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Roster management is key to success in Fantasy Baseball, which means you need to make the most of every single spot you have. Especially at this point in the season, you are looking for either potential call-ups, benefactors of the trade deadline or players in the disabled list that could bounce back. Most leagues have two or three slots available for you to stash injured players. If you are not maximizing all of your available spots, it is time to hit the waiver wire in search of some quality stash players. Think of your disabled list spots as free lottery tickets; if they do not pan out, you can simply drop them into the trash heap. If they do bounce back healthy and ready to contribute, it is found money for your Fantasy team down the stretch. We’ll weigh potential return date, upside and obtainability into our Top 5 rankings. As a side note, if you need catcher help, quickly check your league and see if Travis D’Arnaud is available because he is due back by the weekend (and therefore not eligible for this Top Five).
- Byron Buxton (Twins, OF) – Buxton has been the most heralded prospect in baseball for the past three years, with his only true peer being Cubs slugger Kris Bryant. Buxton oozes upside but also needs to refine his game and continue to develop. Luckily for Twins fans and Fantasy owners alike, his natural ability should allow him to mature further at the major league level. He brings developing pop and elite speed, along with the promise of eventually hitting for average and being among the league leaders in runs scored. For the remainder of 2015, Buxton should be able to make an impact because of his speed. He may have gotten lost in the shuffle because of his injury and landed back on the wire. He is the ultimate flier at this point, offering immense potential if things start to click for the future star.
- Jered Weaver (Angels, SP) – Weaver has been much maligned over the past few seasons because of a sharp dip in velocity and strikeout rate. Even with the deterioration in his physical ability, Weaver has maintained an ERA below 4.00 in each of the past six seasons and hit double-digit wins each year of his career. This year, he struggled prior to the injury with a 4.75 ERA and just 49 strikeouts in 96.2 innings. A hip injury landed him back in the free agent pool in the majority of leagues. Perhaps the wheels are falling off and Weaver will never get back to being a viable starter, but at this point he is worth an add. He could be a solid back end starter for your team in August and September.
- Desmond Jennings (Rays, OF) – Remember this guy? He is a classic Fantasy tease with tools that will make you drool. Jennings has never been able to put it all together, failing to hit for enough average and stay healthy long enough to make the most of his talent. He played 18 games this year before undergoing knee surgery, and only deep league owners have likely held onto him to this point. When healthy, he should hit at or near the top of the Rays’ lineup and bring intriguing stolen base potential with average power. He is certainly not going to win you a championship, but Jennings can be a nice role player that you grab for free from the waiver wire.
- Jed Lowrie (Astros, SS) – While he will certainly not coming back to his old position, Lowrie could find a place in the Astros lineup quickly upon his return. Carlos Correa has come up and lit the Fantasy world on fire with his instant impact, leaving the Astros to look for more creative ways to get Lowrie’s bat back. He may need to play a utility role while also splitting time at third base with Luis Valbuena. Lowrie offers middle infield eligibility help in the form of a solid average, pop and run potential. If he is out there on your waiver wire, grab him now and see how his playing time shakes out when he gets healthy.
- Jordan Walden (Cardinals, RP) – The Cardinals bullpen is already deep with Trevor Rosenthal locking down the ninth inning, the impressive Kevin Siegrist and newly acquired Steve Cishek in front of him. Prior to his injury, though, Walden was the dominating set-up man for Rosenthal and should reprise that role upon his return. He also could be poised to step into the closer’s spot if anything happens to Rosenthal. He looked like a future closer early in his career with the Angels, but a trade to the Braves had him sitting behind Craig Kimbrel for the past two seasons. It’s a waiting game for Walden once again, but in the meantime he should rack up holds and strikeouts while helping your ratios. He is a deep league stash if you need bullpen assistance.