Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles
In previous seasons, major league teams had the option to expand rosters to 40 players in September. Unfortunately, added pitching depth to bullpens led to longer games rather than getting a chance to see some young players perform at the big league level. This year, rosters expand from 26 to 28 players plus five taxi squad players while playing away from home.
Baltimore has been out of contention for a long time. However, they have a top-catching prospect who played well over 368 at-bats (.285 with 72 runs, 19 home runs, and 62 RBI) at AA and AAA, who will undoubtedly be in the majors in 2020. Their AAA franchise (Norfolk) has no shot at the postseason (41-63 on 9/3), which may lead to Rutschman getting a callup over to the Orioles. For now, he is just a player to keep an eye on in the fantasy market.
Frank Schwindel, Chicago Cubs
In 15-team formats, Schwindel has been picked up over the previous month after the Cubs traded away their star players. He remains in the free-agent pool in 52 percent of leagues in the high-stakes market despite playing well over the past month (.333 with 18 runs, seven home runs, and 21 RBI). In addition, Schwindel picked up the power pace over the last seven games (three home runs and six RBI), shining more attention on him on the waiver wire. As a result, he should be added in all formats going forward.
Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia Phillies
After missing almost two months with a quad injury, Galvis returned to action on August 25th. His bat looked better over his previous four games (4-for-17 with four runs and four RBI) while starting each day with Didi Gregorius out with a personal issue. Galvis gives Philly another option to compete for playing time at second base, third base, and shortstop. He offers some power from middle infield while only being in play in deep formats if Galvis continues to get starting at-bats.
Bobby Witt, Kansas City Royals
The final check-in on Witt in the minors puts him on the fast track to the majors in 2022. Between AA and AAA over 410 at-bats, he hit .295 with 80 runs, 28 home runs, 85 RBI, and 22 steals. His strikeout rate (23.8) improved slightly at AAA (23.5) while remaining below the major league average. Since August 1st at AAA, Witt hit .287 with nine home runs, 29 RBI, and six stolen bases over 115 at-bats. If he gets called up, the Royals should have him in the lineup every day.
Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals
In one high dollar 15-team last week, I launched Kieboom into the free-agent pool after a quiet nine games (4-for-32 with one home run, two RBI, and 12 strikeouts). He paid me back with a three-game hitting streak (4-for-11 with three runs, two home runs, and three RBI) to start this week. Washington rewarded him quickly with a move to second in the batting order, creating more runs with Juan Soto hitting behind him. The question in shallow leagues: is he a trick or a treat? Kieboom has talent, so ride him while he is producing.
Edward Olivares, Kansas City Royals
The up-and-down relationship between the Royals and Olivares gets another dance after adding him to their roster on August 27th. He flashed over his first four games (5-for-15 with three home runs and three RBI) in Kansas City to start the month, but they shipped him back to AAA four days later (1-for-9). Olivares played well in the minors (.298 with 46 runs, 13 home runs, 29 RBI, and 12 stolen bases over 276 at-bats). The Royals had him in their starting lineup in four of their past five games, but he only had one hit over 14 at-bats. Olivares offers a power/speed combination, and his play should improve down the stretch.
Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies
Herrera tends to sit against left-handed pitching, but he has a seven-game hitting streak (10-for-20 with five runs, one home run, three RBI, and one steal). Since the All-Star break, Herrera has hit .313 with six home runs and 17 RBI over 115 at-bats. He has had similar success on the year against righties (.264 with nine home runs and 33 RBI over 260 at-bats) and lefties (.269 with three home runs and nine RBI over 10 at-bats). As a result, Herrera looks viable in deep formats while being a free-agent 62 percent of 12-team leagues in the high-stakes market.
Leody Taveras, Texas Rangers
After being a draft-day bust in 2021, Taveras spent most of the season at AAA (.245 with 17 home runs, 55 RBI, and 13 steals over 322 at-bats). He strung together a third-game hitting streak (5-for-11 with three runs, two home runs, four RBI, and three steals) to start this week. His four steals over his last four games will glow in the night in the free-agent pool. Taveras looks to be a speed out down the stretch, but he does have 33 strikeouts over 76 at-bats in the majors this year, inviting job loss risk.
Glenn Otto, Texas Rangers
In his major league debut, Otto tossed five shutout innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. He extended his scoreless streaks to 18 innings while offering a stellar resume in the minors in 2021 (3.20 ERA and 134 strikeouts over 95.2 innings). His fastball came in at 93.2 mph with Texas while featuring a plus slider. Otto has been scooped up already in high-stakes leagues, and I expect him to be rostered in all formats down the stretch.
Jose Quintana, San Francisco Giants
There is something to be said for pitching on a winning team. The Giants placed Johnny Cueto on the injured list again, opening up a slot in the starting rotation. Quintana brings an ugly ERA (6.35) and WHIP (1.71) to the table in 2021, but I see underlying upside in his recent outings. Since the All-Star break, he has 4.15 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 17.1 innings, with most of the damage coming one poor showing (five runs and seven baserunners over 1.1 innings). In his last game, he flashed in relief of Cueto (no runs over 3.1 innings with six strikeouts). On the year, Quintana does have the highest strikeout rate (12.5) of his career, giving him flier value in deep leagues this week if they name him as a starter.
Jackson Kowar, Kansas City Royals
In June, Kansas City gave Kowar three starts after an excellent start to his season at AAA (0.85 ERA over 31.2 innings with 41 strikeouts. Unfortunately, his visit to the majors lasted only three appearances (10 runs, 16 baserunners, and one home run over five innings). He also lost his rhythm when Kowar returned to AAA over his next seven starts (4.60 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 31.1 innings). The Royals gave him their first start in September, and he responded with six shutout innings with six strikeouts.
Aaron Civale, Cleveland Guardians
After spending two-plus months on the injured list with a finger injury, Civale looks poised to return to the majors next week. In his three rehab appearances, he allowed one run over 11.1 innings with five hits and 12 strikeouts, highlighted by his last outing (one run over five innings with six strikeouts). Civale might be in the free-agent pool in some shallow leagues.
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Senior analyst Shawn Childs is a multi-sport, high-stakes fantasy legend with lifetime earnings in the high six-figures. He has been providing in-depth, analytical break downs for years all while helping his subscribers to countless titles and winnings across season-long & DFS. An inaugural inductee of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn can teach you how to prep like a champ!