With just under four weeks remaining in the regular season, fantasy managers are making a mad dash to pick up points in roto leagues or build the optimal rosters for head-to-head playoffs. And while most of this column is focused on players to add, I want to take a moment to talk about players to drop. Simply put, managers need to be ruthless with their drops decisions this month. Most injured players need to be sent to waivers, with rare exceptions for those who are back soon and have the potential to play at a game-changing level. And pitchers who have difficult upcoming matchups for 2-plus starts are likely best pushed off your roster. Please take a few minutes to assess your roster today and look for players to drop — I promise that will be time well-spent. With all of that said, let’s get back to the players to add:
Cal Raleigh (C, Seattle Mariners, 34 percent rostered)
Raleigh fits only with a special type of roster, as his .210 average is prohibitive for many managers. But the slugger is tied for first among catchers with 23 home runs, and he sits ninth among all players with 19 long balls since June 1. His power skills could move the needle for some squads.
Eduardo Escobar (1B/2B/3B, New York Mets, 39%)
Escobar has endured a disappointing year, but he may finish with a flourish. The slugger, who ripped 28 homers last year, has finally found his form in September, posting a 1.364 OPS this month. And with prospect Brett Baty on the IL for the foreseeable future, Escobar should have his old third base job all to himself once again.
Joey Wendle (2B/3B/SS, Miami Marlins, 11%)
I won’t argue with anyone who wants to avoid Marlins hitters, as the team has had one of the worst offenses in baseball in recent weeks. But Miami has an eight-game schedule next week with plenty of mediocre starters slated to throw for the opposition. Wendle has been getting some opportunities to hit high in the lineup and does his best work against right-handers, which fits the description of six of the eight opposing starters. And his multi-position eligibility makes Wendle easy to stream into a lineup.
Corbin Carroll (3B, Arizona Diamondbacks, 44%)
Although Carroll hasn’t made a great impact in his initial eight games, he also hasn’t look overmatched. The left-handed hitter is in prime position to have his most memorable games to date when he plays three contests at offense-inducing Coors Field this weekend, especially with the Rockies slated to send out three right-handed starters. Managers who no longer have access to Carroll could instead add D-backs hitters such as Alek Thomas (OF, 10 percent rostered) or Stone Garrett (OF, 2 percent rostered).
Elvis Andrus (SS, Chicago White Sox, 22%)
I’m not going to try to convince you that Andrus is a still a good player. After all, since the outset of 2018, he has logged a lowly .669 OPS. But the White Sox have chosen to put the veteran in their leadoff spot of late, and playing time is the most underrated aspect of generating fantasy value. Andrus could collect his share of runs and steals in the season’s final weeks.
T.J. Friedl (OF, Cincinnati Reds, 14%)
Those who want to look ahead should start stashing Reds hitters now. Cincinnati plays a loaded slate of nine games next week, with seven of the contests coming against right-handed starters. The matchups should play well for the left-handed-hitting Friedl, who has a bit of speed (six steals) and has posted a 1.245 OPS this month. Other Reds options include Jake Fraley (OF, 19 percent rostered) and prospect Spencer Steer (3B, 2 percent rostered).
Jose Quintana (SP, St. Louis Cardinals, 38%)
Quintana is unlikely to help in the WHIP category, but he has logged an impressive 3.41 ERA this season that includes a 3.15 mark since joining the Cardinals at the trade deadline. The southpaw should continue to limit the opposition on Sunday when he faces a Pirates lineup that ranks 28th in the Majors with a .645 OPS.
Hunter Brown (SP, Houston Astros, 34%)
Brown is coming off a memorable Major League debut in which he allowed just four baserunners across six scoreless innings. Backed by a talented Houston squad, the youngster has great potential for an excellent two-start week that includes matchups with arguably the two weakest lineups in baseball (Tigers, A’s).
Glenn Otto (SP, Texas Rangers, 4%)
I see Otto as more of a deep-league option, but he deserves credit for having logged a 3.44 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in seven starts since the beginning of August. The 26-year-old has a reasonable two-start schedule overall next week, starting with the light-hitting Marlins on Monday and finishing up with a decent Rays offense on Sunday.
Jimmy Herget (RP, Los Angeles Angels, 24%)
Herget remains arguably the best of the widely available closer options, as he has earned the Angels past three saves. The right-hander has been effective overall this year (2.56 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 56:14 K:BB ratio) and should have the skills to hold this job the rest of the way. With Herget, there is the obvious disclaimer that the 60-77 Angels could struggle to get him a high volume of opportunities.