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The fantasy waiver wire is overflowing with rookies playing some great baseball down the stretch and with September just around the corner, it’s time to start investing in players that weren’t around to pick up the first half of the season. Let’s take a look at some quality rookies that have taken the spots previously held by the likes of Ryan Howard, David Wright, Tom Wilhelmsen, and Tommy Milone and haven’t missed a beat.
Wilmer Flores (3%): I wrote about Flores extensively last week when he was called up to replace David Wright at third base. All he’s done in six games since is put up nine RBI, a homer, a double, and four runs. Combined with his stellar minor league production, Flores is now at 16 HR, 95 RBI, 57 XBH, and 73 R on the season. With a career batting average of .290, Flores should be a solid extra-base hitter and run producer the rest of the way, even when Wright eventually returns.
Andrew Albers (3%): Albers shined in his Major League debut last Tuesday, pitching 8.1 scoreless innings and surrendering just four hits and a walk to the red-hot Royals. The 27-year-old rookie was pitching well in his first season in Triple-A this year, going 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 116 K/32 BB over 132 IP. In his career, Albers owns a 2.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 7.7 K/2.2 BB over 395 IP.
Sonny Gray (5%): I’ve been excited about Gray since early July when I covered him in the fantasy baseball sleeper column. After a couple of relief outings, throwing four scoreless innings and surrendering just two hits, a walk, and striking out six, Gray is finally in the Oakland rotation. He looked solid against the Blue Jays in his first Big League start, surrendering two earned runs, four hits, and three walks while striking out five through six innings. Baseball America’s 65th top prospect had promising fantasy numbers in the minors, putting up a 3.42 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 9.0 K/9 through 118 IP.
Ryan Ludwick (10%): Ludwick has been out since the season opener after tearing a labrum in his shoulder. He’s back now and with a .275/.346/.531 line with 26 HR, 80 RBI, and 55 XBH over just 422 at-bats last season he is definitely worth a look in every league.
Martin Perez (13%): Perez has been up and down this season but lately he is very much up. Over his last three starts (22.2 IP), Perez is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA, .156 BAA, and 19 K. His ERA is down to 3.44 after a blow up in July when he gave up 15 ER in the span of three starts. Outside of those three games, he has allowed just 10 runs over his other eight starts.
Dane De La Rosa (13%): De La Rosa seems to be the choice to replace the struggling Ernerto Frieri as the Angels’ closer after notching his first career save on Friday against the Indians. Despite a 3.74 ERA on the season, the 30-year-old rookie owns a 2.90 ERA, .232 BAA, and 27 K over his last 31 IP.
Darin Ruf (17%): The Phillies have not lost anything with Ruf replacing Ryan Howard at first base as the rookie now has a .280/.379/.530 line with six homers, 11 RBI, 13 XBH, and 18 R. He’s catching fire right now, putting up four home runs, seven RBI, and seven runs over his last nine games.
Tyson Ross (19%): Ross has been simply unbelievable since returning to the rotation on July 23. Over four starts since, he is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA, .135 BAA, and 28 K/10 BB over 27 IP. He’s been good all season and I would definitely take a shot at him in most leagues.
Bruce Chen (24%): After having a surprising stellar year out of the pen, Chen is back in the rotation and pitching equally as well. He returned to the rotation on July 12 and has gone 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA, .147 BAA, and 23 K/4 BB over 31.2 IP. It’s impossible to tell how long Chen will stay this good but he’s definitely worth a pick up in all leagues while he’s this hot.
Danny Farquhar (44%): Farquhar is quickly cementing himself as the Mariners’ new closer, converting saves in all four chances so far while putting up a 0.00 ERA, .133 BAA, and 6 K/0 BB. He should definitely be owned in all mixed leagues.
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