I hope you enjoyed the all-star break. I know I did, as I was able to take the week off as well. I know you missed me, but don’t despair any longer, baseball is back from their short break and so am I, refreshed and ready to roll!
Something I like to do every year is go through each of the ten standard categories around the midpoint of the season, in this case just after, and give you the best players available to help you in those categories.
The reason I like to do this article every season is because with the exception of points leagues, the point of Fantasy Baseball is to win the categories in your league. At this point especially in Roto leagues you know where you need to improve your team, you just need to know who to target.
None of these players I will be recommending below are going to be overall good players, I mean, they are available for a reason. However, they can help you in the category I have them listed under. Some might be able to help you in multiple categories and if they can I will be sure to mention that.
This week I am going to focus on just the hitting categories. Be sure to come back next week for the pitchers.
Waiver Wire Targets
All players I am suggesting are owned in 30% or less of ESPN leagues. Of course if there are better players available in your league that are owned in more than 30% of leagues, by all means get them first.
Adam Eaton, OF, Chicago White Sox Owned in 22.1% of ESPN Leagues
After a horrible first month of the season, Eaton has really picked things up. He now has 50 runs on the season, which ties him for 25th in the majors. His batting average since April has risen up to .249, which is still not great, but considering he had a .179 average in April, that is pretty good.
Ender Inciarte, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks 24.9%
Inciarte was playing some great baseball through the first two and half months, scoring 38 runs. He then injured his hamstring and missed a full month. In that time he was dropped by a lot of owners and if you need help in the runs category you should go take advantage of that.
Of course he does not show up at the top of any leaders lists, but that is because he was injured for such a long time. Also keep in mind he can help you in average and in the speed category so he is not just a one category wonder.
Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies 19.3%
The fact of it is most of your good power hitters are taken. The ones that are most likely available in your league are not going to be league leaders in home runs, but can provide you solid power and give you that slight boost you need. The negative to these players is they will hurt your batting average. You have to take that into consideration when picking up these players. Is the dip in average worth the slight boost in power? You know your team.
Howard is exactly this type of player, but is still the best available for home runs with 16 total on the season. Perhaps he gets traded to a new team to help the rest of his counting stats, but while in Philly he is really only going to be good for some above average home run help.
Billy Butler, 1B, Oakland Athletics 30.9%
Butler has silently had a solid season for Athletics and if you are reading this section you are likely interested in the 44 RBI he has. In the last two weeks he has picked things up too with seven.
The batting average is not what you hope from Butler, a career .291 hitter currently at .246, but a low BABIP of .273 means you should see some improvement there. He is also able to provide some other help too with 40 runs and nine home runs on the season. Yes nothing great, but he won’t be just a one category wonder for you. Always a nice thing.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Baltimore Orioles 16.3%
14 RBI. you’re really putting a guy who only has 14 RBI on this list?
Yes, yes I am and here is why. Because he was injured for so long this season, Schoop has played in just 21 games. That makes the fact that he has 14 RBI pretty good. I doubt he keeps up this pace, since it means he would be projected to finish with 113 RBI in 162 games, but he can be very valuable, especially at a position that is fairly weak overall.
Jarrod Dyson/Alex Rios, OF, Kansas City Royals 12.9%/45.3%
I’m going to group these two together because I just don’t feel like saying the same thing twice. OK, I’m cheating a bit with Rios, but just read below.
Dyson is probably going to give you more steals than Rios, but you have to be somewhat concerned about the platoon he has with Paulo Orlando. Dyson is lightning fast though, so if he can continue to hit as well as he is, he will absolutely stay in the lineup against righties and give you plenty of steals until Alex Gordon returns in September.
Rios on the other hand is a full time player now that he has returned from the DL. He is finally starting to look like the player I thought he would be this year, hitting for a good average, .284 and stealing bases, 4, and scoring runs, 15, over the last month. The power is not going to return like we have seen in the past for Rios, but that is not what you are picking him up for at this point.
John Jaso, C, Tampa Bay Rays 16.1%
I was going to ignore batting average overall since it can be such a random category, but it is still a typical category so I could not let you down.
Jaso has dealt with injury most of the season, but in his 14 games total, his batting is a stellar .359. I do not expect that to continue since he has a really high BABIP of .419, but he can still keep his average around the .280 mark and be valuable in today’s baseball.
He is even more valuable considering he bats a top the lineup and has catcher eligibility. You don’t see that very often and I’m sure there are plenty of you out there carrying catchers who are less productive than Jaso right now.
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