Aug 23, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (left) celebrates a victory over the Boston Red Sox with catcher Chris Iannetta (right) at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy Baseball Late Season Sleeper Central-August 24

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Aug 6, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Pedro Ciriaco (77) warms up before the start of the game against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

It was a rough night for us Red Sox fans as the Sox lost a brutal and drawn-out game in which they had multiple chances to win. Like in Casey at the Bat, there must be happiness somewhere but there is no joy in Beantown. Hopefully your fantasy team is in much better shape.

One of the great things about fantasy baseball is that you can make moves quickly and completely rebuild thing much more quickly than in real life where there are so many considerations. If you need to upgrade or overhaul, there are some solid options on the waiver wire. As the season winds down, there are still players owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues that are contributing to their teams. Those are the players we highlight each day in the Sleeper Central post (Archive here).

With only eight games on the schedule last night, the options were a little thing, but there were still some nice step-up performances. Here’s today’s lineup of waiver wire options:

Sleeper Awakening

Pedro Ciriaco – 3B – Boston Red Sox: One of the few bright spots in the Red Sox season has been the play of Pedro Ciriaco. His long-term future may be a bit clouded, but expect to see plenty of him the rest of the way for Boston. He was one of Bobby V’s personal favorites all the way back to Spring Training when he tried to vote Pedro onto the 25-man roster. There was no room, so Ciriaco went to Triple-A Pawtucket and tore it up. When injury forced Dustin Pedroia to the DL, Ciriaco filled in admirably but then seemed to have no spot in the lineup. A week ago, Will Middlebrooks broke his wrist and there was an opening at 3B for the versatile infielder. Ciriaco has stepped right in and even hit leadoff the past few games. He’s hitting at an impressive .344 clip after a 6-14 series against the Angels and is quite the legend in Boston due to his tendency to crush the Yankees. He offers some solid speed with eight steals in eight attempts and scored four runs last night showing the ability to pile up runs scored when the Sox lineup is firing on all cylinders. He does strike out a lot (23 in 122 at-bats) with only two walks but he’s available in 90% of leagues and has eligibility at 2B, SS, and 3B so he can help fill your position of need.

Sleeper Starting Lineup

C- Chris Iannetta-LAA: (0.6% ownership in ESPN leagues) 3-6, R, 2 RBI. Almost everyone from the Angels-Sox slugfest could be on here, but Iannetta may be starting to finally get into the groove after a big series in Boston. He was 8-14 in the three-game set with four RBI and a triple. He’s brought his average up to .236 with 18 RBI on the season and a decent six home runs.  He should see the bulk of the time behind the plate for LA going forward and should be fatigue-free with only 46 games played while other catcher may wear out down the stretch.

1B- Brett Wallace – Hou: (0.5%) 2-5, R, 2B. Wallace is back to .288 after a recent slump pulled his average down below .300. He has six homers and 12 RBI in just over 100 at-bats for the Astros. He hits in the middle of their lineup on a nightly basis and if you need an everyday starter in a very deep league he makes an OK pickup. He also represents solid value in Draftstreet or other daily leagues where all those as cheap as he is ride the pine.

2B- Jamey Carroll – Min: (0.8%) 3-4, R. Another deep-league consideration is Carroll who has had a nice August hitting at .283 while bouncing between second, third, and shortstop. He doesn’t offer anything in the way of power of speed, but can collect some hits, runs, and RBI if you’re desperate for middle infield help. I would take Ciriaco before I looked at Carroll and they are eligible at all the same spots.

3B- Pedro Ciriaco – Bos: (9.7%) 4-6, 4 R, 2B. See above for analysis. I think Ciriaco will play everyday for Boston the rest of the year and could be one of the most important non-power infield pickups of the rest of the season.

SS- Brandon Crawford- SF: (0.9%) 1-4. Crawford was the best of a thin SS group yesterday which is really the only reason he’s fantasy relavant. His glove-work is spectacular, but he’s hitting just .245 on the year with a steal, four homers, and 39 RBI in 355 at-bats. If you need an everyday SS, Crawford gets regular playing time although as his numbers show he still has a long way to go before becoming a top option for fantasy.

OF- John Mayberry Jr. – Phi: (2.4%) 2-3, RBI. Mayberry had the walk-off hit to get the Phils the win at Citizens Back Park. MLB.com had this tweet, “Hey, it’s a tie game, and this is crazy, but here’s a single, so call me Mayberry.” Some people loved it; some people hated it; I thought at least it was pretty creative for the middle of the night. Either way, Mayberry had a nice game despite being left out of the starting lineup. He’s hitting a decent .250 since the All-Star break and has five of his 11 home runs despite playing less than half as many games. He should continue to see decent time in the Phillies outfield making him an option if you need an OF bat.

August 23, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder Tyler Colvin (21) scores the only run of the game during the eighth inning of a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

OF- Tyler Colvin – Col(35.2%) 1-4, R, 3B. Colvin continues to hit for the Rockies. His 1-4 would be much less noticable if the run he scored after his triple wasn’t the only one of the game. Colvin is playing almost everyday and is one of the few Rockies who produces regularly on the road. He has hit in six games in a row going 10-23 over that timespan. He has 14 homers and 52 RBI on the season to go with his .294 batting average. He’s probably the second-best OF pickup widely available behind David Murphy of Texas.

OF- Ben Francisco – Hou: (0.0%) 3-5, R, 2B. If you’re looking for a deep-league flier, Francisco is playing almost everyday in Houston and is now hitting .260. He’s not worth picking up yet in most formats, but it’s worth noting he’s getting the regular playing time.

AL Starting Pitcher- Alex Cobb – TB: (21.6%) 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K, W. In four of his last five starts, Cobb has given up one or zero runs. His other start was a forgettable pounding at the hands of the Angels. He’s 8-8 on the year with a 1.29 WHIP and a 4.32 ERA. He’s been dominant lately and is a great spot start or pickup if you need starting pitching depth.

AL Starting Pitcher part two- J. A. Happ- Tor: (6.1%) 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 7 K, ND. Happ has put together solid back-to-back starts against the Tigers and Rangers allowing just one run in each going 6.0 last time out and 7.1 yesterday. He has 15 strikeouts in those 13.1 innings and just four walks. He’s worth a look as a spot starter in deep or AL only formats.

NL Starting Pitcher- Collin McHugh- NYM: (0.0%) 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, ND. Noone can pitch much better than McHugh did in his Major League debut. The Mets lineup is so bad though they couldn’t even get him a win. He had a great start and may end up in the rotation next season but he’s near his innings limit so don’t grab him for more than a spot start this year in redraft leagues.

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Tags: Fantasy Baseball Help MLB Waiver Wire Pedro Ciriaco Sleeper Central

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