I’ve talked quite a bit lately about injured players, slumping players, and letting players go who aren’t helping you win right now, so it’s high time to discuss the other side of that coin: picking up guys your fellow managers have dropped.
There’s a decent bet that you or someone in your league released Brandon Nimmo (OF, New York Mets) during his three-month stint on the IL. His stats were pretty unimpressive prior to his injury, and with the number of players spending time on the IL these days, he was an easy guy to let go. He had a nice second game back in action on Tuesday (1-2, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB) and showcased the types of things that made him so useful last season. He has power, speed, and a patience at the plate that allows him to take full advantage of his skill set. His prior season counting stats don’t jump off of the page (14 home runs, nine steals), but his high OBP was evident then and is the primary reason he will find full-time at bats in his return. I highly recommend him in OBP leagues as a late-season pick-up if you have any space for a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Over the next few days, desperate owners will be forced to make difficult decisions to remain in contention, and it is imperative that you keep a vigilant and watchful eye on your waiver wire to see if any of the fruit that falls off the tree is still edible. Their trash (and/or painful, regrettable drops) are your potential treasure, after all.
Wil Myers (3B/OF, San Diego Padres)—2-2, RBI, SB. He’s had a very Ian Desmond-like season, posting decent power and speed totals along with debilitating ratios. It makes him a bit too toxic to use in 10-teamers and shallow 12-teamers, but he’s more of a necessary evil in 15-teamers, where the playing time and counting stats are just enough to stay on the roster.
Victor Reyes (OF, Detroit Tigers)—4-5, R, 2 2B, RBI. The former Rule 5 pick had been a hot commodity of late with five consecutive multi-hit performances and three steals in his past nine games. The switch-hitter has been the everyday leadoff man for the Tigers since Aug. 8, and since then, he’s hit .384 with a .535 slugging. Most of his power comes in the form of doubles and triples as opposed to home runs, but he has enough legitimate speed to make full use of the deep power alleys in Comerica Park and could give a nice boost to deep 12- or 15-team managers who need a little speed.
Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)—3-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s still got a very legitimate chance to hit 50 home runs on the season after hitting his 44th on Tuesday, and his incredibly reasonable 25.1% strikeout rate combined with his 10.7% walk rate shows enough stability to make me a big believer in his skill set for the long haul. I doubt many predicted that his strikeout rate in the majors would be lower than the strikeout rate he showed in Triple-A in 2018 (25.9%), but here we are. Growth can be an amazing thing.
Adam Frazier (2B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)—3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. He’s not a bad points league guy thanks to his incredibly low strikeout rate (11.9%), and it doesn’t hurt that he has a hit in 12 of his past 13 appearances. He doesn’t have enough power or speed to warrant attention in 10- or 12-team category formats, though. He’s probably most valuable as a DFS play on those nights where he leads off, which is usually most nights that the Pirates face a righty.
Eloy Jimenez (OF, Chicago White Sox)—3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2B, 3 RBI. Don’t look now but since Aug. 1, Eloy has a .291 batting average and a .504 slugging with multiple hits in five of his past six starts. It’s been an up-and-down season for the rookie, but he looks to be finishing strong and will be a coveted player in drafts next spring.
Kyle Schwarber (OF, Chicago Cubs)—3-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI, BB. He’s lowered his strikeout rate for the third consecutive year and has now set career highs in runs, home runs, and RBI. He’s only 26 years old, despite the fact that it feels like he’s been around forever, so there’s still a chance he takes another step forward in terms of his ratios. We might actually already be seeing a glimpse of that now, as he’s slashing .280/.385/.680 since being ejected from the leadoff role on July 26, with a 19.7% strikeout rate (compared with a career mark of 27.9%). While being higher in the order is usually a good thing, the depth of the Cubs lineup provides more than enough opportunities to pile up RBI from pretty much any spot.
Jorge Soler (OF, Kansas City Royals)—3-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SB. He picked up his 39th home run and 100th RBI in yesterday’s contest, which is 17 more home runs and 22 more RBI than he had in his two best MLB seasons combined. That’s what we call a breakout.
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals)—3-4, 3 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. I don’t mean to keep writing him up, but hitting 11 home runs with 58 combined runs and RBI in 22 games leaves me very little choice but to mention his performance. He’s slugging a downright ludicrous .876 in his past 102 plate appearances. He has multiple RBI in six of his past seven. He’s 20 years, 10 months, and 10 days old. It’s amazing.
Nick Castellanos (OF, Chicago Cubs)—2-3, R, HR, 4 RBI. That’s his 12th home run and 24th RBI as a Cub in 135 plate appearances. I’d say he’s enjoying himself in Chicago, and while it’s a bit of a faux pas to talk about “feelings” in fantasy baseball, I think being out of Detroit and getting a fresh start has really helped him in games. He and the Tigers didn’t exactly have a smooth breakup over the past year or two, and it’s good to see him play with passion again.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B, New York Yankees)—2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s 36, but he’s still the same old EE we know and love. Despite only playing in 102 games so far, he’s hit more than 30 home runs for his eighth consecutive season. While he’s likely to miss out on a fifth consecutive 107-plus RBI season and eighth consecutive season with at least 98 RBI, that’s only because of the injury issues. He’s started more than enough games at first base to hold on to the eligibility for another year, and he should be considered a top 10 or so first baseman in standard formats and even higher in OBP.
Dee Gordon (2B/OF, Seattle Mariners)—2-4, R, SB. The .279 batting average and 20 steals are pretty cool, but he doesn’t do enough of anything else to be anything more than a fill-in roster addition when you need steals. The fall from grace has been sudden and harsh.
Hunter Dozier (1B/3B, Kansas City Royals)—0-4, 4 K. He hasn’t been the powerhouse he was back in April, when he posted a 1.133 OPS with an almost one-to-one strikeout to walk ratio, but his serviceable .260/.328/.500 line from May onward has been good enough to roster as a back-end third baseman or decent corner infielder in 12-team formats. He doesn’t do anything special, but then again, you probably shouldn’t have been counting on him to be special in the first place.
Jason Heyward (OF, Chicago Cubs)—0-4, 2 K. He’s just not that good for fantasy, folks. Sure, 15-team and NL-only players will find value in the handful of steals and 20-ish home runs, but most of that is generated from his hot streaks. His wRC+ by month is as follows: 140, 61, 145, 92, 57, -32 (though that’s only from nine plate appearances in September). He’s inconsistent, and his ceiling is low. That’s the reality of Heyward.
I am sad to announce that at the time of this writing, the incredible Shelly Verougstraete had not yet tweeted her favorite lines from the minor leagues. While it’s no substitute for Shelly’s routine brilliance, I can at least provide a link to MLB.com’s official tracker for September call-ups for your perusal.
(Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)