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September 11, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 24

11

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on the waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.

12-TEAM MIXED

Juan Lagares, OF, New York Mets
September fantasy baseball is all about positioning. And it seems only fitting that a player who is so great at it in the field has made himself awfully useful to those looking to make a push in stolen bases over the last two-and-a-half weeks of the season. Lagares has been better than anticipated all season at the plate and as good as advertised in the field—leading to a ridiculous season per some stats (he’s been worth 3.6 WARP and 5.6 rWAR). He’s been making it count down the stretch, though, as he’s hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games, hitting .338/.370/.456 with only eight strikeouts in 73 plate appearances in that time frame. However, the most interesting aspect of his performance has been how many liberties he’s been taking on the base paths. After only stealing four bases over the first four-and-a-half months, Lagares has heisted eight since the start of his hitting streak. With the Mets going nowhere, despite what math may say, Lagares may find himself with the green light as often as he wants it throughout September. That would turn him into a mixed-league play nearly across the board. —Bret Sayre


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September 4, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 23

5

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on your waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.

12-TEAM MIXED

Mookie Betts, OF/SS/2B, Boston Red Sox
It’s been a roller-coaster season for the diminutive Red Sox rookie, as Betts tore through the upper minors during the first half of the year, and then was briefly shunned after struggling out of the gate at the major league level. The shock of a top prospect not being super awesome right away must have just paralyzed the organization and fan base. Lo and behold, after some experience and soul searching, Betts is doing pretty much was Betts was expected to do by those with unrealistic expectations. After being recalled on August 1st, Betts is just hitting .311/.400/.525 with three homers and three steals in 61 at-bats. In fact, he’s been hitting so well that his 132 OPS+ ranks second on the team, among players with 50 plate appearances or more. With the shallowness of middle infield (and the fact that he carries outfield eligibility to boot), there’s no reason he should be owned in only 26 percent of Yahoo leagues and 18 percent of ESPN leagues. —Bret Sayre


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August 28, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 21

0

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on your waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.

12-TEAM MIXED

Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals
The statistics haven’t quite backed up the pedigree thus far in St Louis, but Taveras has been quietly improving ever since he was plugged into the lineup nearly every day following Allen Craig’s exportation to the Red Sox at the deadline. In those 24 games, the 22-year-old outfielder is hitting .262/.311/.345 with a homer and nine RBI. So why exactly is he showing up here? Because I’ll always take a chance on a high-end prospect with a strong contact rate upon hitting the major leagues if I need a shot of upside in September. The power certainly hasn’t shown up yet, and he’s showing his mettle as a free swinger, but Taveras has been making some tweaks to his swing, including shortening it up, and the results appear positive thus far. This recommendation isn’t for the owner who needs a reliable source of fantasy production at the back of the outfield, but if you’re trying to make up some ground, Taveras could be just the sparkplug you need. —Bret Sayre


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August 21, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Week 21

3

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on the waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.

12-TEAM MIXED

Norichika Aoki, OF, Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been on quite a tear in August, and having their leadoff hitter doing what he’s supposed to be doing has certainly helped them in this stretch. Aoki, who had been quite a fantasy disappointment over the first four months of the season, is doing the two things the Royals and fantasy owners want him to do recently: get on base and steal bases. Since August started, Aoki is hitting .295/.386/.410 with 14 runs scored and six steals in just 18 games. Compare that to the 40 runs scored and nine steals Aoki had over the first 82 games of the season, and you start to wonder what your team could have looked like if he had been doing this since the start of the year. And while it’s true that non-elite speed gets devalued a bit in shallower mixed leagues, Aoki’s strength in batting average (or OBP, depending on what you fancy) and runs helps make him a player who should be owned across the board right now in rotisserie leagues. —Bret Sayre


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August 19, 2014 6:00 am

The Stash List: 18th Edition: The Final Quest

14

Bret Sayre

Taijuan Walker nabs the no. 1 spot in the last top 20 of the season.

It’s been another very fun season of writing the Stash List, but all such things must come to an end. This will be the final installment of the 2014 season, so I hope it’s been helpful to you guys, and let’s do it again in 2015, shall we?

The Graduates: Dexter Fowler (2), Mookie Betts (3), Michael Pineda (4), Rafael Montero (6)
Fowler has returned with a vengeance from his intercostal strain, hitting .389/.522/.556 in his first five games back. I like him to close the season strong in an improving offense. The news was relatively sour on Betts until Monday, when Jackie Bradley Jr. was sent back down to Triple-A because his ineptitude at the plate finally overshadowed his delightfulness in the field. Betts should be playing pretty close to every day for the foreseeable future, and should be improved over his first stint, but don’t expect the light bulb to just turn on brightly. Off days for the Yankees have given Pineda some extra rest after his first start back—which was a positive sign—and he won’t toe the rubber for the second time since returning until Wednesday. The upside is still high, especially if you’re chasing strikeouts. Meanwhile, elsewhere in New York City, Montero is trying his hardest to satisfy the Mets faithful who really wanted to see Noah Syndergaard instead. He followed a weak start against the Nationals with a strong one against the Cubs, and fortunately for Montero, the Mets have a reasonably tame schedule the rest of the way.


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August 12, 2014 6:00 am

The Stash List: 17th Edition

14

Bret Sayre

With four graduates and seven departees, this week's top 20 has a host of newcomers.

The Graduates: Javier Baez (1), Wilmer Flores (10), Trevor May (12), Tommy Milone (15)
Considering it was a regular week, it was a pretty popular one to ascend from the Stash List. We all know how Baez has spent his first week in the majors, and it’s been almost exactly as we would have thought—three homers, 12 strikeouts, and no walks sounds pretty indicative of what to expect the rest of the way. If you need power, make sure he’s not available on the waiver wire.

Flores may only have a .557 OPS, but he’s certainly the best offensive option the Mets have at shortstop in the medium-term, and will now give him every chance to prove he’s as terrible at the position as his scouting report says.


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August 8, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 19

1

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on your waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.

12-TEAM MIXED

Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
There’s definitely some weirdness to Singleton’s numbers so far this season. The biggest, by far, is that he’s handling lefties extremely well, despite having that knock against him in the minor leagues. I mean, 59 plate appearances is nothing to draw vast conclusions from, but his .264/.322/.566 line against southpaws at least hints at an ability that many thought he’d struggle with. Recently, it hasn’t mattered who Singleton has faced, the power stroke has been out in full force. If the performance against left-handers is even slightly real, that will fill out Singleton’s fantasy value even more than we had initially thought—potentially raising his future batting average and power output (assuming full playing time). After all, Singleton is not going to keep producing like a below replacement-level infielder against right-handers (.589 OPS in 141 at bats). If you just lost Paul Goldschmidt in a shallow league and are looking to at least replace his power, Singleton has a chance to give you some similar output in that arena—albeit, at a price. —Bret Sayre


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July 31, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 18

0

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of the league.

12-TEAM MIXED

Adam Eaton, OF, Chicago White Sox
It’s pretty incredible that Eaton is still owned in fewer than half of Yahoo leagues and barely more than that in ESPN formats. Eaton returned from the All-Star Break with a vengeance, and he’s been taking it out on opposing pitchers to the tune of a .413/.471/.478 line with seven runs and two steals (along with five walks and five strikeouts). Sure you’d like to see him hit for a little more power, even if it’s not the over-the-fence variety, but if he keeps getting on base at the top of the White Sox lineup, he’s going to score a lot of runs the rest of the way. Additionally, the power (which there is enough of here to make him a double-digit homer guy over a full season) that hasn’t shown up lately will push him toward being an outfielder who needs to be owned in all leagues in August and September. —Bret Sayre


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July 29, 2014 6:00 am

The Stash List: 15th Edition

14

Bret Sayre

The latest on Mookie Betts, Javier Baez, Noah Syndergaard, and other players who should be on your fantasy radar in case they earn promotions.

The Graduates: Neftali Feliz (22)
This past week saw the sad-sack Rangers finally deal off their closer (who had been one of the best in baseball to this point) Joakim Soria to the Tigers, freeing their former star closer to retake the role. Unfortunately, Feliz still doesn’t have his pre-Tommy John velocity back and it’s manifesting itself in diminished strikeout numbers (he has four in 11 1/3 innings). He can keep the job without the whiffs, as they don’t really have a great alternative, but his value will be diminished if it doesn’t pick up a little.

The Departed: Joey Gallo (HM)
As much fun as this would be, there’s just zero incentive for the Rangers to rush Gallo when he hasn’t even gotten a half-season’s worth of at-bats at Double-A.



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July 24, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 17

0

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format in which you play.

Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worthy pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.

12-TEAM MIXED

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July 17, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 16

0

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are sitting on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.

Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worth pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.

12-TEAM MIXED

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July 10, 2014 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 15

1

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format in which you play.

Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only, and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worth pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.

12-TEAM MIXED

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