for a particular category boost – specifically runs and batting average.
Denard Span (OF): Batting .375 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and five runs scored. Just like Span, Pagan makes a solid fourth outfielder and decent counterweight if you have an all-power no-average type hitter on your squad (like Chris Davis).
Chase Utley (2B): Batting .341 with three home runs, eight RBIs and 11 runs scored. The 37-year-old has some lingering foot issues which could mean a few more days off between now and the end of the season.
Tony Wolters (C): Batting .500 with two home runs, six RBIs and six runs scored. Wolters is more for leagues that use two catchers; he doesn’t get enough at bats to warrant attention on one catcher formats, unless you are a Nick Hundley owner. Using both catchers in tandem through the playoffs would give you one solid catcher with no days off (every point counts).
Cesar Hernandez (2B): Batting .394 with two home runs, three RBIs, 7 runs scored and two stolen bases. His value is higher on Yahoo where he also qualifies for third base and shortstop.
Jedd Gyorko (1-2-3B/SS): Batting .263 with five home runs, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored. He ranks 13th among first and second basemen, 14th among third basemen and 15th among shortstops – the ultimate utility/MI/CI player.
Jose Reyes (SS/3B): Batting .357 with four RBIs, nine runs scored and three stolen bases. Reyes will give you little power, but his runs, average and speed could provide a nice category boost.
Jose Peraza (2B/OF): Batting .579 with one home run, three RBIs, five runs scored and two stolen bases over the past week. The Reds recalled the speedster and he is making the most of the opportunity and playing time. He also qualifies for shortstop on Yahoo.
Ryon Healy (3B): Batting .353 with three home runs, seven RBIs and seven runs scored. After a ho-hum debut in July Healy has turned things up a notch this month.
Randal Grichuk (OF): Batting .297 with four home runs, 10 RBIs and six runs scored. This is the first time he has been of any real fantasy value all season, but there is no guarantee he’ll be able to keep the batting average up for long.
Chris Owings (2B/SS/OF): Batting .352 with seven RBIs, five runs scored and two stolen bases. You will get zero power here, but as long as the batting average remains high he can contribute nicely in the other categories.
Ender Inciarte (OF): Batting .327 with one home run, six RBIs and 11 runs scored. No clue why the man at the top of the order isn’t running, but he’s hitting and scoring runs which is a start.
Melvin Upton (OF): Batting .270 with three home runs, eight RBIs, six runs scored and three stolen bases. Upton started off slow when he arrived in Toronto, but he is back to playing (almost) full-time and filling up the score sheet.
Danny Valencia (1-3B/OF): Batting .383 with one home run, four RBIs and seven runs scored. He’s not generating enough power for first or third, but he could make a decent CI play or backup outfielder.
The Not-Hot List
Jay Bruce: Batting .195 post all-star, and .159 with two home runs, six RBIs and five runs scored in August. Bruce owners really need to contemplate dropping the slugger if an alternative is available, especially if your league has or is about to being playoffs.
Jake Lamb: Batting .192 post all-star, and .171 with three home runs, 11 RBIs and eight runs scored in August. The first half waiver wire darling could soon become waiver fodder in many playoff leagues. Don’t get caught up in the nostalgia from the first half.
Jurickson Profar: Batting .173 post all-star, and .135 with three runs and three RBIs in August. The golden boy of June started to rust in July and is now nothing more than a corroded shell. Unless you play in a large keeper league he should not be on any playoff bound team.
Michael Saunders: Batting .167 with two home runs, four RBIs and six runs scored in August. The batting average and playing time has slowly declined each month, and August marks an all-time low. Let someone else chase that pretty bottom line you’re dropping and suffer the consequences.
Curtis Granderson: Batting .185 post all-star, and .169 with four home runs, five RBIs and 10 runs scored in August. That’s Ryan Howard type production. Granderson has not had double-digit RBI totals in any month, and the .255 he hit in June was his season high.
Hunter Pence: Batting .213 with one home run, five RBIs and eight runs scored in August. He did hit .261 this past week thanks to a successful three-game series against the Mets. Since returning from the DL Pence has looked lost, and I’m not sure he can find himself before your fantasy playoff start.
Cole Calhoun: Batting .205 with two home runs, two RBIs and eight runs scored in August. He has just two home runs since the all-star break, and the walks are starting to fall-off which is affecting his better than average run total. He may bounce back, but have an adequate backup on your bench – just in case.
Matt Wieters: Batting .202 with one home run since the all-star break. Sure he’s batting .258 this month, but one home run and eight RBIs is not great in leagues with a single catcher format. Tack on his struggles versus lefties this year and you’re left with a below replacement level player.
Derek Norris: Batted .137 in July and .135 in August. I wouldn’t even own him in a two-catcher league.
Gerardo Parra: Batting .186 in July and .211 in August with zero home runs and just five RBIs post all-star. He gets the occasional sympathy start, but from here on out it will be Cargo, Blackmon and Dahl.
Josh Reddick: Batting .149 with zero home runs and zero RBIs in 67 at bats since arriving in Los Angeles. He did score eight runs this month (somehow). Reddick has year’s where he is worth owning and year’s where he is not; this case is the latter.
Need more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.
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