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Top 5 Hitter Streamers For Week 20: Sleeper Waiver Wire Targets


By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Billy Butler") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This might be my favorite time of the year. Baseball is gearing up into its playoff stretch, fantasy players are duking it out for the right to championship honors, and football teams are strapping on the pads and getting ready for the first few games of the preseason. It's a good time to be a sports fan.

A great time of year or not however, injuries still happen and when they do, you'll have my weekly hitter streamers article to fall back on. Just like always I'll be highlighting sleepers owned in less than 50% of leagues who I think could make an impact for fantasy owners next week. Check these sleeper hitters out:

 

Angel Pagan - SF, (OF)

2014 Stats: .309 BA, 37 Runs, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 11 SB

Ownership: 35.9% (ESPN)

Schedule: Sox, Phillies

Games Scheduled: 5

By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsI'm frankly surprised Pagan's ownership numbers are still as low as they are. This is a player who'll bat at the top of the Giants lineup and can provide fantasy owners with plus batting average, runs scored, and stolen base numbers.

He even has a little bit of power to boot. While he's healthy Pagan is a player who should be owned in 100% of leagues. Even with his limited game schedule for next week, there's no way I could justify leaving him off this list. Grab him now while you still can.

 

Billy Butler - KC, (1B, DH)

2014 Stats: .276 BA, 43 Runs, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 0 SB

Ownership: 45.5% (ESPN)

Schedule: Athletics, (at) Twins

Games Scheduled: 7

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Billy Butler") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAnyone who's read this article the past month and a half or so knows how big a Billy Butler fan I am. Simply put, its incredibly rare for hitters with his kind of skillset and track record to just drop off the face of the earth in the middle of their age 28 season. So far the numbers in early August look a lot like the old Butler so many fantasy owners thought they were drafting.

He's hitting for power again with 2 home runs so far in August and his batting average is a white hot .391 so far this month. No I don't plan on Butler being Miguel Cabrera down the stretch, but if he's locked in and hitting for power he could be a very valuable fantasy asset even against some tough A's pitchers. As an added bonus he's even spent enough time at 1st base to qualify there in most fantasy formats, giving his owners an extra bit of versatility that can go a long way this time of year. Ol' Country Breakfast is definitely worth a long hard look if you ask me.

 

Oscar Taveras - STL, (OF)

2014 Stats: .225 BA, 8 Runs, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 0 SB

Ownership: 25.9% (ESPN)

Schedule: (at) Marlins, Padres

Games Scheduled: 7

fantasy-baseball-advice-oscar-taverasAn upside play if there ever was one, I don't recommend taking up Taveras unless you have a lot of ground to make up in your league and precious little time to do it. As a rookie who's just recently started to get every-day at-bats with his team, there's a huge amount of variance baked into any Taveras projection over the next week. That said, his potential is enormous.

Taveras doesn't draw comps with players like Vladimir Guerrero for nothing you know. His bat speed, bat control, and power potential are the kind of things that could make him a real monster in batting average and home runs if he put everything together for long enough. Give him a shot if you're looking to catch lightning in a bottle next week

 

Wilson Ramos - WAS, (C)

2014 Stats: .295 BA, 18 Runs, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 0 HR

Ownership: 51.6% (ESPN)

Schedule: (at) Mets, Pirates

Games Scheduled: 6

By Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsI know, I know. Technically Ramos is owned in just slightly more than 50% of leagues, but with so many owners experiencing serious problems with their backstops at this time of the year, I'd feel negligent if I didn't offer at least a bit of advice in this regard.

With Yadier Molina and Joe Mauer still working their way back from injuries (though the latter should be back by Monday if all goes smoothly), Matt Wieters out for the year, Santana and McCann scuffling and Jason Castro simply not being very good, a lot of fantasy owners have probably been playing musical chairs with their catchers for the last several weeks. I would recommend these owners check out Wilson Ramos.

He's homered twice in the last 7 games and in case you're worried that his power is just a short sample illusion, let me assure you it is not. Ramos is known for having an elite fly ball distance profile and a willingness to aim for the long ball. He's also hit for a very good batting average in limited playing time so far this year. The lineup around him should also be strong, especially with Denard Span surging. For a player owned in just north of half of all leagues, he's got the makings of a top 10 catcher if everything swings right. That's worth a second look.

 

Josh Rutledge - COL, (2B/SS)

2014 Stats: .281 BA, 24 Runs, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 0 SB

Ownership: 15.7%

Schedule: (at) Padres, Reds

Games Scheduled: 7

I like Rutledge for more than just the 4 games he'll be playing at Coors Field next week (although those certainly help). While Tulo is still working his way back from his injury, Rutledge is one of the few easily acquired 2nd/SS eligible players that offer fantasy owners a healthy mix of power and speed. In only 88 games last season, Rutledge stole 12 bases while hitting 7 home runs, excellent numbers considering the limited opportunities he was given. He might not have any stolen bases to his name so far this season, but I have no reason to think that his skillset has eroded over the course of an offseason. Not at 25 years old at least.

I expect the Rockies to take it slow with Tulowitzki as he returns, which means I do think a rehab assignment for the injured star will be in order. That should guarantee you a full week of at-bats with Rutledge. With his home park, position eligibility, and skillset, I'd take a chance on him if you need infield help.

 




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