On September 1st, Major League’s roster rules got a little screwy, and teams were allowed to have their entire 40-man roster in the majors rather than being limited to 25 players. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about…
Normally, Major League rosters are capped at 25 players. However, each team also has a 40-man roster, and the players on this list are the only ones that can be called up to the Majors at any point in the season. Additionally, as long as a player is on this roster, he is protected from the Rule 5 draft and, provided that he has options remaining, does not have to pass through waivers when sent to the minors. Each year on September 1st, every team is allowed to bring up any or all of the players on the 40-man roster to help bridge the gap to the end of the season. The vast majority of these players are either fringe Major Leaguers or prospects that are going to be given their first taste of the Show. Many of you are probably asking what effect this could possibly have on your fantasy roster, and for a lot of people, it probably won’t have a huge influence. There are a few instances in which it can come in to play, though.
For redraft leagues, there’s not really anything good about the roster expansions. Most of these players will either take starts away from the guys on your roster or come in as pinch runners or defensive replacements late in games, perhaps robbing some of your fantasy players of potential late-game run scoring opportunities or ABs. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, because these expanded rosters can help you, particularly if you are in need of steals. A lot of the guys brought up at this point are brought up for specific reasons. If you are desperate for steals, you can go after one of these players and hope for the best.
Jordan Schafer showed us early in the season that a speedster can still help out your team even if he doesn’t start. There were many games I saw the Astros play where Schafer would not come in until the 7th inning or later, and may not have even gotten any ABs. Nevertheless, he would come in as a pinch runner, steal second base, and then score. Boom: 1 SB, 1 run – doesn’t hurt your batting average. This can also provide a boost for struggling guys who were never sent down, like Dee Gordon. Rather than sending him out there every day to be called out several times, the Dodgers have enough players to leave him on the bench until someone else gets on base, then he can do what he does best: run fast.
For keeper leagues, this roster expansion is much more welcome. A lot of keeper league owners have a few prospects that are dead weight on their rosters as they sit in the minors. A lot of these players could potentially be brought up as September call ups and potentially help your team as the end of the fantasy baseball season nears. Some of these guys could even come up and fill in as full-time starters.
If these types are still available in your keeper or redraft leagues, you may want to take a chance:
Wil Myers, OF, KC – Myers is the top prospect in the Royals system and has the potential to add another potent power bat to their already solid young lineup. He already has 34 homers in the minors this year, so if he can play every day and keep his pop going, he could help you in your stretch run.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B, SD – The Padres’ offense has actually looked somewhat competent since the All Star Break, and if Gyorko comes up as the everyday second baseman, he could provide an even bigger boost to the Padres’ lineup and potentially your fantasy team. He has made good, hard contact this year and has shown some solid power at a generally weak position.
Tyler Skaggs, SP, ARI – Arizona has a few mediocre vets in their rotation, so it would make sense for them to give Skaggs a shot for a few starts to close out the season. Skaggs is a good-looking prospect with a solid K/BB ratio. With Arizona playing solid ball at this point, Skaggs could put up a few good starts to close out the season and give you a boost in Ks, as well as a few wins.
Bruce Rondon, RP, DET – Rondon has a huge arm out of the bullpen and is a strikeout machine. He’s definitely the closer of the future, and if Valverde begins to wear down over the next month or so, there’s a good chance that Rondon could be next in line for saves.
Shelby Miller, SP, STL – Miller was one of the top prospects in baseball heading into this season, but struggled with his command for the first few months of the season. Recently though, Miller seems to have put it all together and is once again looking like a potential ace. If the Cards can find any starts for Miller over the final few weeks of the season, it may be smart to take a flier on him.
Billy Hamilton, SS, CIN – Hamilton could be the best base stealer that baseball has seen since Rickey Henderson. He has already stolen 148 (148!) bases this season between A+ and AA.
Marc Krauss, OF, HOU – I’m not convinced that Krauss will ever be a star, but his power is legit and Houston is terrible, so if he does earn a call up, there should be plenty of at bats available.
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