On Thursday, I discussed the importance of managing your categorical needs at this time of year. By this point in the season, you could actually make a case for dropping certain would-be stars like Adam Dunn or Michael Bourn if their categories are no longer of use to you (and if you’re certain enough they won’t fall into the hands of a competitor that needs what they offer). On the flip side, players that you might have turned your nose up at earlier in the year may now be incredibly appealing. Because there is so little time left in the year, a couple of home runs or steals could mean a point or two in the standings. And if this is the case, the crappy batting average that is likely to come with it probably doesn’t matter to you. As I always say, it’s all about context. So today I return with some more one-category wonders that are worth considering for a final championship push.
My Mitch Moreland obsession is far from a secret. He was one of my preseason sleepers and I drafted him everywhere. As little love as the guy gets outside of these pages, he has 25-homer power at worst. Especially if you have the luxury of picking the days you play him (he sits against lefties), he could give you a couple of homers over the final weeks.
Like Moreland, Tyler Colvin is pretty much a regular starter versus righties. Also like Moreland, he has good raw power and a very favorable home park. He’s enjoying a breakout campaign, but he’s flown under the radar enough that he may be sitting out on the wire for you.
Chris Carter is pretty much the exact opposite of Colvin and Moreland. Aside from the commonality of good power, he plays mostly against lefties and has a terrible home park. The A’s play seven games in Texas and New York down the stretch, however, so he’ll have ample opportunity to put on a power show. His limited playing time, however, makes him an inferior option to Moreland and Colvin. Even if you plan on picking up two guys to make sure you have a bat in the lineup every day, you’d be better off grabbing both Moreland and Colvin; when one of them has an off day, it’s more likely the other will be playing than it is Carter will be.
Shallow Option: Carlos Pena is the prototypical low-average, high-power slugger. He only has 17 long-balls on the year, but he still has some boom in his bat and is worth a look if round-trippers are your only concern. Mark Reynolds is a player in the same mold but is the superior option if he happens to be available in your league while in the midst of his second-half resurgence.
Deep Option: If we’re talking deep enough that part-time players are the best available, Ryan Lavarnway might be your best bet for cheap pop. He’s playing semi-regularly between catcher and DH and has enough power that he could give you two or three homers down the stretch, if you’re lucky.
Gregor Blanco injured himself in Saturday’s game and could miss a couple days, but he’s been playing most days for San Francisco once again with Melky Cabrera’s suspension. He’s not going to help much anywhere besides stolen bases, but hey, that’s why you’re here. He stole 13 bases while playing full-time in May and June.
Josh Shepardson talks about Everth Cabrera in today’s VP, but he possesses elite speed and, unlike most of the others on the list, can plug a scarce middle infield hole. He’d be a real difference-maker for your team.
Shallow Option: I’m actually surprised Ben Revere isn’t owned in more leagues, but at a sub-40 percent level in Yahoo!, he could be a terrific stretch-run pickup. He’s closer to 80 percent ownership in ESPN, which makes him our shallow option, but he’s really an excellent option in any format. He is very quick (36 steals this year), which is our only prerequisite today, but he can also hit for a relatively high average while scoring some runs.
Deep Option: As Paul Singman noted in last week’s VP, Anthony Gose is once again playing most days for Toronto (particularly against righties) and while he strikes out a ton, he has speed to spare. A couple weeks of bad batting average from one lineup spot won’t even make a dent in your team’s overall average, so suck it up and scoop up these cheap steals.