After a disappointing first half Norichika Aoki has reallyÂ turned it on, resulting inÂ a +46% spike in ownershipÂ which made himÂ this week’s most added player. Most fantasyÂ 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-humÂ .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 playÂ 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 theÂ first-place Royals,Â Aoki should continue to see good counting statsÂ moving forward. In leagues as shallow as ten teamsÂ Aoki isÂ 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 hasÂ wonÂ 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 crackedÂ JB’s top 50Â this week and shouldn’t be subjected to any kind of strict innings limit going forwardÂ 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 inÂ the majorityÂ of ESPN leagues. TREASURE.
Manny Machado – 86% owned (-14%)
The injury to Machado’s knee looked pretty nasty when it first happened, but he couldÂ return shortly after a normal 15-day disabled list stint. That means heÂ 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 getÂ right back to the hot hitting when he first returns from the disabled list, butÂ MachadoÂ is certainly a player worth picking up if you have an available DL slot. TREASURE.