This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston looks at eight intriguing fantasy baseball players still available on the waiver wire in more than half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
This Angel in the infield continues to swing a heavenly bat
Erick Aybar (SS) Los Angeles Angels
Aybar is back for his second straight appearance on the POW, having landed here last week. In the span of the past 14 days, he's the No. 17 player in the Yahoo! game. He's hitting .400 with 3 HRs, 4 SBs and 11 Runs in 13 August games. As mentioned last week, he was unquestionably bad in April and May, but the body of work since deserves more than his 43 percent ownership rate.
Y! rank 325
Rangers outfielder a Band-Aid for fantasy owners' busted batting averages
David Murphy (OF) Texas Rangers
Batting average woes? Murphy should be at, or near, the top of the list of candidates to seek out on the waiver wire. In the past 54 games, he's hitting .355, weighing in as one of the 10 most positively impacting batting average marks in the fantasy game in that span. And with his 15/15 ability plugged into the league's top offense, his other numbers are at least serviceable for fantasy purposes. Oh, and he's a closer, owning a .325 BA (.890 OPS) mark for his career in September.
Y! rank 185
For this Cardinals castoff, the grass looks Greener in Houston
Tyler Greene (2B/SS/OF) Houston Astros
Out of the St. Louis spotlight and now in the land of ample available playing time (Houston), Greene has responded with a .355 batting average, 2 HRs, 1 SB and 7 Runs in his first nine games with the Astros. Greene has had trouble getting his MLB career off the ground, but he's proven that he no longer belongs in Triple-A, where he owns 162-game averages of 23 home runs and 41 stolen bases in 267 career games at that level. Deep leaguers in need of middle infield help might want to roll the dice that Houston becomes the place where this former first round pick finally sees his MLB career take flight.
Y! % 2%
Y! rank 916
Young Royal looks like a future standout at the catcher position
Salvador Perez (C) Kansas City Royals
In the two months that Perez has been in the Royals lineup since returning from a spring knee injury, he's been the seventh-best catcher in the fantasy game. The emerging 22-year-old talent now owns a .844 OPS mark through his first 82 games at the MLB level. And the Royals have bumped him up into the No. 5 spot in the batting order, where he's driven in 10 runs in 14 games. If your backstop production has left you wanting, give one of the future stars at the position a test drive.
Y! % 36%
Y! rank 897
Mariner is righting the ship after recently capsizing at the plate
Michael Saunders (OF) Seattle Mariners
With three home runs in his past two games, Saunders now stands as one of only six outfielders with at least 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases – Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, Drew Stubbs, Alex Rios and Jason Heyward are the others. Saunders is coming off a vicious early-August slump in which he went through a 10-game stretch that produced just two hits in 42 ABs (.048). But he's rebounded with an 8-for-16 run over his past four games, and that has him back among the top 200 players in the Yahoo! game.
After amazing debut, Harvey has shown that he has plenty left for an encore
Matt Harvey (SP) New York Mets
Harvey, as most remember, made a sensational MLB debut for the Mets back in late July, not allowing an earned run and fanning 11 Diamondbacks in 5.1 innings. While he hasn't been able to sustain that level of success in the month since (who could?), he has produced three quality starts in his past four outings. And his most recent effort was back in the realm of fantastic – 7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K and a Win at Cincinnati last Thursday. Considering his pedigree – Baseball America's No. 2 ranked Mets prospect heading into the season – and his K/9 upside, Harvey is an intriguing option for inning-capped leagues.
Y! rank 331
For this veteran hurler, change has been a very good thing
Jeremy Guthrie (SP) Kansas City Royals
Guthrie is the hottest thing going in the virtual game of late, not allowing an earned run in his past three starts (22.2 IP). He owns a 19:3 K-to-BB mark in that span and also recorded a quality start against Texas before embarking on his runless streak. This from a pitcher who went 90-plus innings at an ERA rate of 6.35 with Colorado before a pre-deadline deal kicked him to the Royals. Can we really believe in his about-face results in Kansas City? Fangraph's Jeff Zimmerman suggests that a change in release point could be behind his recent surge. Considering just how good he's been of late, a change in release point is as good of an excuse as any to take a flyer on Guthrie.
Y! rank 1056
Houston has problems, but this reliever isn't one of them
Wilton Lopez (RP) Houston Astros
The Astros closer role is certainly not a rich source for saves this season, but at least you know Lopez should get a handful of save chances down the stretch. In competitive leagues, those could be difference-making opportunities. And with top 20 ratios (ERA/WHIP) among those relievers with at least 40 innings pitched, thanks to a league-best 8.00 K/BB mark, Lopez can still help even when he's not seeing closing time.
Y! rank 180
Other Week 21 Pickups: Josh Rutledge, Col, SS; Rajai Davis, Tor, OF; Carlos Quentin, SDG, OF; Angel Pagan, SF, OF; Brandon Belt, SF, 1/O; Ben Revere, Min, OF; Garrett Jones, Pit, 1/O; Chris Davis, Bal, 1/3/O; Chipper Jones, Atl, 3B; Cody Ross, Bos, OF; Chris Johnson, Ari, 3B; Dustin Ackley, Sea, 1/2; Matt Joyce, TB, OF; Pedro Alvarez, Pit, 3B; Eric Chavez, NYY, 3B; Mark Reynolds, Bal, 1/3; Garrett Jones, Pit, 1/O; Mitch Moreland, Tex, 1/O; Eric Chavez, NYY, 3B; Michael Brantley, Cle, OF; CoCo Crisp, Oak, OF; Carlos Gomez, Mil, OF; Carlos Lee, Mia, 1/O; Justin Ruggiano, Mia, OF; Andy Dirks, Det, OF; Jhonny Peralta, Det, SS; Scott Hairston, NYM, OF; Marco Scutaro, SF, 2/3/S; Kris Medlen, Atl, P; Bartolo Colon, Oak, SP; Dan Straily, Oak, SP; Mike Minor, Atl, SP; Jarrod Parker, Oak, SP; Scott Diamond, Min, SP; Hisashi Iwakuma, Sea, P; Patrick Corbin, Ari, P; Zach McAllister, Cle, SP; Jeff Samardzija, ChC, SP; Carlos Villanueva, Tor, P; 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; Greg Holland, KC, RP; Steve Cishek, Mia, RP; Jeremy Affeldt, SF, RP
Cord Phelps, 2B (Cle) – In the shadow of Jason Kipnis, Phelps has been holding his own at 2B for Indians Triple-A affiliate Columbus. And in his past seven games he's hit .464 with 3 HRs, 10 RBIs and 12 Runs.
Mike Zunino, C (Sea) – So far, the M's promotion of its top '12 draft pick has gone smashingly well, as Zunino has hit .375 with 2 HRs in his first five games for Double-A Jackson.
Miguel Sano, 3B (Min) – Only 19, the Twins' top hitting prospect added 3 HRs (in his past seven games) to his Class-A Midwest League-high 26 long balls (nine more than the league's No. 2 home run hitter)
Darin Ruf, 1B (Phi) – Though not considered among Philly's top minor league prospects, it's still worth mentioning that Ruf has hit 7 HRs in his past 10 games for Double-A Reading.
Gerrit Cole, SP (Pit) – In his past four starts (22 IP), the Pirates' top pitching prospect owns a 1.23 ERA and 26 strikeouts for Double-A Altoona.
Jake Odorizzi, SP (KC) – The Royals' top right-handed pitching prospect has been in a groove for Triple-A Omaha, posting a 1.29 ERA and allowing just 10 hits in his past three starts (21 IP)