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Fantasy Baseball: Three Up

You can try and resist it all you want, but the fantasy gridiron beckons. I know it does, I am starting to get that itch as well as training camp begins. Still, with just over two full months left in the MLB season, you have plenty of time to move yourself into striking distance, even in rotisserie leagues. The key to making  a move this deep into the season can often be translating full into small sample size projections for the rest of the year. Basically, we spend the whole first half of the season telling you that a sample of <200 at-bats means nothing, and once we have that info, we finally can figure out what an given player is going to do over his final 200 at-bats for the season.

With brings us to the purpose of Three Up, Three Down and that is to identify and either committing to riding a steak, or selling to capitalize on the value bump. First, we’ll start off with three players whose value is on the rise and later today, bring you three players whose value has been taking a dive in recent times. Enjoy!

Three Up

Alfonso Soriano – CHC

Season: 93 games, .254/.287/.467, 47 runs,  17 home runs, 51 BRI, 10 steals

Since June 23: 23 games, .280/.320/.699, 20 runs, 10 home runs, 21 RBI, 2 steals

Amid rumors that Soriano could be headed back to the Bronx to mash in hitter friendly Yankee Stadium is just how good Alfonso has been over the past calendar month. He’s a top-5 offensive commodity over the past 30 days according to ESPN.com and we all know the power is legit, given his  .262-32-108 season last year at age 36 for the Cubbies. A slow start has morphed into a sizzling summer and Soriano is well on pace to duplicate his numbers from last year with one huge difference: his firs double-digit steal season since 2008. Yes the former 40/40 threat has shown some giddy up on the base paths and while we can’t really expect more that 4 or 5 more steals in the final couple of months, the activity is an indication that the over-paid vet is feeling good at the ballpark. This much we know, a healthy Soriano is a valuable Soriano so why not buy this performance to hold over the balance of the season,. Soriano is available in over 25% of standard Yahoo! leagues and even if he is owned in your league, go ahead and buy into this guy as a top-30 outfielder at a potential discount.

Miguel Gonzalez – BAL

Season: 17 starts, 107.2 IP, 8 wins, 3.34 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 79 Ks, 35 BB

Since June 6: 8 starts, 6 wins, 53.2 IP, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 39 K, 14 BB

Miggy Gonzalez has been on an absolute tear, allowing exactly one earned run in each of his last three starts. He’s also posted eight straight quality efforts dating back to June 6. It’s not an uncommon story: a veteran minor-leaguer making a splash in the majors despite an underwhelming arsenal of pitches. The 3.30 ERA that Gonzalez has put up over 213.0 big-league innings pitched is impressive and certainly warrants fantasy attention, but still his peripherals remain a bit lacking. Gonzalez is striking out just 6.60 batters per nine this year and his 4.27 FIP and 4.24 xFIP indicate that some regression in the numbers may be coming. Expecting anything more than an SP4 for the remainder of the season would be unwise and if you can get anything near top-30 value, it’s time to sell Miguel.

Jayson Werth – WSH

 Season: 65 games, .298/.366/.502, 43 runs, 15 home runs, 41 RBI, 4 steals

Since July 9: 12 games, .341/.422/.842, 7 runs, 7 home runs, 12 RBI, 1 steal

Werth has been swinging a hot stick over the last couple of weeks with back-to-back two-homer games recently and could potentially have even better numbers were he getting even the tiniest support from his lineup mates. Despite blasting seven home runs over his past seven games and getting on base at a .408 clip, Werth has remarkably scored just seven runs, with each and every driven in by his own bat. Regardless, Jayson is clicking at the right time for fantasy owners as they tool up for a stretch run. Injuries have been troubling for the Nats outfielder over the past several seasons, but when on the field, Werth remains a solid five-category contributor a averaging a very solid .265-83-22-70-17 5×5 line per 162 games over his time with the Nationals. The 20/20 ability keeps him perennially in our top-30 among outfielders and you have every reason to buy this performance for as long as Werth is on the field.

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