With less than 10 weeks to go in fantasy baseball, here’s a look at each position and some players that can help you depending on what you’re looking for. Good luck!
I really wish I’d picked up Russel Martin earlier this year. I completely forgot about his crazy second half from last season (which greatly benefited me). However, he’s not exactly somebody you haven’t heard of…..somebody you HAVE heard of but might not have considered is Johnny Estrada. He’s one of the top run-scoring catchers, and if he’s available at all, you ought to take a look. Sporting a .283 avg with 34 runs scored, 8 HR, and 38 RBIs, he’s not a bad option to go with. Another option, if he’d stay off the DL, is Mike Napoli, who can hit for power and score runs in a hurry in the up-and-down Angels offense.
This has been a fickle position, as Albert Pujols hasn’t been the top-3 draft pick used on him, Dan Johnson and James Loney have been hot/cold, and Prince Fielder came out of nowhere to dominate this year. But Pujols and Fielder and no doubt taken, and Johnson/Loney are too risky options. So here’s a couple of safer bets that help you out.
Dmitri Young, however, has probably had his stock murdered by his team (The Nationals). Boasting a .329 avg, with 55 RBI and 47 R scored, he’s not a premier player, but he can produce in a few categories. As Washington may be selling off again, he might get moved, though his age (he’s 34) may prevent it.
Adam LaRoche is a better Richie Sexson; he has better numbers in the second half, though he won’t absolutely murder your BA category. I know, his current .246 mark doesn’t inspire confidence, but his 15 HR, 59 RBI line isn’t so bad. He jacked 30 HR last year, and most experts agree the first half was an aberration from his norm. Not too much time’s left, but he’s due for a run with the hot bat.
Chase Utley and Brandon Phillips have been absolutely nuts at this position, but what about you other unfortunate owners who might be stuck at this traditionally weak spot? It all depends on your team needs, so here’s 3 different types of producers you might be able to find on the waiver wire:
Craig Biggio is a running man. He’s crossed the plate 50 times thus far in 2007, but those seeking help in the power department should pass on him.
Kazuo Matsui is another basepath warrior. With 17 SB and a .280 avg, he’ll produce consistently in those categories. He’s another guy who doesn’t hit for power, and he won’t score a major bundle of runs, but chances are you can snatch him up immediately if you need him.
Jose Lopez and Ray Durham are probably your best bets if you need help. But they’re also the most likely to be taken. They have the ability to put up good numbers in R, RBI, AVG, or HR. Neither runs too much, but so far each has 8 HR over 45 RBI, and Lopez is hitting at a decent .276 clip.
Okay, raise your hand if you thought Hanley Ramirez would be the best fantasy shortstop this year. If you did, you’re lying. SS is typically a position with two types: speedsters and power hitters. Let’s take a look at both.
Khalil Greene fits the latter tag. Hitting in the middle of that San Diego lineup, Greene has responded by hitting 16 HR with 52 RBI, and he’s scored 49 times. His average has always suffered from his free-swing mindset, but if you need some power numbers look no further. He’s probably available in a decent number of leagues; it’s always worth a look.
Jason Bartlett and Ryan Theriot fit the speed bill. I’ve written about Bartlett before, after his 7 SB in 7 games streak back in mid-June. With 20 steals overall, he’s been a solid basepath warrior, but the production is limited after that, the only notable achievement being 41 runs scored. Being in Cleveland’s offense might bump those numbers considerably higher, though. Theriot has been a question mark for many fantasy owners this year, but his 19 SB and .283 avg, along with multiple position eligibility, do make him worth consideration.
For all of those managers brilliant enough to pick up Ryan Braun before all of baseball found out about this Rookie of the Year shoo-in…pat yourself on the back. For the rest of you still stuck with somebody like Julio Lugo, here’s some advice.
Mark Teahen has been a decent contributor. His current line is 60 R, .280 avg, and 45 RBI, and 9 SB. Being on the Royals isn’t as bad a thing, either. He’ll give you something in 4 categories at some point, so don’t be afraid to take the risk.
Pedro Feliz has been good over the last month, with 4 HR, 17 RBI, and 14 R to benefit his .265 avg. If he plays any more at catcher, he gains eligibility at that position, too, which would be a major boost to his value.
Where did Coco Crisp come from? People are talking about his newfound power, and I can’t argue. No matter where he hits in Boston’s lineup, he’ll score runs, but now he’s getting RBI, SB, and his average is nice, too. Batting .320 with 17 runs scored, and 20 RBIs, he’s worth an immediate add on almost every fantasy team.
Need runs, and don’t mind a hit in the power department? Then David DeJesus is the perfect guy for you. He’s on pace to score over 120 runs this year, sitting currently at 75. With a .284 average, and 44 RBI, he won’t completely kill your other categories, except the long ball (5 so far), but he’s been absolutely ridiculous in run production. And he doesn’t look to be slowing, especially while Kansas City’s offense seems to be getting better and better.
Speaking of, another hot-hitting Royal is Billy Butler, who’s had an RBI in 20 of his past 24 games. Talk about consistent production! He’s got a nice average, and he’s fairly available even with all the other fantasy experts raving about him.
This section will cover starting pitchers, middle relievers, and closers.
Jarrod Washburn has been fairly good as well, managing a record of 8-7, a 4.11 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. He won’t kill you in any category, and with Seattle’s offense behind him, you can bet he’ll manage some wins down the stretch.
The fantasy experts have been raving about Dave Bush, and I can’t blame them. The 8-8 record doesn’t inspire much confidence, and at first glance, it shouldn’t. However, this isn’t the norm, and with favorable matchups heading his way, expect him to improve in all categories, making him a solid #4 starter.
Two young guns you ought to own immediately are Dustin McGowan and Phil Hughes. Hughes is the consensus top prospect in the minors, and this weekend he’s getting the start for the Yankees (yes, that team that’s been scoring runs in bunches) against the Royals. His upside in tremendous
Most fantasy experts often have to remind fantasy players that middle relievers aren’t such a bad pickup. Take Pat Nesek or Hideki Okajima, for example. Neshek strikes out over a batter per inning (52 Ks in 44 IP), and his ERA/WHIP (1.62/0.72) are great numbers. Okajima, though not as overpowering for strikeouts, Boston set-up man sports a 1.03 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. If Jonathan Papelbon goes down to injury, as we saw earlier, Okajima is the man to fill in, so picking him up has added bonuses possible.
In need of saves? Aren’t we all? Huston Street is the first RP you ought to think of; just coming off the DL, he will be thrown right back into the closer’s role for Oakland. Though his outings after being activated aren’t inspiried thus far, he should do fine and net you 8-10 saves down the stretch, more if the A’s go on one of their patented winning streaks.
Another closer to look for is Manny Corpas, who’s been lights out filling in for the injured Brian Fuentes in Colorado, giving up one earned run in his past 5 innings. Jeremy Accardo isn’t given enough credit for his work in Toronto, where he’s garnered 18 saves with a 2.64 ERA.
So, there’s some fantasy advice. Hopefully it’s helpful, and good luck to everyone in the rest of their fantasy seasons!