It is definitely crunch time across fantasy nation and the start of the NFL pre-season isn't helping one focus. Teams that have a shot at finishing "in the money" will find the time, but its the rest that you should be worried about. As owners give up on the 2013 Fantasy Baseball season and turn their attention to football, their rosters often lag from inattention. This is not a new issue and there is nothing that can really be done about it. As prospects are called up, especially after September 1st, rebuilding fantasy franchises will be looking to add to their '14 rosters, which is best case for keeping everyone involved.
J.J. Putz RP Arizona- Brad Ziegler is doing a good job in Kirk Gibson's "committee" but Putz is quietly returning to form. J.J. struggled and blew a save in his first and only opportunity on July 1st after returning from the disabled list. Since then, Putz has pitched ten scoreless innings, with a win and four holds along the way. Putz has struck out six and has a sparkling 0.90 WHIP during his scoreless streak.
LaTroy Hawkins RP NY Mets- With Bobby Parnell's return date unknown, Hawkins has emerged quickly as the go to guy at the back of the Mets bullpen. Hawkins picking up saves on Tuesday and Thursday and appears to have the confidence of the coaching staff. Hawkins has been effective all season with a 3-2 record, an ERA of 2.86 and a 1.27 WHIP. LaTroy has added 37 strikeouts over 50 innings of work.
Josh Fields RP Houston- Fields is certainly a gamble, but he was a first round draft pick after a stellar career at the University of Georgia. Fields was dominant on Monday night, striking out all four Red Sox he faced to pick up his first and only save (thus far). Things fell apart a bit on Wednesday, also against Boston, when Fields was called upon again and gave up a three run homer in the ninth to Stephen Drew.
Michael Wacha SP St.Louis- Carlos Martinez had his opportunity on Thursday night and suffered a hand injury after giving up a three run bomb to A.J. Ellis. Wacha will be called up to start on Saturday as the Cards continue to tinker with their rotation. Wacha has been solid in two of his three starts with the parent club this season, most recently a win (six innings) against the New York Mets on June 11th.
Tyler Thornburg SP Milwaukee- A third round pick in the 2010 draft, Thornburg has often drawn comparisons to Tim Lincecum. Judging from his last two starts, Thornburg should certainly be on your radar. Thornburg tossing six shutout innings at Chicago and San Francisco, but ending up with no decision in either. Thorrnburg with ten strikeouts in the dozen innings with a WHIP of 1.33.
Bruce Chen SP Kansas City- Once a huge prospect with the Braves, Chen was signed as an international free agent 20 years ago last month. Over the past month, Chen has pitched about as good as any starter in the American League. Chen is 2-0 in the five starts, covering 32 innings. How about a 1.14 ERA and 0.63 WHIP in the process! Chen has 23 strikeouts in the run and has issued only four walks.
Robbie Grossman OF Houston- Grossman is a great combination of high production and low ownership. Grossman struggled in his first run, lasting about a month until Memorial Day. The switch hitter was called back up the last weekend of July and has been raking every since. Moved from 9th to 1st in the order, Grossman is hitting .472 with three home runs, nine RBI and four stolen bases in the run.
Wilmer Flores 3B NY Mets- If you have been searching for a temporary replacement for David Wright, Flores is your man! One of the top hitting prospects in the Mets farm system, Flores got the call from Las Vegas on Tuesday and has stepped right into the New York lineup. Flores delievered on Wednesday night, picking up a pair of hits and three RBI. Flores hit .322 with 15 home runs and 86 RB in Triple-A.
Ike Davis 1B NY Mets- Davis is a perfect case of sell 'em while they're hot and buy 'em when they're not... Projected as a power source for fantasy owners at a corner spot, Davis has bounced to Triple-A and back, but appears up to stay. Davis has been swinging a hot bat for the past two weeks, hitting .343 with a home run, five RBI and even a stolen base!
Kole Calhoun OF LA Angels- While the Angels stars acquired in free agency are either sideline by injury or just performing poorly, their farm system continues to crank out quality talent. Called up two weeks ago, Calhoun has delivered on his noteworthy potential, hitting .324 with three home runs, five RBI and a stolen base. All three HR's coming in the past week.
Dee Gordon SS LA Dodgers- Many fantasy owners have/had been counting on Gordon as a source of stolen bases. With Hanley Ramirez preferring to play shortstop and Gordon struggling, Don Mattingly has seemed content with Dee in Triple-A. With Hanley sidelined again, Gordon has started the past two games, going 3-for-7 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Xander Bogaerts SS Boston- Your projection of the week (if he isn't already gone in your league) is one of the top hitting prospects in the game. Bogaerts has been on a meteoric climb, playing in High-A just two summers ago. In 107 games split between Double and Triple-A, Bogaerts is hitting over .300 with 14 home runs, 62 RBI and seven stolen bases.
Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics. Follow Tom on twitter @RecruitingEagle
Rounding The Bases - Todd Zola Looks At The First 10 Rounds of a Likely 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft
Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola - Looking Ahead To The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season
Rounding The Bases - Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (20 Prospects for '14)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 24
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (September Call-Ups)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 23
Rounding the Bases: A Day For the Little Man
Rounding The Bases: Morse, Willingham On the Move?
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Roster Expansion)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 22
Rounding the Bases: Five Surging Pitchers & Hitters
Rounding the Bases: Rookies, Veterans & Roster Movement
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Pitching Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21
Master Notes From Todd Zola - Taking A Look at Starting Pitching In Keeper Leagues
Rounding the Bases: Small Names, Big Production?
Rounding the Bases: A First for Stephen Strasburg and the (Near) Final Round-Up
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Hitting Help On The Way!)
Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola: Rebuilding Your Squad In A Keeper League