Blake Parker RP, LAA
Parker has been an under-the-radar bullpen stud this season, and now he could have the chance to close for the Angels. He wasn’t used in a save situation on Tuesday, but that was because he was unavailable. The Angels’ closer situation is fluid at this point, but it looks like Parker should get a chance with Bud Norris’ recent struggles. The 32-year old righty has posted a 2.52 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP this season, and he is missing bats, posting a strikeout rate of 11.26 K/9. It’s a bit of a dice roll at this point, but gambling on Parker becoming the closer is a good bet at a point in the season when it’s getting harder and harder to find saves on the waiver wire.
Rhys Hoskins 1B/OF, PHI
Hoskins is a big-time power prospect for the Phillies who has finally been called up the big league stage. With Tommy Joseph entrenched as the everyday first baseman, the Phils will try him in left field, which could be a bit of an adventure, but all that matters from a Fantasy perspective is the at-bats. In 115 games in Triple-A this season, Hoskins has put up a whopping 29 homers while slashing .284/.385/.581. We’ll see how he adjusts to pitching at the highest level but at this point, the Phillies should give him plenty of opportunities to find his way during the back end of the season. Take a chance on Hoskins’ power potential for the stretch run.
Matt Chapman 3B, OAK
Chapman has been hot of late, putting up Top-10 numbers at third base over the past month. His 31 percent K-rate is sky high and his average is still just a measly .224 on the season, but the seven homers and 19 RBIs in just 36 games are highly encouraging. He hit 16 homers at Triple-A this season before being called up, and he has a sky-high fly-ball rate, so the power output should stay at its current level. His average, while never going to be a thing of beauty, could also be in for a bump if he gets a positive regression in his .276 BABIP. Chapman is another homer-or-bust Fantasy option, but he should provide decent value in deeper leagues the rest of the way.
C.J. Cron 1B, LAA
Cron looks to finally have a clear path to at-bats for the time being with Yunel Escobar on the DL due to a Grade 1 oblique strain. Oblique injuries of any severity are tricky, and Escobar is a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries. His injury comes with a three week Optimal Recovery Time, so he should be out at least a couple of weeks, during which Luis Valbuena will move to third, opening up a spot for Cron. Cron’s 2016 stats were rather promising, as he racked up 16 homers and a 115 wRC+ in 116 games. He hasn’t stood out much this year due to the lack of consistent at-bats, but his past performance indicates he could be useful for the next couple of weeks with Escobar out. He’s worth a look in deeper leagues.
Marco Gonzalez SP, SEA
Gonzalez was recently dealt to Seattle and now finds himself in the rotation for the Mariners following Felix Hernandez’ trip to the DL due to shoulder bursitis. Hernandez is a High Injury Risk and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks (Inside Injuries’ Optimal Recovery Time is four weeks). Gonzalez’ first start after being called up wasn’t pretty, but his numbers in Triple-A prior to getting traded were. He posted a 2.90 ERA and 57:17 K:BB ratio, showing serious promise. He has a pedigree as a somewhat highly touted prospect and could be a factor for the Mariners in the coming weeks with Hernandez on the DL. James Paxton also left his last start with a pectoral strain and will miss some time. It’s a solid situation around him with the Mariners rotation both banged up and struggling. He could find himself with a spot even after Hernandez and Paxton return if he pitches well. At the very least, he’s worth a look as a guy who can give you some starts in the short term.
Reynaldo Lopez SP, CHW
Lopez will make his White Sox debut Friday against Kansas City, as the South Siders continue to bring up their prize prospects for the latter stages of the season. Lopez has been a highly touted prospect over the past couple of years and boasts a big fastball and strikeout stuff. He also got to pitch at the Major League level a decent amount for Washington last season before being included in the trade for Adam Eaton during the offseason. His last couple of starts in Triple-A haven’t been great, but he’s been highly encouraging overall this season, posting a 3.79 ERA and 3.85 xFIP with a 9.74 K/9. The biggest concern for Lopez is whether he can cut down on the walks, which caused him trouble in his stint in the Major Leagues last season; he walked 4.50 batters per nine innings. If he can at least limit the free passes, his potential makes him worthy of a roster spot given his talent and the thin starting pitching options in Fantasy. If he’s still available in your league, snatch him up.
Aaron Altherr PHI
Altherr was placed on the DL Thursday due to a strained hamstring, an injury he has battled at multiple points this season. The standout rookie is a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries and is expected to be out until September. The injury makes him a potential drop in season-long leagues given how long he’ll be out and the depth of the outfield position, but the numbers he has put up so far this year make it hard to let him go. He’s slashed .285/.357/.536 with 16 homers in 87 games, making him one of the few bright spots of the Phillies’ season. If he was dropped in your league, pick him up and stash him if you can, as he can be a key player over the final month of the season. His Optimal Recovery Time is three weeks. Altherr is a no- brainer hold in dynasty leagues.
Trevor Cahill KC
Cahill had been putting together a nice season before he was traded from San Diego to Kansas City, but he has struggled mightily since the move, posting an ERA over 8.00 in three starts, and his strikeout rates have been declining steadily since June. The struggles likely stem from a shoulder issue, which just caused him to hit the DL. He has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 rotator cuff sprain and is a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries. This is his second DL stint and the second injury to the same shoulder this season, which is serious cause for concern for the veteran pitcher who has a rather lengthy injury history. His resurgence has been a good story so far this season, and he’s been a decent Fantasy option until this point. It’s unclear how long he will be out, but one would imagine it will be longer than just the required 10 days given the recurring shoulder troubles. At this point, you’re better off hunting for a better starter elsewhere. He’s no longer worth holding onto, so drop him in all formats.
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