It’s playoff time in fantasy baseball. Some leagues are in the first round of the playoffs, and some leagues are in their championship round. Hopefully, you are still competing in fantasy baseball and are en route to winning your league. If not, you can still pick up some top players for bragging rights. In addition, we all want to prevent our friends from winning, right?
Whether it is a free agent pool, a budget-based system, or weekly waivers, playing the wire is a key element to winning your fantasy baseball leagues.
Since it’s September first, Major League rules state that the rosters can be expanded to 40 players. This gives the contenders extra arms in the bullpen, an extra catcher, and many guys to pinch hit and pinch run to save the starters’ health for the playoffs. The most enticing thing about expanded rosters, however, is the fact that the teams that are out of the race have the opportunity to bring up some top prospects for a brief stint with the big league club without likely forfeiting their rookie eligibility for next season. This will feature some players who could (and could not) have value to your fantasy team in the playoffs as call-ups. Knowing who to pick up at this point is key, because every roster spot is valuable.
Without further ado, let’s play the waiver wire:
Christian Bethancourt, Catcher, Atlanta Braves
Bethancourt will get a lot of press, and some buzz as the next Braves catcher with Gattis playing more outfield. But, you have to look past the name and hype because Bethancourt is more of a defensive catcher than an offensive catcher. In fantasy baseball, we need offense. In 2,000 minor league at-bats, Bethancourt is hitting .271 with 34 home runs. He is not a threat to hit even double-digit home runs, and should not be added at this point.
Billy Burns, Outfielder, Oakland Athletics
Burns could be the next Billy Hamilton. What is it about the name Billy? Burns has 179 stolen bases in 385 games in his minor league career and has only been thrown out 23 times. Burns is struggling at the plate this year, but in leagues where you need some cheap speed, give him an add for the last month and he should steal at least 10 bases in September if given the opportunity.
Joc Pederson, Outfielder, Los Angeles Dodgers
Pederson has been mentioned in the same light as George Springer, Oscar Taveras, Jorge Soler and more top outfield prospects. He should be called up soon, but will he have fantasy value to the Dodgers? Pederson has ripped apart minor league pitching, and will one day be a top fantasy baseball option. But with the cluster in the Dodgers outfield, with Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier all commanding playing time, Pederson could be lucky to see at-bats. If he does, however, he is a must add.
Why are the above players listed in italics? For some reason, both the Phillies and the Cubs may not bring either player up. It’s more understandable for the Cubs, as Bryant has been on a fast-track since he was drafted, but the Phillies not calling up Franco could be one of the most confusing things we’ve seen in baseball this year. Either way, if one or both of these players are called up, they deserve to be on your fantasy team right away. Franco and Bryant will not be called up to sit (or at least should not be) so they will see adequate playing time. Each of the two players have plus power and the potential to hit a home run in every at-bat. That’s not an easy commodity to find at third base.
Stay tuned for Wednesday’s edition, where we look at pitching call-ups who could help.
Take a look at XNSports fantasy baseball coverage as a whole here.