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Living in the now
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Every fantasy owner has at least one player who was a key contributor in the first half but just hasn't been getting the job done since the All-Star break.

Brandon Moss, Brian Dozier and Billy Hamilton come to mind. Their numbers still look very good, but it doesn't matter what they did in the first three and a half months. There are about five weeks left in the baseball season and it's time to invest in players who are going to help right now.

Anyone who owns Coco Crisp, Chris Davis, Curtis Granderson, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jay Bruce or David Wright needs to think about making a similar move.

Here are six widely available players to pursue:

Jorge Soler, RF, Chicago Cubs (Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues) - Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig have set the bar high for Cuban defectors lately and the 22-year-old Soler is ready to join them in the big leagues. He'll join the Cubs Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds and will be the team's starting right fielder for the rest of the season. He's batted .340 with 23 doubles, two triples, 15 homers and a 48/33 K/BB over 236 plate appearances in the minors this season.

Josh Reddick, RF, Oakland Athletics (35 percent) - Seven. That's how many times Josh Reddick has struck out in 111 plate appearances since he returned from the disabled list. This is the same guy that had 13 strikeouts by April 9 and 43 Ks in his first 196 plate appearances (21.9 percent strikeout rate) this season. Reddick has batted .304 with eight doubles, a triple, six homers, 15 RBI, seven walks and 21 runs over his last 29 games.

Mookie Betts, CF, Boston Red Sox (Nine percent) - The Red Sox finally bailed on all-glove, no-bat center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who was one of the worst everyday hitters in baseball this season, in favor of Betts, a 21-year- old who has a seasoned veteran's grasp of the strike zone. Betts hit .346 with 11 homers, 33 steals and a 50/61 K/BB in 464 plate appearances in the minors this season. In eight games since he took over for Bradley, Betts has hit .280 with two doubles, a homer, seven walks and three steals. The best part is that he has shortstop eligibility in Yahoo leagues.

Kennys Vargas, 1B, Minnesota Twins (33 percent) - The 24-year-old Vargas came straight from Double-A after hitting 36 homers in 813 at-bats the past two seasons and he has batted .337 with four homers, 23 RBI and a .906 OPS in 23 games with the Twins. He strikes out a lot and wouldn't be able to hit for a .424 BABIP over a full season, but he may be able to do so for another few weeks. The Twins offense, with Danny Santana and Joe Mauer setting the table, has scored 21 more runs than any other team in baseball during August.

Steve Pearce, 1B, Baltimore Orioles (16 percent) - Pearce knows what it's like to live on the bench. He first came up to the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007 and has played for four franchises, but he had a total of 743 MLB at-bats prior to 2014. From May through July, Pearce was a fixture in Baltimore's everyday lineup and he hit .329 with 11 homers, 31 RBI and a .983 OPS from May 1 to July 10, but he slumped in late July and by early August was no longer a regular. Pearce had just 13 at-bats from Aug. 1-16, but Manny Machado's season-ending knee injury opened up a starting job for him again. Judging by his production, he doesn't ever want to go back to the bench. In his last eight games, Pearce has hit .343 with five doubles, four homers, five RBI and eight runs, with three of those homers coming against right-handers.

Travis d'Arnaud, C, New York Mets (16 percent) - d'Arnaud is batting just .228 with a .688 OPS this season, but that's only because he had a .180 average and a .544 OPS when he was shipped to the minors on June 8. Since he was recalled on June 24, d'Arnaud has batted .263 with 10 doubles, nine homers, 23 RBI, 26 runs and a .794 OPS. He's hit five home runs in his last 14 games.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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