Are you frustrated with your fantasy team’s start? Have you had it with the players you selected not performing like you had thought? Has your team suffered significant injuries? Do not worry; there are players that are still out there that will make an impact…THIS season. I am going to try to let you in on who some of them are, even though more may still arise that no one can foresee at this time. There is still time to turn your seasonal fantasy baseball team around and start to enjoy the season. Later on, these players will also be able to help weekly fantasy baseball teams and even daily fantasy baseball teams. One of the last chances to find new players to help your team is as the trading deadline approaches. This year, it is July 31st at 4 PM EST. You just need to identify the players that will benefit from this as well as identifying who may make an impact after being called up from the minors.
Justin Maxwell, OF, Houston Astros: Maxwell has already started to get a little bit of increased playing time. In barely over 100 ABs, Maxwell has already hit 8 HRs to go along with 24 RBIs. In an average season, a full time player will bat around 500 times. If he were to keep up this pace, Maxwell would have 40 homer potential in a full season and around 100 RBIs. He also plays in a small ball park that is very homer friendly. As the Astros fall further and further out of contention, they will have no need to keep Carlos Lee and his huge contract. If the Astros are not already, they will soon be fielding offers for Carlos Lee so they can create playing time for the players that will be there in the future. If a contending team completes a trade for Carlos Lee, Justin Maxwell becomes a huge beneficiary. He would then be playing virtually every day in a ballpark that is known for offense. Another benefit is that the Astros are in the NL Central, which while competitive, does not have a lot of teams with a lot of dominant pitching. If you are in a seasonal fantasy baseball league, and you have bench spots available to you that you do not need, it may be wise to go ahead and pick him up from free agency so you have him when the trade goes down and are not late to get him. If someone does have him, you can try a low offer, but the owner probably will not bite because they must have him hoping for an everyday spot to open up for him as well. If Carlos Lee is traded, Maxwell will immediately become viable in weekly fantasy baseball as well as daily fantasy baseball.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox: You may already be familiar with Middlebrooks and what he can do this season. He filled in admirably for Kevin Youkilis while he was out earlier in the season. He currently bats over .300 and that is over a decent sample size of over 130 ABs. He has also already shown he can hit for some power and a good RBI guy. He had 7 HRs and 25 RBI filling in for Youkilis. However, Youkilis is back and many owners have soured some on Middlebrooks since he is not playing every day now. Some owners have even cut him. Youkilis is actively being shopped to other teams now by the Red Sox, because Middlebrooks showed that he could play. Once Youkilis is traded, Middlebrooks will take over playing every day. When you have a chance to get a corner infielder in a high potent offense like the Red Sox, you do it, especially in seasonal fantasy baseball with bench spots. The Red Sox offense will only be getting better as well. With table setters Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury soon to come back, the Reds Sox will be even more explosive and Middlebrooks will benefit with more opportunities to drive in runs. This will make him a force in weekly fantasy baseball as well.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Bauer has yet to be seen in the major leagues, but he is tearing up minor league baseball. So far, he has 111 Ks in just 90 innings pitched. With the Diamondbacks falling out of contention, Bauer is due for a call up soon to show what he can do. The Diamondbacks will probably wait a couple more weeks so Bauer’s arbitration clock does not start sooner and they are able to keep him another year at a lower cost, but they will not be able to keep him in the minors much longer. He may struggle some to get wins, but you cannot pass up on the strike out rate that you are guaranteed with Bauer. It may best to just go ahead and pick him up now if you can so you do not have to worry about the race to your computer to get him when you find out that he is called up.
Tony Campana, OF, Chicago Cubs: Do you need steals? Who doesn’t? And if you do not need them, guys with high steal rates are usually tradable for something you do need. Campana has over 20 steals already this season. And this is without regular playing time. Right now, he usually starts only when right handed pitchers are starting. Luckily, that is more times than not for now. However, the Cubs are struggling this season. They will be very active at the trading deadline. The number one person they would try and trade is Alfonso Soriano. If they can complete a trade involving him, more playing time will open up in the outfield. Tony Campana has the ability to steal 4 bases in a game. It will give you the capability to make a comeback in the steals category in seasonal fantasy baseball. If playing time does open up, you will also have an advantage in weekly fantasy baseball. Another bonus working in Campana’s favor is the fact even if a trade is not completed, Campana may just be given more time to see if he can play every day because the Cubs will have nothing to play for and will better served to get a head start on next year by playing the players that will be there next year.