There were many big names swapped during a lively trading deadline. Tim Beckham was not one of the marquee tickets. But maybe he’s getting a change of scenery at the right time.
Entering 2017, Beckham was mostly a story about a former pedigree prospect who never made it. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, Beckham finally made a modest contribution with the Rays in 2015 (.702 OPS). We kicked his fantasy value around earlier this spring, with the occasional homer (12) and an occasional stolen base (five, albeit on nine tries). A .259/.314/.407 slash is not a ringing endorsement.
The Orioles scooped Beckham last week, and he’s having fun in his new uniform and park. He’s on a 7-for-12 barrage, with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. Just getting out of Tropicana Field is a potential plus for Beckham (albeit he didn’t have a notable home/road split); and maybe something about Camden Yards appeals to his eye. The Orioles are letting him settle into the No. 6 slot; Tampa generally slotted him lower than that.
• It’s been a while since the Red Sox made a good decision at third base. The Pablo Sandoval signing was obviously a massive mistake; trading Travis Shaw on the cheap was a regretful move as well. But the way Rafael Devers is hitting, maybe we’ll see a happy ending yet.
Devers is a precocious kid, a 20-year-old uber-prospect who made the double-jump from Double-A at the end of July. A .300/369/.575 slash at Portland encouraged the call, and Devers hasn’t been starry-eyed in the majors. He’s off to a 13-for-32 start, with two doubles and three homers. He’s also walked five times, against a manageable seven strikeouts.
The Red Sox didn’t overload Devers when he first joined the team — he batted eighth or ninth in his first four starts. But after the snappy debut, manager John Farrell quickly took the training wheels off. Devers was in the No. 5 spot Thursday, sparking Boston’s win over Chicago. The White Sox might be wondering if they landed the wrong centerpiece in their Chris Sale trade last winter.
Although Devers trading has been active for two weeks, he’s still unclaimed in almost half of Yahoo leagues.
• I don’t blame anyone who wrote off Cesar Hernandez earlier this summer. He’s stuck on the Phillies, a mediocre club and a mediocre offense. He was in the midst of a forgettable .277/.336/.399 run, and he wasn’t stealing often. A balky oblique injury pushed him on the DL, closing the book.
Maybe it’s time to reopen things. Hernandez returned in the middle of July, and he’s been hitting, running, and igniting the Phillies offense ever since. He’s on a .348/.436/.485 tear since activation, with 13 runs and a perfect 5-for-5 on stolen bases. His batting eye is impeccable. Hernandez is the No. 7 middle infielder in fantasy baseball during that span, and he’s free to add in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues.
You want drops for Hernandez, I’ll provide a few. Dustin Pedroia is currently hurt, and he’s no longer a factor on the bases. Addison Russell is a big name with a disappointing game to this point. Yoan Mondada hasn’t looked ready for prime time; four lousy hits against 17 strikeouts. Brandon Crawford is chasing more than usual, and he’s had a notable drop in his line-drive rate. Hernandez should be an easy upgrade over everyone on this list.