Two fantasy baseball youngsters are carrying teams down the stretch, while another is in jeopardy of losing his job. Additionally, a starting pitcher up north has pulled a second-half turnaround for the second straight year.
Joey Gallo, TEX - Is it so terrible that Gallo is the next coming of Adam Dunn? With power up this year, Gallo's value isn't as high as it would have been in years past. However, Gallo is sitting on 32 home runs with 61 runs, 61 RBIs and even six stolen bases. Yes, his .212 average is a drain, but Gallo is on pace for 46/87/87/10. That's a highly-valuable line in any league, despite his average. Now to be fair, seven of Gallo's home runs came in his last eight games, but he's posted 4-5 home run weeks this season already. Gallo can be streaky, and this run is likely about to end. However, many owners can't stand his average and would still part with him if your trade deadline hasn't hit yet. Wait for Gallo to have a few quiet games and pounce, and don't be afraid to draft him next year either. Even with the terrible average, Gallo still ranks as a top 5 third baseman.
Alex Bregman, HOU - Speaking of third basemen, and one that happens to carry shortstop eligibility too (bonus!), Bregman has been terrific since the start of July. During that time, Bregman has a .339 average, five home runs, 28 runs, 17 RBIs and six stolen bases. This has been the version of Bregman we wanted to see in his first full season. It shouldn't be surprising that Bregman took some time to reach his potential, as he was hitting just .249 with eight homers, 31 runs, 26 RBIs and six steals before June. Again, it's his first full season, and Bregman isn't even 24 years old yet. The good news is that Bregman is the real deal and is flashing that top 5 ceiling. Bregman could even reach the top 3 with the likes of Kris Bryant, who is having a down year himself. Don't trade away Bregman thinking this is a hot streak. Bregman is a future star and cornerstone of both the Astros and fantasy baseball teams.
Tommy Joseph, PHI - Even those who weren't fans of Joseph expected more this season. Joseph is behind his 2016 pace with 73 more plate appearances, yet fewer home runs (16 to 21), fewer runs (41 to 47) and more RBIs but less on a per-plate appearance rate (7.4 to 7.8). Basically, Joseph has made no improvements, has lower isolated power and is 1 for his last 26 (.038 AVG). Now, the Phillies are giving one of their top prospects, Rhys Hoskins, the call. While Hoskins will play the outfield initially, he's a first baseman first. Hoskins also has tons of power with 38 home runs in 135 Double-A games last year and 29 in 115 Triple-A games this year. He also hits for a solid average, sitting around .280. The Phillies aren't bailing on Joseph yet. However, if Hoskins' power and ability immediately play in the majors, Joseph could lose playing time. Joseph is borderline droppable in 12-team leagues.
Masahiro Tanaka, NYY - After a weak first half, Tanaka turned the corner at the All-Star Break and has the sixth best SOBB (strikeout percentage minus base on balls percentage) since then (25.2). Tanaka's improved effectiveness starts with his much improved 29.9 strikeout percentage (23.2 first half), a terrific walk percentage at 4.7 and improved home run rate (2.03 to 1.42). Those strong marks have led to a quality 3.13 ERA. While Tanaka's first- and second-half splits weren't this drastic last year, we now have two straight seasons of Tanaka turning into a near-ace after the break. The reason Tanaka is in ''fears'' is due to his last start (4.0 IP, 2 ERs, 5 BBs, 2 Ks). Don't fret too much, as it was a tougher matchup in Toronto, and few pitchers are going to be consistently excellent. Keep Tanaka in your rotation, as he's turned the corner for the second straight year.
The Brewers offense is struggling and striking out at a near league-high rate. You can spot start a few more pitchers against them than usual. The White Sox are looking to 2018 and beyond, and their lineup has little to offer outside of Jose Abreu. Continue to stream against them. The Rays and Padres are two more offenses with low run totals and high SOBB marks. As for the Astros (as usual) and Tigers, a team that's come on strong the past few weeks, it's best to avoid their offenses as much as possible.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by Jake Ciely of the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com