Sunday gave us an epic 19-inning struggle between the Cards and Pirates as they battled for playoff position amidst a solid schedule of 15 games across the country. While the Wild Card races heat up the fantasy baseball season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to find some useful pieces on the waiver wire.
In our daily Sleeper Central post (Archive here), we highlight a lineup of players owned in less than half of ESPN leagues that can help your team if you need an injury fill-in, have a categorical deficiency, or own Carl Crawford.
Here’s today’s lineup of waiver wire options:
David Murphy – OF – Texas Rangers: With Carl Crawford about to be shelved with Tommy John surgery and other outfielders roles changing around the Major Lagues, David Murphy’s stock continues to trend upwards. He’s owned in just 11.4 percent of ESPN leagues but is now the full-time LF for the Rangers. He’s been on fire in August with a .354 average in 18 games and an OPS of .941. He’s hit a pair of homers this month with 10 RBI and 10 runs scored. Murphy has value simply from playing in a stacked lineup in Texas but he’s been contributing his own solid numbers to the Ranger offense. He’s still hitting towards the bottom of the lineup which should allow him to clean up any base-runners left by the big bats in the middle. Murphy should be your first look if you need an OF bat to replace a slumping or injured player.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Jason Castro- Hou: (0.0% ownership in ESPN leagues) 2-4, RBI. Castro was hitting well in June before being sidelined due to injury. He’s back and playing almost every day for the Astros and had his first multi-hit game since returning yesterday. He’s hitting .251 for the year now with a pair of homers and 21 RBI in 58 games. He’s a solid hitting prospect and could have a nice finishing kick to the season if new manager Tony DeFrancesco gives him extended playing time. He’s not a top 10 option but if you’re desperate, in a deep league, or need a second catcher Castro is an intriguing option.
1B- Chris Carter – Oak: (6.6%) 2-4, 2B. Carter’s average is up to .281 after a .291 start to the month. Although he hasn’t hit a home run since August 8, Carter is showing he’s more than just a long-ball hitter as he contributes to the A’s daily lineup. He’s not sharing time much at 1B as Oakland tries to see if he is a long-term answer at the position. Be careful in leagues that penalize for stikeouts though, he has 40 K’s in 121 at-bats.
2B- Mark Ellis – LAD: (1.6%) 2-5, 4 RBI, 2B. Ellis drove in a season-high four despite having just three RBI the rest of the month. He’s hitting .262 and reaching base at a .355 clip. His main value is that he’s in the linup most days and scores runs in front of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Hanley Ramirez.
3B- Jordan Pacheco- Col: (2.7%) 3-4, R, 2 RBI, HR. The homer is just Pacheco’s second of the year as he extended his hitting streak to eight while raising his average to .312. At a thin 3B position, Pacheco can help you with RBI, definitely in average, and occasional power playing at Coors Field.
SS- Everth Cabrera- SD: (0.6%) 3-5, 2 RBI, 2B, SB. Cabrera hit leadoff for the Padres and stole his second base in four games and 21st of the year. He has yet to be caught on the basepaths and if he continues to hit leadoff would be a solid option for cheap speed and plenty of at-bats. He’s hitting .236 on the year with two homers and 21 RBI.
OF- David Murphy – Tex: (11.4%) 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B, HR. See above for Murphy’s details. He’s the top OF option available in most leagues.
OF- Dominic Brown – Phi: (0.8%) 3-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B, BB. Brown is getting a long look in the Phillies OF and has had inconsistent results as of late. He pounded the ball on Sunday and is hitting .269 in his first 19 games. Expect him to continue to get regular playing time and contribute in runs, RBI, and home runs as the year wraps up.
OF- Nate McClouth – Bal: (0.0%) 2-5, R, 2 RBI, 3B. McLouth’s bounce back from nowhere continues as he hits in the heart of the Baltimore lineup. He’s 20-105 and his slugging is still low (.521 OPS), but he’s getting regular time and showing some signs of life with three multi-hit games in his last nine and four extra-base hits over that same time-span. He has yet to flash the power that made him an All-Star, but if and when that returns he’ll be a must-add.
AL Starting Pitcher- Jeremy Guthrie- KC: (9.9%) 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K, ND. Guthrie hasn’t allowed an earned run in three starts spanning 22.2 innings. He has radically turned things around after struggling in Colorado and his first two starts with the Royals. In deep leagues, he’s worth adding right away, and look for him in our spot starter selections coming up this week.
NL Starting Pitcher- Kyle Kendrick- Phi: (1.7%) 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K, W. In his last two starts he’s pitched 15 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts while allowing eight hits and just a single walk. Kendrick is at least worth a look as a spot starter although he had an ERA of 4.86 before his started this nice run. Don’t go all in on Kendrick, but he’s worth a look for a spot start or a short-term pickup in deep leagues.
NL Starting Pitcher part 2- Jaime Garcia- Stl: (35.3%) 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 10 K, ND. Don’t miss that in the 19 inning game Garcia made his triumphant return to the rotation allowing just two unearned runs while striking out a season-high 10 in a season-high eight innings. He will be a huge boost to the Cardinals rotation and your fantasy team if you can grab him quickly.