I touched on some potential sources of cheap home runs a few days ago, but today we'll look at a few more options that could put your fantasy team over the top in the season's final month.
Using ESPN owned percentages
Russell Branyan 1B SEA - 7%
The chances are slim that Branyan hits for much AVG, but he has hit a home run about once every 14 at-bats this season. If he can amass 75 at-bats in September, he could add five or six home runs to your team's total down the stretch. We've seen him do it before.
Kila Ka'aihue 1B KC - 0.1%
After hitting .322/.465/.601 with 24 home runs in 323 at-bats at triple-A, Ka'aihue has struggled to find his swing with Kansas City Royals. Now, with home runs in back-to-back games, Ka'aihue may be finally finding his power stroke. He's not going to be a source of much AVG, but there is a chance he gives OBP leagues a lift along with potential for five or more home runs in the season's final month.
Jack Cust OF OAK - 3%
With only 10 home runs on the year, Cust hasn't been the reliable source of 20-plus home runs he used to be...or has he? Cust only has 229 at-bats on the season, but his AB/HR rate is only slightly worse than it was last season. He has taken over as the A's everyday DH and has a track record of providing home runs in bunches.
Seth Smith OF COL - 3%
After a good first half, Smith has struggled to a .191/.250/.360 post all-star break line. However, the release of Brad Hawpe has opened up some room in Colorado's outfield and Smith looks to take full advantage. While he has some big issues against left-handed pitchers, Smith has crushed righties to a 545 SLG with all 15 of his home runs. Giving Smith a roster spot and starting him against right-handed pitchers could give your fantasy team an extra boost in home runs and RBI.
Mark Trumbo 1B LAA - 0%
I made a note on Trumbo a few days ago, but now it looks even more like he could get some serious at-bats in September. It was clear from day one this season that Mike Scioscia had lost all faith in Mike Napoli as his starting catcher. When Kendry Morales went down, Napoli was able to grab more at-bats while filling in at first base. Now, it seems that Scioscia has found yet another way to get Naopil, the Angels leader in home runs, out of the lineup more often. Juan Rivera is set to split time with Napoli at first base, at least for the time being.
Two issues with Rivera at first that could lead to some serious at-bats for Trumbo. First, Rivera has exactly two starts at first base over his career. Second, Rivera has been a dud at the plate all season long and there is nothing to suggest that will change in September.
The Angels are well out of playoff contention. You'd think it would be in their best interest to give Trumbo full time at-bats to either see if he fits into their plans for 2011 or to showcase him in a potential offseason trade. Trumbo has 29 home runs and a .902 OPS at triple-A Salt Lake.