We’re getting down to the nitty gritty of the fantasy baseball grind, and while the non-waiver trade deadline has passed for MLB, a trade this week enhances the value of a shortstop changing leagues. Gamers who are in the hunt and those out of it in dynasty leagues should take note of a Philly who is likely going to be summoned from the minors when rosters expand on September 1st. Finally, wrapping up the suggested adds in this week’s piece from me is a lefty who’s come on strong over his last seven starts.
Erick Aybar – SS – Detroit Tigers (CBS: 7%, ESPN: 6.0%, Yahoo!: 5%)
Aybar doesn’t move the needle with his power or speed contributions, thus he’s largely dependent on lineup spot and surrounding cast members for value. His fantasy utility receives a lift being dealt from the lowly Braves to the Tigers. Not only does he upgrade the lineup he’s in, but he has also been thrust into the second spot in Detroit’s injury-plagued lineup. Hitting behind Ian Kinsler and in front of an uber-talented trio of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez is a boon for his run production potential.
Aybar’s full-season .240/.293/.311 slash is dreadful. It’s also heavily impacted by a .182/.225/.209 slash through his first 163 plate appearances this year prior to hitting the disabled list in late May. Since returning from the disabled list on June 12th he’s hit .284/.344/.398. His above average ability to get on base bodes well for his run scoring outlook down the stretch. If your club is in need of help at shortstop, middle infield or you’re merely looking for some more runs scored in deeper formats, Aybar is worth a look.
Roman Quinn – SS(ESPN)/OF – Philadelphia Phillies (CBS: 3%, ESPN: 0.1%, Yahoo!: 0%)
A little over a week ago, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly noted that outfielder Nick Williams is “coming up at some point” but also noted that “there has been substantial recent buzz that the Phillies could bring up speedy switch-hitting outfielder Roman Quinn, as well.” Williams is an intriguing prospect, but Quinn is the guy I’m most interested in. The shortstop-turned-outfielder is an absolute burner.
In 61 games and 278 plate appearances at the Double-A level this year, he’s stolen 27 bases in 35 chances (he also stole five bases in six games and 24 plate appearances on a rehab assignment at the Rookie level). Last year, he snagged 29 bases in 39 stolen base attempts in 58 games and 257 plate appearances at the Double-A level. Since the start of the 2015 season, Quinn has stolen 61 bases in 80 attempts in roughly a full-season’s worth of playing time (125 games and 559 plate appearances).
Quinn’s playing time situation is murky if he joins the Phillies after roster expansion, but if he carves out semi-regular playing time, he can be a major asset in the stolen base category. The 23-year-old brings a smidge above zero pop to the table with just seven homers in 535 plate appearances at the Double-A level, but he could help in batting average and/or OBP with a .289/.355/.413 line at that level. He’s very much a need-based suggestion in re-draft leagues, but with stolen bases worth their weight in gold (there are just 13 players with 20 or more stolen bases this year prior to Thursday’s slate of games), he’s intriguing in dynasty formats as someone who could be a big-league regular very early next year.
Eduardo Rodriguez – SP – Boston Red Sox (CBS: 59%, ESPN: 17.8%, Yahoo!: 22%)
Rodriguez was dealing in his last start on August 16th at Camden Yards, but a hamstring injury forced him to exit after four innings in which he allowed zero hits and zero runs on two walks with seven strikeouts. He’s projected to start Sunday against the Tigers, so the injury wasn’t serious enough to send him to the disabled list. Detroit’s top-heavy but talented lineup isn’t one I feel comfortable using E-Rod against after an injury-shortened turn, but if he makes it through the start healthy, his recent play makes him worth rostering and using in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixers.
Rodriguez opened the year on the disabled list and struggled to shake the rust off. After getting torched for nine runs in 2.2 innings against the Rays on June 27th, the Red Sox optioned the lefty to the minors to right the ship. Since returning to Boston on July 16th, he’s pitched extremely well. Since his return from the minors, he’s made seven starts that have spanned 39.1 innings. In those seven starts he’s tallied a 2.52 ERA, 3.40 FIP and 3.90 xFIP with a 1.14 WHIP, 7.6% walk rate and 24.8% strikeout rate. The 23-year-old’s strikeout surge is supported by a hearty 11.6% SwStr%, In addition to punching batters out aplenty, he’s also avoiding hard contact with just a 21.7% Hard%.
The sample size is too small to declare this is the E-Rod gamers should expect for the foreseeable future, but his turnaround features a notable change to his pitch mix. Prior to his demotion he was splitting his usage up 66.5% fastball, 5.4% cutter, 8.5% slider and 19.6% changeup. Since his recall he’s throwing his fastball 63.5% of the time time while nearly eliminating his cutter at just a 0.3% usage rate, reducing his changeup usage rate to 10.7% and bumping his slider usage up to 25.5%. The young lefty’s recent production coupled with tangible changes that can help explain the successful run makes him worth speculating on if you’re in need of pitching help.
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