The MLB trade deadline is rapidly approaching and that means it is likely that your Fantasy Baseball league’s deadline is as well. A great place to look for lineup help is with veterans past their prime. They often do not come with the high price tag of a young player on the upswing with the world at his fingertips. No, the world has passed these players by, but they are still producing solid Fantasy numbers for accepting owners.
- Evan Longoria (3B, Rays) – Longoria has always been a what-if type of player. He broke in as a top power prospect and certainly did not disappoint. Injuries popped up a couple times and he just never seemed to take his game to the next level. Production was solid, but it just did not match his lofty draft position each year. He was expected to build on his early success and he stagnated instead and fell out of favor with much of the community. That made him a solid value play in 2015, and he’s looking like even more than that this year. With little offensive help in the Rays lineup, Longoria has 22 HRs, 51 Runs and 55 RBIs along with a .290 average. If he keeps up the pace, he could set a career high in homers and approach 100 RBIs/Runs. Speed has not been a part of his game since 2010, but there should be no complaints from Longoria owners that got a steal in the middle rounds of their draft. Despite the current production, the shine has worn off of his name value a bit, so you might be able to scoop him up for less than you’d think. The talent has always been there and in his age-30 season, we are Evan Longoria has been a major value for Fantasy owners this season and is showing no signs of slowing down. again seeing a very Fantasy-friendly Longoria. Maybe he hasn’t peaked yet?
- Joey Votto (1B, Reds) – Injuries have been a major factor in Votto’s fall from Fantasy grace, but he bounced back nicely in 2015 with a strong all-around campaign and finished third in NL MVP voting. He got off to a slow start this year, but has really turned it on recently. Since June 1st, he is hitting .346 with a .492 OBP, 7 HRs, 17 RBIs and 29 Runs in 40 games. With the injuries and underperformance at 1B this year, Votto is a reliable asset that you can plug into your lineup and forget about. You will have to pay fair market value for him due to his recent surge in production, but it is nowhere near the cost of Votto’s prime years, or even 2015 Votto. If you are in need of help at 1B, CI or UTIL, he’s a great target.
- Cole Hamels (SP, Rangers) – To be fair, Hamels’ production has not really dipped all that much. In fact, his 2015 season looked almost identical to just about every season of his career – an ERA in the threes and at or near a strikeout per inning. Last year the buzz around Hamels was simply because he was an obvious trade candidate as the Phillies looked to rebuild. He went to the Rangers and his value didn’t really change that much. Sometimes, Fantasy owners get bored with consistency because it is likely that said player is at their ceiling without much potential left. If you are the type of owner that values consistency, especially from the most inconsistent position, then Hamels is your guy. He’s a locked-in Top 25 starter for the rest of the year.
- Matt Kemp (OF, Padres) – Kemp might be well past his prime, but the last season and a half in San Diego has been a solid encore performance. He is a different type of player now, as speed is all but gone from his game completely. He swiped 40 bags in 2011 (along with 39 homers), but hasn’t had more than 12 steals since and is yet to even attempt a theft this year. What he does bring to the table is solid production in the power, RBI and Run departments, along with an average that won’t hurt you. He has at least 20 HRs in seven of the past eight years and is already over that plateau in 2016. He should be good for another 10-12 HRs and is a decent bet to match last year’s 100 RBIs and 80 Runs. He’s no longer a game breaker, but Kemp can give your outfield a lift during the final two months for an affordable price.
- Adam Wainwright (SP, Cardinals) – It may seem like Wainwright is approaching 40 years old but he’s actually only 34 and just two seasons removed from a 2.38 ERA season in 2014. Of course, he missed most of 2015 after an Achilles tendon rupture. Wainwright struggled in April and May (5.71 ERA), but is rounding into form just in time to help your Fantasy squad finish strong. Since May ended, he has a 2.37 ERA and almost a strikeout per inning. The only question with Wainwright is health, but he looks like he is back to being the horse that your Fantasy team can rely on down the stretch. His overall numbers are still not great, so there is a chance his current owner will be willing to part with him for the right price. Kick the tires on him soon or you might miss your opportunity to grab him.