5 Fantasy Baseball Moves to Ensure a Solid Push Towards the Playoffs

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIAugust 8, 2012

5 Fantasy Baseball Moves to Ensure a Solid Push Towards the Playoffs

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    Today, we're weighing in on the tough questions.

    What do I do with a player currently on the DL? Should I be scouting prospects? Is it time to nab a hot pitcher after just a couple of starts? Will my playoff-bound player play in September?

    These are big questions, but they become that much more prevalent this late in the season. Answer them wrong, and you could cost yourself fantasy glory.

    Take a look at the slides as I attempt to tackle some of these questions.

Stock Up Now

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    If you think a player is about to break out, grab him now.

    I know, you want to wait to see if things keep up. Well, chances are you took that method with names like Adam Jones, Kenley Jansen and R.A. Dickey. I know I did, and I didn't end up with any of those guys.

    It's the end of the season and sometimes you have to play it risky. That means picking up a hot starter after just a couple turns in the rotation. Or nabbing a hot bat after just a week of play.

    These moves can come back to bite you, but hopefully you're dropping players that aren't instrumental to your success.

Weigh Injury against Return

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    Is it worth it to keep a star player on your bench if he's hurt?

    This is a question you have to be asking so late in the game. Look at what happened to Matt Kemp.

    He injured himself in May and ended up on the DL. When he did come off, two days later he aggravated the injury and went back on. He would miss all of June and return right around the All-Star break.

    Now imagine this all happened in September. You have a player on the DL and he comes back. If he ends up back on the DL there's no coming back at this point.

    Or worse, he stays healthy, but is so rusty he's nothing but a detriment to your team.

    At some point you have to ask: do I roll with this guy off the DL, or drop him for someone healthy?

Call on Prospects

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    It happens every fall. Young guns get called up in September and absolutely explode for stats.

    True, it doesn't happen for every prospect. Jesus Montero had a much different 2011 than did Mike Trout. Nonetheless, if you pick the right prospects they can pay plenty of dividends.

    My personal favorite this September is Wil Myers. He's struggled as of late, but his total body of work certainly overlooks that. Kansas City can't keep him down much longer.

Build on 2nd-Half Success

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    Did you know in his career, Adam LaRoche bats 49 points higher in the second half than the first, while seeing an increase in OPS by 125 points? In 2012, he's batting .324 since the All-Star break with more than half the number of home runs he had in the first half.

    These are the kinds of players to keep an eye out for in the final months of fantasy.

    Second-half players do exist. While they may not be reliable all season long, they can certainly help you in September. Often times they're easy to land because their first-half stats are so ugly.

    If you're looking for a stat boost in the final months, seek out a September stud.

Make Sure Your Players Will Play

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    There's nothing worse than getting to your fantasy league's final only to find out you've lost half your starts to guys being shut down—and yes, I have had this happen.

    There's a number of reasons players get shut down in September. The most common are they're resting for the playoffs, they're trying to avoid injury or they're on a pitch limit.

    If your league's trade deadline hasn't passed yet, now is the time to trade guys like this. You want a full roster of stars that will be playing throughout the entire season. Once you secure that, you're golden.