August 7, 2022, 12:26 pm
It doesn’t seem possible, but we are a month away from the start of the fantasy postseason. Most H2H playoffs will begin either on September 5th or 12th, and we are approaching the point where the trade deadline in your leagues will be a distant memory. This means that any value you add to your roster will soon have to come through waivers or FAAB, and the pickings are slim in a lot of competitive formats.
Ideally, you added a player or two during the week who had an opportunity open up for them, or just someone who has looked good recently, but even if you didn’t there is still time to act. I’ll be looking at players who fit into both of these categories today, as there is still a lot of unclaimed value sitting out there on the wire.
I view the five players mentioned below as more than streamers. Either situation or skillset (and sometimes both) lead me to believe that these guys will be on most rosters by the time we wrap this season up.
Felix Bautista (56% Yahoo, 15% ESPN)
The time to grab Bautista was on Tuesday, when the Orioles incumbent closer Jorge Lopez was dealt to the Twins. It was a move that was widely expected and Bautista was added in some leagues prior to the trade, but in spite of that and the recent surge he has seen this week, he is still pretty widely available and is the highest priority add in fantasy right now.
The 27-year-old has dazzled in his first year in the show, with his big strikeout numbers (12.2 K/9) being a big reason why. He ranks in the 90th percentile or better in xBA (91st), Whiff% (93rd), K% (98th), and Fastball velocity (99th) while also stranding 92% of baserunners this season. He’s also lowered his BB% to a reasonable 8.7% after years of walking 15-20%+ in the minors.
He converted his first save chance on Friday against the Pirates and he’s currently sitting on a 1.77 ERA and 0.90 WHIP on the year. He won’t be available for long and in the most competitive leagues he is likely already taken, but double check to make sure he isn’t available.
Alex Cobb (35% Yahoo, 21% ESPN)
It appears that Cobb’s luck has turned around and he is once again a safe option week in and week out. He had a couple of bad starts recently against the Dodgers but that is not a reason to ignore what the stats tell us about him, especially recently.
Over his last eight starts (46.2 innings), Cobb has pitched to a 2.70 ERA and a 2.47 FIP. He has also seen some positive regression in his BABIP (2.76) and LOB% (65.9) . For the season the BABIP still sits at .324 and if he had pitched the requisite innings to qualify on the leaderboard, he would rank as the 5th worst in the category. His dreadful LOB% of 60.6 (which would rank dead last) is also creeping up to his career average.
Many have given up on Cobb in their leagues and while it was certainly a challenge to hold on for a while there, he seems to have found a groove that hopefully will carry on for the next two months.
Jorge Mateo (54% Yahoo, 23% ESPN)
The main argument against Mateo this season has been that he only contributes in one category (SB), and that was mostly true up until the last month or so. Since July 1st, Mateo has gone 23/89 (.258) with four home runs and seven stolen bases, which has been good enough for Top-50 value in category leagues during that stretch.
He has been such an elite source of steals (his 26 trail only Jon Berti for tops in all of baseball) that all he needed was one more category to draw people in. Even if his average stays in this range or drops a bit, the speed with some decent pop should be worth looking into.
THE BAT X projects that he will hit five more home runs, steal 10 more bases, and hit .228. He’s also eligible at 2B, SS, and OF on both Yahoo and ESPN so he makes for a great depth option to plug in when you need to fill a gap, or if you just need extra swipes in a particular matchup.
Braxton Garrett (39% Yahoo, 18% ESPN)
After a rocky start to his season, it’s been mostly smooth sailing for Garrett. I say mostly because he did have a rough start at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati a week ago, but that’s really the only complaint you can make about his recent string of performances.
Over his last four starts going back to July 14th, he has a 3.18 ERA and 1.88 FIP. In that time, he’s registered a 14.7 K/9 and 40% O-Swing, which rank 1st and 5th respectively among qualified starters. He hasn’t pitched enough innings to qualify (he’s only been in the bigs since June), but his K-BB% of 21.3 would rank 9th in MLB if he did.
His increasing strikeout numbers and excellent 5.7 BB% make him one of the most appealing options who is still available in most leagues, but he certainly won’t be for long.
Kolten Wong (46% Yahoo, 68% ESPN)
Wong has quietly put up a very productive season while filling the gap at one of the tougher fantasy positions in 2B. He’s available in most 12-team leagues and he probably shouldn’t be, especially considering how he has lit up the box score over the past two weeks.
In his last 14 games, Wong is 20/50 (.400) with two home runs and 18 R+RBI. He has provided a nice little power speed combo for the season as a whole with eight dingers and 11 steals. He also has the highest wRC+ of his career at 114.
There’s something to be said about consistent players like Wong who provide at a weak position. His numbers won’t really jump off the page at you but he has an everyday role in a solid lineup and he offers production across the board, with RBI being the only place where he won’t help you much.