Late season injuries can cripple a prolific fantasy season at any moment. It seems this season, more than in years past, a surprising number of elite players have seen their season shortened due to an injury.
Don’t feel discouraged, just check out this week’s top fantasy baseball sleepers and reclaim your rightful spot.
Mike Aviles, 2B KC: We’ve all seen this story before. Just a few short years ago Aviles came up and began mashing baseballs all over the yard. After an injury plagued 2009, Aviles was demoted to the minor leagues, but he continues to prove that he can be counted on as a part of the team’s long-term plan. Since reclaiming the second base job from a concussed Chris Getz, Aviles has hit an even .500 with some nice pop (4 HR & 10 RBI). He doesn’t seem to be slowing, so feel free to grab him and ride this hot streak out for the last leg of the fantasy baseball season.
Danny Valencia, 3B MIN: Although he was not considered a key contributor at the start of the year, Valencia has stepped right into a pennant race and done quite well for himself. Owners should run, not walk, to make sure that he’s still not available on the fantasy baseball waiver wire. He’s got 12 hits in his last 35 at bats (.343) and has contributed in the power department as well with 3 dingers and 9 RBI.
Evan Meek, RP PIT: If you’re in the market for some cheap, late season saves (and who isn’t?) then look no further than the new closer in Pittsburgh. Manager John Russell has opted to give Meek a look in the 9th before the season is out to see what he has for next year and so far he looks like a genius. Temper your expectations on account of the fact that the Pirates have been out of playoff contention since May, but you never know when a team can string some wins together and play spoiler. Meek has successfully locked down wins in his last two appearances and hasn’t been scored on nor issued a single free pass. He’s a bargain-bin value in any fantasy baseball league.
Juan Gutierrez, RP ARI: Similarly to Meek, Gutierrez is the newest closer for the D-Backs and their most effective one to date. Odds are that he has been scooped up in your fantasy baseball league, but if for some reason he hasn’t now is the time to make a play. Since taking over as the D-Backs closer late last month, Gutierrez has converted every chance afforded to him and has done it with electric strikeout totals. With a 9/3 K:BB ratio since taking over the gig, he has solidified himself as a viable option to close out the season.
Nick Blackburn, SP MIN: Another Twinkie makes the list, and it only makes sense given the team’s recent success. Blackburn has gone at least 7 innings in each of his last six outings and has kept his team in the game in every one. His strikeout totals have never been anything to get excited about, but his control has been stellar lately. He gets the Royals his next time out, so there is no better opportunity for owners to roll the dice.