Following being put on the shelf for the entire 2014 season and most of 2015 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, A.J. Griffin became less than an afterthought in most mixed leagues. This overlooked Ranger doesn’t throw hard and outside of a nasty curveball, the rest of the pitch repertoire underwhelms. But with the ultra slow curve and its speed differential from the fastball, opponents' timing is disrupted enough to keep runs from crossing the plate. The soft-tosser hasn’t given up more than three runs in a start since September 6th of 2013, and over 56 career starts, he’s only given up more than four runs thrice. That’s useful during the hot summer months when ERA and WHIP bombs are plentiful at the back end of your fantasy rotation.
If you are tired of the beating your ratios are getting by pitching marginal starters, Michael Feliz is available in most leagues. The flamethrower has vultured five wins already as he’s frequently tasked to pitch multiple innings in close games. With 2.4 K’s per appearance, think of him as a poor man’s Dellin Betances.
I might regret saying this about a pitcher calling Coors Field his home, but Tyler Anderson’s string of quality starts isn’t a fluke. His ability to keep the ball down with late downward movement has placed the rookie among the league leaders in ground ball percentage. A hitch in the former first round pick’s delivery adds deception. The young Rockie is still available in numerous leagues largely because he pitches in Denver. Obviously, any pitcher in this zip code comes with at least a modicum of risk, but I’m not afraid to roster him.
Eddie Rosario has been a huge disappointment this year. Gaffes in the outfield and a brutal 3/32 BB/K ratio have made him a free agent even in some 15-team leagues. He may not be ready for starting lineups yet, but put Rosario on your radar. He’s turned things around with a .881 OPS, seven homers and five steals over 41 games at Rochester. There’s 20-20 upside if he can make enough contact to stay in the lineup.
Jose Peraza was called up to replace Billy Hamilton while in the concussion protocol. Hamilton is back but Bryan Price has continued to find ways to work Peraza’s bat, and speed, into the Reds lineup, starting at least half the time and pinch hitting on his off days. In a dozen starts since his June 15th callup, the former Braves prospect has nine thefts without getting caught. Jose will likely add qualification at SS and OF soon as Price moves the Reds utility player around. Depending on how desperate you are for steals, the youngster might be worth a stash and possibly the occasional spot start. If an injury opens up an everyday spot, you’ve just hit a yahtzee.
Knuckleballers are unpredictable and R.A. Dickey is no exception, being somewhat at the mercy of how well his unconventional pitch offering is dancing. After the All-Star break in 2015, the 41-year-old former Cy Young recipient posted a 2.80 ERA along with an 8-1 record. The run support obviously will be there. Since the start of June, Dickey has a 2.89 line over seven starts. Coming out of the break, Toronto will travel to Oakland to face the Athletics, and host San Diego and Tampa Bay the first couple of weeks.
Junior Guerra is still floating around in a few 12-team leagues. It’s understandable to not trust a 31-year-old rookie. All I can tell you is that his slider and his nasty changeup have nice late downward movement that will continue to induce swings and misses as long as they are well located. Guerra is worth the roster space.