Fantasy Baseball: Buy These Late-Season Surgers
It felt like August snuck up on us, but here we are at the tail end of it. We’re in the final month and a half of baseball and trying to squirrel away as many counting stats as we can in order to shore up our teams for the final stretch. Right now, we want to take production wherever we can find it. Here are four late-season surgers who can make an immediate impact for your team. All of these players can pad your counting stats and all are floating around on waiver wires. Go get ‘em!
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Fantasy Baseball: Late-Season Surgers
Josh Rojas (2B,SS,OF — ARI)
Josh Rojas recently returned from the IL and picked up where he left off. In his eight games since returning from a fractured pinky finger, Rojas has been on fire. He has a .483/.516/.793 slash line, going 14-for-31 with four doubles, one triple, and one home run.
Rojas has been no slouch on the season, either. He’s hitting 11/54/33/7/.286 and has a solid plate approach — he has an 11.6% walk rate and his 19.7% chase rate is ranked in the 93rd percentile.
Rojas provides a little bit of both pop and speed. His 26 doubles rank 23rd overall and his three triples are tied for 15th overall. Additionally, his .369 OBP plays well in leagues that account for that. Rojas has bounced around the order since his return but has primarily batted leadoff for the season. If he sticks at the top of the lineup, he could be a sneaky source of runs down the stretch. His multi-position eligibility is an added bonus.
Rafael Ortega (OF — CHC)
Since the Cubs cleaned house at the trade deadline, Rafael Ortega has become the team’s leadoff hitter and has done nothing but excel in the role. I wrote about Ortega last week, but he’s worth mentioning again because he’s continued to produce.
Since July 27, Ortega has a .392/.458/.622 slash line, with four home runs, 17 runs scored, 12 RBI, and four stolen bases in 22 games. He also has a 10.8% walk rate and 19.3% strikeout rate during that span.
Ortega has a .410 BABIP, so he’s likely to regress at some point. But he still has solid expected stats — .288 BA, .425 SLG, .342 xwOBA. He’s a run machine with a plus-batting average. Scoop him up.
Huascar Ynoa (SP — ATL)
Huascar Ynoa could be a game-changer down the stretch. Prior to fracturing his hand, Ynoa had a 3.02 ERA (3.78 FIP) and 1.05 WHIP across 44.2 innings. In those nine appearances (eight starts), he posted a 27.9% strikeout rate and 6.1% walk rate. He also had a 13.3% SwStr% and 31.6% CSW%
Ynoa just returned from the IL and like Josh Rojas, picked up where he left off. He faced the Marlins in his first game back, allowing three hits, one walk, and four strikeouts across 5.1 scoreless innings. Yes, it was against the Marlins. But the results were still encouraging to see.
Ynoa relies primarily on a slider and fastball combo, with his slider being his money pitch. On the season, his slider generates a 43.6% whiff rate and has a .200 BA/.198 xBA against it.
Ynoa was having a breakout season before his injury, and he could continue his strong play for the rest of the season. He’s the least available player listed here, but he’s still floating around on waiver wires — he’s rostered in 62% of Yahoo leagues and 78% of CBS leagues.
Connor Joe (1B, OF — COL)
Admittedly, I didn’t know who Connor Joe was until a couple of weeks ago. He’s been playing sporadically for the Rockies for most of the season, but he started to see regular playing time since the All-Star break.
Since July 20, Joe is slashing .316/.375/.620 with seven home runs in 23 games. He’s also batted leadoff in his last 10 games. Joe has a solid plate approach with an 11.3% walk rate and 21.2% strikeout rate on the season.
Like I said at the top, we want to take production wherever we can find it at this point in the season. Like most Rockies, you want to take advantage of Joe when he’s playing at Coors Field:
AVG OBP SLG OPS
Home .357 .431 .679 1.109
Away .234 .314 .338 .652
Joe is a player you should feel comfortable plugging in your lineup whenever he plays at home. He should continue to get everyday at-bats while Raimel Tapia is on the IL. There’s no shame in riding the hot hand, especially if that hand plays in Coors Field.
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