By Sam McPherson
Summer approaches, and that means no school for the kids, vacations planned in places without Internet access, and the potential to lose your fantasy baseball league before the All-Star Game arrives. Yes, it can happen when our schedules fill up and stay busier than usual during the summer months of June, July and August. As the old baseball adage goes, you can’t win the league in June—but you certainly can lose it.
Whether you’re in a league that allows daily transactions or in a weekly league, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your roster management right now. Players are getting injured daily, and you need to be able to replace them adequately as soon as possible. Missing a week’s worth of games at a key position will drop your counting statistics on offense very drastically. You’ve got to meticulously plan ahead to make sure your roster will be okay even if you can’t get to it on time.
Sometimes it helps to have a co-owner, of course, to cover for you in times like these, but if not, just keep up with the daily news anyway you can in order to maintain the roster’s integrity, day to day or week to week. Make sure you have the proper mobile app, too, for your fantasy team, because even if there’s no wifi connection anywhere for your laptop, your phone should be able to grab a signal strong enough to switch a player or two if needs be.
Now, onto this week’s roster suggestions!
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers: Grab him now if you can. This rookie is going to be good, and he’s already off to a great start for the surprising Rangers. With two home runs and five RBI in his first three games, the sky is the limit for Gallo. A lot of wise fantasy owners may have picked him up already, so check to see if Gallo is available in your league; you don’t regret it.
2. Eduardo Rodríguez, SP, Boston Red Sox: Through two starts, this Boston rookie has 14 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings, along with two wins. Rodríguez has given up one run in those two starts. The Red Sox may not be great this year, but the kid is the real deal. Like Gallo above, add him to your roster if you can.
3. Billy Burns, OF, Oakland Athletics: With Coco Crisp possibly done for good and all other light-hitting options in Oakland exhausted, Burns finally has his chance to shine for the A’s. He steals bases, hits for average and even has two HRs already—matching his entire minor-league career total there.
4. Lance McCullers, SP, Houston Astros: You have to give the Astros credit; they had a plan, and it’s working now. This rookie has 29 Ks and only six walks through his first 24 IP. McCullers will be a fixture in the rotation of a good team for the rest of 2015. Don’t miss the boat.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Sean Doolittle, RP, Oakland Athletics: He missed two months with shoulder problems, and after one appearance in Oakland last week, Doolittle is already back on the disabled list. Let someone else hold out hope at this point. He may return; he may not. The risk is too great now to keep a roster spot for him; let him go.
2. Ian Kennedy, SP, San Diego Padres: One strategy here is to only start Kennedy at home games in Petco Park, but even that carries risk. He is still striking out a lot of batters, but Kennedy has served up 12 HRs in only 45 IP this year. Last year, in 201 innings, opponents hit only 16 homers off him. Release him and maybe give him a shot next year if he figures it out sometime this season.
3. Wilin Rosario, C/1B, Colorado Rockies: Remember when he hit 49 HRs in 2012-13 as a catcher? Now, forget that ever happened. He’s no longer catching, even if he has eligibility there currently. Rosario’s opportunities are dwindling, along with his slugging percentage. He’s only 26, but perhaps injuries have taken their toll on Rosario’s effectiveness. You could hang on to him for awhile to see if anything changes in Colorado, but he’s not worth starting right now at all.
4. Marlon Byrd, OF, Cincinnati Reds: His late-career rebirth as a power hitter has been nice the past few seasons, but now with a wrist fracture at age 37, Byrd is not a good bet to make a productive comeback this season at all. Don’t stash him on your bench, hoping for the best. Waive him and find a replacement ASAP.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball and fantasy sports for many online sites, including CBS, AXS and Examiner.