This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston looks at seven intriguing fantasy baseball players still available on the waiver wire in more than half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
Line-drive machine a cure for any ailing team's batting average
David Murphy (OF) Texas Rangers
Since June 13, Murphy is hitting .371, the best mark in the league among qualifiers over that span. Batting average is clearly the best roto trait that he brings to the table, but he's got sufficient pop to be counted as more than a non-factor in the run production department and he can steal the occasional base. So, if batting average is an obvious need, there's nothing that should be holding you back from seeking Murphy's services.
- Y! %32%
- Y! rank123
- AVG .324
Tigers outfielder looking to go out with a bang for the second straight year
Delmon Young (OF) Detroit Tigers
Young has been the No. 77 most valuable offensive player in the fantasy game since Mid-May, and he's been especially potent with the bat since the beginning of August, hitting .327 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in his past 28 games. Last season, Young saved his best month for last in '11 and he's trending in that direction yet again. If you are on the lookout for a hot bat that can bring some combination of batting average, home runs and RBIs help, Young fits the bill.
- Y! %35%
- Y! rank 229
A's late-arriving prospect offers nice pop/speed combo among the catcher crowd
Josh Donaldson (C/3B) Oakland A's
Given that he's hit 48 home runs and stolen 21 bases in his past 252 Triple-A games, there should be some intrigue for Donaldson, who adds catcher eligibility to the equation. The 26-year-old has caught fire since the beginning of August, hitting .338 with five home runs, 15 RBIs and two steals in his past 19 games. If you're playing the hot hand at the catcher position, you're not going to find too many readily-available backstop options that have been lighting up the box scores of late the way Donaldson has.
- Y! %11%
- Y! rank 1050
- AVG .231
Angels infielder hasn't looked back since rebounding from a rocky start
Erick Aybar (SS) Los Angeles Angels
Aybar is a POW regular, ever since June, anyway, when he embarked on a hitting tear that has yet to let up. He's had an OPS mark of .810 or better in each of the past three months and he's been a top 10 fantasy shortstop since June 10 – hitting .338 with seven home runs and nine steals in his past 60 games.
- Y! % 49%
- Y! rank 278
- AVG .279
Rockies post-hyper could be a home stretch difference-maker
Tyler Colvin (1/O) Colorado Rockies
Among those with at least 350 plate appearances, Colvin ranks among the top 25 in OPS (.891). He's particularly lethal against right-handed pitchers, but he hasn't been a slouch against southpaws, either (.776 OPS), and it's no coincidence that he has accrued more at-bats in each month because of his ability to play above a platoon level. Colvin has surprised fantasy owners with a little bit of everything this season and there's seven home games (Coors Field!) to be had during the ever-so-crucial final two weeks of the season.
- Y! % 37%
- Y! rank 152
Padres flamethrower scheduled to return this week
Andrew Cashner (P) San Diego Padres
San Diego's hard-throwing righty (98.5 mph average fastball) is expected back at the end of the week after riding on the DL for nearly two months because of a strained lat muscle. Cashner was a hot commodity at the time of the injury as he'd just been moved to the rotation and allowed just three earned runs and whiffed 16 batters in 10.2 IP in the rotation. For strikeout upside on the waiver wire, it's going to be hard to beat Cashner among pitchers owned in less than a third of Yahoo! leagues.
- Y! %8%
- Y! rank 361
Estrada a nice strikeout chip to play down the stretch
Marco Estrada (SP) Milwaukee Brewers
Estrada is another quality strikeout source that is widely-available on the waiver wire. In fact, in his past three outings, he's combined for 27 Ks to just five walks in 18 innings pitched. Among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched for the season, Estrada's 4.75 K/BB rate is fifth best in MLB – same goes for his K rate (9.53). Estrada's also limiting damage via the long ball of late, allowing just one home run over his past six outings (33 IP).
- Y! %16%
- Y! rank 277
Other Week 23 Pickups: Jurickson Profar, Tex, SS; Carlos Gomez, Mil, OF; CoCo Crisp, Oak, OF; Cody Ross, Bos, OF; Carlos Quentin, SD, OF; Dustin Ackley, Sea, 1/2; Josh Rutledge, Col, SS; Rajai Davis, Tor, OF; Brandon Belt, SF, 1/O; Ben Revere, Min, OF; Chipper Jones, Atl, 3B; John Mayberry, Phi, 1/O; Will Venable, SD, OF; David DeJesus, ChC, OF; Norichika Aoki, Mil, OF; Eric Chavez, NYY, 3B; Mark Reynolds, Bal, 1/3; Yonder Alonso, SD, 1/O; Anthony Rizzo, ChC, 1B; Mitch Moreland, Tex, 1/O; Eric Chavez, NYY, 3B; Michael Brantley, Cle, OF; James Loney, Bos, 1B; Carlos Lee, Mia, 1/O; Justin Ruggiano, Mia, OF; Andy Dirks, Det, OF; Manny Machado, Bal, 3/S; Luis Cruz, LAD, 3/S; Jhonny Peralta, Det, SS; Wilin Rosario, Col, C; Salvador Perez, KC, C; Hisashi Iwakuma, Sea, SP; Tyler Skaggs, Ari, SP; Mike Minor, Atl, SP; Jarrod Parker, Oak, SP; Jeremy Guthrie, KC, SP; Carlos Villanueva, Tor, P; Clayton Richard, SD, SP; Alexi Ogando, Tex, P; Sergio Romo, SF, RP; David Hernandez, Ari, RP; Sean Marshall, Cin, RP; Jason Grilli, Pit, RP; Vinnie Pestano, Cle, RP; Jared Burton, Min, RP; Glen Perkins, Min, RP; Jonny Venters, Atl, RP; Steve Cishek, Mia, RP; Jeremy Affeldt, SF, RP; Wilton Lopez, Hou, RP