It was a relatively low-scoring day yesterday across Major League Baseball with some solid pitching closing out the first weekend series of the second-half. However, there were some offensive standouts who can provide your club with a boost if you have a need at their position. The one surprise team that put up some offense was the A’s who had a nice series against the Twins scoring 24 runs in three games. As a result, we’re a little Oakland-heavy in today’s sleeper central, but there is value to be had if they can stay on a roll as they return home to face the Rangers and Yankees this coming week.
Each day you can find a highlighted player and a full lineup of options that are productive and owned in less than half of ESPN leagues (ownership percentage in parentheses). These players are a great starting place if you need to pick up the pace for your fantasy baseball’s stretch run. Check out the Sleeper Central archive for more pickup possibilities.
Jonny Gomes – Oak: Gomes is owned in just 0.2% of ESPN leagues, but is heating it up for the suddenly offensively potent A’s lineup. Gomes followed up a clutch grand slam on Friday with another great game yesterday to close the week on a major upswing. He was 5-8 in the Twins series with four runs scored, seven RBI, and a pair of home runs while picking his average up to .252. He’s in a platoon situation and hasn’t been getting regular at-bats but that may change if he keeps crushing the ball. He hit second in the A’s lineup yesterday and seems to fill a need in that spot for Oakland. He has 10 home runs, 28 RBI, and 27 runs scored in just 155 at-bats to this point in the season but is a nice outfield bat to add if he starts seeing daily playing time especially if he hits in front of Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Martin Maldonado – Mil: (0.9%) 3-5, RBI, 2 2B. Maldonado went 8-13 in the series against the Pirates and has received the larger part of his time-share with George Kottaras. He’s hitting .285 on the year and is a solid hitting catcher to add at least until Jonathan Lucroy returns.
1B- Chris Carter – Oak: (0.2%) 1-2, R, RBI, HR, 3 BB. Carter is hitting .346 and sharing time at 1B with Brandon Moss. He has five home runs, nine RBI, and 10 runs scored in nine games. Watch and see if the A’s start to give him more time boosting his value.
2B- Jemile Weeks – Oak: (29.4%) 2-5, 3 R, BB. Weeks is starting to hit and scored runs. He has multiple hits in four of his last six games.
3B- Chipper Jones – Atl: (37.6%) 2-4, R. Jones is up to .317 and is having quite the farewell season. He may not play everyday, but is worth owning when he does.
SS- Marwin Gonzalez – Hou: (0.0%) 2-4, R, 2B. Gonzalez returned from the DL and went right into the starting lineup with Jed Lowrie going down. He’ll get plenty of playing time in the next few weeks.
OF- Dayan Viciedo – ChW: (23.7%) 2-4. Viciedo is still very under-owned and now hitting .261 with his 15 home runs and 43 RBI playing everyday in LF for the White Sox.
OF- Jonny Gomes – Oak: (0.2%) 3-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, HR. See above.
OF- Andres Torres – NYM: (0.6%) 2-4, RBI. Torres has multiple hits in his last two games and RBI in his last three. He seems to be over the back issues and should be back to a full-time role soon.
AL Starting Pitcher- Carlos Villanueva – Tor: (8.3%) 6 IP, 3 H, o R, 5 BB, 8 K. Villanueva looked sharp while shutting down the Tribe. His walks got his pitch count to 102 in just six innings which he’ll need to remedy in order to work deeper into games.
NL Starting Pitcher- Ben Sheets – Atl: (6.2%) 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Sheets returned to the Majors with a dominant performance. If he can be the 2007 version of himself, he’ll be a great addition for Atlanta and you on your fantasy team.
Relief Pitcher- Mark Melancon – Bos: (0.7%) 1.2 IP, o H, o R, o BB, 1 K. Melancon has bounced back after a dismal start to the year. He has allowed just one run since being recalled from Triple-A and has lowered his ERA all the way to 6.23. With Alfredo Aceves struggles in the closer role, there’s an outside chance Melancon could be closing for the Sox. Even if he stays in the setup slot, he will have value if he keeps pitching like this and doesn’t revert back to early-season form.