Finding and identifying OF help can be one of the more tedious acquisitions during the season. In this day and age of baseball it is hard to find guys on the waiver wire that get substantial enough playing time or produce at that, as platoons and more defensively inclined players are utilized in today’s game.
Here are four OF’s that I think are well worth an addition as they can help across the board.
Kevin Pillar – We continually see him on the Top-10 plays of the night as he has made some unbelievable catches this season. But what may get lost in the shuffle is that Pillar is not too shabby with the bat either as he has produced a pretty solid .269/6 HR/ 34 RBI/ 10 SB line this season.
Being a part of the high-octane Blue Jays lineup has certainly benefited Pillar even with him hitting in the 8 spot. He has had plenty of RBI and Run opportunities which point to some weekly stability in an owner’s fantasy lineup.
I like the fact that Pillar dabbles in both the speed and power departments as well as it should ensure that he can provide value in some category no matter what. As his stick has come around, it has certainly entrenched him in the Jays lineup. He plays for the league’s best offense and plays his home games in arguably the most power friendly ballpark in baseball to boot.
All signs seem to point up for Pillar and I think he is well worth the addition. Over the last two weeks his stat line read (.404 AVG/2 HR/ 10 RBI/ 3 SB). Even after that kind of stat line he currently is still unowned in nearly 50% of leagues across all formats, so if you still have the opportunity, pounce on snagging Pillar.
Randal Grichuk – It seemed as though Grichuk was never going to get his chance to shine as he the Cardinals seemed to have a logjam in the outfield even before adding Jason Heyward. With Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos, Matt Holliday, and Jason Heyward, AB’s seemed to be hard to come by and Grichuk found himself off the fantasy radar early in the season.
Unfortunately in baseball, injuries spur opportunity and after injuries to nearly every Cardinals OF, he finally seems to be getting enough playing time to warrant a waiver wire pick up. While he does not run as much as Pillar, he still brings ample value to fantasy owners. Even though Grichuk may not have the power hitting appearance of some guys, he definitely has some legit pop.
He showcased this power stroke on Saturday, as he hit two bombs against the Phillies. Leaving him with a 7 day stat line of .375/3 HR/ 6 RBI/ 1 SB. With Holliday out with a tricky quad injury, fantasy owners can ride the Grichuk wave for a prolonged time and reap the rewards that he offers.
He probably has the highest upside out of anyone on this list and I would advise all owners to pick him up now as there is certainly more power and speed numbers to come.
Will Venable – Venable has the most name recognition on this last as fantasy owners should be well acclimated with him by now. As in the case of Grichuk, it seemed that Venable had no direct line to any playing time with the additions of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers. I will even admit that I thought he would have be cut or traded by now as it seemed the Padres did not need him.
That all changed when Wil Myers was plagued all year with a bum wrist, ultimately leading him to surgery and a prolonged absence leaving the door open for Venable to step in. It was not too long ago that Venable in fact produced a 20 HR/20 SB season.
So I believe that the talent is certainly there even though he has not regained that form. This for me at least, seems as though the perfect time for Venable to show that he can be a full-time OF again and opportunities like these should bring out the best in player’s performance.
And for those of you wondering about the presence of Melvin Upton Jr., do not fret as we all know that this Upton poses no threat to Venable anymore. Venable also has the advantage of being a LH in a predominant RH lineup as well leading to all arrows seeming to be trending up.
Over the last two weeks and basically his insertion into the everyday lineup, he has posted a .313/1 HR/3 RBI/3 SB line. Nothing earth shattering, but it points to how Venable can quietly help in multiple categorical departments.
Michael Taylor – This if more of a waiver wire flier that I like taking a risk on because I believe it could pay off in the future. Taylor has basically been the 4th OF for the Nationals as Bryce Harper, Denard Span, and Jayson Werth were mainly supposed to man the OF. But as we have seen health has not really been on the Nats side all season as injuries have struck the team hard.
All 3 of the starting Nats OF have battled or are battling injuries leaving Taylor getting a lot of starting time. While his stat line for the season is not exactly pretty, he has certainly stepped it up recently and has shown the flashes of what has made him a higher end prospect.
Taylor like Venable, can help in multiple categories as he has the raw power/speed combo we seek from our OF. He has 7 steals on the season and has been caught twice, hopefully pointing to the Nats possibly giving him the green light more as they try to generate more run scoring possibilities.
What has impressed me though has been his power this year. While he only has 7 on the year he certainly has been able to thrive in the big moment and hit some clutch HR’s. While he is still raw, he has an intriguing skill set that seems still pretty untouched. I think with his prolonged playing time, he will showcase it more and more and we could be looking at a possible 15 HR/15 SB player that still is widely available.
All of these OF options have skill sets that warrant fantasy owner’s attention. Whether you need power or speed, these largely available players offer you the support you need. Guys like these can mask flaws or holes on your squad and as we are in the middle of the fantasy season, you have to be prepared to fill these holes before it is too late.