It’s that time of year. With the fantasy trade deadline looming, roto owners need to figure just how their teams stack up over the coming weeks and assess any and all deals or pickups that will help you grab the most points. As we work deeper into the summer, it becomes less important to “win” trades and more important to improve your team in any way possible. If you’re already sitting at the top of the standings in stolen bases, dealing Mark Trumbo for Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t going to do you all that much good. It’s all about balancing categories and finding excess and bulking up the areas in which you’re team can grab those roto points. And it is in this line of thinking that we’ll deviate from our traditional Waiver Wire Friday format to try and highlight some category specialists that you can snag on the cheap from the wire.
If you are looking to fill in a specific position, then check last week’s Friday piece to see the top options at each spot around the diamond. This week, it’s all about filling needs. Like always, we’ll do our best to help out those in leagues of all shapes and sizes, highlighting a guys available in >60% of Yahoo league and also some with ownership below 15% for those of you playing in deeper formats.
Working the Wire
Need For Speed
Rajai Davis (TOR – OF) 32% owned: It seems like we hit this point each and every season. Rajai Davis sneaks his way into the Blue Jays everyday lineup and becomes an absolute beast for astute fantasy owners. Well, with Melky Cabrera on the DL, he’s doing it once again. He’s starting pretty much everyday for the Jays and has seven steals in his last seven games. Rajai isn’t a complete loss at the dish, posting a solid .298/.342/.376 slash line over 141 at-bats. Even when Melky does return, Davis will play enough (and pinch run enough) to move the needle in the speed category.
D.J. LeMahieu (COL – 2B/3B) 6% owned: For as long as Troy Tulowitzki remains sidelined, LaMehieu figures to continue to see regular at-bats for the Rox and if Josh Rutledge continues to stink up the joint, he’ll stick in the lineup even after that. Batting .295 through 146 at-bats, the 25-year-old infielder doesn’t possess enough power to take advantage of his wonderful home park, but he has stolen 11 bases so far this season.
Other widely available speed options: Jarrod Dyson (KC), Tony Campana (ARI), Eric Young Jr. (NYM)
Anthony Rendon (WAS – 2B/3B) 34% owned: Rendon’s got the pedigree and now he’s got the opportunity. Batting average is quite a difficult category to target, but a solid walk rate with good contact skills can go along way. Rendon hasn’t flashed much of a power stroke, but he’s batting .308 over his first 141 plate appearances. Some may point to a high .369 BABIP as a bit lucky, but he’s stroking line drives at a 35% clip and should continue to pile up the hits as long as he can keep making solid contact.
Josh Satin (NYM – 1B) 2% owned: With Ike Davis wallowing away in the minors, 29-year-0ld rookie Josh Satin has caught fire. Though he doesn’t offer a ton of juice, a fantastic eye at the dish (11 walks vs. 13 Ks) will go a long way towards supporting his excellent on-base skilles. Slashing at a very fine .353/.468/.549 over his first 18 games with the Metropolitans, fantasy owners suffering from a some sub-par batting average drains should hop aboard the Satin train. (Editor’s Note: Of course, the Mets recalled Davis just about 35 seconds after we pushed this article…. Satin probably isn’t going to get enought at-bats to warrant a pickup after-all, unless Ike struggles again. Ah, such it life.)
Other widely available batting average options: Jose Iglesias (BOS), Marcell Ozuna (MIA), Logan Morrison (MIA)
I have the POWER!
Raul Ibanez (SEA – OF) 40% owned: He mashed his 21st home run of the season this evening and yet, as of this writing, is out there in exactly 60% of standard leagues. That’s just not right.
Brandon Moss (OAK – 1B/OF) 31% owned: With 15 homers on the year and an unsightly .232 average, Moss deserves a look for power hungry owners. He’s an even better play in leagues with daily roster moves where you can get him out of the lineup against left-handed pitching. This year, if you just started him versus righties, you’d still get 13 of his 15 long balls with a more palatable .244 average.
Other widely available power/RBI options: Colby Rasmus (TOR), Juan Francisco (MIL)
Runs like hell
Andrelton Simmons (ATL – SS) 40% owned: The .248 average and .627 OPS on the year is not exactly what you are looking for out of a fantasy player, but shortstop is a pretty pitiful position this year. On the plus side, Andrelton spends most of his time hitting atop Atlanta’s high-octane offense and has a solid 43 runs scored through 81 games this season. He’s also on a warming trend, batting .282 over his past nine contests.
Alberto Callaspo (LAA – 3B) 4% owned: A modern day Placido Polanco, Callaspo has crossed the plate 16 times in the last 30 days. He’s also on a nice little run at the dish with a sizzling .349 average and .414 on-base over his past 17 games.
Other widely available runs options: Marlon Byrd (NYM), Mike Aviles (CLE)
A little taste of everything
Trevor Plouffe (MIN – 3B/OF) 18% owned: Plouffe showed us just what kind of player he could be last season when he mashed 18 home runs in a 39-game span from mid-May to early-July. This season, he’s yet to go on that type of monster binge, but if we play the small sample size game, you have a player who’s 54-game numbers project to a very tasty .269-72-24-94-4 over a full 162-game slate.
Nate Schierholtz (CHC – OF) 22% owned: Schierholtz doesn’t get too many looks against left handed pitching, and that’s likely for the better. What he does do is put the bat on the ball, with just 38 strikeouts in 238 at-bats. He’s been a fourth outfielder for all of his career, but now on pace for career-best 440, Nate has responded with a very nice .277-34-11-34-5 line so far this season.
Other widely available options for those who want it all: Gordon Beckham (CWS), Mike Carp (BOS)
We’re doing oh K
The category game is a bit trickier to play on the pitching side of things and as you may know, we are strikeout whores here at BretskyBall, so let’s find ya some punch outs!
Edinson Volquez (SD) 6% owned: The always erratic Volquez has been piling up the Ks like it’s his job since mid-May. Well, it is his job, but you get the point. He’s got 6+ punch-outs in seven of his last 10 starts while racking up 61 over 55.2 innings pitched over that span. Even better, he’s actually pitched well in his last five games, boasting a 2.73 ERA and three wins. Heading into the break, he’s got a two-start week lined up with both turns coming at the spacious Petco and we’re feeling just salty enough on this July 5th morning to recommend slinging him out there is you need a little boost in the strikeout department.
Hector Santiago (CWS) 7% owned: Santiago has found himself in and out of the White Sox’ rotation a couple of times this season, but he’s on a solid run of late, especially in terms of piling up the Ks. Since he re-entered the starting five on June 9, Hector has 33 punch-outs in 29.0 innings pitched with a decent 3.72 ERA and a couple of wins over that time.
Steve Delabar (TOR) 5% owned: If you truly want to get creative with chasing Ks than finding high usage relievers can be an art form and outside of holds leagues, chances are Delabar is sitting on your waiver wire. Over 40.0 innings pitched this year he’s racked up 57 Ks (12.83 K/9) with an also useful 1.58 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. And hey, he may even get you a win now and again!
Other widely available high strikeout options: Miguel Gonzalez (BAL), Corey Kluber (CLE), Drew Smyly (DET)