I have always been a bit fond of Luis Valbuena, mainly because I love guys with high walk rates and some pop. This year he is finally producing enough to be usable in fantasy, specifically recently as he has hit four home runs in his past 12 games and has hit 16 for the season. If you are struggling at second base or third base and need some power down the stretch, you could do worse than Valbuena.
I would not necessarily recommend adding him in leagues that utilize average instead of OBP, as he’s a career .229 hitter with a .249 mark this year. He already has 11 second half homers after hitting just five in the first half, though his doubles shrunk down from 22 to five. It is a stretch to guarantee the power stays for the remainder of the final month of the season, but if you are in a bind and need power from those positions I like Valbuena quite a good deal. He is owned in only 28% of Yahoo! leagues so if he is on the wire in your OBP league I would suggest adding him.
Another interesting add would be Rougned Odor. He’s slashing .283/.340/.522 with three homers over his past 14 games. At just 20 years old it’s reasonable that he had some struggles on the outset of his major league career, especially since he did not even compile 300 plate appearances above A-ball before his promotion.
It looks like he is starting to put things together, though the power is somewhat of a surprise. We would like to see more steals from Odor, but the 14 home runs he has hit combined between the minors and majors this year is promising. He has been atrocious at stealing bases but if he can continue to rake as he has the past two weeks he should get more opportunities to steal as well. He hit for high averages in the minors so him continuing to hit in the .270-.280 range is possible, and hopefully he continues to hit balls over the fence down the stretch.
The difficult thing with late season additions the hot hand theory in and of itself. At this site we consistently preach avoiding focusing on small sample sizes, but we have about 20 games left and this is where fantasy seasons are won and lost, specifically in head-to-head contests. Odor is only owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues so if a guy like Valbuena is not available, taking a shot on the rookie and hoping his hot hitting continues is not the worst idea in the world.
Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.