Trevor Cahill SP, OAK
Owned in 39% of CBS Leagues
Cahill is returning to the mound Thursday afternoon to start against the Astros, pitching for the first time since hitting the DL with a strained Achilles on June 2nd. When he has pitched so far this season, Cahill has been supremely effective, posting a 2.77 ERA in 8 starts. The issue has been staying on the mound, as he’s dealt with injuries off and on all season, including this most recent Achilles issues and an earlier elbow issue. Due to these ailments, Cahill has a High Overall Injury Risk, but his health has improved enough to be rated with an Above Average Health Performance Factor. Most fantasy owners are starting pitching-needy at this point in the season, making Cahill a worthy roll of the dice. His first start back against Houston will likely be pretty tough, but don’t let that discourage you.
Jordan Zimmermann SP, DET
Owned in 52% of CBS Leagues
Early this season, Zimmermann appeared to be on his way out as a Major League starter, let alone a usable fantasy option. After two disastrous seasons in Detroit that were marred by injury and ineffectiveness, Zimmermann has turned it around of late, posting a 2.56 ERA and 29/2 K/BB ratio over his last 5 starts. With all the issues he’s had staying healthy over the past 2 years, Zimmermann still has a High Overall Injury Risk, but he’s pitching like he did when he was healthy in Washington pre-2016, which is reflected in his Above Average Health Performance Factor. Like Cahill, who knows how long he’ll be able to stay on the mound at this point, but starting pitchers that have produced over a stretch like this don’t grow on the waiver wire tree, and Zimmermann is still available in almost half of CBS leagues. Give him a look if he’s still out there in yours.
Alen Hanson 2B/OF, SF
Owned in 23% of CBS Leagues
Hanson has appeared in this space before when Joe Panik was on the DL earlier in the season, so now that Panik has returned to the DL with a groin injury, it only makes sense that Hanson reappeared. Panik (High Overall Injury Risk) is expected to miss at least 3 weeks, meaning Hanson isn’t necessarily just a short term investment. Hanson has slashed .278/.306/.510 with six homers, 25 RBI, four steals, and 26 runs scored in just 51 games so far this season, which makes him a useful bat at 2nd base moving forward. He has the added bonus of outfield eligibility. Give him a look in deeper leagues.
Wilmer Flores 1B/3B, NYM
Owned in 10% of CBS Leagues
Since returning from a back injury, Flores has been on fire. He’s batting .306/.337/.576 with five home runs, eight doubles, and 16 RBI over his last 25 games, providing possibly the most consistent stream of offense in the entire Mets’ lineup currently. Flores has an Elevated Overall Injury Risk coming off the back issue, but hasn’t suffered any setbacks so far. It’s likely that he could be shipped out of New York soon, but so long as he remains with the Mets he will have a spot in the lineup everyday given his recent hot streak and the banged up nature of their lineup. A trade could also land Flores in a more fruitful spot from a fantasy perspective, should he get consistent at-bats. First base remains to be loaded, but Flores 1st and 3rd eligibility give him some added value.
Sandy Leon C, BOS
Owned in 10% of CBS Leagues
With Christian Vazquez on the bench for the next 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken finger, Leon becomes the #1 catcher in Boston. He hasn’t really impressed at all this season, but the lack of consistent at-bats is likely to blame there. Leon hasn’t quite recaptured the form he put up when he exploded in 2016, when he posted an .845 OPS in 75 games, but the upside to get even part of the way there makes him an intriguing catcher option in deeper leagues, given the scarcity of useful fantasy options at the position these days. Leon should at least be scooped up in all AL only and 2-catcher formats.