Left-handed hitters are always going to be popular given their tendency to hold the larger “half” of a platoon’s playing time situation, but as we enter the final five weeks of the season — or in DFS — production of any type is worth employing. While most of these names aren’t flashy, all of these players have something to offer in terms of counting or rate stats for hitting southpaws. The ownership rates (not the availability) are listed after each player for the three major fantasy sites. To add an arbitrary filter to things, we’re looking at 50 plate appearance minimums, with numbers excluding Monday’s games.

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I must say, I don’t believe in curses, hexes, jinxes or whatever you may call it, but this season is rapidly descending into a Euripides level of despair for me. As I look at my various rosters being struck with injuries and my place in the standings perpetually falling, I’m already looking ahead to next season. With another round of injuries comes another round of drinks. Misery loves company, right?

Jeremy Hellickson, D-Backs: A strained left hamstring forced the club to shelve Hellickson for a time, as the right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to August 19. The 28-year-old has had an up an down season, and I’ve been bamboozled by his strong 10.6 percent swinging strike rate not translating to a better strikeout rate. His SwStr% is tied for 25th out of 88 qualified starters, however his 7.47 K/9 ranks 38th and 19.1 percent K% comes in at 50th. I’ve been holding out hope Hellboy could get his K-rate to match his whiffs, but for now we’ll have to wait at least until the first week of September to see him back in action.

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Drew Smyly‘s first start in over three months didn’t exactly go as planned. The left-hander opted for the rehab route over season ending surgery on his torn left labrum, and managed to make it back in time to contribute. Despite successfully coming back, Smyly’s outing on Sunday didn’t have the best results. He tossed four innings, surrendering five runs — including a pair of solo shots — on seven hits and two walks. There was good news as Smyly managed to sit down four Rangers on strikes and induced 11 swinging strikes on 95 pitches.

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The Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson once said — among other things — “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Clearly Tennyson never played fantasy baseball. Other than the fact Tennyson died in 1892, he clearly never played fantasy baseball with that sort of attitude. While the return of players like Miguel Cabrera, Justin Turner, and even Desmond Jennings will no doubt help fantasy rosters, this past week saw lose more roto players than we gained back.

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A player’s eligibility is a huge factor in evaluating their price or draft status. All else being equal, a 20 home run outfielder is very different from a 20 home run shortstop. Of course, from this season to next there will be a number of hitters losing specific position eligibility, and thus their value takes a dip as well. The season is not yet over so these could change, but as of right now, we’re losing a lot of third base eligible players.

A few quick notes:

  • The players are separated into their respective divisions. The following is not every player losing eligibility, just those most fantasy relevant.
  • I’m using Yahoo! eligibility rather than CBS or ESPN not because of any specific fondness, but Yahoo! has the most lax requirements at 10 games appeared or five games started.
  • I considered splitting up center field specific players from the general outfield, however in standard leagues no such distinction exists.
  • All these players can be plugged into a utility spot, so when I say outfield only, I’m implying UTIL as well.
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Sometimes I feel like Lisa Simpson when she gets the Linguo doll and Homer attempts to make it drink beer. The line from that episode — Trilogy of Error — that seems to haunt my fantasy teams is “This is why I can’t have nice things!” After trading for Jose Fernandez in a keeper league just days ago, once again I’m forced to acknowledge said quote.

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It’s almost time to think about next year. I don’t mean that as an A’s fan — that works too — but more in the terms of keeper and dynasty leagues. Keeping pitchers can be a very risky proposition given their tendency to get injured, making the call on a pitcher a tricky one. For now, lets take a look at current Chicago White Sox and soon-to-be free agent Jeff Samardzija. Other than a 4.35 ERA, there are multiple red flags on the Shark’s pitching profile. A dip in swinging strike rate, K/9 and K-rate to go with a four year high in FIP and xFIP are all trends going in the wrong directions.

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According to IMDB, Tom Hanks’ character spent 1500 days alone on the island. We don’t have that much time left in a baseball season — although I’d love to see small sample size debates still raging around the 700 day mark — but like Hanks, we did just lose a Wilson.

C.J. Wilson, Angels: The 2015 season is over for the southpaw as he is expected to undergo surgery to address a left elbow impingement. Apparently an MRI earlier in the season also showed bone spurs, so going under the knife to address both issues is probably the best call. Wilson is droppable in any redraft or keeper league and all but the very deepest of dynasty formats.

Here are some other injuries you should keep your eye on…

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Nearly a month ago the Marlins made the somewhat curious decision to send Marcell Ozuna down to Triple-A. Just looking at his offensive numbers — and not reading into their potential displeasure with him showing up to camp somewhat out of shape or he and agent Scott Boras’ rejection of an extension— it isn’t like Ozuna was setting the world on fire with his bat. Owner of a .249/.301/337 batting line before being sent down, it’s hard to argue something too sinister, even from the Marlins. Sure, the team could be playing service clock games, but they would hardly be alone in doing such a thing. As Ozuna continues to pile up the stats in the minors, he was hitting .322/.365/.576 with three home runs in 63 plate appearances, prior to yesterday’s game, I’m expecting to see Ozuna up sooner rather than later.

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The home stretch is upon is us! Head-to-head leagues are juggling for playoff positioning, roto leagues are battled for 0.5 points in WHIP every single day and the rebuild is on for others. Oh, those are just my leagues. As we close in on the final eight weeks of the season an injury at this point — or a stud pitcher or slugger coming back — can tip the scales in many a fantasy leagues.

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