In your quest to win your fantasy league this season, a smattering of these types of players strategically added to your team down the stretch, could make the difference in your prospects for success. They will not fit everyone’s needs but will certainly help some.
The Underappreciated Performer
Chris Coghlan (38% owned in CBS Leagues)
Chris Coghlan has a .249/.335/.443 line with a wOBA of .332 and wRC+ of 109. He has 15 HR’s and 11 SB’s so he a shot at a 20/15 season. This certainly qualifies as a player who should be owned in more than 38% of CBS Sports Leagues. I think that many have been scared off by his .247 BA, but his current .273 BABIP against a career mark of .313 suggests that there could be some upward mobility in his BA over the final 4 weeks of the season. Coghlan is a career .269 hitter who batted .283 last season. He has a 21% LD rate on the season and an 83% contact rate.
Even if this BA climb does not happen, you are so far into the season that even a player with BA liability can make sense for you since the possible impact to your overall team BA at this point will likely be very minimal. But in 2 categories that are often highly competitive in most leagues, his HR and SB contribution can be valuable down the stretch. Coghlan has a .823 OPS and .509 Slugging percentage over the 2nd half with a wRC+ of 124. Finally, he has played 15 games at 2B so in many leagues his current stats play even better with multi-position eligibility. Coghlan does have problems with lefty pitchers that will result in him sitting against them on occasion, so for those in daily leagues he is a better pickup, but with his overall body of work he is still usable in the MI slot for deeper mixed leagues.
The Hot Longshot
Mark Canha (24% owned in CBS Leagues)
Mark Canha owns a .253 BA with 11 HR’s, 54 RBI’s and 5 steals. Certainly these are not numbers that are very exciting for someone who qualifies in the OF and 1B. But there are some recent developments that now make him an interesting player. Canha was a Round 1 #2 overall pick in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft who was described by Baseball America as having an above average hit tool. The rule 5 Draft has brought us other notable but flawed players like Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria, and Dan Uggla with Delino DeShields joining the group this season.
With the trade of Ben Zobrist in July, Canha has finally had more playing time and has made the most of the opportunity. The most encouraging thing has been his performance in August where he batted .308 with 11 Doubles and Triples, 3 HR’s and 21 RBI’s. This improvement has been realized on the heels of a more favorable 20.8% LD rate and he has produced a .357 wOBA for the month. Canha also frequently bats 2nd in the A’s lineup so he will have the opportunity to add to your counting stats down the stretch. He has much better than average bat speed and makes league average contact. Canha demonstrated good power in the Minors with 20 HR’s in his 2014 Triple A Season, so the potential to contribute in this category is there. Like Coghlan, he does struggle against left handed pitching, so he is best suited for AL only leagues or deeper mixed leagues that use more than 4 OF’s and/or have a CI spot.
The Versatile Veteran
Martin Prado (45% owned in CBS Sports Leagues)
Martin Prado certainly helped the Yankees this season, as his trade to the Marlins brought them Nathan Eovaldi, but he is peaking at the right time and perhaps he could also help your fantasy team. In his last 64 PA’s he is batting .286 with 3 HR’s, 9 runs scored, and 11 RBI’s. At this time of the season, sometimes you need a bench player who can add a spark to your offense. When you factor in his versatility, qualifying at 3 positions in many leagues, you also have a usable commodity to plug in as injuries occur.
Even though statistics indicate that September has the lowest rate of injured players, as per a 7 year study conducted by AM J Sports Medicine, I never seem to be able to avoid the injury bug with my teams at this crucial time of the year. I make sure to have some good bench players who qualify at multiple positions to carry me forward down the stretch. I believe that Prado is worth a look for that reason alone.
Javier Baez (45% owned in CBS Leagues)
In terms of a potential impact bat, there is a strong case to made that Javier Baez may fill the bill. His introduction to MLB last season was painful to watch as he struck out an alarming 41.5% of the time and batted just .169. He did get a chance to demonstrate his prodigious power with 9 HR’s in his 52 games. Baez has otherworldly bat speed and admirable distance on his HR’s hit especially for a middle infielder. With a contact rate under 60% and a 41% chase rate, it was no surprise that he started the 2015 season in Triple A where he unfortunately suffered a fractured finger. Since returning to the lineup, he has hit .316 with 5 HR’s in 32 games. Most encouraging has been the reduction in his K% which peaked at 30% in Triple A in 2014 but is now a more reasonable 24.3%.
The Cubs have been playing him at 2B, 3B, and SS in the Minors, so with Addison Russell manning the SS position, it seems likely that they will give him the chance to displace underperforming Starlin Castro at 2B. He is only 22 years old, but Manager Joe Madden has had sterling reports on Baez, and he seems genuinely excited to add him to the team down the stretch. Baez falls under the category of a speculative pick-up since he certainly won’t succeed if he can’t make better contact, but the tools are there to surprise, so a roll of the dice could yield big dividends.
Fell in love with baseball at a very young age. My dad claimed that Joe DiMaggio picked me up as a toddler when we were sitting behind the Yankee Dugout. Do remember walking across the lush green grass of the old Yankee Stadium outfield when there were three baseball teams in New York. Fantasy Baseball Analyst for Fantistics and Insider Baseball. Thrilled to be part of the FanGraphs Team. Fantasy baseball team owner since 1990.