Man, I have not watched a Braves game in a frog’s leap, but lemme tell you, Freddie Freeman takes batting seriously. It is no joke when he steps to the plate. First off, Too Close by Alex Clare is his walkup song. Not a bad choice to set a  dramatic tone. What happens is Freeman enters the batter box, takes a quick glance back at the catcher and umpire, as if he’s making sure they’re still there. Then he swivels his head around ever-so-slowly until it faces the pitcher directly, coming to a dramatic stop. After a quick smirk like he knows something you don’t, he assumes his batting stance and awaits to clobber the heck out of whatever you’re about to throw. Since breaking out big in 2012, Freeman has mostly repeated those numbers this year, albeit with a small amount of regression involved. Without an injury history to speak of, Freeman’s the kind of high-floor player that may not be able to win your league outright, but won’t prevent you from winning either.

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I remember the first time I beat Blades of Steel on my Nintendo. It was a labor of love and the sappy midi-tune during the credits nearly brought my 10-year-old eyes to tears. Frankly, not much has changed since then. I’m still chasing that feeling of “beating the game” by managing fantasy baseball teams throughout the long season. It’s the final push and all hands need to be on deck if you’re close to a ring. Any player that helps your team win this year is a treasure. You can trash the rest. Drew Storen (+64%) was this week’s most added player after Rafael Soriano coughed up the closer gig. Storen has run away with the opportunity. The 27-year-old right-hander has four saves in the past week while striking out six batters in those four appearances. Storen’s really been solid all year with a 1.26 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 50 innings of work. He’ll likely get more save opportunities down the stretch for a good Nationals team and he’s an obvious add if you need saves. Here are this week’s other big adds in fantasy baseball…

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Nicholas Tropeano sounds like a sitcom character, doesn’t he? Like that’s his real name, but he goes by the nickname of The Boof or simply Boof. Then only his mom, Mrs. Tropeano calls him Nicholas. Some girls call him Nick, but Boof or The Boof, that’s what you know him as. At one point, he even went to a technical school with Arthur Fonzarelli and Joseph Tribbiani Jr. I went over The Boof briefly the other day when he threw a five inning, meh start. There I said, “Breezed through the minors as only an Astros prospect could. What I mean is they don’t have a ton of major league options, so if someone does okay, they promote the crap out of them. In Triple-A, he had a 8.7 K/9, 0.99 WHIP and a 3.03 ERA in 124 2/3 IP.” And that’s me quoting me! This Buy is more for AL-Only leagues and keepers (I’ll go over mixed league starters to stream in the post). Shoot, this Boof buy could even be considered more for 2015 fantasy baseball. Now, maybe I’m really just having residual feelings for what Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel did this year, but Tropeano looks like a $1 flyer in very deep leagues that could reap similar benefits. I know it’s far from glamorous to put faith in Astros, but I’m likely to call Tropeano a sleeper for 2015 and point back to this post next year. I’d love if his velocity was a tad faster to go with his nasty change, but The Boof could pay dividends for savvy owners in deep leagues. Ayyyyy! *pounds wall, jukebox turns on* Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week’s most added player was Mookie Betts (+60%). The rookie outfielder has been in the lineup every day since August 18th and has hit nearly .300 since that date with three home runs and four stolen bases. Going forward, Betts is a good option for a little bit of everything in standard 5×5 leagues. As the season winds down, lead-off hitters like Betts are even more valuable as that extra at bat can mean another hit, run, or RBI for your fantasy roster. Betts is still just 21 years old and figures to be part of Boston’s plans moving forward despite the arrival of Rusney Castillo. He’s a good example of how the value of prospects can change quickly. Drafted in the fifth round in 2011, he wasn’t a big name on prospect lists and yet finds himself contributing in the major leagues before his 22nd birthday. He doesn’t strike out much (14%) and picks his spots to steal (83% SB success rate). Even with the recent surge he’s still available in 35% of ESPN leagues. Give him a look if one of your outfielders is hobbled or under-performing in the stretch run. Here are this week’s other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball…

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That’s what time of year it is! Juan Lagares gets a buy lede. Read between the lines here, and what does it tell you? That as you get older you have to eat salad for lunch three times a week? Hmm, I’ve found that too, but that wasn’t what I wrote between the lines. Try again! That you don’t get embarrassed being seen in a public restroom, but get embarrassed being seen walking out of one? Me too. Still not what I wrote between the lines. You look for the skinniest person in a conveyor belt sushi place and sit next to them? Didn’t write that between the lines either, but lambda! (Lambda is the Greek letter used to indicate wavelength, so when you want to indicate you are a nerd and to tell someone you’re on the same wavelength just say lambda. That’s what I do. “I was thinking we should go to a movie.” “Lambda.” See? Now go have nerd babies!) Okay, between the lines it actually read that we’re firmly in the part of the year when it only matters what a player did in the last week. Lagares is about as hot as anyone right now. Better still, Terry Collins said he wants Lagares to run more. Let’s do a quick equation. Player who is trying to prove their worth + Suggested by manager that they run = Merle Haggard! Wow, math’s off there. Was supposed to equal tremendous fantasy value. Now, if Lagares wasn’t hitting it wouldn’t matter that Collins told him to run, but he is hitting and running like crazy — five steals in the last week while hitting over .300. He’s also been inserted into the leadoff spot. Thinking you should own him? Lambda! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Quick! Before Rudy completely makes my column obsolete with great new tools like the Hitter Planner, let’s get in another Lineup Maximizer. Sometimes there are players I want to highlight as pickups, but don’t have a game on Thursday, so they don’t fit the criteria for this article. Nate Freiman, the A’s regular at first when facing a lefty, is one such player. Over the past week, he’s been in Single-A Beloit because of arcane rules regarding MiLB playoffs and the September roster expansion. Despite that, Freiman is back with the big league club and will continue hitting the ball hard and being tall. Before the demotion, Freiman was 5 for his last 14, with three homers and five RBI. Alas, Freiman doesn’t play on Thursday so I can’t recommend him for the next stretch of games in when the A’s face three lefties in their next five. What a damn shame.

Anyhoo! Here’s who I can recommend for Thursdays games:

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Sorry, I ran out of “solar energy” puns and “Cirque du Soler” was already taken by Keith Law, so I went with Seinfeld. As I write this, I am stripped to the waist eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery. [Jay's Note: That's hot.] We need to mention Jorge Soler (+91%) one more time though. His 91% increase in ownership was by far the highest jump this week. It’s also the highest increase I’ve seen since I started writing this trash/treasure waiver wire column. Soler continued to make the game look easy on Monday. Batting fifth for the Cubs, the 22-year-old outfielder went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. He has an extra-base hit in each of his first five games.

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming. Soler was a big sign for the Cubs but injuries hindered his development at times. Earlier this season was a good buy-low opportunity in dynasty leagues actually, as Soler did not even appear in some mid-season Top 50 prospect lists. In Triple-A, Soler had a similar August as fellow Cubs prospect Kris Bryant. For the month Bryant hit .274/.435/.579 with 8 homers and 19 RBIs in 117 plate appearances, while Soler hit .276/.364/.598 with 6 homers and 24 RBIs in 99 plate appearances. They are both 22 years old. It’s scary to think what this lineup could do if all the parts click. You shouldn’t need me or anybody else to tell you to go out and add him. Here are this week’s other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball…

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Rosters are just about to go from Foster’s oil cans to forties for our annual tradition of getting completely wasted on rookie nookie. I remember in September of 1997, this young talkative player debuted. He could spin a yarn as well as he could spin his bat. That player had modest power in the minors and was hitting .361 in Triple-A at the time of his call-up. His name: Sean Casey. He had a solid career, hitting for modest power and a solid average. Later he became more known for his defense. Not with his glove, but how hitters would purposely not get a hit so they didn’t have to stand on first and hear him talk. He’d say there’s nothing a good conversation can’t defend. What is all of this getting at? That first year Sean Casey was called up, he didn’t do anything. Looked totally overmatched. Now if I would’ve dropped Ryan Klesko to grab Sean Casey, I would’ve missed out on a damn fine September from Klesko. If that happened, it may have shook my confidence in the great game of baseball and the ability to grow sideburns, and maybe I would’ve never have went on to become the fantasy baseball ‘pert you’ve grown to love and secretly dream up of scenarios where we’re hanging out and sharing a burrito. A parallel universe none of us want to imagine. So, be careful about who you drop in the coming days as players are called up. I love Joc Pederson, I’ll probably make him my preseason NL Rookie of the Year next year, but this year he may not even have a starting job.* *Fantasy Players who read this also searched for Kevin Maas, Sam Horn and Nadir Bupkis. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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This week’s hot add was Mike Fiers (+62%). The Brewers hurler has posted a 9.5 K/9 and a 1.8 BB/9 since filling in for Matt Garza in the Milwaukee rotation. The strikeouts are no fluke, as he posted a K/9 of 11.4 in Triple-A this season. While his FIP is a run higher than his current ERA and Steamer is projecting a 3.60 ERA from this point forward, Fiers remains a great pickup for the stretch run. It will be interestinge to see what Milwaukee does with their rotation when Garza returns since both Fiers and Jimmy Nelson have been solid in his absence. It’s likely that Nelson will be the odd man out and moved to the bullpen while Fiers remains in the rotation. He has certainly earned it. Fiers has won all four of his starts, striking out 32 batters in 28 innings and allowing only four earned runs. As some starters begin to see their innings limited or fade due to fatigue down the stretch, Fiers can help fantasy teams finish strong.

Here are this week’s other big adds and drops in 2014 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?