Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
1B/OF Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies
Ryan Howard's knee will probably sideline him for at least another month, maybe more if he hits a rehab wall. Ruf will benefit as long as Howard sits and could fight his way into time even after he resurfaces.
The 26-year-old has done his best to supply homers in his stead with two in his first 37 MLB at-bats of the year, and while he won't keep a pace reflecting the 38 he launched last year at Double-A Reading, it's his best asset. Fortunately, he's not a crater to a fantasy club's BA; he'll at least prove serviceable.
OF Michael Saunders, Seattle Mariners
When he homered on July 5, he had gone 48 games without one. From that contest to yesterday, he hit .311 with 13 RBIs in 45 at-bats, with 11 runs scored. His weakness for empty hacks had resurfaced and stalled him this year. Despite taking more walks, he's not the slugger he was last season.
One of his big problems has been his failure to mash toward the middle of the field. SLG to center field last year: .730; this year: .484. His long swing probably has started causing him problems again. Saunders and the staff fixed it last year to give him more authority. Perhaps he's starting to do the same this time. The power-speed threat should earn your deep-mixed confidence so you're ahead of the curve on a potentially productive stretch.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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