I wrote this last week, but it still holds true today and bears repeating – here is the cliff notes summary.
At this point in the season names do not matter, only production. You can no longer afford to sit and wait for that struggling star or promising rookie you’ve been sitting on all year that have given nothing in return. DL players that have little to no chance of contributing should be tossed back (looking at you Jose Abreu), as should struggling post all-star players (thanks for the first half Matt Kemp). Every bench player (as well as your starting lineup) needs to be put under a microscope, evaluated, and in some cases replaced so you can put your best foot forward heading into the playoffs.
Good luck to all H2H playoff teams and owners still challenging for that top spot in roto leagues.
* ownership rates under 50% on Yahoo and ESPN – CBS & Fantrax may be higher due to more keeper leagues.
- Tyler White: Astros
Those that worried if White would stick as a regular once everyone was healthy are now regretting not rolling the dice if he was scooped up in your league. For the season he is batting .317 with 11 home runs over 123 at bats. Over the last two weeks he is batting .348 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI. White was a top-5 first base option for the month of August and should be universally owned, but he’s not.
- Luke Voit: Yankees
Greg Who? Voit is now the man at first, at least he has been this past week, going 11 for 24 with 4 homers and 9 RBI. The Yankees have inserted him into the heart of the lineup so plenty of run and RBI opportunities. He batted a combined .307 between Double-A and Triple-A so he knows how to hit. He is 27 though, and the lack of track record makes him a slight risk.
- Johan Camargo: Braves
He struggle in May, but since then Camargo has been a solid contributor, showing a little pop and producing double-digit run and RBI totals in each of the past three months. While his numbers are good enough for a CI slot, he is better served as a middle infielder and provides you with insurance for your shortstop position.
Joey Wendle: Rays
He continues to exceed my expectations, batting .296 for the season and .300 plus in both July and August. Over the last two weeks he has a homer, 4 steals, 9 RBI and 7 runs scored – solidly contributing across the board. He makes a solid second base or MI option, and he also qualifies for third base and outfield – bonus points for being a multi-eligible bench bat for off days.
- Jeff McNeil: Mets
McNeil is a rehash from last week, but sometimes things need repeating. He hit .296 or higher at every level, holds a minor league .311 batting average (1,613 AB), was batting .368 in Triple-A prior to his promotion, and is currently batting .319 through his first 116 at bats. He is a great MI option for teams in need of batting average, and he should continue to score plenty of runs batting second.
- Ramon Laureano: Athletics
Laureano isn’t a brand name, but he is receiving regular playing time in Oakland. Over the past two weeks he has hit .351 with 3 home runs, 3 stolen bases, 8 runs and 7 RBI. If this continues he could move up a few spots in the lineup, but even if he doesn’t, those are some nice numbers batting 8th.
Hunter Renfroe: Padres
This has been a good month for Renfroe, batting .304 with 9 home runs, 26 RBI and 12 runs scored. Half of that production was from the past two weeks so it’s not like he had a big week or two; he was consistent all month. The pedigree is there, but this is his first good month he’s had since September 2016. I would add him, but keep a close eye on him and have another outfielder or two queued up.
- Stephen Piscotty: Athletics
Piscotty has been hot and cold all year. Solid numbers overall, but we’d like a little more consistency. Over the past two weeks he is 17 for 54 (.315) with 3 home runs, 9 RBI and 7 runs scored. Like Laureano above the A’s keep his bat towards the bottom of the lineup so you’ll get solid numbers, but there is little chance of him moving up regularly. And like Renfroe, don’t hesitate to cut bait if you see him slow down.
- Randal Grichuk: Blue Jays
He’s doing the same thing in Toronto that he did in St Louis. Grichuk will tease you with dominant stretches (.294, 8 HR, 20 RBI in June) only to collapse (.222, 4 HR, 7 RBI in July). The batting average was .326 in August, but much of that was produced over the past week (12 for 22 with a pair of homers). This could be the beginning of a hot streak, but as we’ve seen in the past it can end as quickly as it started. Roster with caution.
- Billy McKinney: Blue Jays
The former first round pick has had batting average issues and the power hasn’t developed as some had hoped, so it is surprising to see him hitting .351 with 3 homers in his first two weeks. He is a hot hand to ride, but his poor track record makes him a big risk with so much on the line this month. I would want almost any of the outfielders above, but in larger leagues he may be your best available option.
- Lucas Giolito: White Sox
He has gone 6+ innings in eight of his last 10 starts, and all eight of those starts were quality. He also has 6+ strikeouts in his last six starts, showing signs that the once highly coveted prospect still has it. Giolito posted a 3.86 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and .191 BAA in August. He also only walked 12 batters over 37 innings showing much better control. These are the type of hidden improvements that go unnoticed both late in the season and in drafts the following year. The former first round draft pick appears to be turning the corner.
His schedule moving forward is home against Detroit, on the road against the Royals and Orioles (two-start pitcher), home against the Cubs and finally at Minnesota. I would start him in each of those games.
- Trevor Williams: Pirates
Williams now has eight consecutive starts with two or fewer earned runs allowed along with 5 wins during that stretch (6 QS). His combined ERA and WHIP for those eight starts is 0.75 and 1.08. Considering his numbers last year were respectable I don’t get how he is available in over 50% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, especially when you consider his season ERA is 3.30.
Yes, the BABIP is lucky, both his FIP and xFIP say the ERA should be a full point higher, and his underlying metrics are average at best. This can cause some hesitation, but given the streak he is on, it’s time for fantasy owners to put aside any doubt they may have and just ride the wave.
Williams is a two-start pitcher next week with two home games against the Reds and Marlins. He gets two straight matchups against the Brewers after that, away and then home. If that makes you nervous, remember he threw a one-hit shutout against them last time out.
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