by Will Overton
Working the wire doesn’t stop just because the season is almost over. Contentedness is never a good place in fantasy baseball. Even with just one week left you need to vigilant and diligent to finish strong.
At this point working the wire is all about finding the best fit of schedule and meeting your needs. It’s amazing, but after this long a season several roto categories are probably still hanging in the balance and points can be won or lost just by making the right add or drop.
Here are six guys who could help you as you finish this season strong:
Billy Hamilton – OF, Cincinnati Reds: If you are in a close race right now in the steals category you need to add this man. He’s owned in only 15% of ESPN leagues and I think it’s largely because he isn’t starting often. Guess what, it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t need to start to make an impact for you.
Hamilton has nine steals in the month of September already. That includes a four steal game earlier this week. I don’t know if we can expect another four steal game, but is it really far fetched to think that between now and the end of the season he gets five more? That’s could mean a couple points in some leagues. The Reds are in a race right now and they will continue to use Hamilton as a pinch runner and they’ll continue to give him the green light when they do.
Brandon Barnes – OF, Houston Astros: I really like the idea of a hot hitting Brandon Barnes going to the hitter friendly confines of Arlington next week and taking on the slumping Rangers who can’t pitch a lick. The Astros may lose all those games, but I think Barnes will be productive the whole time.
Barnes is hitting .326 in September and he has 2 HR and 11 RBI. You may make the argument that the Astros have nothing left to play for, but tell that to Barnes. The Astros outfield situation is crowded and if Barnes can leave a lasting impression on this season it means a lot going forward for next season. Barnes also happens to hit lefties much better than righties and he has three lefties coming up in the next six games.
Marcus Semien – SS, Chicago White Sox: This is probably a deeper league grab, but Marcus Semien has been hitting the ball well since being called up, and he’s playing almost every day for Chicago. Semien is hitting .314 right now and while it’s not a lot, he has scored three runs in the last week. The biggest thing with Semien is upside. Before joining Chicago he was a 20/20 guy already in the minor leagues. So there’s upside for more and if he keeps making contact good things are going to happen for him and your fantasy team.
Tommy Medica – 1B, San Diego Padres: So far in nine games since being brought up by the Padres Medica has hit safely in seven and reached base in eight. He’s also got two HR’s. Medica is a big strong guy who hits the ball hard when it gets a hold of it. Power doesn’t come along often on the wire, especially not this late in the season. Medica had 20 HR’s in the minor leagues so the power here is real.
The biggest concern I have is that Medica has hit both of his HR’s in the majors on the road and he does play at home all next week. Petco is not a homer friendly park at all, but it’s not impossible to generate some power there. Especially in a deep league you probably have a couple guys on your team who are devoid of power and Medica at least has the potential to lose a couple in the final week while he tries making a good impression for next season.
Jose Quintana – SP, Chicago White Sox: One of the more underrated and under owned pitchers in fantasy baseball this season is Jose Quintana, available in almost 90% of leagues. Quintana has allowed just four runs in his last 20 IP over three starts. That’s not just a small sample size stat though, for the season he has a 3.49 ERA and 154 K’s in 185 IP.
He’s looking to keep the good times coming and finish strong in the final week with a two starts coming his way. The first one is on Monday when he gets the Blue Jays, the very underwhelming Blue Jays. Quintana has faced the Jays twice so far and given up just two ER’s in 13 IP. Later in the week gets Kansas City. The Royals have a better offense then Toronto, but by the time they play the Royals could be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and coming down off a high.
Not to mention both of these starts he has are at home where he isn’t incredibly better, but slightly better still. This is a week where Quintana should really be owned in all leagues.
Tyler Thornburg – SP, Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers have kind of progressed Tyler Thornburg slowly this season starting him out in the bullpen and moving him to starter. Since joining the rotation though he has been lights out. Thornburg has started six games so far this, he has six quality starts. In his last three starts he has allowed just four runs over 18 IP with 14 K’s.
He’s in line for two starts this week and I can’t imagine the Brewers not using him both times to see what he can do. The first start will be against Atlanta who has been surprisingly weak offensively this month. Then he gets the crown jewel of spot start teams, the New York Mets. I have no reason to believe that Thornburg won’t get two more quality starts this week and he makes a great stream pickup to finish out the season.