The best thing a fantasy baseball owner can do right now, as we noted last week, is to make sure the players in the lineup are actually playing. Very few player acquisitions at this point are going to make a huge difference in the standings.
What matters is games played, plate appearances for hitters, and innings pitched for the guys on the mound. Your team has to be continuing to accumulate the counting statistics at this point, as every “DNP” for a guy in your active lineup could cost you at the end of the season.
This means making sure you’re checking your lineup at least once a day, and quite often a second time before the nighttime games begin, to make sure the players in your lineup ate actually playing. That’s about all you can do at this point.
Players to Get on Your Team Now
1. Sean Manaea, SP, Oakland Athletics: When healthy, this guy can deal. Last year, he no hit the eventual champs (Boston), and this year, in his first start after recovering from injury, he shut down the Yankees for five innings. Get him going for the home stretch, as the A’s have nothing but bad teams left on their schedule, for the most part.
2. J.D. Davis, UTL, New York Mets: No idea why this guy isn’t rostered on two thirds of online teams. He is hitting .306 with 18 home runs and 49 RBI in just 353 ABs, and he is eligible at both third base and the outfield. What roster in contention for a league title doesn’t need that kind of hitter in the lineup every day?
3. Homer Bailey, SP, Oakland Athletics: See above for the schedule edge, and in addition, he has given up just eight earned runs in his last five starts. Bailey is dealing right now, and you can benefit from it. He also has 30 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings over the same stretch. You’re not going to find much better on the waiver wire right now.
4. Kevin Newman, IF, Pittsburgh Pirates: If you need middle infield help, Newman could be your man, with a .313 average, 10 HRs, 14 SBs, and low-pressure games ahead in the final three weeks. With injuries striking down some good players late in the season, the kind of addition could really help you.
Players to Drop to Waivers Now
1. Michael Pineda, SP, Minnesota Twins: He just got suspended for 60 games, and that means he is done for the year (and for the first month-plus of 2020, too). Pineda was using a masking agent, but nothing in his numbers suggest that he was using PEDs.
2. German Márquez, SP, Colorado Rockies: He has 175 Ks this season in 174 innings, and his 1.200 WHIP is tolerable considering the strikeouts. However, his arm is sore, and he probably won’t pitch the rest of the year. His 3.67 ERA on the road tells you all you need to know about how you should have used Márquez in 2019.
3. Max Muncy, UTL, Los Angeles Dodgers: His wrist injury is supposedly better, and he may get activated from the disabled list on Friday. However, the Dodgers have no need to rush him back, and they have no need to win a lot of games, really. So don’t expect a lot of Muncy in the final two-plus weeks of the season.
4. Gio Urshela, 3B, New York Yankees: He comes off the DL today, but with the expanded rosters and the Yanks paying for October, don’t expect him to play every day down the stretch. Like Muncy above, there’s going to be days he isn’t playing, and that can only hurt your fantasy team.