Last night was a sad one in Major League Baseball as the sport lost a legend with the passing of one of my personal heroes, Johnny Pesky. Pesky will always be remembered not for his coaching prowess, his baseball knowledge, or even his skill on the field. He will always be remembered as a great man, community contributor, and truly an ambassador for the game. I’m sure there will be many touching tributes to the man over the next few days as we remember his life and his love for the game and the fans of the game.
On the field, there were 11 games across the country. The Dodgers got a big win in Pittsburgh in a Wild Card significant showdown. Cole Hamels threw his second straight shutout, and the Blue Jays walked off winners over the White Sox. In the late games, the Rays won their 7th straight and the Nats crushed the Giants in San Francisco.
On today’s Sleeper Central (Archive here), let’s take our usual look at the players who performed well last night and are owned in under half of ESPN leagues. If you need to pick up a player at a position or for a specific category, these players are a good place to start.
Eric Young Jr. – OF – Col: There is a degree of truth to the thinking that any starter for the Colorado Rockies has value while they’re playing at Coors Field, and Eric Young Jr. may be becoming extremely fantasy relavant partly due to that fact. Young has taken over as the primary leadoff hitter for Colorado and has started the last seven games. In those games he’s 15-32 including a pair of doubles, a home run, and seven runs scored. He’s raised his average up to .309 by hitting a sizzling .429 this month. He added his 13th steal of the year last night and can immediately help your lineup if you are looking for stolen bases, runs, and a boost in average. When he cools off he may return to his fourth-outfielder role, but he’s definitely worth a look while he’s red-hot and leading the Rockies perennially high-scoring offense. Despite all his recent success, Young is still only owned in 1.4% of ESPN leagues coming into today.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Kurt Suzuki – Was: (5.6% ownership in ESPN leagues) 3-6, 4 RBI, 2 2B. Suzuki finally had a breakout game with the Nats after struggling since his arrival. He’s expected to be the primary backstop for Washington the rest of the year.
1B- David Cooper – Tor: (0.1%) 2-5, RBI. Cooper was the walk-off hero with his second hit of the night. It was also his second 2-5 game in a row as he raised his average to .287 on the year. He has four homers on the year ans two in his last nine games. Cooper may get more extended run at 1B with questions surrounding Jose Bautista’s return.
2B- DJ LeMahieu – Col: (0.1%) 4-4, 2 RBI. Another one of the Rockies worth owning for his home stats especially, LeMahieu has hit .302 in his 37 games this year going 26-86. He’s scored 10 runs and has five doubles and a home run to go with eight RBI and a steal. If you need a 2B fill-in, LeMahieu makes a good short-term pickup until his bat cools back off or he loses playing time.
3B- Eric Chavez – NYY: (18.1%) 2-4, R, RBI, HR. Chavez has homered in three of his last four games and as five long balls in his last ten. He’s been platooning with Casey McGehee, but with his 13 home runs and 30 RBI be assured that Manager Joe Girardi will play him as often as his health allows at this point in his career.
SS- Jamey Carroll- Min: (1.0%) 3-4, R. In the month of August, CArroll is hitting a scorching .382 and is over .300 in 24 games since the All-Star break. He’s not going to provide elite speed or power to be sure, but if you need a stop-gap and are looking for a hot bat Carroll may actually have fantasy value at this point in the year.
OF- Garrett Jones – Pit: (48.4%) 4-4, R, 3 RBI, 2 2B. Jones had 57 RBI and 17 home runs already on the year and is hitting .282. Last year he had 58 RBI and 16 home runs during the whole season. Jones still isn’t an everyday player since he struggles with lefties, but if you need run production he’s a top pickup.
OF- Eric Young Jr. -Col: (1.4%) 2-5, R, RBI, 2B, SB. Young is a top OF addition as long as he bats leadoff in Colorado. See above section for more details.
OF- Moises Sierra- Tor: (0.0%) 2-3, R, RBI, BB, HR. Sierra isn’t related in any way to Ruben Sierra or Moises Alou, but he’s better than either of them for your fantasy baseball team this year since Ruben and Alou are both retired. Sierra hit his first home run of his Major League career last night and brought his average up to .375 (12-32) through his first 11 games. He was called up at the end of July and should receive an extended look in the Jays outfield as they give him an opportunity to earn a spot in their future outfield plans.
AL Starting Pitcher- Samuel Deduno – Min: (1.7%) 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 5 BB, 6 K, W. Deduno is 4-0 despite continuing to struggle with control issues. In his seven starts he’s walked 30 while only striking out 28 but has managed to work out of trouble so his ERA is only 3.38 despite a WHIP of 1.55. Be cautious with Deduno until he cuts down on the walks, but he’s usable as a spot starter if needed.
NL Starting Pitcher- Eric Stults – SD: (1.5%) 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 K, W. The Padres have used Stults in a variety of roles this year and he’s shown his abilities as a starter his last couple starts. He’s allowed just one run over 13 innings with eight strikeouts and a pair of walks in his last two starts. He’s definitely worth considering as a spot starter especially when he’s at home in Petco.