By Sam McPherson
It’s getting down to the end of a long fantasy baseball season, with only four weeks left in the Major League Baseball season. With so little time left, making up ground in your fantasy league is a difficult task this late. A lot of fantasy owners will overreact, however, and make too many moves.
At this point, fantasy baseball owners need to stick to the plan, trust in the moves they have already made, and commit to the reliable players they have on their rosters already. Whether you’re in a daily- or weekly-transaction league, making wholesale changes at every opportunity is next to futile.
September baseball is volatile: Some MLB teams are out of it and trying different players every day with their expanded rosters, and some MLB teams still are going for the postseason with their lineups every night. You want your team to resemble the latter, of course—and you’ve built your roster all season with this in mind. Don’t stray from the plan now!
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. Derek Holland, SP, Texas Rangers: He won 28 games for the Rangers in 2010-11 when they went to the World Series both seasons, and Holland is back from injury, finally. With Texas chasing the American League playoffs, he’s stepping up big-time right now. Holland’s last start was a three-hit, complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts. Grab him!
2. Marlon Byrd, OF, San Francisco Giants: Somehow, Byrd is defying the aging process. Overcoming a wrist injury earlier this year was one miracle, and now Byrd has 17 RBI in just 12 games with the Giants for a second act. His slugging percentage is up 100 points since San Francisco acquired him for the playoff chase.
3. Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees: Since August 26, he’s hit three home runs and driven in 12 runs as the Yankees push for the playoffs. His overall season numbers are solid for an average shortstop, and sometimes, that’s all you need from the position on your own team. Ride him while he’s hot.
4. Eduardo Escobar, SS/OF, Minnesota Twins: He’s played five positions this season, so he may also be eligible at second and third base, depending on your league rules. Escobar is hitting well right now, as the Twins are fighting for a postseason berth in the AL. His best value is at short or second, where his eight HRs and 42 RBI could be an upgrade for you.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees: His leg injury is going to end his regular season, which means he’s no use to you any more. You need a player that is playing, and Teixeira has been out of the lineup for almost two weeks now. Drop him and find a productive hitter if you can.
2. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: It’s been a lost season for the Dodgers right fielder, and his hamstring needs time to heal. With L.A. sporting a healthy lead in the National League West, don’t expect the team to rush Puig back for the final few weeks of the season. The Dodgers want him ready for the playoffs instead.
3. Erasmo Ramírez, SP, Tampa Bay Rays: He’s always a risky play because he gives up too many hits, but in his last three starts, Ramírez has given up 20 hits in just 15 1/3 innings (along with 10 earned runs). His effectiveness is fading, and you don’t want to be stuck with his stats down the stretch.
4. Kevin Gausman, SP, Baltimore Orioles: He hasn’t won a start since August 1, and that’s never a good sign. Gausman has one decent start in his last six, as his ERA has risen from 3.97 to 4.59 in the last month. Cut bait now before his September starts bury your team in the standings.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf, hockey and fantasy sports for CBS, AXS and Examiner. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach.