Football season will kick off in just two days, but there’s still a month of baseball to be played. Now is actually a pretty good time to take advantage of league mates who may be a little consumed with fantasy football drafts and get a jump on some of the hot free agents sitting on your waiver wire.
Like always, today’s article will feature players owned in under 10 percent of ESPN fantasy baseball leagues.
(All stats and ownership percentages through Monday)
Justin Morneau, 1B, Rockies (8.7% owned)
Judging by Morneau’s ownership percentage, it’s easy to see that most people forgot about the guy while he was on the shelf with ongoing concussion issues. At one point, it wasn’t a given that the Rockies’ first baseman would return this season, as his career has been plagued with concussions. But the 34-year-old Canadian made a point to work his way back, and he’s now started three of four games since returning.
Morneau actually won the National League batting title last season, hitting .319 to go with 17 HR and 82 RBI, so there’s no reason he should be sitting on your wire, especially with 10 home games remaining at Coors Field.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B/SS, Padres (7.9% owned)
I don’t blame owners for owning Gyorko in so few leagues. After a nice power showing in his rookie season (23 HR), Gyorko has fallen flat on his face. He struggled with injuries last year, and only managed to hit .210/.280/.333 with a paltry 10 HR in 111 games. His bad 2014 carried over in 2015, too. He was so awful early on that the Padres sent him down to Triple-A to work things out.
Since mid-August rolled around though, the Gyork Store has been open for business. Over his last 23 games, the 26-year-old has seven homers and 21 RBI while sporting a very acceptable .279 BA. He’s been even hotter of late, smashing three long balls over his last four games.
Jedd Gyorko is back to being locked in to an everyday role with the Padres, and daily at-bats are key for fantasy owners down the stretch. You’re probably going to sacrifice BA or OBP, but he could hit 4-5 homers the rest of the way, which is highly valuable coming from the middle infield positions.
J.P. Arencibia, C/1B, Rays (2.3% owned)
What is this, 2011? It may as well be, because J.P. Arencibia don’t care what year it is, he just wants to MASH!
Always a power threat, the now-29-year-old hit 62 homers from 2011-2013, but his inability to get on base (career .257 OBP) and below-league average defense (26% caught stealing rate) led to him pretty much falling out of the big leagues. Over the past two seasons, he’s played more games in the minors (147) than in the majors (73), but redemption will be his!
Luckily for the catcher, the Rays always seem to be in need of a cheap power hitter (that is their business model, right?), and what better place to look than Arencibia? He’s making the team look good for giving him the chance, hitting .346 with three bombs and 10 RBI since being called up on August 26.
The batting average isn’t sustainable, but Arencibia is the type of player you want to ride while he’s hot. He’s a must-own in 2-catcher leagues and a decent option in leagues of 14 teams or more.