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12-Team Mixed Leagues

Martin Prado, 3B, Miami Marlins (Ownership: 72 percent CBS, 53 percent ESPN, 58 percent Yahoo!)

If it’s not too late to play category catch-up in your league and you’re seeking help in batting average or on-base percentage, the Marlins third sacker can help in both. A red-hot month of July for Prado, where he hit for a delectable .351/.417/.526 line in 108 plate appearances and walked (10) more than he struck out (nine) has carried over into August to this point. Prado owns a .339/.400/.525 output in 65 August plate appearances while once again walking more than he’s punched out, and has settled into the second spot in Don Mattingly’s order quite nicely, now hitting behind Dee Gordon, who returned on July 28th and is getting on base at a .400 clip since returning from his PED suspension. Prado’s good work over the last month-and-a-half has propelled his season AVG to .326, which is tops among third basemen (min. 200 PA), has moved his OBP to .379, which is fourth, and his .306 tAV now places him just ahead of Manny Machado (.305 tAV) and Nolan Arenado (.299 tAV) into a tie for ninth. It’s Prado’s slugging output since the beginning of July that makes him a more well-rounded fantasy third baseman and a more feasible target for standard mixed leagues, as five of his seven home runs on the year have come since the All-Star break, equaling Josh Donaldson and the underloved Yangervis Solarte’s total over the second half. His 19 runs scored and 25 RBI also place himself inside the top five at the position since the break.

With Gordon’s on-base prowess in front of him and Christian Yelich’s continued brilliance behind him, Prado should have plenty of opportunities down the stretch to continue to help in both runs scored and RBI, in addition to his season-long excellence in AVG and OBP, making him a solid overall target in leagues of any size over the rest of the season. –J.J. Jansons

Ervin Santana, SP, Minnesota (Available in 64% of ESPN.com leagues)

Over his last 10 starts, “Big Erv” has posted eight quality starts, a sparkling 1.84 ERA and 50:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 68 1/3 innings. Yet, he remains available in more than half of ESPN.com leagues. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. On a surface level, the catalyst behind his recent resurgence would appear to be improved command. Not only has Santana riding his lowest walk rate (2.2 BB/9) since 2013, but it’s one of the lowest of any major-league starter this year. Limiting traffic on the basepaths has seemingly enabled Santana to survive despite a pedestrian strikeout rate (6.7 K/9). The shortage of wins in Minnesota is a legitimate drawback. Despite a sub-2.00 ERA over his last 10 outings, he’s only picked up a victory in half of them. Regardless, there’s no way Santana should be available in this many leagues, even in shallow formats his performance merits an addition.

Chad Green, SP, New York (Available in 95% of ESPN.com leagues)

I’d love to wax poetically about rookies like Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove or Alex Reyes, but let’s get real. If you’re reading this column, you already know how good they are and picked them up already. Instead, let’s focus on Green, who was mentioned in this space just prior to the All-Star break last month as someone who could make an impact in deeper leagues if he found a way to stick in the Yankee rotation. The 25-year-old made a splash against Toronto earlier this week by fanning 11 Blue Jays over six shutout frames. While it’s unrealistic to expect him to post double-digit strikeouts each time he toes the rubber, the talent is real.

Through nine appearances (five starts) the right-hander owns a 3.18 DRA (considerably lower than his surface 4.05 ERA) along with 40 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 33 1/3 innings. Those numbers shouldn’t come as a shock if you were watching him in the minor leagues this year. In 16 starts at Triple-A, Green recorded a preposterous 1.52 ERA with 100 strikeouts and just 21 walks in 94 2/3 innings. Given the state of the Yankees rotation, Green won’t relinquish his spot anytime soon and should have tangible fantasy value, even in shallower formats, over the final month of the 2016 campaign. –George Bissell

15-Team Mixed Leagues

Keon Broxton, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (Ownership: 20 percent CBS, 11 percent ESPN, 14 percent Yahoo!)

After struggling mightily with the bat in his first two stints of the year with the big-league club, hitting .125/.253/.188 and whiffing at a prolific 44 percent rate in 28 games, Broxton has settled into a center field timeshare in Milwaukee since returning from Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 26th. Milwaukee’s dominance of the stolen base category—their 132 SB as a team is 25 more than second-place Cincinnati has—is roughly the equivalent of the cheese aisle at a Wisconsin-area Woodman’s compared to anywhere else in the country. Broxton’s speed has been utilized quite nicely wherever he’s been at this season; he had 18 steals in 47 games at Colorado Springs and he’s swiped 10 bases (without being caught) in 19 games since his return in late July. Broxton’s ten steals and his sparkling .350/.451/.567 line that includes a reduced 31 percent strikeout rate since his recall, has made him the 12th most valuable outfielder over the last month, per ESPN’s Player Rater, just behind Christian Yelich, handsome Max Kepler and somebody named Mike Trout. While Broxton has a bit of pop—he hit eight home runs during his time in the Pacific Coast League and has hit two in 72 plate appearances upon his return—his value is clearly in his wheels, and if he can continue to get on-base anywhere close to the .362 OBP he posted this season at Colorado Springs down the stretch in Milwaukee while garnering at least a platoon share of the center field job, Broxton can provide plenty of help for those looking for cheap speed. J.J. Jansons

Tyler Duffey, SP, Minnesota (Available in 91% of ESPN.com leagues)

A pair of lackluster late-July outings nearly cost Duffey his spot in the Twins rotation, but he’s bounced back with a trio of solid outings. In addition to earning a victory in each start, he’s posted a 3.79 ERA with 20 strikeouts and just two walks over 19 innings. The 25-year-old is still serving up an obscene number of gopher balls (1.6 HR/9), which is a huge cause for concern in his overall profile. However, his 4.24 DRA, more than a full run lower than his 5.71 ERA, is indicative of a pitcher who has performed much better than the traditional metrics would indicate. After a return engagement against division-rival Kansas City last night, Duffey should get the surging Tigers at home next week. The recent return to form is encouraging and the right-hander could be a useful asset in deeper formats.

Ryan Vogelsong, SP/RP, Pittsburgh (Available in 90% of ESPN.com leagues)

Few pitchers have oscillated between extended stretches of exceptional and lackluster performance like Vogelsong has over the past six seasons. It’s been mostly bad in recent years for the veteran, who hadn’t posted a sub-5.00 DRA since his renaissance campaign in San Francisco back in 2012, until this season (4.54).

After being hit by a pitch while batting on May 23, it was uncertain whether the 39-year-old would even return. In three starts since returning to the Pirate rotation, Vogelsong has fired 17 2/3 innings with a stellar 2.55 ERA along with 12 strikeouts and just five walks. With less than six weeks remaining in the fantasy season, quality innings off the waiver wire are exceptionally hard to find, making the Steel City hurler a viable target, even if his performance backslides. –George Bissell

AL-ONLY LEAGUES

Yoan Moncada, 2B, Boston (Available in 94% of ESPN.com leagues)

My editor has mercifully banned me from talking about catcher Sandy Leon, who is somehow available in nearly three quarters of ESPN.com leagues, so let’s stay in Boston where it looks like there is a high degree of probability that Moncada will be joining the Red Sox next week if his ankle isn’t a persistent problem. You certainly don’t need me to sell you on the talent. In 97 games between Single-A and Double-A, the 21-year-old has hit .299/.405/.520 with 50 extra-base hits (13 home runs) and 44 stolen bases. He’s already begun to work at third base in Portland and with Travis Shaw scuffling it seems inevitable that he can impact the major-league lineup in September once rosters expand.

The ankle injury is a concern. It might be the only factor that prevents him from coming up, but if he’s healthy enough to get on the field in the next few days, he should be up. This is not a drill. If he is somehow available, regardless of format, he needs to be owned. –George Bissell

NL-ONLY Leagues

Mitch Haniger, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

The 25-year-old Haniger received his first call to the majors on Tuesday, and has continued to smash the ball at the big-league level, getting hits in six of his first 14 plate appearances and knocking in five runs. Haniger implemented some notable swing changes prior to the season, and after hitting .294/.407/.462 in the Southern League, he responded to the challenge of the much more age-appropriate Pacific Coast League by posting an absurd .351/.437/.697 line that included 19 home runs and six stolen bases in just 64 games. A.J. Pollock’s pending return could impact Haniger’s playing time if the team chooses to keep Michael Bourn around while continuing to play Brandon Drury in the outfield, but an organization with a few high-ranking front office members that may be feeling some heat as of late may be inclined to give a long look to Haniger—part of their return for Gerardo Parra at 2014’s trade deadline—over the rest of the season, particularly since they already cleared one obstacle for playing time in 23-year-old Socrates Brito by demoting him to Triple-A Reno to clear a spot for him earlier in the week. — J.J. Jansons

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BPKevin
8/18
Appreciate any thoughts you have on Mitch Haniger. Thx
GeorgeBissell
8/19
JJ went into greater detail on Haniger in the column, but his numbers at Triple-A (even by PCL standards) are impressive. He's the type of hitter that can get hot and make a major impact in deeper leagues over the final month of the season. Worth a pickup if he's available in your league.
alwaxman
8/19
What are the odds of Broxton continuing to hit the way he has? Steals are devalued in my league's point system and I need BA. Wondering if the risk of Broxton is worth it when instead I could grab a low upside but more reliable Angel Pagan or Denard Span.
jansonsjj
8/19
Since his recall, Broxton obviously is hitting much better than he did at Colorado Springs, which isn't going to continue for much longer, nor is his .528 BABIP over the second-half. Doesn't much he can't be very productive if he's playing, but since steals are devalued in your league I wouldn't hesitate to grab Pagan, as he offers more reliable production and everyday playing time. Just don't expect nearly the same amount of speed, as Broxton has almost as many steals (10) since his recall in 19 games as Pagan does for the entirety of the season (13) in 89 games.
hotstatrat
8/19
Can you talk about Sandy Leon in this section?
GeorgeBissell
8/19
There's nothing left to say at this point. He's having an incredible season.
wilymo
8/19
what kind of an editor bans someone from talking about sandy leon. honestly
GeorgeBissell
8/19
Obviously a joke. Sandy Leon is incredible. Easily one of my favorite developments of the entire season.
wilymo
8/19
you're lucky man. my editor banned me from making jokes
buzzspice
8/20
Thoughts on anibel Sanchez. He's getting the k's