Time is running short for Fantasy Baseball owners embroiled either in head-to-head playoffs or air tight Roto races, which means there is still time to find some difference makers on the waiver wire.
T.J. House, P, Indians: Cleveland’s late sprint to a postseason bid has been helped by House, who delivered seven shutout innings while allowing just four hits during the Tribe’s 2-0 win over the Twins on Thursday. That effort comes on the heels of House’s seven inning gem against the White Sox last weekend in which he scattered seven hits and fanned seven while allowing one run. Owned in just five percent of polled leagues, House has given up just seven runs — five of which came during an August 26 win over the White Sox — in his last five starts. He offers strikeout potential, having struck out 30 batters over his last 31 frames of work. House, who is probably scooped up in most AL-only leagues, is a worthy gamble for mixed league owners.
Tyler Matzek, P, Rockies: Yes Virginia, there are effective pitchers that call Coors Field home. Matzek was mentioned in this column earlier this season, but since being recalled by the Rockies, Matzek has pitched like the 2009 first rounder they drafted, having won three straight starts before the Colorado offense took a vacation during Wednesday’s 2-0 loss. He is in the midst of a four-start run in which he has allowed just four runs while whiffing 24 hitters over 29.1 innings. At this point, you have to throw out your “but he’s a Rockies pitcher” prejudice and take a chance on a young arm that is owned in just five percent of polled leagues.
David Freese, 3B, Angels: Almost a virtual non-factor for most of the season, Freese’s bat has come alive in September, recording four multi-hit games in seven starts. His RBI drought has also shown signs of rain, as Freese has driven in four runs thus far this month after going through a three-week stretch in which he had one RBI. If he’s driving in runs, Freese will provide a bonus. Yet, if you’re in one of the 80 percent of polled leagues in which Freese is available, take him for his skill at hitting them where they ain’t, especially since he has shot his batting average up 12 points this month.
Josh Fields, P, Astros: Fields is auditioning for the closer’s role in Houston next season and he’s warmed up to seizing the part. Fields has a pair of save this week, and you have to love the fact that he’s fanned 70 batters in 54.1 innings. Slowly, yet surely, the Astros are putting together a respectable pitching staff, and a strong September from Fields could give the Astros pause when it comes to filling the role next season. Houston is going to be a pain in the rear of their AL West compatriots the rest of the way, which means Fields, owned in a mere three percent of polled leagues, will be good for a handful of save opportunities that could help any team in that department.
Kevin Quackenbush, P, Padres: Here’s another closer looking to use September as the foundation for bigger things in 2015. Quackenbush may have a last name more suited for a classic Looney Tunes cartoon, yet hitters have found nothing funny about the big righty, who has two saves in three opportunities since the Padres entrusted him to close out games. He can help you across the board, as he has a 2.61 ERA while striking out 52 in 48.1 innings to go along with a stellar 1.03 WHIP. Quackenbush is owned in 14 percent of polled leagues and is a good option for owners starved for saves.
D.J. LeMahieu, 2B/3B, Rockies: Thrown into many a waiver wire heap in NL-only leagues after hitting .177 in August, LeMahieu has spent this month torching hurlers to the tune of .419-1-5 in nine games while also swiping two bases. Don’t expect much power from LeMahieu, but he should be able to continue making contact at a solid clip. He’s owned in 12 percent of polled leagues and could be an asset for owners looking to make a last push in batting average while getting a steal or two as well.
Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres: Owned in just one percent of polled leagues, Spangenberg is finally showing us why the Padres used a first round pick on him in 2011. A strong season in Double-A (.331/.365/.470) earned him a trip to The Show, and he has responded by hitting .346-2-6 with a steal in 26 at-bats entering Thursday. Spangenberg has equaled his Double-A home run total, but don’t expect a lot of pop from him. He’ll get an extended opportunity, as he is slated to see action at second with the Padres moving Jedd Gyroko to third next season. He’s worth a stash in keeper/dynasty leagues and a possible NL-only sleeper.