Post-hype pitcher makes good (USAT)
You've still got 15 days to get that final roto standing where you want it, and the waiver wire is there for the taking, especially with football drawing many of your opponents away. Stay the course, gamers.
Here are six widely-available players who might be able to help with the finishing kick.
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• If your ratios need a little work and you're not necessarily chasing wins, there are lots of interesting relievers to kick the tires on. Take a look at what Luke Hochevar has done in his new role for the Royals - shutdown reliever (1.70 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 72 strikeouts against 16 walks over 63.2 innings).
An improved cutter and discarded slider have helped the cause, and the American League has been powerless against Hochevar in the second half (1.24/0.69, and did you see that five-strikeout appearance this week?). The former No.1 overall pick is ready to grab in 93 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• San Diego righty Tim Stauffer is another pedigree kid turned relief star. Staying healthy has been the biggest key, along with a smooth adjustment to a new role. Stauffer's second-half numbers speak for themselves: 2.33 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 29 whiffs (against just six walks) over 27 innings. He's another one-percent ownership guy, ready if you need him. Quality innings, tidy ratios.
• If you're pushing for batting-average points, why not give Corey Dickerson of Colorado a shot? The lefty swinger has a nifty .904 OPS against right-handed pitching, and he's slashing .351/.403/.702 at Coors Field (the Rockies open a nine-game homestand on Monday). There's a solid chance Carlos Gonzalez won't play again this year - at least as a batter - so Dickerson's playing time appears fairly safe. He's only owned in one percent of Yahoo leagues.
• It hasn't been a fun summer for the Angels, but outfielder Kole Calhoun has made a splash in the second half: .299/.367/.511, with seven homers in 137 at-bats. He definitely earned a look with the big club after posting a 1.047 OPS at Triple-A Salt Lake, and he's been productive against all kinds of pitching. The new kid in town is still unowned in 88 percent of Yahoo groups.
• The surging Nationals (seven straight wins) think they can steal a playoff berth, and catcher Wilson Ramos has been a big part of the recent surge. Ramos has 10 second-half homers, including five this month, and he's slugging .609 in September. It's the time of year where so many catchers are breaking down, but Ramos is probably fresher than most given his injury-muddled start to the year. Ramos was a trendy sleeper a couple of years back; finally, late in 2013, things are paying off. He's unclaimed in about three-quarters of Yahoo leagues.
• The White Sox have been a train wreck for most of the year, but perhaps they've found something with starting pitcher Jose Quintana. The 24-year-old lefty has been consistent for most of the summer - June was his only spotty month - and he's improved his ERA, strikeout rate and walk rate in the second half. A Tuesday date with the ghost-town Twins (and Mike Pelfrey on the other side) sounds good to me. The Q is rostered in a modest 21 percent of Yahoo leagues.
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- Luke Hochevar