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Tuesday, 08 September 2015 20:55

Fantasy Baseball Gurus: Playoff Add Advice - September 8, 2015

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A new-look Rick Porcello could be the difference in your fantasy playoff matchups A new-look Rick Porcello could be the difference in your fantasy playoff matchups

Fantasy baseball playoffs are rapidly approaching, and the Fantasy Baseball Gurus of the CLNS Radio Red Sox Beat Team have you covered with a flurry of add options to boost your team for the postseason. Our panel consists of Red Sox beat writers Jess Thomas, Adam Belue, Lauren Campbell, and Lars Gjesteby. Based on recent performances, season-long trends, and intriguing September call-ups, each columnist has recommended 2 pitchers and 2 position players to add that could be the difference in your playoff matchups. 

Please note that all analysis was done prior to games on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and in some cases prior to games on Monday, Sept. 7.

 

Position Players:

1. Herrera has been playing every day for the Phillies and has really been impressing. Over the weekend, Red Sox fans saw Herrera torch them for seven hits in three games, including a homer and three RBI. He also had a four hit game on August 30th, and despite all of this production, he is only owned in 42% of ESPN leagues. For the season, he is hitting .298 with 7 homers and 36 RBI, but is now getting frequent playing time and taking advantage. Philly is so far out of it that he is just playing for a job next year, and doing a darn good job of it, so he should also be playing for your fantasy team for your stretch run.

2. Valencia has been putting up solid numbers for a terrible Athletics squad, and is only owned in 25% of ESPN leagues because of it. But he is hitting nearly .300 for the season with 13 homers and 51 RBI and has really been surging of late. Since August 31, he has a whopping 9 RBI and in the last 2-3 weeks, he has had numerous multi-hit games. As with Herrera, he is doing a great job while no one notices because his team is struggling, but he could really help a team that is nearing a playoff berth. An extra bonus comes with the fact that he plays three positions.

3. The Mets' first-round pick just one year ago has jumped from Single-A to the majors this year, and his recent performance at the plate indicates he's staying in the Big Apple for good. Over the Mets' last 15 games, he is hitting .391 with three homers and eight RBIs. Since August 12th he has raised his average from .200 to .298, getting it as high as .311 on September 2nd after three straight multi-hit games. With often-injured Michael Cuddyer currently out again, Conforto is playing on a regular basis on a division-leading team. Conforto is available in over 85% of leagues, so if you need outfield help in the fantasy playoffs, go grab him now.

4. Escobar has taken over the everyday shortstop job in Minnesota and ran with it, hitting .340 over the last two weeks while blasting four home runs. Escobar has eight multiple-hit games over the past three weeks, with an on-base percentage close to .400 and an OPS around 1.000 during that span. His position eligibility makes him an even more intriguing option for your playoff roster, as he can be placed in a variety of spots to solve any flaws in your team. The Twins are currently in the midst of their own playoff push, so you know they will be riding the hot hand at shortstop, and with Escobar currently owned in just 43% of ESPN leagues, it's time for your team to ride his hot streak too.

5. Piscotty has gotten clutch hits and has started to make a name for himself. Despite the team losing to the Pirates on Friday, Piscotty went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. He had an 11-game hitting streak and six of those games he had multiple hits. He's only 24 and this is his first season in the majors. However, he gets the hits and is starting to find his groove with the team. He's slashing .345/.377/.577 with four home runs and 25 RBI through 148 at-bats.

6. You have depth with Moss with being able to play him at two different positions. He's been getting consistent at-bats and despite going 0-for-4 in his last two games, his a average is .224 with 19 home runs, including hitting home runs in consecutive games earlier this month against the Nationals. One of those games he blasted a three-run shot in the ninth to win the game. Go back to Sept. 2 where he had four home runs in six games. If you're trying to make a push for the playoffs, pick up Moss for some extra at-bats, hits and maybe even some more home runs.

7. Kiermaier has caught fire over the past 30 days, hitting .346 with 4 homers, 11 RBI, and a .915 OPS over that span. Despite struggling in the middle months of the season, the Rays center fielder has brought up his average 20 points to the mid .260’s since August 1st. Kiermaier is playing for a contract, so expect him to keep the heat on as he sees consistent playing time for the rest of the season. While his team isn’t going anywhere, he can provide solid numbers in nearly every offense category for your team. 

8. Olivera is the third baseman of the future for Atlanta, and they want to get a good look at the promising prospect down the stretch while they flirt with the worst record in baseball. His everyday starts also provide a great opportunity for you to slot him into your fantasy team for the playoffs. He’s only managed 4 hits in 20 at-bats since being called up on Sept. 1, but has driven in 7 runs in six games with one homer. The average should improve as he gets more comfortable with major league pitching. Olivera has a lot of upside and he’s worth an add if you’re looking for more power production at third base.

Pitchers:

1. After having about the worst season you could, Kelly figured out how to pitch again and has gone 7-0 in his last seven starts. He has given up two or fewer runs in six consecutive outings. Kelly has surpassed the seven inning mark twice in that time and frankly has just been on fire. He is seemingly unstoppable currently, so make sure to get him while he’s hot now if you haven’t already done so. He is still unemployed by 70% of ESPN users, so get on it.

2. Another player on a bad team who is quietly doing good things. De La Rosa holds a 9-6 record this season and has only given up one run total in his last two starts in 13 innings total. His 14 strikeouts in those two games has resulted in two victories and he is a pitcher who gets deep into games nearly every start. He is only owned in 7.8% of ESPN leagues, so he is a very lightly owned power pitcher who can get the job done for your playoff push.

3. Finding a closer in September is nearly impossible in fantasy baseball, but the Mariners new closer is still available in 55% of leagues currently. Wilhelmsen is a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities since claiming the closer spot on August 23rd, not allowing a run in 9.2 innings of work. He has nine strikeouts and just two walks in that span, giving up six hits while working in multiple innings for three of those saves. Wilhelmsen was a quality closer just a couple seasons ago in Seattle, and it looks like he has finally regained that form.

4. Iglesias isn't getting much run support from his offense, but he is racking up the strikeouts over his last three starts, picking up 33 K's in 21 innings of work. He has gone six or more innings in eight straight starts, giving up just 16 runs while striking out 62 batters. His K:BB rate and WHIP during that streak is also phenomenal, and he has a stellar 1.10 WHIP for the season. You might not get a win during Iglesias' starts, but he will fill up every other pitching category, and is available is just over 40% of leagues during the first week of the fantasy playoffs.

5. Despite being back and forth all season between good and bad starts, Milone had a solid start Wednesday. He pitched seven shutout innings and striking out seven. He only gave up three hits and after he gave up a hit in the third, he retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced. His ERA stands at 3.60 and that's the lowest it's been since July 25.

6. Porcello put the horrendous outing against Toronto where he barley went two innings and gave up 10 hits behind him and traded that for quality starts of his next three outings. On Sept.1, Porcello had a career-high 13 strikeouts against the Yankees, but was handed the loss because the offense couldn't provide the run support needed. His last start consisted of 7.1 innings pitched. He gave up eight hits, which may be a little high but he only gave up three earned runs. He has turned a corner and made a significant turn around and is worth picking up. The 5.12 ERA and 7-12 record may scare owners, but he's figured himself out and is worth the pick up.

7. Since returning to the Cleveland rotation in mid-August, Tomlin has gone 4-1 in five starts with a 2.55 ERA. He has gone 6 or more innings in all of those outings and allowed 2 or less runs in four of the five. His K:BB ratio is also a whopping 32:3 in that span. If that isn’t even to convince you to add him, then his 0.71 WHIP over the past 35.1 innings should. With Corey Kluber due to miss starts, Tomlin should have a regular spot in the Indians rotation for the rest of the season and is available in nearly 60% of ESPN leagues.

8. Holland is 3-0 in 4 starts since returning from the DL on August 19th and has pitched at least 6 innings in each of those. He owns a 2.15 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in those games. Over his past two outings, Holland has dominated, allowing just one run in 17 total innings. His K:BB ratio of 25:3 in 29.1 innings makes him a valuable pitcher for your team. Holland is available in over 40% of ESPN leagues and will get consistent starts down the stretch as Texas pushes for a wildcard spot. 

 

If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Red Sox Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!

Lars Gjesteby

Lars Gjesteby is a writer/reporter for the Boston Red Sox Beat Team of CLNS Radio.

He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering and is currently pursuing a PhD. Lars works to improve hardware and software for medical imaging systems, including x-ray CT and MRI. 

You can follow him on Twitter @LahzG

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