There is still enough time to add players to your fantasy team — including an All-Star pitcher who is his team’s new closer.
The later that we get into the fantasy baseball season, the harder it is for us to find help on the free agent wire. One of the most exciting parts is when teams start calling up their top prospects. The Boston Red Sox have already done so in calling up their top prospect, 20-year-old Rafael Devers. Devers is a great prospect but won’t have much of an impact for fantasy purposes. The problem with young prospects is they don’t give us the fantasy stats we need late in the season to help us win our league. Don’t worry, I have done some research and saved you guys the headache of going through the free agent wire to find who to add. Here is a list of players that can help you guys in your leagues.
Nick Williams, Outfield, Philadelphia Phillies (Owned in 18 percent of ESPN leagues): The Philadelphia Phillies called up one of their top prospects in Nick Williams and he has been everything that they were hoping for. Since the call up to the show, Williams is batting .309 with four home runs and 15 RBI. He is hitting in a good hitters ball park and he will be batting in the middle of the lineup.
In 2016, he was a top 25 prospect and has the upside to give us double digit home runs for the rest of the year. At this point of the season, there is little to choose from on the free agent wire. Williams is one of the better options.
Hector Sanchez, Catcher, San Diego Padres (Owned in four percent of ESPN leagues): It is rare to find a productive catcher this late in the season but Hector Sanchez doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Over the last 30 days, he has been one of the best hitting catchers in the league. He is batting .341 with six homers and 14 RBI. Four of those home runs have come against the San Francisco Giants but he has been hitting the ball well for over a month. At the catcher position, this is gold.
The good thing about catchers is you can “juice the orange” with a player. Meaning, you can ride the hot streak out and when he comes back down to earth you can replace him. Riding a hot streak with a player in fantasy is a good strategy to help you win your league. Don’t get married to some players and don’t be afraid to dump them when they are struggling.
Rajai Davis, Outfield, Oakland Athletics (Owned in 10 percent of ESPN leagues): If you are like me, you need speed. Rajai Davis is one of the few free agents on the market that is available that won’t hurt us in other categories. Over the last two weeks, Davis is hitting .500 (9-18), scored six runs and has four stolen bases. Power isn’t part of his game but he will hit for a good average and could steal double digit bases for the rest of the season.
Rajai Davis can be a solid third or fourth outfielder in deeper leagues and can help you win the steals category every week. He’s batting at the top of a sneaky good Oakland Athletics lineup that is tenth in the league in home runs. If he continues to get on base, he will not only steal bases but he should score a bunch of runs.
Brad Hand, Relief Pitcher, San Diego Padres (Owned in 13 percent of ESPN leagues): The San Diego Padres just traded their closer Brandon Maurer to the Kansas City Royals. Brad Hand was already an All-Star reliever this year but now he will get his chance to close games. Over 51 innings this year, Hand has a 2.21 ERA to go along with 66 strikeouts. He has been dominating and should be added immediately in every league. Brad Hand will be a top 15 closer from this point on for the rest of the season.
Finding saves this late in the season can be difficult to find. The Padres are helping many fantasy owners by moving Maurer to Kansas City and moving Hand from the setup role to closer. If you have a closer on your team that might get moved to a contender and will lose their role, add Brad Hand. It is better to be safe than sorry and Hand is guaranteed to get the rest of the save opportunities for the Padres moving forward.