Can you believe it’s September already? With just under four weeks to go until the end of the MLB regular season, it’s time to push your chips all-in. Outside of the elite players, everyone is expendable in redraft leagues from this point on. If you want to make that final surge up the standings before it’s too late, production trumps reputation. Nursing a sore wrist? Thanks for the memories, Marcell Ozuna. Looking for more than a .220 average with mediocre counting stats out of your #5 outfielder? See you later, Josh Reddick. Need some ratio relief down the stretch? Adios, Marco Estrada. The problem is that trade deadlines have passed and the waiver wire is looking pretty thin at this point of the season. Who are you going to replace these players with? Fortunately, the recent roster expansion has allowed for a fresh influx of rookie talent at this key time in the fantasy season. The youngsters who were held down in the minors earlier this summer for some extra seasoning (or to delay their arbitration clocks) are being called up to get a taste of the big leagues. This week’s most added player, Boston Red Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada (39.6% owned; +33.3% over the past week), is a prime example of the upsidey September call-up. Moncada is about as toolsy as it gets – plus-plus speed (94 steals over the last year and a half in the minors), above average power (.254 ISO in Triple-A), and a patient approach at the plate (double digit walk rates at every level) – which has made him one of the top prospects in all of baseball. His plus throwing arm has allowed the Sox to move him over to third base from his natural position of second base as well. The one caveat is that he strikes out. A lot. He’s already whiffed six times in his first fourteen MLB at-bats and his 30.9% K% in 207 Double-A plate appearances this season is a concern. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if he hit three homers and stole half a dozen bases over the season’s final month. Moncada is definitely worth adding for his upside alone.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
Dylan Bundy: 46.9% owned; -5.8%
I touched on Bundy several weeks ago in this very space and determined that the combination of his likely innings limit, his home park, and tough division made him a risky bet for the remainder of this season. Following a nice five start stretch from July 22nd through August 12th (9.82 K/9, 1.53 BB/9, 0.92 HR/9, 1.84 ERA, 0.68 WHIP), he’s hit a bit of a rough patch over his last four starts (7.65 K/9, 5.85 BB/9, 1.80 HR/9, 5.40 ERA, 1.70 WHIP). The thing is that no much has changed for Bundy in recent weeks. His contact and swinging strike rates have been comparable over this recent stretch to his best one, and two of his matchups over that rough stretch (vs Boston; @ Yankees) were poor ones. If you need a streamer over the next few days, roll Bundy out there for his matchup in Tampa against the Rays tomorrow. TREASURE.
Seth Lugo: 22.3% owned; +18.5%
What’s going on with the Mets starting pitchers lately? Matt Harvey and Steven Matz are injured, Noah Syndergaard has had mysterious examinations performed on various parts of his pitching arm, and Jacob deGrom has struggled recently after experiencing a significant drop in velocity this season. Enter the unsung Seth Lugo. The 26-year-old minor league lifer has been given a spot in the starting rotation and he’s made the most of it thus far. In four starts since August 19th, Lugo has a 2.19 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 24.2 innings. His K-rate (5.84 K/9) isn’t terribly impressive, but his walk (1.82 BB/9) and home run (0.73 HR/9) rates over that span certainly are. His velocity and control have both been impressive, and Lugo can spin it with the best of them. Keep an eye on the matchups here, but Lugo looks like a solid streaming option down the stretch. TREASURE.