Here’s Some More Guys Who Can Help You Win

On Friday, Adam McFadden wrote a piece in which he recommended nine players owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Adam’s work inspired me to do some digging of my own, and I managed to find some more widely unowned players who could give your team a serious boost down the stretch.

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He’s Back!

Drew Smyly (47%) – Although he looked pretty rusty in his first start since May on Sunday, Smyly needs to be owned pretty much across the board. He was dropped in a ton of leagues when he tore his labrum, to the point where he’s available in over half of Yahoo leagues. Dropping him was understandable, as the Rays initially said he was out for the year, only to retract that statement a week later.

I managed to snag him in a 12-team mixer where he had gone unnoticed on the waiver wire. Maybe you can too.

Marcell Ozuna (37%) – After posting a disappointing .249/.301/.337 line in 79 games to start the season, the Marlins shipped the 24-year-old down to Triple-A, hoping he could get his swing back. In 33 games down on the farm, Ozuna hit .317/.379/.558 with five homers, and he was recalled to the majors on Saturday. Keep in mind this is the same guy who hit 23 homers last year. There’s plenty of potential here.

Desmond Jennings (14%) – Out since late April with a left knee injury, Jennings returned to the Rays lineup on Friday, and has gone 5-for-10 with a triple since then. I’ve always thought Jennings was a bit overrated as a fantasy commodity, but his low-double digit pop and solid speed add up to a player who should certainly be owned in more than 14 percent of leagues. It remains to be seen how much he’ll run, having just returned from a serious knee injury, but the 28-year-old is well worth a roll of the dice.

Honorable MentionJustin Morneau (28%) – If you’ve got an open DL slot, you could do worse than rostering Morneau. The 34-year-old took live batting practice on Friday for the first time since hitting the DL in May with yet another concussion. Although I doubt the chances are more than 50/50, Morneau himself says he’s determined to return before the end of the season.

Even with the Rockies sitting around 20 games below .500, Morneau does have something to gain by getting back on the field. If he can come back and be productive, even if only for a few weeks, it makes him a more attractive option for 2016 — whether he and the Rockies exercise their $9 million mutual option or not.

Don’t forget this is the same guy who won the National League batting title just last year. If he makes it back, he could provide a crucial boost to your team during the fantasy playoffs.

 

He’s Heating Up!

Welington Castillo (37%) – Since joining the Diamondbacks, the 28-year-old backstop is hitting .281/.358/.608, with 13 homers in 173 PA. There’s quite a bit of swing and miss in his bat, but it’s still amazing that a catcher with this degree of recent production is just sitting out there on waivers. Over the last month, he has more home runs than any other backstop (8) and is the No. 2 catcher in fantasy, behind only Kyle Schwarber. Somehow, he’s available in nearly two-thirds of leagues.

Ender Inciarte (20%) – Arizona’s leadoff hitter is having a quietly productive fantasy season. The 24-year-old is hitting just under .300, scores plenty of runs atop the D-Backs’ lineup, and has swiped 12 bases in 90 games. He’s not as valuable in OBP leagues (he doesn’t walk) or leagues that use net steals (7 CS this year), but for the rest of you, I’m not sure what’s scaring you away.

Khris Davis (29%) – If you’re in need of a late-season power boost, the 27-year-old Davis has rediscovered his power stroke as of late. Davis has launched five homers since the calendar turned to August, and although he’ll always have contact issues, there’s no doubt that he has legitimate home-run power. There’s not much of that on the waiver wire in mid-August.

Chris Young (9%) – If you have shallow benches, feel free to ignore Young completely, but I’ve found him to be useful as a role player in two leagues this year. The 31-year-old is more than living up to his reputation as a lefty killer, with an eye-popping .339/.398/.635 slash, with seven homers in 129 PA against southpaws. You’ll only play him a couple times a week, but you’ll be getting elite production when you do.

 

He’s a Closer!

Bruce Rondon (14%)Alex Wilson seemed to be the guy to own in the Detroit bullpen, but he appears to have lost the closer’s job. Wilson missed a few days with shoulder fatigue, but despite the fact that he was available to pitch on Wednesday, the ninth inning instead went to Rondon. Rondon promptly converted his second consecutive save.

Manager Brad Ausmus seems to have faith in the 24-year-old righty, as he publicly stated he’s sticking with Rondon in the closer role, despite his blown save on Saturday. He’s been a bit uneven since returning from Tommy John surgery, but Rondon can still throw 100+ mph. He’s also struck out 28 batters in just 18.2 innings. Pick him up.

Jean Machi (23%) – Machi’s had a turbulent 2015, but he’s coming off back-to-back terrific seasons in 2013 and 2014. He was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox a couple weeks ago, and suddenly appears to be the front-runner for saves in the Boston bullpen with Koji Uehara out for the year. Machi’s usage compared to Junichi Tazawa points in this direction as well.

The Sox have had just one ninth-inning save opportunity since Uehara last slammed the door on August 5, and Tazawa blew it. Since then, Tazawa’s been pitching in the eighth, with Machi in the ninth. (The only exception came on Sunday, when Machi pitched before Tazawa, but I’m not reading too much into it, seeing as the Sox were playing from behind.) Machi needs to be widely owned right now.

We hoped you liked reading Here’s Some More Guys Who Can Help You Win by Scott Strandberg!

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Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.

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Biggy
Guest
Biggy

Mr. Strandburg, Brad Johnson told me to crowdsource, so I am instead of doing actual work. Keeper league, I trade Cutch to get Schwarber. I am a Cub fan. Can I justify this? Is it wise? Is the Schwarb the next Berkman?

Adrock
Guest
Adrock

I’m not Brad, but no, it is not justifiable to trade Cutch to get Schwarber.

Even if he is the next Berkman, that’s a terrible trade.

Now, given that you love Schwarber, if you really want to get him, trade McCutchen for Schwarber plus at least 2 other good keepers. You might not get the better of the deal, but you’ll have the pleasure of owning Schwarber, and you won’t get totally ripped off. Good luck!

Gavin
Guest
Gavin

This. This is what I was going to write on his original question but didn’t have time.

You should never ever trade Cutch even though he’s had a downish year for a guy we’ve seen for a month.