Plug and Play: Neil Walker MIL
Walker has been red hot since being acquired by the Brewers. He’s been forgotten by many due to injury issues over the past couple of seasons, but he’s in a good place now to produce. While he is a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, his recent production is too much to ignore. He has posted a .429 average in 9 games since joining the Brew Crew, and has hit second in the last 5 games that he has started. Jonathan Villar is mostly limited to playing against left-handers at this point, so Walker should get enough bats to keep him relevant down the stretch. He should also be a solid source of power should he find the home run stroke he had going last season (23 homers in 112 games) in Milwaukee’s favorable home park. Walker can be a solid plug and play option at second base for the last month of the season.
Wait and See: Jacob Faria TB
Faria hit the DL on August 20th due to a right abdominal strain, an
injury that had been bothering him over his last couple of starts. The good news is that Faria is reportedly feeling well and doesn’t expect to be out long. He has played light catch already and could be in line for a bullpen session soon. It could be that Faria only misses a couple starts and returns in the first week of September. He is an Elevated Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, but his Above Average Health Performance Factor (HPF) shows that the injury isn’t too serious and that he should be back to 100% pretty quickly. The young right-hander struggled in his last two starts but has been a revelation as a whole for the Rays. His ERA sits at 3.32 in 78.2 innings while striking out close to a batter an inning. Hold onto Faria at this time and hope that he does indeed return in the next week to 10 days.
Drop: Bryce Harper WAS
It may be time to cut Bryce Harper loose, as crazy as that sounds. Harper avoided the worst case scenario when he injured his left knee, suffering a bone bruise and hyper-extension. However, that bone bruise isn’t going to heal quickly. He is a High Injury Risk with a Below Average HPF, and the Nationals won’t rush him back in any way shape or form. He’s still looking at 3 weeks at least before he returns, and it’s likely closer to 4. Even if he returns in 3 weeks, he will be coming back deep into the Fantasy Head to Head playoffs. He will be easing in when he returns, trying to get his timing back to ramp up for the MLB playoffs. At this point, there is very little value he can provide for the remainder of the 2017 regular season, which is all that matters from a Fantasy perspective.
Waiver Wire Adds
Kevin Kiermaier OF, TB
Kiermaier just recently returned after an extended absence due to a rather serious hip injury, and he’s been red hot since being activated off the DL. He’s hitting .345 with 5 extra-base hits (3 homers) and 6 runs scored in 7 games. He’s up to 10 home runs on the season in just 293 at-bats, well above any rate he has posted before in his career. He gets to hit leadoff as well, giving him extra at-bats and run scoring opportunities, as evidenced by his 6 runs scored since coming off the DL. The concern is that he is still a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries due to the nature of the hip injury he suffered, but he has showed no signs of weakness at the plate since returning, so it appears to be worth the risk. If you need outfield help, he’s one of the best options out there.
Pat Neshek RP, COL
Greg Holland’s dominant season in his return from Tommy John surgery has been one of the better stories of the season, but he’s fallen on some seriously tough times lately, raising questions about whether or not he’ll be able to keep the closer spot moving forward. Holland did post a save in a perfect 9th inning Thursday night, but one outing isn’t likely to have righted the ship for good. He’s still a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, and it’s very possible that he’s starting to hit the wall late in the season due to all he’s gone through coming back from Tommy John. If he continues to struggle, look to Neshek, who the Rockies acquired at the trade deadline. He’s been dominant this season in a setup role and would be the first option to close after Holland in the Colorado bullpen. He’s worth a speculative add in this situation.
Jack Flaherty SP, STL
Flaherty is a 21-year old prospect who has been a quick riser in the Cardinals’ system. He’s not overpowering, but his excellent control and 2.13 ERA in the minors this season make him a candidate for a call-up. With Mike Leake suffering from a harsh but predictable reversion to the mean, St. Louis could look to Flaherty to bolster the rotation. The Cardinals are still in the race in the NL Central but have fallen 4.5 games back after a rough stretch recently. Flaherty could be an option as they look to claw their way back into contention. He’s not one of the bigger name pitching prospects in line to be called up, but he could factor in down the stretch. He’s worth a stash in deeper leagues.
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