The first two recommendations this week may seem slightly dull, but bear with me. Cory Spangenberg (1% FAAB) and Kolten Wong (1% FAAB) are producing two of the most exciting plate discipline numbers over the past 14 days. Spangenberg is known for chasing at pitches, striking out, and never fulfilling his power/speed upside. Wong is relatively the same player except for his plate discipline, which was always slightly above average. That small edge Wong had in patience is now becoming extreme with the 1.27 BB:K ratio he’s posting over the past fortnight.
Spangenberg is still striking out a quarter of the time, but it now comes with a chase% that is decreasing significantly. He is showing patience that may not be permanent. However, at this time in the fantasy season, we are trying to predict hot streaks before they happen. Spangenberg is walking about 20% of the time which shows a clear distinction from his past samples. He must be changing his approach to stay alive within the MLB, and this could be one of the last chances he has for everyday playing time. Saving FAAB on players before they take off is a key when the budget begins to dwindle in the latter months of the season. These two players are on hot streaks that will only enhance fantasy rosters with a few more counting stats.
(Post Article EDIT: Monitor the Kolten Wong injury situation that cropped up Sunday, 8/19)
In August, Cobb faced the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, and Rays. His worst start out of these four came against Tampa Bay when he relinquished only 1 ER in 7 IP. These types of performances are vintage Alex Cobb. The strikeouts will never blow you away, but 19:5 K:BB and 5 ER in 29 IP is exactly what you want for a late-season fantasy surge. His cost will surely rise due to these past few outings. However, if he is still available on the wire, the changes he is making to his pitch mix are attributing heavily to the success. The four-seamer usage is down, the split-finger usage is up, and Cobb is utilizing confusion to keep the hitter on his heels. Cobb continues to work up feel for all of his pitches after such a long history of injuries. It seems that this final stretch of 2018 could be the best we’ve seen from him in quite some time.
Adames is a good rookie that does not seem to garner the same hype as the guys around him on prospect lists. Despite being consistently listed amongst the top organization, and overall, prospects, the Tampa shortstop is finally gaining some traction in the bigs. Over the past 14 days, he owns a 161 wRC+ to go along with 2 HR and 4 SB. These numbers are staggering for a late-season fantasy push for any team that needs multiple offensive categories. The best part of this prospect’s profile is the plate discipline is not something that deserves panic. Adames is an advanced hitter, and this tag stuck with him all throughout the minors. He is getting the run he deserves as a top, yet underrated, prospect. The unspoken hype of this prospect may allow you to get him on the cheap in FAAB.
When you go make your bid on Heaney this week, you must ignore the stats from August. That statement does not give off an insane amount of confidence, but the point is that he has not changed since the start of the season. Heaney is holding his velocity, movement, and skill at an extremely consistent rate. The thing that is changing right now seems to be luck. Heaney has not given up more home runs or walks and continues to strike out nearly one batter per inning. Another interesting piece about the Angels pitcher is that his chase% continues to rise as the season progresses. Hitters are having a harder time picking up his pitches in August than they were earlier in the year. I believe Heaney will recalibrate and give fantasy owners a handful of solid starts for the rest of 2018.
Lonely ONLY-League Targets
Robbie Erlin, SP, San Diego Padres (Possibly unsustainable, but the lack of walks is interesting. Could go on a Daniel Mengden-type run without many strikeouts combined with great command and sequencing.)