At this point of the season, we all know who the top players are at each position. Unless you already own them are can make a trade for them, players like Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve, or Ozzie Albies won’t be helping your fantasy lineup this year.
But as we gear up for the trade deadline and the final stretch of the season, the difference between winning your league and falling short could be finding that second baseman who is underrated at the moment. Who are some of those players? One of them could be Jonathan Schoop, who is still available in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues of seven percent of Yahoo leagues. He can also provide depth at first base.
Cesar Hernandez is having a solid year for the Future Guardians of Lake Erie, um, I mean the Cleveland Indians. Despite having 16 homers and 43 RBI, he is found on only 22 percent of Yahoo rosters and 36 percent of ESPN rosters. So there are still plenty of solid options fantasy for owners in need of a second baseman or middle infielder to find and add to their rosters.
Let’s get to the rankings and find out who are some other possible players who can help your team down the stretch.
There isn’t much new here in this tier other than Chris Taylor moving back into it. Taylor has been great for the Dodgers all season, slashing .279-.377-.479 with 71 runs scored, 14 home runs, 53 RBI, and nine steals. He basically helps you in nearly every fantasy state. And over the last month, he’s been even better with a slash line of .315-.364-.533 with 17 runs scored, four homers, and 16 RBI in 25 games.
With Taylor moving in, that means either Max Muncy or Whit Merrifield has to move out, and Merrifield is the loser. While Merrifield has the huge lead in stolen bases (25 to 1) compared to Muncy, Muncy now has more runs scored, 14 more homers (22 compared to Merrifield’s 8), and more RBI. While trailing by one point in batting average, Muncy has an OBP of .413 to Merrifield’s .321 and is outslugging Merrifield .565 to .403.
You could make a case that Eduardo Escobar should be ranked higher than Merrifield. Escobar’s counting numbers are 50 runs scored, 22 homers, 65 RBI, and 1 steal. Merrifield is 54-8-52-25. It is those 25 stolen bases that lift Merrifield to sixth in the rankings.
Jorge Polanco moves into the Tier 2 bracket thanks to his strong 30-day stretch. Over the last month, he is slashing .315-.367-.528. In 25 games, he has hit five homers and driven in 19 while stealing four bases and scoring 12 runs. Somehow he is owned in only 74 percent of Yahoo leagues and 89 percent of ESPN leagues. Not having Nelson Cruz in the lineup could hurt some of Polanco’s numbers, but not enough to not pick him up if he is available.
I’ve bashed Brandon Lowe all season due to his horrid batting average and high strikeout rate. The strikeout rate is still not great at 30.4% this year. But over the last month, he has finally seen his batting average climb from .198 to .218. For the season he is now slashing .218-.334-.465 with 51 runs scored, 21 home runs, 49 RBI, and four steals. Over the last 30 days, those numbers are .283-.449-.700 with seven dingers and 14 RBI.
Jonathan India is back in Tier 3 as he has overcome an early-season slump after his hot start. Over the last 30 days, he is slashing .310-.468-.464 with 20 runs scored, two homers, nine RBI, and two steals in 24 games. Surprisingly, he is rostered in only 62 percent of both Yahoo and ESPN leagues. If you are in a dynasty league, he is probably not available. But no matter what type of league you are in, if India is available I’d grab him quickly.
Two players are making the jump up from Tier 5 and into Tier 4 this week while one is back in the rankings after dropping out more than a month ago.
Kiké Hernandez has been outstanding the last 26 games, slashing .270-.385-.618 with 15 runs scored, eight homers, and 19 RBI. For the year he now has 14 dingers and 38 RBI to go with 49 runs scored. Owned in only 53 percent of ESPN leagues and 51 percent of Yahoo leagues, now is the time to add him. And in Yahoo leagues, he can slot in at both middle infield slots and all three outfield slots, so he can fill in nearly anywhere for you.
David Fletcher just continues to do what he does best – hit the ball and get on base. Yes, he has only two homers and he doesn’t steal a lot of bases as he has only five. But he is hitting .315 and has a .341 OBP with 54 runs scored. Over his last 23 games, he is slashing .388-.400-.551 with both of his homers and 14 RBI. Meanwhile, Jed Lowrie has found his stroke at the plate again. Since the start of July, Lowrie has hit four homers and driven in 12, and is slashing .317-.343-556. He is currently on only 33 percent of Yahoo rosters and 44 of ESPN rosters, so he is likely available and would be a good addition to anyone’s team right now.
|24||Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||TOR||NR|
We have two newcomers in Tier 5. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is a second baseman in Yahoo, so you might as well take advantage of that if you can. Gurriel got off to a slow start this season, but has been solid over his last 22 games, slashing .294-.347-.515 with four homers, 17 RBI, and 11 runs scored. For the year he is now up to 11 home runs and 41 RBI with a slash line of .264-.291-.424.
Ramon Urias has appeared in only 44 games this season for the Orioles, but the middle infielder has played well, slashing .285-.350-.415 with four homers and 20 RBI. Over the last month, he is slashing .315-.367-.438 with two home runs, 12 RBI, and eight runs scored.
Just missing the rankings is Thairo Estrada of San Francisco. With only 49 at-bats on the season, he hasn’t had enough playing time to be ranked. But over the last two weeks, he is slashing .414-.469-.552 with five runs scored and seven RBI. Even over the last month, he has been good with a .354-.426-.521 slash line. He’s only on two percent of ESPN and Yahoo rosters, but if you are in a deep league and middle infield options are low, Estrada would be a nice add right now.
Jazz Chisholm has been struggling at the plate for the last month and now is on the disabled list with a shoulder bone bruise. With him not able to play right now and other players doing well at the plate, Chisholm finds himself currently out of the rankings. Keston Hiura is once again struggling at the plate after looking good for the Brewers. But over the past two weeks, he is hitting .100 – not a good sign from a player who looked lost at the plate to start the season.
If you don’t know why Starlin Castro is out of the rankings, then you haven’t been paying attention to baseball or the news. With him on administrative leave, there is no reason to discuss Castro any further.