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Fantasy Baseball Update: Best Late Season Pickups

Today’s column is directed more at keeper leagues than any other type, but it should be pretty informative for everybody. Be sure to check back next week for another new column on the September 1st callups. Also, check out the new Fantasy Football Column over at Pro Football Fans.

The players listed below are people who may still be available as a pickup in your league that may prove to be quite useful the remainder of this season or next season. This type of pickup can really help a contender get a few extra points down the stretch. However, even more than that it can help a player looking for next year steal a player or two that can really make a difference in a years time.


Pablo Sandoval (Giants): Sandoval has rocketed from Single-A all the way to the majors this season. He is a high risk/reward player. Sandoval has a ton of power and this season added average and OBP. If he can continue to develop he can become a potent fantasy force at catcher, as a bonus he should also qualify at first.

Help: Next Year


First Base

Daric Barton (A’s): Coming back from an injury Barton has hit better than before, but still not great. He is an exceptional bet to bounce back. Barton has hit at every level and there is no reason not to believe that he will not hit at this level, grad him while you can.

Help: Maybe a bit this year, but a lot next year


Second Base

Emilio Bonifacio (Nats): I do not know that he will ever be a stud, but he can be a solid fantasy player due to outstanding speed. He is at a premium position and provides a good deal of speed with no real competition for his job. I give him an edge over Asdrubal Cabrera (Indians) for the future and this season.

Help: Speed the rest of the year, more of the same next year.

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Short Stop

Erick Aybar (Angels): He is available in quite a few more keeper leagues than he should be. Aybar is a solid player who can produce in every category (not a ton, but good numbers) and is at the major’s premium position right now. With Maicer Izturis out for the year, he gets every at-bat to nail down a permanent spot in that outstanding Angels lineup.

Help: Few numbers the rest of the way, the more he does this year the better he is next year.


Third Base

Andy LaRoche (Pirates): LaRoche has finally gotten an opportunity since getting traded to the Pirates. He has put up solid numbers so far that should only get better. LaRoche is an On-Base machine with solid power potential. If he is still available he should be grabbed regardless of your teams league rank.

Help: Both this year and next.



Steven Pearce (Pirates): Pearce is an excellent hitter who has just been waiting for an opportunity. He has outstanding power potential and should be able to get on base at a pretty good clip. Pearce has every chance to combine with Andy LaRoche as a potent 3-4 combo in Pittsburgh for years to come.

Help: Next Year.

Joe Mather (Cardinals): Mather has hit extremely well recently with outstanding power numbers. His power numbers will probably not continue at this clip. However, he can easily fit into the mix in St. Louis’ outfield by putting up solid numbers across the board.

Help: Some this year and at worst a Tony LaRussa part-time role next year.

Brett Gardner (Yankees): Gardner brings speed, youth, and spark. The Yankees lack all three. If Gardner can contribute at all with the bat he is going to be a fixture for the near future. The Yankees have nothing else to challenge Gardner as Melky Cabrera looks like a bust, Johnny Damon is old, and Hideki Matsui is falling apart. Gardner has every chance to turn into a Jacoby Ellsbury type player with a little less power.

Help: Speed this year, and at least that next year.


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Starting Pitcher

Josh Johnson/Anibal Sanchez (Marlins): These two young pitchers were the future of the Marlins staff prior to their injuries. They are both back, and presumably healthy. So far they have both pitched pretty well and on the young up-and-coming Marlins should only improve. Given another couple months they should be even better bets to return to their early form next year.

Help: Both this year and next, especially next.

Brandon McCarthy (Rangers): McCarthy has never lived up to his potential, and now he is coming off an injury. However, he may get better coming back from the injury. One of McCarthy’s biggest problems has always been control. Now, coming off the injury he will have to rely more on his pitching and less on stuff. That fact should cause him to not attempt to be so fine with his pitches and let his defense help him out. He looked good in his first time back on the mound, it should continue.

Help: Next Year.

Clayton Richard (White Sox) and Gio Gonzalez (A’s): Both Richard and Gonzalez are excellent prospects who are probably up a little too early. They have been hit around pretty hard, but they should continue to learn. Richard and Gonzalez are both lefties and will be given every opportunity to solidify a rotation spot, but probably will not be worth a lot until next year.

Help: Next Year.

One quick note, I also like Anthony Reyes (Indians) to bounce back, similar to McCarthy aside from the injury and fulfill his potential. However, everybody has been very high on Reyes so I did not see the need to include him above.


Relief Pitcher

Brad Ziegler (A’s) and Jensen Lewis (Indians): These two could be either flashes in the pan, or legitimate relievers for the long haul. It is just too early to tell. They have both been very good and are now getting most of their teams save opportunities. Ziegler has obviously been more dominant, but Lewis is on a team with no real competition for saves long term. I think both have a chance to close next year and this point in the season is the perfect time to gamble on these types of closers for next year.

Help: Both this year and next (potentially).

Joel Hanrahan (Nats) and Chris Perez (Cardinals): These two are very similar to the above guys from the AL. I do not like Hanrahan a whole lot for the long-term though he probably has as good a shot as Lewis. Perez was a top prospect at closer and has taken over the role in a bit of a surprise. Perez has every opportunity to be an excellent closer for years to come, and he is the guy I like the best of all four.

Help: Hanrahan is okay for this year, and decent for next. Perez is a great bet for both this year and next.



By Brian Chmielewski
MLBcenter.com Fantasy Baseball Correspondent

Fans can contact Brian via email at bchmfantasybaseball @ yahoo.com

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