We're suddenly over a third of the way through the baseball season. I know for me, it can be hard to pay the kind of close attention to my fantasy teams that I did in April, especially with my teams that have been seriously underperforming and don't look to be going anywhere this year. It's still a long way until October though! Here are a handful of (National League) players that some fantasy owners may be sleeping on, but who might be able to help you team... whether you are at the top of the pack and just want some reinforcements, or whether you're struggling to remain in the hunt.
Jhonny Peralta. He's been activated from the DL and is batting 5th against the Reds today. While he may be eased in a bit at first, he looks to be the Cardinals starting 3rd baseman from here on out -- with Kolten Wong demoted, Mike Matheny doesn't even have to do any mixing and matching. People have been paying so much attention to Aledmys Diaz and wondering whether or not he can continue the incredibly successful start he's had to his major league career, that Peralta has been kind of a forgotten man. It remains to be seen how things go in his return, but middle-of-the-lineup hitters on good offensive teams don't exactly grow on trees. The last two seasons he's averaged 19 home runs and 73 RBI -- and he should soon have dual SS/3B eligibility to sweeten the deal even more.
Javier Baez. The Cubs are calling up Albert Almora to replace the injured Jorge Soler, but depending on how things shake out, Baez seems likely to get increased playing time. I find it tempting to put any player in a Cubs uniform in any fantasy lineup at any time -- it seems like they're likely to produce runs and RBIs even if the other Cubs stud hitters just breathe on them. Solar has just 4 home runs and 3 steals so far this year, but anyone who is a potential power/speed threat and in the Cubs lineup as things warm up in Wrigley this summer piques my interest.
David Freese. I'm not saying those in shallow leagues should be rushing to the waiver wire, but he may be a slightly interesting piece of an NL-only fantasy team puzzle as the season continues. His numbers are far from gaudy, but he is batting .291 and seems to have earned Clint Hurdle's respect based on how he's looked at the plate this year and, therefore, continues to find himself in the lineup. As a late signing this year, he appeared to be just a fill-in until Jung Ho Kang was ready to return. But after missing a few games because he was hit on the hand with a pitch, he started the first game of the Pirates' doubleheader today, getting two hits against Steven Matz and playing his 10th game at first base. He looks to have cemented some decent playing time even with Kang healthy and producing.
David Peralta. Another player just off the DL. He was out about a month due to a wrist issue, but had two hits including a home run in his first game back for the Diamondbacks on Monday. He was a popular sleeper coming into the year, and if the owner who was thrilled to reach for him on draft day gave up on him when he got hurt, you might want to swoop in and give him a shot.
Yangervis Solarte. I drafted him in one of my NL-only keeper leagues last year and kept him this year. I was irate going into the season because he'd played exactly 19 games at 2nd base last year and therefore didn't qualify for my middle infield spot, so I had to go into the season with him as my starting 3rd baseman. Well, thank goodness he didn't quality for MI, because to fill that spot I ended up drafting two shortstops -- Trevor Story and Jonathan Villar. Anyway, Solarte, also a recent DL-returnee, qualifies at 1B and 3B. He has looked great since coming back -- he had a 3-run home run yesterday to give him four homers to go along with a .315 average since he came off the DL just two weeks ago. And if the Padres decide to trade him while his value is high, he may wind up in a much more friendly lineup/home ballpark/general situation.