Gamers are always looking for roster help, but the pickings become especially thin this late in the season. Here is a list of one player from each American League team who is available in at least 75 percent of Yahoo leagues and should contribute down the stretch.
Hanser Alberto, 2B/3B, Orioles
Scroll through the Major League leaders in batting average and you’ll find that nearly all of them are rostered in your league. Alberto stands out as the only qualified .300 hitter who is almost universally available, and he has the elite contact skills (9.0% strikeout rate) to keep this up.
Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Red Sox
Bradley is the opposite of Alberto, offering plenty of category juice while pulling down fantasy teams’ batting averages. His elite defensive skills keep the 29 year old in the lineup, and he is on pace for roughly 20 homers and 10 steals this season. The Red Sox are likely close to throwing in the towel, but their lineup will still produce down the stretch.
Leury Garcia, SS/OF, White Sox
I can’t believe that Garcia is under-rostered to the point of being an option for this list. After all, the multi-position asset is hitting .283 while on pace to post roughly 100 runs scored and 20 steals. Shame on you, fantasy gamers! Garcia needs to be added in roto leagues right away.
Adam Plutko, SP/RP, Indians
Plutko is too homer prone to help your ERA, but his fly-ball tendencies make him a WHIP asset. And as long as he keeps a spot in the rotation, the right-hander should have some juicy AL Central matchups in September. Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber could take his spot, but both aces might end up in the bullpen down the stretch.
Travis Demeritte, 2B/SS/OF, Tigers
Demeritte has enjoyed a solid MLB debut, hitting .277 with a pair homers and three steals across 94 plate appearances. And there is likely more power coming from someone who posted 20 round-trippers across 96 games in Triple-A this season before receiving his promotion.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
Tucker remains the best hitter in the minors for fantasy gamers to stash. The 22 year old has already accumulated 32 homers and 30 steals this season, leaving gamers drooling about his potential to produce in a dominant Astros lineup. Houston doesn’t have a spot for Tucker right now, but one injury could change everything.
Jakob Junis, SP, Royals
I can’t recommend Junis as a ratios asset, but he could be an innings eater for teams that are looking for strikeouts and a couple wins. After all, Junis ranks among the top-35 in baseball in innings pitched and strikeouts.
Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
Along with Brian Goodwin, Pujols gives the Angels two hitters who are under-rostered at the moment. The veteran no longer contributes a high batting mark, but he ranks 33rd in baseball with 76 RBI. Gamers who are in tight power-category races could do worse than Pujols and his consistent contributions.
Luis Arraez, 2B/3B/OF, Twins
Arraez is similar to Hanser Alberto: a batting-average asset who doesn’t provide great help in other categories. But gamers should always be attentive to the few players who can compile more walks than whiffs, and this .335 hitter fits that description.
Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
Gamers can view Gardner as a slightly preferable facsimile to Jackie Bradley Jr. After all, the 36 year old isn’t going to provide a helpful batting average over the long run, but he can contribute in multiple ways, as is evidenced by his 17 homers, nine steals and 68 runs scored.
Mark Canha, 1B/OF, A’s
Canha has clearly done enough to generate some serious fantasy buzz by hitting .331 with 10 homers and a 1.009 OPS since the All-Star break. The right-handed hitter with balanced splits has become a key part of a surging A’s squad that is chasing a postseason spot.
Jake Fraley, OF, Mariners
One of the easiest picks for this article, Fraley has the power-speed combo that could tilt fantasy leagues down the stretch. Gamers should be ready to pounce on someone who is getting regular chances on a rebuilding club after tallying 19 homers and 22 steals across 99 games in the minors this year.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Rays
I really wanted to pick Nick Anderson from this club, as he is among the most desirable setup men to add right now. But I need to highlight Kiermaier, who seems to be under-rostered every year. The outfielder is one of the most underrated steals sources, having already accumulated 19 swipes across 109 games this year. And with 13 homers, he has joined the league-wide power surge.
Nick Solak, 2B, Rangers
Solak fared well in the minors this season (.289 average, 27 homers in 115 games) and is now getting his first chance to show what he can do with the big club. His results have been great thus far (.318 average, .990 OPS) and Texas is set for a hitter-friendly schedule during the initial two weeks of September.
Cavan Biggio, 2B/OF, Blue Jays
Biggio has thus far been serviceable but not special as a Major Leaguer. But this youngster with stellar minor league numbers has posted the kind of advanced stats (45.0% fly-ball rate, 41.5% hard-contact rate) with the Blue Jays to suggest that a power surge is coming.