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End-Of-Year Upside Plays

Coming down the home stretch of the fantasy season means in head to head leagues you are either trying to make that big push to get into the playoffs or trying to reinforce your team to win the whole thing. In roto leagues, you are probably making moves to finish in the money or take home the whole kit and caboodle. If your team has no shot, then I feel for ya and this article may not be for you (but read it anyways, why not?).

Anyways, here are some sneaky players who might be able to help you finish strong and take home that elusive fantasy crown.

Homer Bailey, SP, CIN

Last year it was Kris Medlen, the fantasy darling, who I am sure pitched many fantasy teams to the glory land with his 8-0 record, 0.92 ERA, and K/9 above 9.0 over the final two months of the season. Whoa baby, that’s what I’m talking about! So who can come out of nowhere to do that this year? I say Bailey can be that guy.

I know he has a rather pedestrian 3.77 ERA at the moment, but his 1.16 WHIP is a much better indicator of his ability to dominate — in fact, his 2.99 xFIP is top 10 in the league suggesting his ERA should already be close to a full run lower than it currently is. This is the bottom line folks…when Bailey is on he is downright nasty and all his peripheral numbers suggest he can pull off a Medlenesque finish to the season.

Justin Ruggiano, OF, MIA

Believe it or not, only one player had 20 or more HR and 15 or more SB over the last 75 games of the season last year. I know we are already past that point, but Fangraphs won’t let me cut the data where I want it so this will have to do. Can you guess who it was? I doubt it…OK…it was B.J. Upton! Just shocking! B.J. might have been pretty good coming into the 2012 season, but no one could have expected that type of finish.

So who might be able to come out of nowhere and come close to that pace for the last two months of the season? Well, Ruggiano of course!

I don’t actually think this will happen and I’m going bold with this one, but I wanted to throw some love towards Ruggiano and here’s why. In his 70 starts this year he has gone 12 and 12, so with the right circumstances it is possible. First, he would have to get traded so that he can play every day — Texas, Baltimore, or New York (AL) are all places that could give him a nice 15-20% boost in homers. All he’d have to do is bring his GB/FB rate to his 2012 level, which was close to 1.0, and get a bit lucky with his HR/FB rate. Hey, nobody said it would be easy.

If you are looking to make a desperate play Ruggiano could be that guy. I do think Mike Trout has the best shot at putting up B.J. Upton-level production (yes, I just said that) and Yoenis Cespedes is a good dark horse candidate, but neither fit my “out of nowhere” criteria. That’s where Ruggiano came in.

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Updated: August 3, 2013 — 11:47 am
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