For those of you in the race at this point of the season it is a lovely yet frustrating time. In an attempt to help ease your burden of decision making I present two American League outfielders who are somewhat largely available and can help your team in various ways. The percentages next to the websites represent the ownership rate, not their availability.
Dexter Fowler — 15% ESPN/32% Yahoo! 44%/CBS
The Houston Astros activated Fowler from the 15-day disabled list today after missing time with an intercostal strain. He is expected to return to the lineup later today and should reclaim his spot at the top of the order. For fellow on-base percentage league players, Fowler is manna from BB% heaven. His career 12.5% walk rate helps drive his career .366 OBP. Fowler isn’t known for his power however his OBP and to a lesser extent his batting average should make him a playable fourth/fifth outfielder in all but the shallowest of leagues. One note is Fowler isn’t running as often as he has in previous seasons. Whether the muscle strain prevented him from sliding into bases is a mystery, though it would make sense as I wouldn’t want to dive or slide with an injury. Anecdotal thoughts aside, the lack of the steals doesn’t seem to be a team philosophy as the Astros’ 85 steals is fifth most in baseball. Context is key of course and the team’s 24 CS mean they’ve attempted 109 steals on the year, seventh most in the league. Even without the steals Fowler is an immensely useful player, one who I was far too low on in the early goings. Pick him up to give yourself a boost in the rate stats.
Jarrod Dyson — 4% ESPN/3% Yahoo!/10% CBS
Though he isn’t a full time starter, Dyson brings value to your fantasy team with his legs. His 26 steals are third most in the AL and he has appeared in just 86 games this season. On top of his running game, Dyson has contributed at the plate, hitting a respectable .286/.335/.342 in 218 plate appearances. A .344 BABIP has certainly helped inflate his AVG, however his 63.1% ground ball rate is the second highest in the AL (minimum 200 PAs). Grounders go for hits at a higher rate than fly balls — but less often for extra base hits — and Dyson has been burning worms at an impressive clip. Dyson should find himself in the lineup most days where the Kansas City Royals are up against a right-handed pitcher, but it isn’t a full blown platoon situation just yet. Lorenzo Cain is hitting at a solid rate against lefties and righties, though he has been getting more starts in right field recently. Dyson has started 50 games in center against Cain’s 63 starts there. Dyson has an additional 25 appearances in CF, meaning the Royals are using him as a late inning pinch runner/defensive sub type player. He can still accrue value in a part time role, he’ll just require you to pay that much more attention to your daily lineups.
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