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Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Nestor Cortes, Edward Cabrera, Chris Flexen

Aug 27, 2021
Anthony Santander

The real Anthony Santander has finally emerged and has steadily been on fire.

With August winding down and a little over a month left in the season, it’s now or never time to make those last few impactful roster moves. There is still ample time left for that new addition(s) to have a significant effect on your team’s outcome, so don’t fully turn your attention to football just yet, unless you’re truly out of it.

After scouring the waiver wire, I’ve discovered 10 players who are rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues who are screaming for your attention. These players will likely help you in more ways than one, with their primary contributions coming in the category under which they are listed.

Add these categorical studs now before the competition snatches them up.

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Home Runs

Anthony Santander (OF – BAL): 41%
I mentioned Santander a few weeks ago, and no one took heed of my advice, so I’m putting him atop the list this week! After crushing it earlier in the month, the Orioles’ right fielder continued his onslaught on opposing pitchers by belting four more home runs this week to go along with eight runs scored, six RBI, and a .588 batting average (10 for 17). For the month (20 games), Santander is now hitting for a robust .360 BA, with eight bombs, 14 runs scored, and 13 RBI.

After struggling earlier in the year while bouncing back and forth from the injured list, the real Santander has finally emerged and steadily been on fire. He again looks like the man who hit 20 homers and 20 doubles in 2019 and had a .890 OPS last year. The burly right fielder has battled injuries throughout his brief career, including 40 games missed this season, but when he’s fully healthy, he is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t bypass him again. Add the power-hitting switch-hitter now in all leagues.

RBI

Brandon Marsh (OF – LAA): 9%
The kid from Buford, Georgia, who looks like Tom Hanks when he just “felt like running!!” seems to have figured it out. After a slow start to his Major league career, Marsh has been fantastic at the plate over these last few weeks. The Angels’ top prospect is 21 for his last 52 (.404 BA) with 11 RBIs. He dealt with a shoulder injury earlier in the year, which definitely slowed his progression, but he’s now showing just why he is ranked above Jo Adell and other highly touted Angels’ prospects. Add the talented 23-year-old now and reap the rewards.

Runs

Kolten Wong (2B – MIL): 41%
Kolten Wong stole a base off Yadi Molina and then literally took the base home, but that’s not why he is listed here. Wong is here because he is exceptional at scoring runs! The everyday leadoff hitter for the Brew Crew does a little bit of everything while consistently getting on base. The ex-Cardinal has a .352 OBP for the year and 54 runs scored in just 86 games, including seven over his last five contests. This weekend Milwaukee is slated to take on Minnesota, which means Wong won’t be hitting behind the pitcher, so expect even more production out of the 30-year-old table-setter. With second base eligibility and the skills to contribute across the board, Wong deserves a roster spot in all leagues. Add him now.

Stolen Bases

Garrett Hampson (2B/SS/OF – COL): 31%
Garrett Hampson is starting for Colorado and is swiping bags. The Rockies have several young players chomping at the bit to earn playing time, but lately, management favors the speedy young second baseman turned outfielder. The former Long Beach State star has attempted four steals over the last week and has 16 successful swipes on the season. He is also hitting better of late, going eight for his last 21 (.381 BA) with only five strikeouts. Hampson also scores a decent amount of runs but does hit southpaws much better than righties, so he will still platoon at times.

Hampson is scheduled to face two lefties and a handful of guys you’ve never heard of with the Rangers on tap after a trip to Los Angeles this weekend. Despite being away from Coors, the production should be high, so add Hampson now if you need help in steals.

Batting Average

Andy Ibanez (1B/2B/3B – TEX): 5%
Andy Ibanez has been RAKING! Who?! Andy Ibanez! Currently riding a 10 game hitting streak, the 28-year-old infielder has amassed 19 hits over the last week and a half for the Rangers. He produced seven extra-base hits in that span while only striking out five times and has consistently been a tough out regardless of who’s been on the mound. The Cuban-born utility man demolished Minor League pitching, so it’s not as if the production has come out of nowhere. Ibanez is full of swag and has so far shown the ability to back it up. He should be a very productive hitter down the stretch, so add the infielder now to boost your average.

Saves

Scott Barlow (RP – KC): 34%
Barlow is the sole man for saves in Kansas City these days, and for a good reason. The skilled righty checks all the boxes when it comes to profiling as a closer. He limits home runs, has a high velo. fastball, doesn’t walk a ton of batters and strikeouts hitters in bunches. The Royals have been winning games lately, presenting Barlow with plenty of save chances. He did blow his latest opportunity, but it came without allowing a run, and it was over more than an inning of work.

I did highlight Barlow in a piece a few weeks ago, but now with Greg Holland and Josh Staumont hitting the shelf, there’s no doubt Barlow is the man in KC. Add the hard-throwing righty now if you need saves.

ERA

Nestor Cortes (SP/RP – NYY): 36%
Nestor Cortes is slowly becoming a fan favorite with all the antics he pulls on the mound. Constantly trying to mess with a hitter’s timing, Cortes has assembled some pretty entertaining highlight reels. Highlights aside, Cortes surprisingly has been a big part of the Yankees’ dominant second half. Since the beginning of July, the Cuban lefty has pitched 38.2 innings and allowed only 14 earned runs after transitioning into a starter. That’s good for a 3.25 ERA while compiling an even more impressive 1.06 WHIP. He also struck out 35 batters during that time while earning back-to-back wins in his last two outings. His ERA sits at 2.56 for the season, and he should be good for at least another three or four quality starts down the stretch. Add the always amusing Cortes now, if he’s available in your league.

WHIP

Edward Cabrera (SP/RP): 29%
An absolute legend on MLB the Show, Cabrera opened his major league debut with an extremely efficient effort against the Washington Nationals. Dueling against Josiah Gray, Cabrera took a shutout into the seventh inning on just 60 pitches until a rough seventh frame chased him from the game. He finished with 6.1 innings pitched, with three runs allowed on just four hits and three walks. The 23-year-old struck out the world in the Minor Leagues, so the K’s will come, as will the wins.

Just add Cabrera to the long list of young and extremely talented pitchers the Marlins possess, many of whom have helped push fantasy managers up the standings. Add Cabrera where available before his next scheduled start against the Mets.

Wins

Chris Flexen (SP/RP – SEA): 50%
If you’re looking for wins (and who isn’t), there isn’t any better candidate out there than Mr. Flexen. Boring old Chis Flexen will pitch deep into games, induce a heavy amount of ground balls, likely won’t issue more than a single walk, and will strike out a handful of batters. More importantly, though, is his ability to give you and his team a strong chance at a victory every time out. He’s already up to 11 wins after allowing only one run in nearly seven innings of work against the A’s. He’s only available in 50 percent of leagues, but if you’re in the lucky half, then he’s absolutely worth claiming.

Strikeouts

Tariq Skubal (SP – DET): 48%
I have written about this guy more than any other baseball player all season long, including the offseason. Yes, he has the occasional blow-up game where he serves up more than a few gopher balls, but his WHIP generally stays in an acceptable range, and the strikeouts are consistently impressive. In Skubal’s most recent outing, he traveled to St. Louis, where he struck out an even ten batters in just five innings. The exciting rookie is now up to 144 K’s in just 128 innings while maintaining a respectable 4.01 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He has also earned eight wins. The 24-year-old will take on Oakland at home next and deserves a spot on your roster, just as he has all season long.

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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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