Rob Manfred came out of his office the other day and saw his shadow; that means we have 6 more weeks of fantasy baseball left to play. I know some of you have already switched gears and are in full football mode. That’s fine, I have nothing against fantasy football – just as long as you remember and keep your commitment to your baseball team. Every year we complain about dead teams and neglectful owners. I’ve done my fair share of preaching on the subject; unfortunately my words usually fall on deaf ears. If you’re reading this you’re still playing (good for you) so I’ll save the rant and get right to what you came here for.
OF = Chris Coghlan (Cubs): I don’t understand how or why Coghlan is available in so many leagues. I get the fact he rides the bench against lefties, but that still gives him the lions share of at bats each month. For the season he has 15 home runs and 11 stolen bases. As an outfielder that is pretty average, but Coghlan is eligible at second base on most sites. Twenty five second base eligible players have 10 or more home runs. Coghlan’s 15 put him in a tie for third in the category with only 2 players ahead of him. Of those 25 players, do you know how many of them have double-digit steals? Just seven. His 11 steals have him tied for 11th in the stolen base category (among second basemen). Out of those seven players with double-digit home runs, only 4 of them place above Coghlan in stolen bases. That makes him one of the best players to own for power and speed, yet there he sits on waivers.
Granted his run and RBI totals are only average, but he does contribute to each category. So why is he available? Batting average! People can’t get over the prejudice to batting average. Coghlan has a few more at bats than Rougned Odor and has fairly similar numbers, yet Odor’s ownership levels are double – must be the shiny .280 batting average. It might interest you to know that over the past 2 weeks Coghlan hit .286 with 4 home runs, 10 RBIs and scored 11 runs. He’s not the most consistent player when it comes to average, but he fills out the rest of the stat sheet nicely. If Coghlan only qualifies for OF in your league, I understand passing. But if he qualifies for second base he deserves at least a bench spot, especially in leagues that use a MI slot (something more leagues need to start using, but that’s another article for another time.
Available in 84% of Yahoo, 73% of ESPN and 60% of CBS
3B/OF – Derek Dietrich (Marlins): In case you didn’t notice, Dietrich is receiving more at bats. After not cracking 50 in June and July, Deitrich has 72 at bats in August (not including last nights game). Like Coghlan above, he usually takes a seat against lefties which is fine since he’s batting .285 versus righties. While the extra at bats haven’t resulted in additional power numbers, his run and RBI totals have gone up. Over the past 2 weeks he is batting just over .300 with 10 RBIs and 7 runs scored. The Marlins have been using him in the cleanup spot lately so expect the increase to RBIs to continue. He could also see another increase in runs in a few weeks depending on where the Marlins slot him when Stanton returns.
I get why Deitrich is available; while his numbers have been good lately, they are only average for a third baseman or outfielder. Just like Coghlan though, Dietrich is eligible at second base on most sites which is where his real value lies. The Marlins are playing for next year so expect Deitrich to be in the lineup on most nights as the team tries to evaluate what they have for next season.
Available in 94% of Yahoo, 94% of ESPN and 85% of CBS leagues
SS – Ketel Marte (Mariners): The Brad Miller experiment at short appears to be over, at least for this season. The Mariners promoted their speedy new toy at the end of July and he hit the ground running. Prior to his promotion, Marte was batting .314 with 20 stolen bases over 65 games in AAA. Including his AAA stolen base total from last season, that’s 26 steals over 84 games – and another 23 in AA over 450 at bats. That’s Marte’s resume: he hits the ball, steals bases and scores runs. He batted .304 in AA, 314 in AAA and is currently hitting .307 in the majors in just under 90 at bats. The Mariners were so impressed with him that they handed him the leadoff spot as opposed to starting him at the bottom of the lineup and making him earn his way up. Marte has the chance to be a three category wonder for the final month of the season and could put up better numbers than higher owned options like Alcides Escobar, Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar and Jean Segura to name a few.
Available in 97% of Yahoo, 71% of ESPN and 86% of CBS leagues
OF – Aaron Altherr (Phillies): I had already assumed this since the Phillies are looking to next year, but interim manager Pete Mackanin said Thursday that he plans to play Aaron Altherr more going forward. Altherr has some speed to him with a little pop in his bat and he could be a future 15/25 players. Batting average and strikeouts are the two things that stand in his way (like all youngsters), although neither seem to be an issue this year. His BB/K ratio between AA & AAA this year are almost 1/2 and he hit .294 across two levels prior to being promoted. The two things we don’t know are 1. has he really figured things out and 2. can he produce at the ML level. We won’t know the answer to the first one for a while. As for the second question, he’ll get every chance to prove it.
He hit lefties and righties equally well this year in the minors, he plays half of his game in a friendly environment and it appears the Phillies are prepared to bat him in a productive spot in the lineup. Altherr already has 2 home runs in his first seven games; a few more along with a couple of multi-hit games and you may miss your chance. I might make a speculative grab here if you have some dead weight on your bench or if your fourth outfield option is lacking. Worst case scenario, you drop him next week for something better.
Available in 99% of Yahoo, 97% of ESPN and 95% of CBS leagues
1B/OF – Mark Canha (A’s): M.C. spent the first four months figuring things out, and he has put it all together so far in August hitting .325 with 2 homers, 15 RBIs and 10 runs scored over 21 games. Those numbers make him a top 20 options for first base over the past 30 days and a top 50 player for the outfield. Canha is allergic to lefties (.192) and needs to work on taking a few more walks, but he has improved his strikeout rate as the seasons progressed and he has been spending a lot of time batting second in the order. If the A’s offense comes to life just a little, we could see an uptick in run production on par with the increase in RBIs. First base and outfield are two positions that are deep in talent. In standard 12 team leagues you might be able to find better, but if you play with 4 or more outfielders and or use a CI slot, you may want to reevaluate your current player.
Available in 89% of Yahoo, 81% of ESPN and 76% of CBS leagues
SS – Wilmer Flores (Mets): Flores isn’t hitting for power like he was back in April/May, but he is hitting better overall with a .299 average in July and a .324 so far in August. He is only average against righties (.254) and at home (.241), but he is gold against lefties (.303) and on the road (.284). On the downside the Mets bat him towards the bottom half of the middle of the order which limits his run production, but the upside is it gives him ample RBI opportunities which is why he is 6th among shortstops for RBIs. Flores is also a top 10 option for home runs and one away from being a top 5. I expect Flores (and the Mets) to stay hot through September so if he’s available, go get him.
Available in 75% of Yahoo, 65% of ESPN and 45% of CBS leagues
SS/OF – Eduardo Escobar (Twins): Lots of shortstops to choose from today. If Flores is gone and you don’t want to gamble on the speedster from Seattle, why not take a shot at mister versatility. Escobar qualifies for short and outfield almost universally, but he might also be eligible for second and third base depending on where you play. Guys like this make great bench players, but Escobar is more than a bench bat. Over the past 30 days he has been more productive than Alexei Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, Brandon Crawford – players that are owned in 50% or more of leagues. Just like Canha above, Escobar took the first four months to figure everything out and now everything is clicking. While it is only speculation, if he continues to hit like this a bump in the batting order could be warranted. Escobar is hot, versatile and a nice plug and play option for you bench in daily leagues.
Available in 96% of Yahoo, 95% of ESPN and 95% of CBS leagues
RP – Jose Berrios (Twins): It appears it is a matter of when and not if Berrios will get the call. Our own Andy Germani wrote about and recommended Berrios a few days ago, but I figured he needed another plug after throwing 7 shutout innings with 12 K’s the other day. The Twins GM was in attendance for that game; not sure if he was there just for the game or to evaluate his prized possession. Considering the Twins have a shot at one of the wildcard spots, we could very well see Berrios in another week or so. It would be wise to make a preemptive strike here and stash Berrios now before any announcement is made. Berrios may only get you 5 starts, but I get the feeling those starts could be difference makes.
Available in 94% of Yahoo, 97% of ESPN and 83% of CBS leagues
Finding their way to Waivers
It’s time to clean house and throw out the trash.
Yasiel Puig is hobbled again. He has played in just over 75 games and if this latest injury requires a DL stint, you’ll be lucky to get another 20 games out of Puig before the end of the season. You would be better off picking up someone like Jackie Bradley Jr., Stephen Piscotty or part-time outfielder Franklin Gutierrez.
Marcell Ozuna is an OK player to own if you use 5 outfielder, but for 12 teams leagues that only use 4 – let’s just say you can do better. The guy you saw last year isn’t showing up anytime soon.
Alex Rios may be hitting for a decent average over the past few months, but given his spot in the batting order, lack of power and minimal speed he is just an empty batting average. You can get that anywhere. Stop living in the past.
Previous W.W. Recommendations
- This is the last week Raisel Iglesias and Odubel Herrera will appear here. Their ownership level has risen to the point they should no longer be available in competitive leagues. The same goes for Mike Leake how looked good in his first game off the DL, get him while you can.
Continue to add:
With the exception of 10 team leagues, C.J. Cron, Jackie Bradley Jr., Stephen Piscotty, Lonnie Chisenhall, Franklin Gutierrez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jonathan Schoop, Francisco Lindor, Welington Castillo, Khris Davis (for power only), Ben Paulsen (for home games), Danny Valencia and Sean Doolittle should all be rostered if they are available in your league.
- Ryan Howard moves back up to add. The power will always be there (like Khris Davis), but you will have to deal with a fluctuating batting average.
- Chris Bassitt and Chris Tillman had a rocky start but should be given one more chance before you do anything rash.
- I’m still a Derek Holland fan, but if he stumbles tomorrow against the Orioles then he’s no better than Bassitt or Tillman above. Stephen Piscotty has quietly gained mixed league relevance and should be c
- Andre Ethier‘s at bats have diminished, but it’s not the first time that has happened this year and he’s still hitting well so ride it out if you own him.
- Abraham Almonte has started hitting again, but he looks to be more of a single or deep league add than mixed league relevant.
Hold: players that don’t warrant an add but shouldn’t be dropped yet.
- Jonathan Niese has had 2 bad starts in a row and should be downgraded to streaming option.
- Travis Shaw has cooled off but was hitting well prior to that so give him another week to pick things up.
- It appears Nick Castellanos and Michael Conforto took offense at last weeks recommendation to drop them. Both have started hitting which warrants a hold, but I’m not ready to suggest adding them. Do what you will here.
- Jake Peavy did enough his last time out to warrant a hold; what he does in his next start will determine what owners should do with him from here on out.
- I may have jumped the gun on Trea Turner; it doesn’t appear The Nationals have any ambition of using him on even a part-time basis. I still like him for dynasty leagues or keeper leagues with minor league slots.
- The Domonic Brown comeback story was short-lived. He may show flashed at times, but overall he is a replacement level player (at best).
- Matt Garza had a nice little run, but it’s back to the land of risky streaming options for him.
- Greg Bird made a little noise, but with the Yanks easing Teixeira back into the lineup, the Bird is no longer the word.
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