RotoWire Partners

Behind the Numbers: 30 Players for the Stretch Run

David Regan

David Regan

David Regan is a five-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, and was named the 2010 Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year.

Most of the questions I get as a so-called expert this time of year revolve around sleepers, prospects and whether I should pick up this guy or that guy to help my team in the stretch run. In that vein, we'll look at one player from each team this week. These players range from elite prospects (Xander Bogaerts) to former up-and-comers (Gordon Beckham) to obscure guys like Roger Kieschnick. Here are 30 names of note:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Baltimore - Steve Pearce (OF) -
Pearce has done more than his share of bouncing around the league and probably goes through luggage like John McEnroe went through tennis rackets in his prime. Pearce is batting a modest .250/.322/.375 in 115 PA, but with Henry Urrutia optioned to Triple-A this week, Pearce could see plenty of playing time as the team's DH. He's yet to truly figure out big-league pitching, but Pearce had a .987 OPS in 53 games at Triple-A last year, so it's possible he could get hot and provide AL-only leaguers with a short-term boost.

Boston - Xander Bogaerts (SS/3B) -
I know Bogaerts is gone in a lot of leagues, so this is for you 10-12 team mixed leaguers. In case you don't follow prospects, Bogaerts is one of the best. Just 20, Bogaerts batted .284/.369/.453 for Triple-A Pawtucket. He commands the strike zone, and while the power is still developing, he's homered once every 25 at-bats this year. Bogaerts should see time at short and third the rest of the way.

Chicago - Gordon Beckham (2B) -
Maybe his rookie season won't be Beckham's high-water mark after all. The 26 year-old is batting .301/.354/.406, and he could be a nice fill-in the rest of the way. Beckham's power outage could be attributed to wrist soreness, so if that's not an issue, perhaps we see a few more home runs.

Cleveland - Joe Smith (RP) -
Chris Perez in August: Eight innings, seven runs, three home runs allowed. Four blown saves is acceptable when you are converting 39 successfully, as Perez did last year, but this season he's saved just 19 while blowing four. Smith, meanwhile, hasn't allowed a run since July 26 to put him in the lead over Cody Allen for saves should Perez continue to falter.

Detroit - Matt Tuiasosopo (OF) -
I'm at a loss for why Tuiasosopo doesn't get more at-bats at the expense of Andy Dirks. All Tuiasosopo has done this year is post a .391 OBP and hit seven home runs in just 127 at-bats. Just for fun, that would project to 33 homers over 600 at-bats. Most of his at-bats are coming against lefties, but Tuiasosopo is 11-for-33 versus RHP, so maybe he starts to steal more at-bats.

Houston - Brett Oberholtzer (SP) -
A lot of sleeper candidates in Houston, but we'll go with this guy. Oberholtzer has a 1.69 ERA in four starts since moving to the rotation and it appears he'll get a look in that role the rest of the season. A 5.8 K/9 and 89-91 mph fastball limit his overall upside, but some of his minor league K:BB ratios are pretty impressive: 56:6, 107:18, 72:25 (this season). Home runs will be an issue on occasion, but Oberholtzer limits that damage with his solid control.

L.A. Angels - Hank Conger (C) -
Conger is a fairly well-known name, but there may be more fantasy value coming his way this year. First, Chris Iannetta is batting .210. Second, by admitting that Albert Pujols is done for the year with a foot injury, the Angels have essentially waived the white flag. Finally, Conger has started three of the last five games and went 4-for-9 with a pair of walks. He's unlikely to hit more than .250, but he'll hit a handful of homers and could be a solid No. 2 catcher in a lot of leagues.

Kansas City - Jarrod Dyson (OF) -
I'm not sure I understand the acquisitions of Jamey Carroll and Emilio Bonafacio for a team that sits 8.5 games out in the Central and 6.5 out in the Wild Card standings entering Wednesday. The everyday lineup simply isn't good enough to make a run. Dyson has started just one of the last three games, but in that game he stole a base to give him 20 in just 143 plate appearances. If you're looking to gain a point or two in the SB category, he's an option.

Minnesota - Jared Burton (RP) -
I've written about Brian Dozier and Andrew Albers in recent weeks, so I'll go with a different player here. Glen Perkins has allowed six runs in his last 10.2 innings, and while that's not quite enough to put him on shaky ground, it makes Burton at least worth keeping an eye on. Burton had a 17.1 inning scoreless streak snapped on Monday, but he's clearly second in line to close (sorry Casey Fein) should Perkins continue to falter.

N.Y. Yankees - Gary Sanchez (C) -
Sure, Sanchez is just 20 and yes, he has very limited experience above A-ball (55 Double-A PA), but have you seen the Yankees' catching situation? Sanchez is batting .311 since being promoted from High-A, and though his defense is still a work in progress, the Yankees could get desperate and give him a look.

Oakland - Sonny Gray (SP) -
Gray isn't a sleeper in a lot of leagues, but he is in shallower formats. Gray was the 18th overall pick in the draft a couple years ago and has allowed just two runs in 18 innings with the A's while flashing a fastball that is averaging close to 94 mph. Gray posted a 3.42 ERA and 9.0 K/9 in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League prior to his callup, and given the environment, both are solid numbers. He could provide quite a bit of value down the stretch.

Seattle - Erasmo Ramirez (SP) -
Ramirez has a 5.94 ERA, but his 7.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 are solid. In addition, Ramirez went into Texas last time out and held the Rangers to one earned run over seven innings. He could help if you need pitching.

Tampa Bay - Jose Lobaton (C) -
Lobaton is backing up Jose Molina, but he could start seeing more at-bats. Lobaton has started three of the last five games and tallied five hits with a home run in that span to bring him to .255/.316/.399. Molina's OPS is close to 100 points lighter, so it's possible Lobaton could get in the range of 60 percent of the starts from here on.

Texas - Leonys Martin (OF) -
After being mired in a .229 stretch over 48 at-bats, Martin was given a rare day off, only to return and go 3-for-4. I'm not sure you can buy too low here, but in shallower formats, Martin's 27 steals and six homers provide quite a bit of value if you're chasing steals in particular.

Toronto - Sergio Santos (RP) -
Casey Janssen is still locked in as closer, but now that Santos is healthy, he could be next in line for saves. The oft-injured reliever is back throwing in the mid-90s and could be a closer option at some point this season. He's not worth picking up just yet, but should Janssen start to show signs of weakness, Santos becomes very attractive.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona - Adam Eaton (OF) -
I have to admit a bit of bias here, as I watched plenty of Eaton live while he played most of last season for Triple-A Reno. I saw a player who batted .381/.456/.539 despite being of less than average size. Eaton's gone 6-for-15 in his last three games, including a homer run Wednesday, and though he's yet to swipe a base this season, he has the ability to be a top-10 leadoff man. He should see most of the CF at-bats the rest of the way.

Atlanta - Dan Uggla (2B) -
There were no real obvious candidates for this slot, so we'll go with Uggla. Uggla is coming off LASIK surgery, but he's expected back about Aug. 28. Uggla is batting just .198 this year, but if you need a second sacker, roll the dice that the surgery is resounding success.

Chicago Cubs - Jake Arrieta (SP) -
The disappointing Arrieta is looking to be one of many underachievers to make the most from the AL East to the National League, and so far so good. In two starts for the Cubs, Arrieta has allowed just one run in 13 innings. Factor in a fastball that averages a career high 94.1 mph, and you have a pitcher worth a look in deeper formats.

Cincinnati - Jonathan Broxton (RP) -
Aroldis Chapman is in no danger of losing his job, but Chapman's 3.04 ERA is surprisingly high, and in his last two outings, he's failed to strike out any of the seven batters he faced while allowing a pair of runs. Does this mean you should run out and grab Broxton in your NL-only league? If you have Chapman, it couldn't hurt. In your 12-team mixed league, Broxton isn't worth a roster spot ... yet.

Colorado - Corey Dickerson (OF) -
Dickerson wasn't in the lineup Tuesday or Wednesday, but perhaps the Rockies aren't impressed with a .315/.370/.517 slash line. The 24 year-old represents a guy you certainly want to look at as a potential keeper, but he could also provide plenty of value THIS year.

L.A. Dodgers - Brian Wilson (RP) -
There isn't an obvious sleeper on this high-profile team, but what happens in L.A. if Wilson comes back and starts throwing 93-95 mph again and is effective while at the same time, Kenley Jansen has a bad outing or two? Probably nothing, as Jansen has been utterly dominant while Wilson has reportedly been in the 91-92 range with his fastball in recent rehab outings. Still, make sure you watch how he does. It should at least be entertaining.

Miami - Jacob Realmuto (C) -
This one is a bit of a stretch, but when your team's top two catchers are Jeff Mathis and Koyie Hill, you're looking for Plans C and D. Realmuto is batting just .240/.309/.359 for Double-A Jacksonville, but he's still considered the organization's catcher of the future, so perhaps he'll get a September look.

Milwaukee - Juan Francisco (1B) -
There are a lot of candidates here, including a few of my favorites in Scooter Gennett, Khris Davis and Tyler Thornburg, but we'll go with sometime different this week. Francisco has fanned in a whopping 35.7 percent of his plate appearances, but he's also homered 18 times and qualifies at both corner infield positions. I like him in NL-only formats, but a batter who goes 0-for-8 with eight strikeouts in back-to-back games has issues.

N.Y. Mets - Noah Syndergaard (SP) -
Prospect hounds know all about this guy, but he's really rocketed up the prospect charts after coming from Toronto in the R.A. Dickey deal. In 10 starts since a Double-A promotion, Syndergaard has a 1.59 ERA, 11.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. He could get a look next month.

Philadelphia - John Mayberry (OF) -
Darin Ruf and Cody Asche are a bit too obvious, so we'll go with the up-and-down Mayberry. Mayberry is batting a modest .243/.299/.414. He has a decent nine homers and five steals in 304 PA and should get semi-regular at-bats the rest of the way.

Pittsburgh - Charlie Morton (SP) -
Morton is set to serve as the team's No. 4 or 5 starter, considering he has recorded three consecutive quality starts and has a solid 3.67 ERA. Morton is averaging a career-high 93.1 mph on his fastball after clocking in at just 89.9 last year, so he's healthy and the results have been solid. Morton has also really improved his control the last two seasons, posting walk rates of 2.0 and 2.2 in 2012 and 2013. He has the stuff to provide plenty of value.

San Diego - Jaff Decker (OF) -
Decker has started just three of the last seven games, and considering he entered Wednesday just 3-for-19, he's going to have to pick it up to be anything other than an afterthought. Still, Decker hit .293/.389/.450 for Triple-A Tucson and is best known for drawing more than his share of walks. Decker's power probably tops out at 20 homers annually at best, but he can run a little and in OBP leagues, he probably has even more value given his contact issues. With the Padres beset by injuries in their outfield, Decker should see plenty of playing time, at least over the next couple weeks.

San Francisco - Roger Kieschnick (OF) -
Kieschnick is already 26, but he's a former third-round pick, so there's at least a hint of a pedigree here. Kieschnick has been seeing fairly regular time in left field recently, entering Tuesday's action batting a modest .245/.339.286 in 56 PA. Kieschnick offers moderate power and a handful of stolen bases, so NL-only leaguers, take note.

St. Louis - Shane Robinson (OF) -
Again, this is a stretch, but there are few better fourth outfielders in the game. Robinson is batting .256/.379/.366 with two homers and three steals in 82 at-bats. Of course, the Cardinals have a stacked outfield, but if there's an injury, top prospect Oscar Taveras (ankle) is done for the year, so playing time could be there for Robinson. In very deep NL-only leagues, he's worth a look.

Washington - Ross Ohlendorf (SP) -
Ohlendorf had recorded a pair of excellent starts against the Mets and Dodgers before hitting the DL on July 31 with a shoulder injury. He should return to the rotation this week, however, and he'll return to a 1.85 ERA in 34 innings. That's worth an NL-only look, right?

Top Fantasy Baseball Player News