Fantasy Baseball Pickups: Fill your category weaknesses with these players

Fred ZinkieYahoo Fantasy Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/cleveland/" data-ylk="slk:Cleveland Indians">Cleveland Indians</a> starting pitcher <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/10869/" data-ylk="slk:Aaron Civale">Aaron Civale</a> has carried his minor league dominance to the Majors. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Aaron Civale has carried his minor league dominance to the Majors. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

I’m excited to fill in for Dalton Del Don down the stretch, and I hope to continue his long-time pattern of providing useful advice for those in both deep and shallow formats. With that in mind, here is a handful of players who could provide plenty of fantasy production down the stretch.

Francisco Mejia, San Diego Padres (42 percent rostered)

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A long-time prospect, Mejia is finally starting to meet expectations. He has been a top-3 fantasy catcher in the past 30 days, hitting .419 with three homers across that stretch. With Austin Hedges in possession of a miserable .183/.245/.321 slash line this season, the Padres have an easy answer to the question of which catcher to regularly use. There is a team in every league that can use Mejia right now.

Niko Goodrum, Detroit Tigers (31%)

Goodrum can help gamers in two important ways. First, he provides balanced production, which includes 11 homers and 12 steals this season (four of each since the All-Star break). Second, his five-position eligibility in Yahoo contests makes him the perfect bench player for those in daily transaction leagues who want to get aggressive at maximizing their games played from this point forward.

Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels (10%)

Those who are in a tight race in RBI could do a lot worse than turning to an old friend. The 39 year old Pujols may no longer provide steals or a high batting average, but he is on pace to finish the season with 24 long balls and 92 RBI. And for some gamers, a reliable power hitter is exactly what is needed right now.

Teoscar Hernandez, Toronto Blue Jays (11%)

Gamers who are unconcerned with their batting average should give Hernandez a shot. After all, the slugger has needed just 310 at-bats to compile 19 home runs, which extrapolates to more than 30 long balls across a full season. And his best work has come of late, with a lofty 1.008 OPS in July and a .926 OPS to this point in August.

Starlin Castro, Miami Marlins (22%)

This one is pretty simple, as gamers should add Castro right away for his weekend series at the hitter's paradise that is Coors Field. The second baseman has fared well of late, hitting .290 with five homers and 19 RBI across the past 30 days. Hopefully, he can pick up a few hits and a homer this weekend before being sent back to waivers in most leagues on Monday.

Aaron Civale, Cleveland Indians (36%)

Civale could be the most under-rostered starter right now. The 24 year old dominated the Minors this season, going 7-1 with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP across 13 starts. And he has been very impressive in three starts with the Tribe, logging a 1.00 ERA, a 0.72 WHIP and a 18:4 K:BB ratio across 18 innings. As part of a surging Indians squad that has many favorable divisional matchups down the stretch, Civale should be someone you want to start for most of his remaining outings.

Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays (34%)

I know McKay has thus far not met his lofty expectations, but I believe in his elite skill set. The 23 year old is among the best young arms in baseball, having dominated Minor League foes to the tune of a 1.15 ERA and a 94:17 K:BB ratio across 70.2 innings. I expect the Rays to lean on McKay down the stretch, which means that shallow-league gamers can do the same thing.

Kolby Allard, Texas Rangers (3%)

I was shocked when the Braves parted with Kolby Allard to add Chris Martin to their bullpen. And I was equally surprised at the minimal fantasy buzz surrounding the 22 year old when he was summoned for his Major League debut exactly one week ago. Still available in virtually every league, the southpaw is a former first-round pick (2015) who owns a lifetime 3.19 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in the Minors. Sure, gamers will need to handle him cautiously at his hitter-friendly home park, but they could also potentially feast on appealing matchups against the soft underbelly of a polarized American League.

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