Obscure Pick-ups Could Hold Key to a Title

by Eddie Mayrose

During the course of a Fantasy Baseball season, there will be a number of opportunities for you to make a run toward the top of the standings.  Early on, there’s a lot of competition for free agents as owners not satisfied with the roster they drafted try to upgrade. Quick evaluations to distinguish who starts from breakout seasons are necessary here but, unfortunately, are not that common.  Big chunks of a transaction budget are often spent with little bang for the buck.

Another is, usually, after the first trade of the season is made within your league.  That initial swap always seems to open the floodgates for a week or two as owners in contention vie to keep pace. Here, again, it’s important to be able to recognize a flash in the pan, although, with a larger body of work, it’s a little easier.

Then,as the Fantasy deadline approaches,sometimes a few weeks after the MLB deadline, the HAVES, gearing up for a stretch run to a title, pillage the rosters of the, by now, disinterested HAVE NOTS, who are simply looking to improve their positions heading into next year.

While most owners dip their toes into the water during these periods of the season, the guys that are also perusing the box scores on a daily basis are the ones usually doing most of the bragging over the winter.  They recognize that every day will present an opportunity to improve, even if just for a short time.  Free agents or your own reserve players on a hot streak,your own bench player two- start pitchers facing very weak teams or MLB bench players thrust into the lineup as a result of a trade or injury can all give you an advantage over those less diligent players. If any of these hidden gems can give you a statistical boost even for a few days,you might have all you need to raise a banner.


Derek Lee was shipped from Baltimore to Pittsburgh yesterday and gained 19 games in the standings.  More importantly, his return  to the National League should give him a huge boost in confidence.  Seemingly never comfortable with the Birds, the seasoned vet is now in the middle of a contenders’ lineup. Look for Lee to deliver overv the last two months.

Staying in Baltimore, the much-maligned Mark Reynolds has been on a small HR tear.  Now, it’s long been our position that Reynolds no longer belongs on your FAntasy roster and that still applies in most cases.  However, if you need some power, he’s up to 23 HR after poking two this weekend.  Take advantage of his mini hot streak but be ready to pull the plug.

Another all-or-nothing guy is Atlanta’s Dan Uggla, who has spent most of the season as a huge disappointment. So much so, that a 20 game hitting streak raised his BA to just .206.  The dingers that he was expected to provide are finally leaving the ballpark over the last few weeks, making him a must-play if you need power.

St. Louis 3B David Freese spent a good portion of the season on the DL.  For that reason, he’s still a bit under the radar, even though he’s hitting .319. A free agent in some mixed leagues, he’s got enormous value in the middle of a potent lineup.

The only thing holding back Royals’ 1B/DH Billy Butler is his lack of pop from a traditional power spot.  Butler slammed 3 HR this week and seems to be enjoying a power surge.

With the housecleaning finally done in Houston, Jason Bourgeois moves into the third spot in the order, adding another dimension to the speedster’s value.  Pick him up for the SB and be very happy when he provides a few RBI as well.

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