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It’s playoff season and smart fantasy owners are tweaking furiously to fill their holes before the big first-round matchup. At this point in the season, it’s important to zero in on the positions you’re weakest at and the positions you’re strongest at. By finding the positions you’re strongest in, you free yourself up to drop players you might not necessarily want to drop for a player that fills a legitimate need. Let’s take a look at who’s floating around on the waiver wire and where they can help your team in the final month of the season.
Ivan Nova (Available in 47% of Yahoo Leagues): Nova is available in more than half of Yahoo leagues and that’s just ludicrous. Did every owner in half of Yahoo leagues just stop checking in? He’s been good all season, owning a 2.88 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 8.0 K/9. Over his last 13 games (11 starts), Nova owns a 2.26 ERA, .234 BAA, and 77 K/25 BB over 91.2 IP. He hasn’t given up more than four runs in a single game which means you don’t have to worry about a massive blow up in an important week. If you’re leaving him on the waiver wire in the playoffs you’re robbing yourself of some excellent stats.
Michael Wacha (11%): Wacha is returning to the Bigs after a brief 33.1 IP stint earlier this season. In his first go-around, Wacha was solid with a 3.70 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 37 K/9 BB. With a 10.0 K/9 in the Majors and a career 2.29 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9 in the minors, you’d be crazy to leave him out there and let another owner snag a bargain for the playoffs.
Carlos Torres (4%): Torres’ return to the rotation was a successful one as the Matt Harvey replacement allowed just one run, four hits, and no walks over 6.2 IP against the Phils, striking out six. Torres had also looked great in two of his other three starts, giving up one run over five innings to the Pirates and one run over six innings to the Braves before an ill-fated start against the Nats in which he surrendered eight runs over three innings. That one was a fluke, Torres has been fantastic all season. If we subtract that one start from his stats, his 2.77 ERA drops to a dominant 1.55 and his WHIP drops under 1.00 over his other 52 IP split between the rotation and the pen. He can be had in almost every league and he’s worth the pickup.
Danny Duffy (22%): I’ve been reluctant to grab Duffy because of his 1.59 WHIP over six starts last season and his 4.04 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 16 minor league games this year but you can’t fight the magic that is the Royals rotation. In three starts since coming up, he has put up a 1.10 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 17 K/5 BB over 16.1 IP. Sure, two of those starts were against Minnesota but he also pitched six scoreless one-hit innings against the Tigers. That’s impressive. I’m not sold on him but I wasn’t sold on Bruce Chen earlier in the season and he ran off a great streak for Kansas City. He definitely warrants a look.
Avisail Garcia (13%): After putting up a pedestrian .241 BA over 88 PA for the Tigers, moving to Chicago has given the top prospect a spark. In 87 PA since joining the ChiSox, Garcia owns an impressive .354/.391/.488 line with two homers, six extra-base hits, 12 R, 11 RBI, and two steals. He plays in a terrible lineup but he may be worth an add in deeper leagues.
Adam Eaton (36%): Eaton finally looks like the talent many expected him to be all season, putting up a .326/.392/.478 line with two home runs, eight extra-base hits, 11 RBI, 18 R, and three steals over his last 23 games. We knew he wasn’t going to drive in runs but the runs, average, and occasional steal make him worth an add.
Nick Castellanos (5%): I was excited about Castellanos’ prospects back in June but he was leapfrogged by Avisail Garcia. Now Castellanos is finally getting the call and is expected to start every day in left field. Entering the season as the 21st top prospect in the country, Castellanos showed much improved power this season, putting up a .276/.343/.450 line with 18 HR, 76 RBI, 81 R, and 37 2B. He should fit well into an already potent lineup and I’d be willing to take a chance on him if you need power, RBIs, or runs in any league format.
Emilio Bonifacio (33%): Bonifacio has been reborn since moving to Kansas City after adding nothing while in Toronto. In 74 PA since joining the Royals, Bonifacio is sporting a .297/.384/.406 line with 19 R and 11 SB. He won’t help with homers or RBI but if you need run or steals help he’s your guy.
Billy Hamilton (15%): I wrote about Hamilton extensively last week and the Reds must have taken note because they’ve called him up. Hamilton will be a bench player so mixed leaguers should relax unless you’re desperate for steals. In deeper and NL-only leagues, Hamilton’s speed, starting or not, remains a valuable asset. The speedy outfielder swiped 75 bases in 123 games this season and a felonious 155 in 132 games last year.
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