by Will Overton
At this point in the fantasy baseball season you are, or you should be, playing not for stats, but playing for points. If you’re team explodes one night and hits five home runs it doesn’t matter if stolen bases is where the standings are tight and you’re trying to gain ground on the leader.
I preach a lot about knowing your standings on this site and that is never more important than this point in the season. Every single point counts right now and you have to know where you have the best chance of getting those points. To illustrate my point, in one of my leagues I am far and away ahead in ERA and WHIP, to the point where I can’t see anyone catching me there. Because of that I can take some risks on which starters I use as I try to gain ground in strikeouts and wins which I am close in.
As fantasy players we are told that the hardest category to make up ground in is batting average, and many ignore this when they look at the standings. Still it’s not uncommon for several teams to be separated by two or three points in batting average which can mean you could potentially gain or lose several points either way. It’s certainly not easy to find guys who really help your average on the wire, but you may be able to replace someone who is bringing you down with someone more able to help you.
Here are five guys available on a majority of waiver wires who could help boost your batting average standings:
Omar Infante – 2B, Kansas City Royals: Don’t let the .265 average he is sporting right now for the season fool you, Omar Infante can help your batting average. Infante ran into some struggles in May and June, but he is hitting .300 for the last month and that number is much closer to his true potential than the .265. Last season Infante hit .318 for the Detroit Tigers and it wasn’t his first time hitting over .300 in a season. Infante has a little bit of power and a little bit of speed to at least give him some value elsewhere, but his biggest contribution is in batting average and he’s just starting to pick it up here lately.
Lorenzo Cain – OF, Kansas City Royals: While we are talking about Kansas City Royals hitters, let’s bring up Lorenzo Cain, one of my favorites on this list. Cain is finally been healthy for most of the season and he’s showing more of his true potential as a contact hitter, maximizing his speed and finding holes in the defense. Cain is hitting .305 this season and has been very consistent throughout the season so far. The nice thing with Cain is he is an above average base stealer as well so the average isn’t the only thing he’s bringing to the table for you which is a nice bonus.
James Loney – 1B, Tampa Bay Rays: This guy is one of the poster boys for this kind of thing as James Loney is a high average hitter who often gets ignored because he doesn’t hit with the same power as other first basemen. Loney is hitting .288 this season so far after hitting .299 last season. Loney does struggle against lefties a bit more and would be even more ideal if he was in a healthy platoon with someone else, but as a fantasy owner if you’re paying enough attention you can sit him yourself when he faces a left hander. You won’t get power, but you’ll get average and that’s what we’re looking for here.
David Peralta – OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: A newcomer on the fantasy scene, David Peralta is still flying under most people’s radars and he should be getting more attention. The recent trade of Gerardo Parra should open up even more playing time for Peralta is basically playing every day right now. Peralta is hitting .313 since being recalled by the D’Backs in June. Peralta doesn’t take many walks so he won’t help as much in OBP as average. However, he is showing a bit of power, with 10 total HR’s between the minors and big leagues. Peralta has been mostly looked at as a deep league only option, but if you need average you should start taking a look in standard or at least 12 team leagues.
Conor Gillaspie – 3B, Chicago White Sox: I am not exactly beaming with confidence on this one, but if you need a third basemen and you need average Gillaspie is bringing it. Gillaspie is hitting .314 for the season so far and he is now playing every day for the Sox. The reason I am hesitant is that Gillaspie has struggled in previous stints in the big leagues, despite the fact that he has hit right around .300 as a minor leaguer. I also am not crazy about the .361 BABIP he is sporting which screams regression. That aside, he is crushing right handers to the tune of .349 and has been consistently solid in the average department pretty much every single month this season so far. He might not be my first choice on this list, but he has earned a look.
Make sure to check out all of our Rest of Season Rankings:
*** Make sure to pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide!! The guide comes complete with projections of over 350 players, expended rankings, sleepers, and so much more (including constant updates up until opening day). For just $6 you will get everything you need to dominate your fantasy league and one lucky subscriber will win a free autographed Brett Favre 8×10! For more information and to place your order, click here. ***