As we get deeper into August, fantasy baseball leagues are starting to wind down at the same time fantasy football season is gearing up and hitting training camp. Don’t turn away from fantasy baseball just yet though, there’s still time to make moves to give your team the best chance to take home the championship.
There were 16 games yesterday in the Bigs with the Nats and Marlins playing two and every team in action. There were a number of unexpected contributors as teams continue to try to keep their playoff hopes alive. The following players featured in Sleeper Central helped their team out yesterday but are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. If it’s time to make a move, these are guys to look at.
Salvador Perez – C – Kansas City Royals: Perez has only played 30 games after spending the early part of the season on the DL. That extra rest may actually help him coming down the stretch as other backstops fade due to fatigue. He’s a especially rare catcher with his contributions in average. He’s hitting .336 so far this year with five homers and five doubles, driving in 10 and scoring 16. The Royals haven’t been a hotbed of offense, but Perez is available in over 60% of ESPN leagues and can help your team down the stretch with a solid average from C and a little bit of pop as well. If your catcher is struggling consider going with a fresh Perez for the next few weeks.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Salvador Perez – KC: (38.5% owned in ESPN leagues) 3-4, R. See above.
1B- Mitch Moreland – Tex: (23.9%) 1-3, R, 3 RBI, HR. Moreland may be in a platoon at 1B with new call-up Mike Olt, but he’s also heating it up at the plate a bit and may force his way into the lineup more often than not. He has hit in five in a row and now has 11 HR on the year with 31 RBI, six of which have come in his last three games.
2B- Jamey Carroll – Min: (0.8%) 4-4, RBI, 2B, BB. Carroll is still starting everyday and bringing a veteran presence to the Twins. He killed the Red Sox last night and drove in the game-winning run in the 10th. He’s still hitting just .243 so don’t expect much outside of some decent countables from Carroll.
3B- Eric Chavez – NYY: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR. Chavez remains in the lineup for as long as A-Rod reamins sidelined. He has hit two homers in his last four games a 10 on the year in just 175 at-bats. He’ll get the occasional break from Jayson Nix, but provides some decent fill-in power at 3B for the Yankees as he can for your fantasy team.
SS- Zack Cozart – Cin: (21.8%) 3-4. Cozart usually hits leadoff for the new Red Machine and yesterday was on base three times. He’s still just hitting .247 but is 6-14 in his last three games and can give you some power potential as well with 11 headed into the Reds big weekend series against the Pirates.
OF- Coco Criso – Oak: (45.2%) 2-4, R, BB, SB. While his OBP isn’t typically as high as you would want in a leadoff hitter, Crisp continues to bat there for Oakland. The A’s have been scoring runs and Crisp has 8 in the 12 games since the All-Star break. He’s hitting .252 on the year but was much better in July hitting .342. He’s also picked up 21 steals on the year and is a creator atop the A’s lineup. If you want an A’s batter to own, he’s probably the best option not named Josh Reddick or Yoenis Cespedes.
OF- Quintin Berry – Det: (10.8%) 2-5, 2 R, RBI, 2B. Berry continues to hit for average now at .285 and is perfect on 15 stolen base attempts. If he stays in the second spot after Austin Jackson he’ll have plenty of potential to score runs with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder heating up behind him.
OF- Ezequiel Carrera – Cle: (0.0%) 2-4, R. As the Indians fade from the race, expect them to go young with guys like Carrera. Carrera will take Johnny Damon’s spot on the roster after a solid Triple-A season hitting at .294 with 26 steals. If you need speed in the outfield, Carrera is a great pickup. Watch where he hits in the lineup, but he could be a nice piece to have for the rest of the season.
AL Starting Pitcher- Dan Straily – Oak: (0.0%) 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K, ND. Straily is another recent call-up who made his MLB debut against the Jays and looked solid. He had a very nice strikeout rate in the minors and could be the latest young dynamic arm the A’s add to their rotation. It almost seems unfair how many pitching prospects Oakland has.
NL Starting Pitcher- Clayton Richard – SD: (7.1%) 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K. Richard runs hot-and-cold but has had a couple nice starts in a row now after besting R.A. Dickey and the Mets last night at Petco.