Fantasy Fill-Ins: Thursday
There are only seven games on Thursday, meaning over half of the major-league teams are off. Finding five fill-in players wasn't easy, but if it was everyone would do it.
Chris Coghlan, Marlins - Whispers around baseball have Coghlan as a dark-horse candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year award. I'm not sure there's enough name recognition for him to take home the hardware, but there's no reason why he shouldn't be helping your fantasy baseball team. He's batting .359 over the last month and .379 during the last week. He's only owned in 41% of leagues so grab him to fill in on Thursday and keep him around afterward. He's just that good.
Placido Polanco, Tigers - Polanco is facing Lenny DiNardo of the Royals on Thursday, someone he's a perfect 2-for-2 against during his career. But that's not why Polanco is on this list. The reason you should use him as a fill-in is his .450 batting average with a home run and a stolen base over the last week. Well, that and the fact that he's available in 66% of fantasy leagues.
Luis Castillo, Mets - Castillo is only owned in 10% of fantasy leagues and that's a shame. He's batting .315 for the year with 15 stolen bases. How many of you have a middle infielder on your roster who's not performing as well? Over the last week Castillo is batting .450 and could be a good candidate to keep hitting as he's seen some success (1-for-3) against Sean West of the Marlins, albeit in a limited sample size.
Adam LaRoche, Braves - There haven't been too many hotter hitters in baseball over the last month. LaRoche has eight home runs and is batting .337 in his last 92 at-bats. He's also 8-for-28 lifetime against Roy Oswalt, his Thursday opponent. LaRoche is owned in 43% of fantasy leagues and brings much needed power potential to the table.
Seth Smith, Rockies - Smith is one of the more dangerous picks for the fill-in list today as he's still not considered a full-time player. But he's putting up full-time numbers. He's blasted 15 home runs in 277 at-bats this season and four of those homers have come in the past week as he's batted .423 with a 1.560 OPS in his last 26 at-bats. It's going to be hard to keep Smith off of the field as he's hitting so well, so I imagine his at-bats will continue. He's only owned in 17% of fantasy leagues.
Just in case you're wondering how credible these picks are, I wanted to share my report card with you. Since we started this Fantasy Fill-Ins segment I've made player selections three times (five players each time). Here are the results.
• 12 of the 14 players I selected have hit safely the next day (it should be 15, but one of the games was rained out).
• My hitters have gone 20-for-58 (.345) with seven runs scored, eight RBI, a double and two home runs.