After a disappointing first half Norichika Aoki has really turned it on, resulting in a +46% spike in ownership which made him this week’s most added player. Most fantasy owners invested in the Royals’ outfielder expecting a high average, lots of runs scored, and a steals total somewhere in the twenties. But prior to the All-Star break, Aoki was hitting a ho-hum .260 with seven steals (four caught stealing) and only 36 runs in 306 plate appearances. On top of that he suffered a groin injury and was promptly released by many frustrated fantasy teams. The 32-year-old right-fielder’s recent play has made some of those same teams turn around and pick him right back up though. In his last eight games he has recorded eight runs scored, six runs batted in, and five steals. Regaining his role at the top of the lineup for the first-place Royals, Aoki should continue to see good counting stats moving forward. In leagues as shallow as ten teams Aoki is a worthwhile add during his current hot streak. Here are this week’s other big adds and drops in 2014 fantasy baseball…
Collin McHugh – 42% owned (+24%)
One of this year’s bigger surprises, McHugh has won each of his last two starts and has not allowed more than one earned run in each of his last four. The Astros’ righty now sports a 9.79 K/9 and a 3.09 BB/9 in 114 innings pitched. His FIP of 3.37 shows there is some legitimacy in his 3.00 ERA as well. While the Astros are still a work in progress, their offense isn’t the easy out it used to be and pitchers like McHugh and Keuchel have boosted the starting rotation. McHugh cracked JB’s top 50 this week and shouldn’t be subjected to any kind of strict innings limit going forward since he pitched around 150 innings last year. All in all, he’s a safe bet to grab off the wire if you’re in need of an arm. He’s still available in the majority of ESPN leagues. TREASURE.
Manny Machado – 86% owned (-14%)
The injury to Machado’s knee looked pretty nasty when it first happened, but he could return shortly after a normal 15-day disabled list stint. That means he might be back in the Orioles’ lineup heading into September. The timing for this injury couldn’t have been worse. After spending most of the first half on the disabled list from his other knee injury, Machado struggled early on and it culminated in a suspension after a run-in with the Athletics. Since then it’s been a different story for the 22-year-old. He hit .333/.356/.565 in July and followed that up with a .378/.429/.511 line in eleven August games. Sure, he may not get right back to the hot hitting when he first returns from the disabled list, but Machado is certainly a player worth picking up if you have an available DL slot. TREASURE.