As we make our way into the All Star Break, fantasy owners need to be especially creative with the wire. Most hot adds have been added by now. (is Mat Latos or Jose Bautista still available in your league? Didn’t think so.) Still, we have some unsung studs just now coming into their own.
Percentage of players available taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball leagues
Jonathan Niese (NYM-SP): 20% owned
New York Mets lefthander Jonathon Niese has stabilized the back end of the Metropolitans and now has forced his way into fantasy relevance. After a miserable May that included a stint on the DL from a tender hamstring, Niese has been effective in the month of June. The crafty lefty posted a 4-0 record in five starts, showing an improvement in control (1.04 WHIP) while maintaining a nifty 2.67 ERA during June. Niese carried his success in June into his first start on the road against the Washington Nationals, tossing seven strong innings of one run ball while fanning eight Nats. Pick him up and start him at home as the Mets (surprisingly) carry one of the best home records in the league at 28-12.
Sean Rodriguez (TB-2B,OF): 20% owned
Sean Rodriguez, making his 2nd appearance on the LIP’s players to watch on the wire, is still seeking mass ownership. Rodriguez has begun to show off the power that had been mostly absent due to inadequate playing time and a slow start, S-Rod has belted four homers along with driving in 17 runs while maintaining a healthy .295 AVG over the month of June. With Rodriguez playing well, Rays manager Joe Maddon will be hard pressed to not find more AB’s for the flexible Rodriguez. If his minor league numbers at Triple-A are any indication of the power upside here (51 homers in 175 Triple-A games), Rodriguez could be a valuable asset up the middle with outfield eligibility thrown in there as a sweetener. Grab him before his availability continues to increase as Rodriguez has hit safely in his last four games with three multi-hit games included during that stretch.
Corey Patterson (BAL-OF): 3% owned
Let’s first establish this before speaking about Corey Patterson. When a team like the Baltimore Orioles has struggles as they have this season (24-55 overall and a manger swap midseason), you’re always looking for bright signs to salvage something out of what is turning out to be an atrocious season for the O’s. While they may be mired in the bottomless pit that is the American League East, the glimmer of hope and positive baseball comes from an unlikely source: veteran outfielder Corey Patterson. While Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz are clearly the foundation for what the O’s hope are building pieces for a competitive ballclub, it’s the veteran Patterson that has been most valuable to the club and could be of use for your fantasy squad in deeper leagues. Patterson has logged one of the best months in the Yahoo! Game, collecting 28 hits, good enough for a .329 AVG in June. Patterson won’t hit you many home runs or drive in a whole bunch of runs for you but he is a prime candidate to snatch up some stolen bases along the way. Patterson has stolen 8 of his 13 bases in the past month and there are no signs that his playing time will be compromised considering the abysmal situation in Baltimore. While the batting average is likely to even out, you can expect Patterson to continue to make his presence felt on the base paths.