August is literally days away. How does the team you drafted in March look now? Itâ€™s the time to fight for every point in an effort to win your league. If youâ€™re the type that doesnâ€™t look at standings, you should probably start. Yesterday. Standings matter now. Itâ€™s easy to forget things like saves and steals. Runs and RBIs usually come with batting average and homers. Wins and strikeouts work in a similar fashion, but saves and steals are easy to ignore. Itâ€™s not time to despair. Itâ€™s time to hit the waiver wire and start trolling for stats some might have ignored.
Pirates closer Jason Grilli will likely be out for 4-8 weeks. Thatâ€™s a huge range at this point in the season. Heâ€™ll either be back in September or heâ€™ll miss the majority of the remaining regular season games. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson are the two pitchers fantasy GMs need to target. Melancon has been the best pitcher in the Pirates bullpen this year and Watson has already nicked two saves.
Itâ€™s been rumored that the Rangers are looking to deal closer Joe Nathan in an effort to add more pieces to use to acquire a bat. This is likely trade deadline B.S., but Joakim Soria is prepared to step in to the role if Nathan is dealt. Soria has only thrown 5 2/3 innings this year, but he appears to be the same pitcher he was before the surgery. Soria is next in line in Texas and is worth a speculative add at this point for teams in need of saves.
Not only has Astros closer Jose Veras kept his job for four months, but heâ€™s been pretty good. He owns a 2.83 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP. Heâ€™s struck out 44 in 43 innings with only 14 walks. Heâ€™s also a potential deadline deal target. Wesley Wright or Jose Cisneros appear to be next in line for saves in Houston, but itâ€™s really anyoneâ€™s guess who manager Bo Porter will turn to if Veras leaves.
The Cubs would love to deal closer Kevin Gregg before the deadline to add pieces to their rebuild. The Cubs have two possible closer candidates on the major league roster right now. The first candidate, Blake Parker, has been named as a possible closer by manager Dale Sveum. Parker has been competent this year in his second big league cup of coffee. Parker owns a 8.72 K/9 with a 3.74 BB/9 in 22 major league appearances. Pedro Strop has also been mentioned by Dale Sveum as a potential closer. The difference between Strop and Parker is that Strop has the overpowering stuff that managers look for in closers. Heâ€™s also capable of posting Marmolian walk totals. This could be a time share until someone claims the job, but both relievers are worth a speculative add if Gregg winds up getting dealt.
The Houston Astros have called up Jonathan Villar in hopes that heâ€™ll fill the gaping hole the Astros have at shortstop. Villar has shown a little pop in the minors (.165 ISO this year in Triple-A), but his biggest asset is his speed. Heâ€™s stolen over 30 bases in each of the last four seasons. It sounds like heâ€™ll be given every chance to earn the everyday shortstop job in Houston and itâ€™s not like he has a ton of competition. Villar could steal 20 bases over the final two months and change of the baseball season and he qualifies at a very thin position. Villar should be owned every applicable format.
Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain is nursing a tight hamstring. Itâ€™s time to get Jarrod Dyson in fantasy lineups for the first few days of next week at least. Dyson is capable of stealing bases in bunches and figures to start as long as Cain is hurting.
The Miami Marlins called up both Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick last week. Both are worthy of an add in deep leagues or NL-only formats, but Marisnick will probably end up with more steals. Yelich has shown speed in the past, but heâ€™s suffered an abdominal injury this summer and it appears to have sapped some of his explosiveness. He has only five steals across three levels. Marisnick has 11 steals in 67 Double-A games this year and appears the better bet to nick a few steals in the last few months of the season.
Tigers second baseman Omar Infante is likely out until mid-August at the earliest. This could mean a few more opportunities for youngster Hernan Perez. Perez has little pop and only has about 400 PAâ€™s above High-A, but heâ€™s shown that he has the speed and ability to steal bases. Heâ€™s an option in super deep or AL-only formats at this point.