Players to add if you need help in steals, wins and more

If you need some steals to win your fantasy league, look to Rajai Davis. Getty Images

Need serious help in a certain roto category for your fantasy baseball league but aren't sure of who to add?

Here is a look at widely available players around the league -- rostered in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN leagues in most cases -- who can help your team (even if in a specialist role) over the final stretch of the season.



Matt Joyce, Oakland Athletics (8.1 percent): Joyce certainly has his faults, batting .232 on the season, and he isn't someone to start against lefties. Even the A's rarely do that. The veteran slugger is an overlooked source of runs, however, with 65 on the season. In addition, he can run into pitches every now and then, as is evidenced by his 19 home runs and 24 doubles versus right-handed pitching.

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics (29.3 percent): Joyce's teammate Lowrie ranks among the MLB leaders in doubles, with 40, and is another runs guy, with 68 on the season. He has stayed healthy this season, which is rare for the 33-year-old veteran infielder, and though he's slowed since the All-Star break, his numbers aren't dramatically worse by any means.

Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers (34.5 percent): Available in nearly two-thirds of ESPN leagues, Choo enters Thursday with multiple hits in five of his past nine games and has batted either first or second in the Rangers' lineup about 90 percent of the time in 2017. With is ability to draw walks, Choo is on base often (.370 OBP) and ranks 16th in the majors with 82 runs scored.

Home Runs

Lucas Duda, Tampa Bay Rays (10 percent): Duda isn't exactly a hit machine, with only four in the past 10 games, but here's the thing: When he hits it, the ball travels. In fact, each of those four hits left the yard, and the powerful Tampa Bay slugger now has 25 homers on the season. Not bad for someone who is available in 90 percent of ESPN leagues.

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (48.9 percent): Strikeouts hurt Gallo's value in other leagues, but Gallo's 36 homers are a huge draw in roto leagues in which the K doesn't count against you, at least if you can put up with the low batting average (.206). If he's available in a roto league in which you're already a poor team in terms of batting average, he's your guy.

Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay Rays (56.5 percent): Morrison has been dropped in many leagues due to his second-half slump, and that is certainly worth taking into account. It also means a player with 33 home runs -- the eighth-most in the majors -- is now available in nearly half of ESPN fantasy leagues. Even with his second-half struggles, he has nine homers since the All-Star break.


Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers (50 percent): Strikeouts are a problem for Santana, limiting his upside in points leagues, but unlike some other strikeout-prone players, the Brewers' outfielder is a very steady performer in terms of batting average (.276), home runs (22), runs (71) and, the reason he's mentioned in this category, runs batted in (66).

Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates (50.8 percent): One of the league's most overlooked promising rookies, Bell isn't just a run-producer. Yes, he has 77 on the year, but he also has 23 home runs, 68 runs and a respectable .262 batting average. The future is bright for this 25-year-old slugger.

Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers (61.1 percent): Mazara might not be available in your league, as he's the most popular player listed here, but the fact that someone with 85 RBIs is still available in 39 percent of ESPN leagues tells you that the young Rangers outfielder remains widely overlooked. Amazingly, only one of his 20 RBIs this month has come in the past 10 games.

Stolen Bases

Rajai Davis, Boston Red Sox (8.6 percent): Back in New England where his roots are, the UConn product is one of the league's top base stealers on a contending team yet remains available in over 90 percent of ESPN leagues. He has swiped two bags in his first five games since coming over from Oakland.

Jarrod Dyson, Seattle Mariners (9.8 percent): Dyson hasn't played since injuring his groin back on Aug. 16, but he's nearing a return and that's notable for someone who ranks sixth in the majors with 28 steals.

Cameron Maybin, Houston Astros (12.5 percent): Another injury-prone speedster, Maybin has kept it together lately and that's notable considering his 29 steals this season. The 30-year-old has four steals in his past 10 games, which is encouraging considering the time he spent on the DL in July and August due to sprained right knee.

Batting Average

Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies (33.6): A hamstring injury has kept Herrera on the disabled list since Aug. 14, but he's expected to join the team when rosters expand on Sept., 1 and the 25-year-old is quietly a .290 career hitter who is just under that mark (.287) in this, his third full season.

David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks (43.2 percent): Peralta's lack of power (13 HR) and RBIs (44) seems to turn people away, but the rest of his game is solid across the board. You won't find many people batting .302 in 474 plate appearances who are as widely available as you do with Peralta.

Brandon Phillips, Atlanta Braves (47.7 percent): The veteran is batting .297 in August and .291 for the season, making him helpful to any team's batting average category, while also contributing as a run-scorer (68), run-producer (52) and base-stealer (10). He is currently on a 14-game hitting streak.



Jose Urena, Miami Marlins (40.1 percent): Some guys just win, and that's certainly been the case with Urena in Miami this season. Though he lost his last start against Washington -- nothing to feel too bad about, considering the opponent -- Urena is 12-6 on the season and sports an impressive 3.84 ERA in 28 total appearances (22 starts).

Edwin Jackson, Washington Nationals (24.5 percent): New and improved, at least for the time being, the veteran Jackson is 5-3 with the Nationals since coming over in a trade with Baltimore earlier this summer. Impressively, the right-hander has given up more than two runs only twice in eight starts since joining the Nats.

Martin Perez, Texas Rangers (6.8 percent): Luck comes into play when it comes to earning the win as a starting pitcher, and Perez has seen his fair share this season. Despite allowing 182 hits and striking out only 94 batters in 151 innings, he is 10-10 with wins in each of his past five starts. We're not saying to run out and add Perez, but he could make sense if you're in a pinch.


Sam Dyson, San Francisco Giants (33.3 percent): You might be thinking, 'What closers could possibly be widely available at this stage in the season?!' Turns out, there are several, starting with San Francisco's Dyson. He's still the man Bruce Bochy is turning to in the ninth inning ahead of highly paid Mark Melancon. Dyson has also converted each of his past six save opportunities, so don't expect Bochy to change his stance anytime soon.

Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies (33.3 percent): It remains to be seen if newly acquired reliever Juan Nicasio will take over the closing role in Philly, but for the time being, there's plenty of reason to believe Neris will keep it. He had six saves in August and kept the opponent off the board in nine of 11 appearances.

Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves (39.6 percent): One rough outing against the Rockies last week (0 IP, 3 ER) skews an otherwise flawless month of August for the right-hander, who recorded seven saves in August and struck out 12 batters in 10 2/3 innings.


Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds (35.2 percent): Castillo's record (2-7) is very deceiving, as the rest of his numbers tell the story of a 24-year-old who could be a big part of the Reds' future rotation. He has racked up 83 K's in 77 1/3 IP and also has an impressive 3.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and .208 opponent's batting average in 13 starts as a rookie this season.

Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox (48.3 percent): Rodon has reached double-digit strikeouts in three of his past 10 starts and recorded nine K's in two other starts. A high ERA and WHIP limit his upside -- that's a reason he's available in so many leagues -- but with 72 K's in 65 1/3 IP, there's no denying his strikeout potential each time he takes the ball.

Dan Straily, Miami Marlins (54.4 percent): The hard-throwing Straily rarely has a flawless game. In fact, he has surrendered at least two earned runs in nine consecutive starts, but he racks up strikeouts (138 in 151 2/3 IP) and limits hits (134), which keeps runners off base, and has an ERA 3.80 on the season.


Trevor Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates (8.2 percent): Williams is available in over 90 percent of ESPN leagues despite a very strong August in which he threw shutout starts in eight innings against the Dodgers and seven innings against the Tigers. He has a 3.76 ERA in nine second-half starts and has surrendered only three homers in his past seven starts -- all coming in one game.

Miguel Gonzalez, Chicago White Sox (19.6 percent): Gonzalez has allowed just four runs in his past four starts, lowering his ERA from 5.15 to 4.30 in the process, and the most impressive part about it is the teams he did it against -- the Astros, Dodgers, Rangers and Tigers. Not exactly a walk in the park there.

Parker Bridwell, Los Angeles Angels (57.6 percent): Not the trendiest of picks here, given the seven runs Bridwell gave up to a mediocre A's offense in three short innings on Wednesday. But even after that outing, the young right-hander has a 3.69 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break and also has limited opponents to a .236 batting average.


Andrew Cashner, Texas Rangers (18.3 percent): A classic streamer whose popularity in fantasy fluctuates based on when he's starting, the big right-hander has allowed just 43 hits and 13 walks in 52 1/3 innings since the break, a span of six starts. His ERA is 2.92 in that span, and his WHIP an equally impressive 1.07.

Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays (23.9 percent): I know, I know -- it's difficult to think of Snell as someone who can help your WHIP. His past troubles with the base on balls certainly don't mesh with being a low-WHIP guy. He's been much better since the All-Star break in this regard, however, with a 3.66 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in eight starts. The future is bright for the talented 24-year-old lefty, and we're seeing his improvement before our very eyes.

Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres (33.6 percent): Like Snell, the trouble with Lamet isn't allowing hits -- it's giving up the free pass. The rookie right-hander has surrendered 38 walks but allowed just 64 hits in 86 innings, which tells you all you need to know about him. He can be a star on the days when the control is there.