As the fantasy baseball regular season winds down in most leagues, players values continue to fluctuate. Values can change for lots of reasons including injuries, opportunities, and even trades. Post-deadline trades are rare, but they can happen. As everyone who was online at all yesterday knows, the Red Sox and Dodgers are working towards pulling off one of the biggest trades in MLB history. It’s a terrain-altering trade in both the NL West and the AL East. Both franchises will be defined by this trade for the next decade either way it turns out.
As a Red Sox fan, I hate to see Gonzalez go. He’s a top five 1b and a top 20 hitter. I think he’ll do great things in LA and fill a huge need for them in the middle of their lineup. As much as it hurts to see him go, I love this trade from the Sox perspective since it gets rid of Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford and their over-loaded contracts. The prospects they get back seem solid, but the move is really about getting back to the model of player drafting and development that made them successful in previous seasons and away from overpaid “divas” that don’t work well in the Boston market. The entitlement of this team I think is really what alienated some of the fans. This is obviously a huge boost to the Dodgers title chances for this year as their lineup goes from a liability to an incredible strength with Shane Victorino, Mark Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Hanley Ramirez in some order at the front end of their batting order.
If you’re just here for the sleeper lineup, I apologize for the trade aside. Let’s get to the sleepers.
Here’s the players who contributed the most last night that are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. Every day on Sleeper Central (Archive here) we give a list of options to consider if you need to boost production at a certain position or in a certain categories.
Here’s today’s lineup of waiver wire options:
Daniel Murphy- Texas Rangers – OF: As he continues to crush the second half of the season, Murphy remains the top outfielder on most waiver wires. He’s been put in place by Manager Ron Washington as the everyday leftfielder and has responded with a torrid August. In 23 games this month, Murphy is hitting .378 and on OPS of .984. It’s not an aberration either since in June he hit .356 with an OPS of 1.127 and in July he hit .310. Overall, Murphy has 11 homers and 49 RBI to go with a .314 batting average. He continues to provide solid across-the-board offense and is especially effective at home. As the Texas heat fades, don’t expect much of a drop from Murphy who has proven he can produce regularly for the Rangers and his fantasy owners. He’s still only owned in a third of ESPN leagues and he needs to be added if your team is still in the hunt as we enter the last five weeks of the season.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Welington Castillo-ChC: (0.0% ownership in ESPN leagues) 1-3, R, 1 RBI, HR. Castillo has four homers on the year now while hitting .275 in 22 games. He’s picked it up since Geovany Soto was traded as he became the primary backstop in Chicago. If you’re in search of a catcher, Castillo is one of several solid options on the waiver wire.
1B- Chris Carter – Oak: (6.1%) 1-3, 2 R, BB. Carter continues to play everyday at 1B for the A’s and is now hitting .259 with 10 homers and 24 RBI. He’s scored 27 runs in his 43 games. This month, his power numbers are slightly down, but his average is up.
2B- D.J. LeMahieu – Col: (2.7%) 3-4. After going 2-16 in his previous six games, LeMahieu picked his average back up to .297. If you need batting average and runs from your 2B, you could do much worse than LeMahieu especially when the Rockies return home next week.
3B- Pedro Ciriaco – Bos: (10.4%) 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, SB. Highlighted yesterday, Ciriaco came out and drove in the tying and go-ahead runs for the Sox while adding his ninth steal of the year. He again hit leadoff with Jacoby Ellsbury sliding to the two-hole. Expect him in the lineup either at 3B or SS the rest of the way for Boston. He’ll give you some solid speed and is creating runs while hitting .349 on the season in 126 at-bats. He was also hitting for a high average in Triple-A so expect him to continue to reach base wherever he hits in the lineup.
SS- Tyler Greene- Hou: (2.2%) 1-4, R, RBI, HR. There’s a decided lack of depth at SS this season and Tyler Greene is the everyday starter in Houston. He hit his second homer since arriving with the Astros in a trade from St. Louis last night and his seventh on the year. He’s 12-42 in an Astros uniform and should see a steady diet of playing time the rest of the season.
OF- David Murphy – Tex: (33.8%) 2-4, R, 2B. Top OF that’s available in most leagues. Check the above analysis for why.
OF- Chris Denorfia – SD: (0.1%) 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR. Denorfia’s upside is limited by his platoon in the Padres outfield. He is primarily used against left-handed pitching but has gone 6-10 in his last five games. He has five home runs on the year and two in his last nine games played. Monitor his playing time going forward to see if he gets more of a chance for regular playing time throughout the later part of the season.
OF- Trayvon Robinson – Sea: (0.0%) 3-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B, HR. Robinson’s big game pulled his average back to .250 as he hit his first home run of the season. He has three steals in four attempts and appears to be starting in LF for the Mariners on a regular basis. He’s only played in 19 games for Seattle this season but offers some solid speed and power if he an find his groove like he did last night.
AL Starting Pitcher- Zach Britton – Bal: (0.7%) 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K, W. Britton has been up-and-down resulting in a 5.59 ERA. He is 3-1 on the year with three of his seven starts being “quality starts” and the other four being pretty ugly. He needs to establish some more consistency before he is anything more than a deep league spot starter.
NL Starting Pitcher- Eric Stults-SD: (1.8%) 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K, W. Stults has allowed zero or one run in all but one of his starts since returning to the rotation earlier this month. What was most impressive about this start is that it took place in hitter-friendly Chase Field in Arizona and not his home park Petco. Stults is a good streaming option for the rest of the season especially at home.
Relief Pitcher- Andrew Bailey- Bos: (38%) 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, S. Bailey may be taking over as the Red Sox closer as described here and will have solid closer value for the rest of the season as he shows he can be the Sox closer heading into next season.