The weeks are winding down and the trade deadline has passed in many leagues. This just stresses the importance of hitting the waiver wire down the stretch.
I'm bringing this up early in the week to hammer home the fact that there are still players to be had who can make a meaningful impact, such as Cincinnati
Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino
. The 25-year-old just hits home runs as he now has 11 in fewer than 20 games.
We recently recommended San Francisco
Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb
and all he did was strike out seven in five innings in his debut. Fantasy football season may be here, but we're still grinding to win a fantasy baseball championship.
1. Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder Bryce Harper -- It took almost five months, but Harper is finally putting up the numbers many thought he would when he signed with Philadelphia in the offseason. The 26-year-old has hit eight home runs in August, which is more than any other month and we still have a couple more weeks left in the month. This past week was great in particular; he hit four home runs, including a walk-off grand slam. Hopefully, this will continue during the final weeks of the season and it's not just a good three-week stretch.
2. Chicago White Sox Starting Pitcher Lucas Giolito -- After a rough stretch in July that saw the right-hander allow at least six earned runs twice, Giolito has bounced back well in August. The 25-year-old has pitched six innings in all three of his starts this month while allowing three earned runs or fewer in each. During his last two starts, Giolito has struck out 24 hitters. He now has 182 for the season. We have been waiting for the youngster to break out and we are seeing it in 2019.
3. New York Yankees Second Baseman Gleyber Torres -- Torres owns the Orioles, as he finished this season with 13 home runs against Baltimore. For that reason, I wasn't going to include him on the list, but then he hit three home runs against the Indians this past weekend to give him six for the week with 11 RBIs. For the season, Torres has hit 29 home runs with 73 RBIs. The Yankees don't play the Orioles anymore, so hopefully Torres can keep up this pace against other opponents.
1. New York Yankees Outfielder Aaron Judge -- The powerful slugger is not demonstrating the power that made him one of the most feared hitters in baseball. Judge hasn't even played half the season thus far, but his 12 home runs aren't what we are accustomed to. His slugging percentage is way down, and he is hitting a lot of baseballs to the opposite field. Judge had a significant oblique injury in April, and I'm convinced it's still bothering him. He may be completely healthy, but his confidence isn't there to fully swing the bat, as he may fear another injury. It remains to be seen if he can gain the power back during the final few weeks. He was drafted for his ability to hit the long ball and that hasn't happened in 2019.
2. Cincinnati Reds Starting Pitcher Luis Castillo -- The electric young right-hander has hit a rough patch in his season and hopefully it isn't a sign that he is slowing down. Castillo allowed eight earned runs Aug. 16, the second time in five starts that he has allowed at least six earned runs. The 26-year-old has seen his ERA rise from 2.36 July 20 to his current ERA of 3.10. We'll see if the talented righty bounces back in his next start and can get back in the groove that made him one of the better pitchers in baseball through the first few months.
3. Philadelphia Phillies First Baseman Rhys Hoskins -- The Phillies are heating up along with many of their offensive players like the aforementioned Harper, but Hoskins is struggling. The first baseman didn't hit a home run this past week and is currently having a nightmare month of August. Hoskins has only hit one home run while collecting six hits during the first couple of weeks. We'll see if Hoskins can join teammates Harper and catcher J.T. Realmuto in the offensive surge down the stretch, but it's ugly right now.