FANTASY PLAYS: Second half starting, time to make a run
With the All-Star break complete, fantasy baseball players are digging in and hoping to make a run toward a championship season. With that goal in mind here are a few players that can help strengthen your team as you move on up in the standings:
PLAYERS TO PICK UP
JAKE BAUERS, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (55 percent owned in CBSSports.com leagues) - Bauer is batting .324 with five HRs and nine RBIs in his last eight games. He has power and is surprisingly good at stealing bases. Bauer will be a regular in the Rays lineup for the rest of the season and depending on your league’s rules, he might gain outfield eligibility by season’s end.
ERVIN SANTANA, SP, Minnesota Twins (48 percent) - Santana spent the first part of the season on the DL and is set to make his season debut July 24. His first start is expected to be against the Blue Jays, who have the ninth worst batting average against right handed pitchers.
KIRBY YATES, RP, San Diego Padres (31 percent) - Yates is set to inherit the closer’s role now that the Padres have traded Brad Hand. He’s been extremely effective this season, posting a 1.43 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. You’ll have to bid aggressively to pick him up off the waiver wire but beware; Yates has been the subject of trade rumors, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be the closer on his potential new team.
MANNY MACHADO, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (100 percent) - We don’t need to tell you Machado is one of the top players in fantasy, do we? If you play in an NL-only league, exhaust your FAAB budget. You won’t find a more valuable player on the waiver wire for the rest of the season. The Dodgers have hinted that he’ll play some third base making him potentially multi-position eligible. Don’t need a bat? He’d make great trade chip.
TWO-START PITCHERS TO STREAM
LUIZ GOHARA, SP, Atlanta Braves (22 percent) - Gohara hasn’t been very good so far this season but he does have dynamic stuff and his first start of the week is against the punchless Miami Marlins. His potential second start is against the Dodgers who are batting just .232 against left-handed pitching.
ANDREW SUAREZ, SP, San Francisco Giants (52 percent) - Suarez has a 2.75 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in last nine starts. He faces the Mariners on the road on Tuesday, but gets the Brewers in his pitcher-friendly home park later in the week.
RYAN BORUCKI, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (11 percent) - The rookie Borucki has given up three runs or less in three of his four starts. He has favorable starts against the Twins and White Sox this week.
HITTERS TO STREAM
C.J. CRON, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays (60 percent) - Cron is batting .400 with three HRs and 10 RBIs over his last 10 games. He faces the Marlins and Yankees next week. Luis Severino poses a tough matchup but C.C. Sabathia and Domingo German have been hittable lately.
JESSE WINKER, OF, Cincinnati Reds (48 percent) - Winker has had a tough time against left handed pitching, but there are no south paws in his immediate future against the Pirates and Cardinals. He’s batting .413 with three homeruns and 19 RBIs in his last 21 games.
NIKO GOODRUM, 2B, Detroit Tigers (27 percent) - Goodrum is batting .351 in his last nine games. He plays in the hitter friendly Fenway Park for the first part of next week and faces the hapless Royals in the latter part of the week.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com