Late in the season, the worst teams in baseball are often the best targets for fantasy free agents. While everyone is notified when the Yankees or Dodgers call up a prospect, rebuilding teams such as the Pirates and Rangers give plenty of lesser-known players a late-season opportunity after trading away some of their stars at the Trade Deadline.
This is especially true for position players, as pitchers are more adversely impacted by playing for weak teams that fail to generate wins or save chances. Here are some hitters who have been playing often on losing teams during August.
Yadiel Hernandez (OF, Nationals)
Why you may want Hernandez: He has performed well this season (.809 OPS) and very well in August (.947 OPS).
Where Hernandez should be rostered: In all 12-team leagues, and he can be streamed in 10-team leagues with five outfielders.
Josh Rojas (2B/SS/OF, D-backs)
Why you may want Rojas: He was a popular draft sleeper in March and is raking (.997 OPS) in August.
Where Rojas should be rostered: In all 12-team leagues and some 10-team formats. Triple-position eligibility certainly helps.
Daulton Varsho (C/OF, D-backs)
Why you may want Varsho: A touted prospect and one of the few catchers who steals bases, Varsho is splitting catcher appearances with Carson Kelly and getting outfield opportunities.
Where Varsho should be rostered: He should be rostered in all two-catcher leagues and by those who need steals in 12-team, one-catcher formats.
Rafael Ortega (OF, Cubs)
Why you may want Ortega: The 30-year-old is raking (.928 OPS in August) while serving as the leadoff man in a revamped Cubs lineup.
Where Ortega should be rostered: He should be rostered in 10-team leagues with five outfielders unless (until?) his bat cools off.
Frank Schwindel (1B, Cubs)
Why you may want Schwindel: He hit well in the Minors this year (.913 OPS) and even better as a member of the Cubs (.940 OPS). Playing time is widely available on a depleted Cubs roster.
Where Schwindel should be rostered: I can see him as a stopgap in 10-team leagues, and he’s a long-term fit in 12-team formats.
Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF, Twins)
Why you may want Arraez: The career .323 hitter is one of the few players on waivers whom you can count on to help your batting average.
Where Arraez should be rostered: He should be rostered in all 12-team leagues.
Bradley Zimmer (OF, Indians)
Why you may want Zimmer: With five homers and 10 steals in 196 at-bats, he has a nice power-speed mix. Zimmer has appeared in nearly every August Indians game.
Where Zimmer should be rostered: Depending on your needs, he can be considered in 12-team leagues.
Connor Joe (OF, Rockies)
Why you may want Joe: He has been hitting leadoff, and like all Rockies hitters, he rakes at home (1.072 OPS in 2021).
Where Joe should be rostered: Right now, nowhere. But please add him in about 10 days when the Rockies return to Coors Field.
Yonny Hernandez (3B, Rangers)
Why you may want Hernandez: He stole 21 bases in the Minors this year and has been getting leadoff opportunities for the Rangers.
Where Hernandez should be rostered: In 15-team leagues with the potential for 12-team additions.
Yohel Pozo (C, Rangers)
Why you may want Pozo: He’s eligible at the weakest fantasy position and hit .337 with a .958 OPS in the Minors this year.
Where Pozo should be rostered: In any two-catcher leagues.
Willi Castro (2B/3B/SS, Tigers)
Why you may want Castro: In possession of a power-speed mix, Castro was a draft sleeper in March who fizzled for most of the year but has collected two homers and a pair of steals in August.
Where Castro should be rostered: For now, only in 15-team leagues.
Brandon Marsh (OF, Angels)
Why you may want Marsh: After a slow start to his Major League career, the outfielder is hitting .359 since August 12.
Where Marsh should be rostered: Until his strikeout rate improves, Marsh is relegated to 15-team leagues.
Bryan De La Cruz (OF, Marlins)
Why you may want De La Cruz: Playing time is widely available in the Marlins outfield and De La Cruz is hitting .307.
Where De La Cruz should be rostered: He should be rostered in all 15-team leagues.