Sadly, just 10 days of baseball remain in the MLB regular season and the fantasy season. At least the commissioner was nice enough to let everyone into the postseason, so there'll be plenty more ball games on the tube to watch.
Unfortunately, fantasy leagues don't work that way. You're in the last leg of the playoffs right now or you are in a roto league fighting to gain ground at the final stretch or clinging onto a lead. Either way, you can't simply stand pat and hope your players finish strong. You need to target areas of need and fight for every ounce of help you can get, just as you've done for the first 50 games. As someone who is battling to stay within the top-10 overall of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI) and hoping to finish top-five, I've made several of these waiver claims already while ditching players like Austin Meadows along the way.
Most RotoBallers are in competitive leagues or are already one step ahead of the competition, so these hitters may not all be available on the waiver wire. That's why I will provide several options to cover each potential category of need. Here are my top recommendations to help gain ground during the last week of 2020 fantasy baseball.Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Offer expires Thursday night! Sign Up Now!
Clint Frazier (OF, NYY) - 38% rostered
My preseason call that he was a preseason dynasty buy-low is finally being vindicated! Randy Dobnak also qualifies as a half-year success, assuming you traded him away midseason. Still waiting on the other guys, but keep an eye on Taylor Trammell in 2021. Anyway, Frazier just needed ABs and now he's getting them. Frazier should stick in the lineup thanks to a 90th percentile hard-hit rate where he can keep clubbing away against the Red Sox, Jays, and Marlins.
DJ Stewart (OF, BAL) - 30% rostered
All he does is hit home runs. Not literally but pretty close. Stewart has 14 hits this year and seven of them have cleared the fence. That 41.2% HR/FB is going to plummet at some point but it's hard to convince me he won't go deep at least once or twice more over the next eight games. He doesn't get the comforts of Camden but facing the Red Sox staff and traveling to Buffalo's minor-league digs still bode well.
Christian Arroyo (2B/3B, BOS) - 1% rostered
Make it four homers in the past week for Arroyo, who is suddenly the regular second baseman for Boston. Not known as a power hitter, Arroyo is simply on a hot streak and we should be here for it. Arroyo was a first-round pick and high-end prospect for the Giants back in 2017 before struggling to a .192/.244/.304 slash line in his rookie season. He wasn't given a long leash as the team dealt him to Tampa for Evan Longoria the following season. He never stuck there and didn't even crack the lineup in Cleveland before apparently finding a place where he feels at home. His 40-grade power doesn't bring promise for the long-term, but we're talking one week here and his bat is full of thunder right now.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, BOS) - 12% rostered
Bradley is riding a modest six-game hitting streak which in no way reminds anyone of 2016. His future with the franchise may be coming to an end, which may be motivating him to showcase his remaining skills to potential suitors in free agency. He's also using his wheels, stealing three bases in the past week. Normally not a big threat to run, Bradley may be that unexpected cheap source of speed you seek.
Leody Taveras (OF, TEX) - 2% rostered
His manager has stated Taveras could be the starting center fielder in 2021. That endorsement shows what the club thinks of their #5 prospect and reinforces the fact he'll get steady playing time through season's end. Taveras has top-tier sprint speed in the 98th percentile, just one-tenth behind Fernando Tatis Jr. He hasn't run a ton but does have four steals without being caught. The Rangers are fourth in SB per game and attempts, so speed-seekers might prioritize Taveras over the veterans on this list.
Robbie Grossman (OF, OAK) - 17% rostered
For some reason, Grossman is running again. He stole two bases in game two of the season, waited 10 games before swiping another couple over three games, then went through another drought. Now, he's got three steals in the last three games. Why couldn't Ramon Laureano at least do that? Tab Grossman in deeper leagues and cross your fingers in hopes that he keeps running.
R + RBI
Jared Walsh (1B, LAA) - 40% rostered
A name that nobody knew before two weeks ago but can't be ignored any longer. Walsh is a 27-year-old rookie who didn't make much noise in the minors until 2019 when he broke out in a big way with 36 HR, 86 RBI, and a .326 average that earned him a cup of coffee. He scuffled mightily, striking out 40% of the time and was not in the team's immediate plans for 2020. Fast forward to September 2 and Walsh is suddenly one of the hottest hitters around, batting .323 and slugging .738 with seven HR and 19 RBI over a two-week span. This has earned him a move up to the second spot of the lineup, ahead of the man known as the best player in baseball. The average may regress but buy into the power, at least for the short-term.
Jurickson Profar (2B/OF, SD) - 25% rostered
After a terrible start to the year, Profar is closing strong. He has five multi-hit performances in the team's last nine contests while swiping two bags and taking Dustin May deep. Those are nice bonuses, but it's the runs and RBI that we can count on most. Profar had his five-game run-scoring streak snapped tonight but even at the bottom of the lineup has the chance to cross the plate or drive one in each game. Profar does provide the occasional homer and steal and nearly qualifies as a modest five-category contributor in deep leagues but his 13 R+RBI in the last 14 days qualify him as a streamer to add.
Jesus Aguilar (1B, MIA) - 20% rostered
One would assume Aguilar belongs in the homer club but that hasn't been his jam this year. Instead, Aguilar has used a solid .341 OBP to become a run-scoring force. Aguilar is tied with Jared Walsh and others for the sixth-most runs scored over the last 14 days with 13 R. Nine RBI is nothing to sneeze at either.
Miguel Rojas (3B/SS, MIA) - 11% rostered
I was adamant enough about this pick, I decided to Tweet about it. That's when you know it's serious. Also, I'm a lifelong Marlins fan.
Marlins IF Miguel Rojas deserves more credit.
Slashing an impressive .360/.450/.581 on the year but amazingly his walk rate and strikeout rate are the same!
12% BB% is good but 12% K% is Nolan Arenado territory.
180 wRC+ for a player who was known mainly for defense.
— Pierre Camus (@Roto_Chef) September 17, 2020
That may not convince many fantasy managers but it shouldn't be overlooked that Rojas has been swinging a hot bat all year long and is in the lineup nearly every single day, even during doubleheaders.
Alec Bohm (3B, PHI) - 38% rostered
All the kid has done since getting called up is rake. Bohm hasn't slumped and is maintaining a .317/.368/.496 slash line over his first 136 plate appearances. Since the calendar turned to September, he's only gone hitless in four out of 19 games while putting up eight multi-hit games during the same span. The power is still developing but Bohm is a safe CI play for the remainder of his rookie year.
Ke'Bryan Hayes (3B, PIT) - 8% rostered
My podmate Nick isn't sold on Hayes as an offensive threat long-term. I'm not convinced the power will ever come around to the point where he can become a weekly fixture at 3B. What we both agree on is that Hayes is smacking the ball at a clip that is pretty damn impressive. A 64.7% hard-hit rate is almost unheard of. Official Hard% league-leader Fernando Tatis Jr. is at 63.9% followed by Miguel Sano at 59%. It has led to an also never-seen-before 35.3% line drive rate for Hayes. It doesn't matter that those will be impossible to replicate next season, he just needs to keep it up for one more week.
Brady Singer (SP, KC) - 28% rostered
First things first - add Singer if he's available. He rightfully could slot in all of these sections, other than saves of course. Singer has lowered his WHIP to 1.18 after blanking each of his last two opponents, allowing a total of three hits and three walks over the last 14 innings. Singer has also lasted at least five innings in nine of his 10 starts, so the wins might follow as well.
JT Brubaker (SP, PIT) - 2% rostered
There haven't been many rays of hope in the Steel City this summer but Brubaker may qualify as a modest one. Like most widely-available pitchers on bad teams that comprise these lists, Brubaker is off the radar because his season-long ratios (4.79 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) aren't impressive. Those are almost as misleading as Jack Flaherty's 5.52 ERA that nearly doubled due to one nightmarish game. His blip versus the White Sox aside, Brubaker had allowed a total of four ER over his other previous three starts. The Cubs and Indians are on deck, neither of which should scare you away from streaming him.
Spencer Turnbull (SP, DET) - 31% rostered
You'll have to move quickly on this in daily transaction leagues since Turnbull faces the Indians on Saturday evening. Cleveland can't buy a win these days (until they faced the Tigers) and he then gets to face Kansas City, who is bound to cool down by then. His overall Statcast numbers are unappealing but he's been excellent at home, posting a 2.01 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in four starts. The best bet is to stream Turnbull once and then drop him.
Adrian Morejon (SP/RP, SD) - 2% rostered
Openers and middle relievers can only help a fantasy roster so much but an effective one can at least stabilize ratios while providing a modest strikeout boost. Morejon has been Drew Pomeranz Lite for the Friars in his rookie campaign. He holds a 2.84 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and has 17 K in 12 2/3 IP. Morejon projects as a starter in 2021 once he is further removed from his shoulder injury, but for now, he'll have to dazzle with his 96 MPH sinker in relief.
Tarik Skubal (SP, DET) - 10% rostered
The other top pitching prospect in Detroit, Skubal hasn't fared much better than Casey Mize. The upside is that he's done better against upcoming opponents and will get two more turns to prove himself before the year is over. The first comes on the road against Minnesota, which would seem like a must-avoid, followed by the Royals. Those are hot offenses but so far in 18 IP Skubal has a 2.64 ERA against those two. There is certainly risk with any young pitcher but we know he has the upside to dominate at times too.
Trevor Rogers (SP, MIA) - 6% rostered
Sixto Sanchez is getting the attention but Rogers is the homegrown pitching prospect Miami fans have been waiting to see since before the J.T. Realmuto trade brought Sanchez over. The matchups aren't ideal, as he'll go on the road to face Atlanta and then likely end his rookie campaign at Yankee Stadium. Although his xBA is in the 88th percentile and xERA in the 82nd percentile, Rogers has been uneven in his last two outings and isn't a safe bet to go deep into a game with Miami's playoff hopes on the line. God, I've waited so long to say that...
Tanner Houck (SP, BOS) - 3% rostered
The MLB debut for Houck was a big success. He tossed five scoreless frames, allowing two hits to the Marlins while striking out seven. He gets the Yankees next and could be in line for a road tilt in Atlanta in the final weekend. Houck was a first-round pick in 2017 and rates as Boston's #6 prospect, so the chance for a strong finish is certainly there. He hasn't had the healthiest walk rate in the minors, however, and was only in the strike zone 40.7% of the time in his first start. For that reason, he's a recommended add for strikeouts but not a guarantee to keep the scoreless stretch going too long.
Freddy Peralta (SP/RP, MIL) - 14% rostered
The move to the bullpen was the best thing for Peralta. His ratios have stayed fairly low all year, he cleared a spot for the revelation that is Corbin Burnes, and Peralta has been a useful fireman in the middle innings without the pressure of starting or closing. The innings are sporadic, so there is risk that he doesn't contribute as much as another starting pitcher but you can't ignore a guy with a whiff rate in the 98th percentile.
Framber Valdez (SP, HOU) - 60% rostered
There's a smaller chance (40% to be exact) that Valdez is available in your league, at least on Yahoo, but he bears mentioning. Many managers rage-dropped Valdez after consecutive disastrous starts in Los Angeles against the Angels and Dodgers respectively that tanked his ERA. The strikeouts were still there and Valdez has been eating innings all year long. Until the Sep. 12 outing in L.A., he had gone at least six innings in each of his starts since his first of the year. He settled back down in a big way by limiting the Rangers to one ER and striking out 11 a day ago. If he's out there and nobody noticed, grab him immediately.
Kyle Freeland (SP, COL) - 34% rostered
We might not get back the Freeland from the first half of the season when he was among the league leaders in quality starts and the Rockies were a playoff contender but the schedule begs a second look. I realize he only has two wins on the year but he won't be facing the Dodgers or Padres anymore; Freeland gets the Giants and Diamondbacks, both of which are winnable games. He continues to last six innings on a regular basis, having done so in three straight despite not notching a victory.
Brett Anderson (SP, MIL) - 8% rostered
If strikeouts are absolutely no concern or you need to dig deeper down the wire for valuable streamers, Anderson is your guy. The Brewers are still fighting for a playoff spot and will need to get by Kansas City and St. Louis in the coming week. Anderson just pitched six solid frames versus the Cards and earned a win, his third of the past month. Again, the strikeouts aren't happening; his 14.3% K% is right in line with the past five years. He's a crafty lefty who will outperform expectations and hopefully earn some Ws along the way.
Freddy Peralta (SP/RP, MIL) - 14% rostered
Wait, what? No, there's not a glitch in the Matrix. Peralta could net you a win or two in relief just as he's done twice in the past five days. The Brew Crew is still in the hunt for a playoff berth because they play in the NL Central and, well, it's 2020. Peralta might see higher-leverage usage down the stretch so plug him in and hope for a W while you pile up the Ks.
Matt Barnes (RP, BOS) - 36% rostered
Adding a Red Sox reliever, or any player for that matter, is a painful proposition. That said, saves are always a precious commodity and the hardest to find late in the season. If you find yourself in need of a couple more to secure your place in the standings, Barnes should be the top choice. He has shut the door five times in the last two weeks and has now gone four straight outings without allowing an earned run. That's good enough to earn him streaming rights if you are looking for a boost in this category.
Stefan Crichton (RP, ARI) - 18% rostered
Once Archie Bradley was dealt, the closer for the D-Backs was... well, nobody really because they weren't winning any close games. But now it's obvious that the 28-year-old has the job locked down, as he's recorded three saves in the past five games. The ratios (2.66 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) aren't bad and he's striking out almost a batter per inning, so there isn't a compromise here either. In a category easier to make gains late than any other, it's shocking he isn't being added more frequently. Be proactive and make a claim now.
Sam Selman (RP, SF) - 0% rostered
Who? Why, it's Sam Selman, San Francisco stretch stash for saves! It looked like Tony Watson would be the boring option at the back-end of this bullpen but Selman came on to secure his first Major League save against the Mariners in their last contest and could get another look. It's not as if this is a future closer-in-waiting though. Selman is 29 and never sniffed the ninth inning of a close game before. Still, he wasn't randomly plucked from the 'pen. Selman's Statcast numbers warrant a closer look, at least for 10 more days.
Bryan Garcia (RP, DET) - 4% rostered
Garcia looks like he may be the closer now that Joe Jimenez and Gregory Soto have both lost the job. How many saves you are going to get from whoever is pitching the ninth in Detroit is questionable, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Garcia is a deep-league save-only option if the above closers are taken.
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