Monday begins week 23 which means all H2H league should be in playoff mode, and those in roto leagues have three more week to catch the leader. The other day I highlighted 10 players you should consider dropping, or at least benching, for the fantasy playoffs. If you are wondering who to drop from your squad for the players below, start with these men. There really isn’t much else to say at this point – you know what needs to be done and what’s at stake. Good luck to everyone.
C.J. Cron (Angels)
After a horrific three-month stretch to start the season, Cron has quietly, and under the radar, produced since the all-star break. He hit .290 with three home runs in July over 31 at bats. In August he hit .308 with seven home runs and 18 RBI. And, so far in September he is 9 for 27 (.333) with a pair of home runs and 11 RBI. He has just three runs scored this month, but had 15 in August so hopefully the bats around him wake up.
There are not many players readily available on waivers that have hit .300 with double-digit home runs since the all-star break. Cron could be a difference maker, and with the Angels going all in before the trade deadline and a post season berth on the line, I expect Cron to continue raking.
Jose Martinez (Cardinals)
Martinez is batting .310 for the season – not too shabby, but he has been overlooked until this point because playing time has been sporadic. An 11 for 23 performance so far in September along with three home runs, six RBI and seven runs scored puts him on the fantasy radar. More importantly, he has now played in seven straight games, and the fact he is showing no lefty/righty means no platoon worries. Martinez qualifies for first base and outfield, and those multi-eligible guys come in handy late in the season.
Asdrubal Cabrera (Mets)
This might be a moot recommendation if the hamstring news takes a turn for the worse today. Injury aside: Cabrera has been hot lately, batting .360 over the past 14 days with four multi-hit games and a pair of home runs in September. Batting third he should see ample run and RBI opportunities going forward even without the home runs. The bonus with Cabrera is he qualifies for second base, third base and shortstop covering you at multiple position. Hopefully the MRI results come up clean and he just missed a day or two this weekend.
Matt Olson (Athletics)
Olson was one of a half-dozen speculative power guys I grouped together last week to maybe take a flier on. He has taken a step ahead of that pack over the past week going 7 for 25 (.280) with four home runs so far in September. More impressive is his strikeout rate is under 25% this month. In August he hit .305 with seven home runs and 14 RBI.
All of these accomplishments get overlooked by most owners as they tend to look at season starts instead of recent production – a common mistake. Olson qualifies for both first base and outfield, so like Martinez above, he offers some roster flexibility as well.
Matt Joyce (Athletics)
Joyce cannot hit lefties. That means he needs to be on point against righties to have any real value, and those times are few and far between. Fortunately for fantasy owners he picked September to put on a hitting display. He is 7 for 16 this month (.438) with a pair of home runs. Last month he batted only .259, but launched seven homers and drove in 22.
Oakland is on the road next week in Boston (misses Sale) and Philly followed by games at Detroit and then home against Texas. Joyce could see some nice matchups.
Mike Montgomery (Cubs)
With Jake Arrieta slated to miss a few starts with a strained hamstring, Montgomery is an immediate add for your playoff run. His ERA (3.38) and WHIP (1.24) are better than anything you’ll find on waivers at this time of year. The fact you get a strong pitcher on a contending team is a bonus. He walks a few too many, but with a 58.8% ground ball rate he can get away with it. There has had some luck, but even with slight regression he is better than average.
Montgomery gets Milwaukee today followed by St Louis. After that all we can do is hope the Cubs go with a six-man rotation. You’ll only get average (at best) strikeouts, but ERA, WHIP, and a shot at the W are all in play.
Dillon Peters (Marlins)
Each September when rosters expand, there are a handful of lesser known pitching prospects that burst onto the scene with little fanfare and provide a huge boost to a select few fantasy owners. Is Peters one of these guys? It is starting to look that way.
With the exception of his seven game audition in Low-A, Peters has not posted an ERA above 2.50 or a WHIP above 1.10. His K/9 only hovers around 7.00, but with an extreme ground ball tilt I can live with that. His 32% soft contact over his first two starts is ridiculous. I don’t expect a 14% fly ball rate the rest of the way, but his fly ball and infield fly ball rate stayed fairly even the past two seasons – something else that plays in his favor given his new home park.
Peters next start is Tuesday against the Phillies, the same team he crushed in his major league debut. I don’t take many risks when the playoffs are on the line, but this is one calculated risk I would take.
Andrew Cashner (Rangers)
For the life of me I can’t explain why Cashner is available in 70% of Yahoo leagues. Even CBS, which is usually ahead of the curve, is under 50% ownership. The man has a 3.29 ERA through 23 starts (140 innings). 15 of his 23 starts were quality, and in 12 of those 15 he held opponents to two or fewer runs. He pitches well in Texas (2.34), and with the exception of June his ERA was below 3.00 each and every month.
OK, the K/9 below 5.00 is horrible – I’ll give you that. But seriously, do we love strikeouts that much to where we toss aside an innings eater with good ratios? Is Julio Teheran and his train wreck ratios better than Cashner because he strikes out more guys? Going by the ownership levels, it appears that is the case. I’ll take him for the playoffs if nobody is buying. Cashner starts today against the Yankees and then faces the Mariners and Athletics twice.
Speculating on Power
In the month of September Harrison Bader (OF) and Chase Headley (1-3B) have three home runs and are batting over .300. I will not vouch for either player or recommend using them, but if you are in need of power this is a good place to start. Lucas Duda also has three home runs, but his .211 September average and .250 OBP makes him someone to avoid.
One would assume that if you are one of the top teams in your league that you have a stable catching option. For those still playing the stream game:
- The Francisco Mejia promotion overshadows the recent production for Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez. Over the last seven days Gomes is 6 for 16 (.375) with a home run while Perez is 6 for 17 with a home run. They combined for four runs and 10 RBI. Maybe a rosterable catch combo for next week?
- Robert Chirinos added another home run (17), and is now hitting .333 in September. Don’t forget he hit .349 in August.
- Mike Zunino has two home runs in September along with a .313 batting average.
- Jorge Alfaro (6-17) and Travis d’Arnaud (5-16) each hit a home run this past week. Alfaro could push Cameron Rupp aside during the final weeks given his dismal performance of late.
- No home runs for James McCann this past week, but he is 7 for 18 (.389) in September.
Last Weeks Recommendations:
What have they done over the past 7 days, and if they are still worth adding.
- Jorge Polanco went 9 for 25 with a home run and seven RBIs.
- Delino DeShields went 7 for 21 with a home run, three stolen bases, and eight runs scored.
- Jose Reyes went 7 for 23 with a home run, three stolen bases, and six runs scored.
- Ozzie Albies went 8 for 26 with three RBI and four runs scored.
- Yolmer Sanchez went 7 for 24 with two home runs, three stolen bases, and four runs scored.
- Kevin Kiermaier went 10 for 25 with a home runs, two stolen bases, five RBI and six runs scored.
- Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 18 with a home run, a stolen base, and three each for runs and RBI.
- Justin Bour is close to returning from the DL. Stash him for the final two weeks, but don’t use him this upcoming week.
Outside of Ozzie Albies I would still consider every one of these players.
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