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It was less than two months ago that Matt Moore's stock in Fantasy was booming. Owners in roughly one-quarter of CBSSports.com leagues drafted Moore and stuck it out with him as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and throughout the spring months, his popularity slowly surged. Upon getting added to the Rays' rotation, he was suddenly owned in 77 percent of our leagues. When Moore produced precious little upon his return, owners started to bail, and when the Rays demoted him to Triple-A Durham on Aug. 2, his ownership rate plummeted further.
Moore may be a forgotten man in Fantasy, but it may not be too late for him to salvage his season. In four starts at Durham, Moore has been far more dominant than his 3.42 ERA would indicate. While he struggled to miss bats and pitch with control with the Rays, as a member of the Bulls' rotation, Moore has induced whiffs on 17 percent of his pitches, piled up 36 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings and walked just five batters. In his most recent start, Moore struck out 16 batters and walked just one in a six-inning effort.
With rosters expanding on September 1, Moore would appear to have pitched himself into consideration for a callup. The biggest obstacle to him making an impact is the current Rays' rotation, which has the seventh-lowest ERA (3.56) in the majors. With the return of Drew Smyly and the emergence of Nathan Karns and Erasmo Ramirez, the unit has achieved some stability, and according to the Tampa Tribune, neither Karns nor Ramirez will be subjected to an innings limit. Then again, who knows when injury reinforcements might be needed? Or if Brad Boxberger's control issues will cause manager Kevin Cash to consider Moore as a closer?
These scenarios are merely speculations, so especially outside of deeper leagues, there is no need to rush out and claim Moore. Should you have room on your bench, however, stashing Moore just might pay some late-season dividends.
H/t to @KungFuBlanda for initially suggesting Moore as a potential September callup on Twitter.
Marcus Semien, 2B/3B/SS, Athletics (55 percent owned)
The middle of the season was a tough slog for Semien, who put up a .194/.239/.269 slash line between May 20 and July 31. Semien's current ownership rate of 55 percent is his lowest of the season, yet he has experienced a resurgence in August. This month, the A's versatile infielder has batted .303 with three home runs, three doubles and a triple in 20 games. That has only been good enough for Semien to rank 18th among shortstops in Fantasy points this month, but only 10 points separate him from fifth-place Wilmer Flores.
That's a gap that Semien could make up with just a little more playing time and perhaps a stolen base or two. It's not a stretch to expect Semien to be a top 12 shortstop the rest of the way, yet he's not getting much play in standard mixed leagues. He is certainly worth starting over more popular players like Elvis Andrus, Cesar Hernandez and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners (10 percent owned)
Fernando Rodney has been jettisoned and Carson Smith has apparently pitched his way out of the closer's role, so now it's Wilhelmsen's turn to see what he can do in the ninth inning. He is just over two years removed from being the Mariners' regular closer, and over a 211-game span, Wilhelmsen collected 53 saves. He missed time early this season with a hyperextended right elbow and endured a brief demotion to Triple-A just before the All-Star break, but since then, Wilhelmsen has prospered with a 2.91 ERA and four saves.
When Wilhelmsen lost the closer's job two seasons ago, extreme wildness was the culprit, and despite his recent success, he is still a risky play. Even though Wilhelmsen has had better results since the break, he has actually been even wilder than he was before his demotion. In 21 2/3 second-half innings, he has walked 12 batters and thrown 58 percent of his pitches for strikes. Wilhelmsen has never had good control, so there is little reason to think he will develop it now. That makes him hard to trust, and in leagues where other closers are available on waivers, Wilhelmsen is far from being a must-add. If you really need saves and there are few other options, Wilhelmsen is worth at least a trial. He could get enough saves and strikeouts with sufficient soft contact allowed to make it worth your while.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres (13 percent owned)
Just when it seemed safe to write Gyorko off for good, he has apparently rediscovered his power stroke. After returning from a June minor league demotion, he started pulling the ball and making hard contact more often. In the ensuing 45 games, Gyorko has hit..262 with eight home runs, including the two he launched on Tuesday against the Nationals.
As you might surmise from his modest batting average and .315 on-base percentage during the same span, Gyorko is still an undisciplined hitter, and he is relying on his pull tendencies to boost his power numbers. Partly because of the low walk-to-strikeout ratio and partly because of having scored only 11 runs during his hot streak, Gyorko has failed to crack the top 20 in Fantasy value at second base since June 30. Even if he manages to score runs at a higher rate going forward, Gyorko doesn't offer enough aside from power production to merit a pickup in standard mixed leagues. Still, with a meager ownership rate, he is still available in plenty of deeper ones. Particularly if you need a boost in home runs or RBI in a deep mixed league, it's time to give Gyorko another look.