Willi Castro (DET); FAAB Bid: 1% - Entering the season, Castro was on my late round sleeper list until he hit .200 in April and to the waiver wire he went. Things really didn’t get much better for Castro as strikeouts continue to be a problem but his .241 batting average in August is his second-best mark of the season. Included in that is a .318 batting average over the last seven days with two home runs. Nothing about Castro’s .221 batting average, nine home runs and 37 RBI are going to jump off the page but perhaps he has found a groove and will live up to our pre-season expectations for him. The good thing is that we know the playing time will be there for Castro. He is still young enough, 24 years old, to figure it out and he does have at least one hit in eight of his last ten games with back-to-back two hit games.
Kevin Newman (PIT); FAAB Bid: 1% - Newman is another low-cost infield option who struggled to start the season but could provide some injury relief up the middle. Playing for a rebuilding team helps here as we don’t have to worry about at bats for Newman who is batting .333 over the last 14 days. We can’t expect much in the way of power from the light hitting infielder but Newman is one of the few players these days that simply doesn’t strike out; just 7.4% of the time this season. No one is winning fantasy championships on the heels of a .225 batting average for the season but things can only go up from a .235 BABIP. The quality of contact won’t be good, but he is versatile and is hitting .276 in the second half of the season.
Mike Moustakas (CIN); FAAB Bid: 2-3% - We can’t hide the fact that Moustakas has just four hits in his last 36 in a season marred by injury and struggles, but there is still a good player in there. Entering action on Wednesday, Moustakas was three for seven in his last two games and while the sample sizes don’t get smaller than that, but he did hit .254 with 35 home runs in 2019. If the home runs and run production start flowing again, and they should, Moustakas should find his groove as he is still too good of a player to be kicking around the waiver wire in more than half of the leagues on Yahoo.
Nate Lowe (TEX); FAAB Bid: 2% - Lowe is working on a modest five game hitting streak but that also includes a 5 for 5 effort which brought his batting average up to .258 on the season. The first baseman has alternated good months with bad since starting off the year strong but he hasn’t been able to get back to his success from April in which he hit six home runs to go along with 22 RBI. That hitter is still in there but the strikeouts (26.4% of the time) will continue to be a problem and don’t expect another power outbreak although he can still be a solid run producer out of the middle of the order.
Nick Solak (TEX); FAAB Bid: 2% - Let’s stay in Texas as Solak is back in the big leagues after taking a detour to Triple-A after struggling through the majority of the season. Since returning to the Rangers, Solak was 4 for 14 with two runs scored, one RBI, and a stolen base. In 22 games at Triple-A he did hit .353 with 15 runs scored so the expectation is that he continues the positive momentum. Solak is hitting. 227 in 95 games with the Rangers this season with nine home runs so it isn’t surprising that he was sent down to Triple-A for a reset as Texas looks to see what they have in him over the remainder of the season.
Touki Toussaint (ATL); FAAB Bid: 2% - Following his being recalled from Triple-A things have been pretty successful, for the most part, for Toussaint. In 16.2 innings over his last three starts he has picked up two victories while striking out 17 batters and pitching to a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Through 39 innings this season the right-hander has struck out just over a batter an inning but we do need to look a little past his 3.69 ERA if we are going to be realistic. Home runs are a concern, 1.62 per nine innings, and Toussaint has benefited from a .247 BABIP so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a 4.56 xERA and 4.14 xFIP. While the Giants have found surprising success this season, I don’t have any issues rolling Toussaint out against them in his next start.
Edward Cabrera (MIA); FAAB Bid: 3-4% - It’s hard to go too overboard with any young pitcher, but Cabrera is one of the better prospects out there. After recording a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings at Double-A, the right-hander put up a 3.68 ERA over 29.1 innings while striking out batters at prodigious levels prior to his promotion. We are going to have to keep an eye on the control, I know not exactly breaking news for young pitchers, but thanks to his strikeout abilities Cabrera can miss bats and work out of trouble with success. In his debut on Wednesday against the Nationals the right-hander allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while surprisingly only striking out two batters. What might have been even more shocking though is the fact that Cabrera only threw 78 pitches as he found an efficiency that young pitchers generally don’t. With his next start slated to be against the floundering Mets, Cabrera should be in good shape to build on his major league career.
Carlos Hernández (KC); FAAB Bid: 1-2% - The good thing about a rebuilding team like the Royals is that they are in the position to give Hernandez a spot in the rotation. It is even better when said pitcher finds success as Hernandez is coming off a seven-inning outing against the Cubs in which he won for the fourth time this season while allowing one run and striking out eight. For the season Hernandez has 60 strikeouts in 59 innings to go along with a 3.97 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. If you Hernandez wasn’t on your radar you are forgiven as prior to this season he hadn’t pitched above A-Ball and was never really considered a top prospect, but he has become a solid source of innings. I know it sounds like a broken record, but walks are a concern (4.27 per nine innings) but with a 4.00 xERA there is some value here down the stretch. In the seven starts Hernandez has made so far this season, he has allowed nine runs in two of those outings compared to just five in his other five starts.
Michael Lorenzen (CIN); FAAB Bid: 4% - Welcome to the next contestant for saves in Cincinnati. It almost feels like a quota that I can’t go more than one or two articles without mentioning a Reds pitcher, and today it’s Lorenzen. That is what happens when you pick up two saves over the last seven days but of course things are still not clear cut. It has been an injury marred season for Lorenzen, just 13.2 innings in total, so that is why you really haven’t heard much from him to this point and the entirety of his 2.63 ERA stems from his most recent outing against Milwaukee. To that point things had been going quite well for the right-hander who picked up saves in back-to-back outings for his second and third of the season. But then he entered the game in the sixth inning on Tuesday and proceeded to allow four runs in one third of inning of work, but what was even more interesting is that it was Mychal Givens who allowed the three inherited runners to score. Either way, here we are chasing those two saves that came before it and the general success all season; prior to that implosion.
David Bednar (PIT); FAAB Bid: 5% - It took long enough. Around the trading deadline I had advocated to pick up Bednar for saves with the impending, and then actual, trade of Richard Rodríguez. Instead, the Pirates kept Bednar in a set-up role but this past week he picked up his first two saves of the season with scoreless outings in each. With a 2.44 ERA and 1.01 WHIP along with 63 strikeouts in 51.2 innings it’s hard to argue with what we have seen out Bednar this season and there is no questioning that he deserves to keep this job; at least for the rest of the season.