This week's article is specifically geared to those who are holding out hope of winning their league. Owners in such a position need to make bold moves down the stretch in order to make up ground. The following five players are among the most talented in baseball, but they have struggled in recent weeks. If these players can turn things around down the stretch, they have the skills to be notable difference-makers.
Troy Tulowitzki, shortstop (Blue Jays): Across 323 at-bats with the Rockies this season, the career .297 hitter hit .300 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs. Despite a memorable debut with his new club, Tulowitzki has struggled overall to the tune of a .207 batting average, though he has scored 18 runs across 21 games from his perch atop Toronto's potent lineup. And his home run rate with the Blue Jays is similar to his 2015 work with the Rockies. Tulowitzki owners may be willing to trade away one of the game's premier middle infielders at a discount, which creates an excellent buying opportunity.
Carlos Gomez, outfielder (Astros): Gomez was having a nondescript season with the Brewers, and he has since slumped to the tune of a .184 batting average and one homer across 76 at-bats since joining the Astros. The outfielder has dealt with a nagging knee injury, but when on track, Gomez is among the most productive fantasy hitters. Across the 2012-14 seasons, he made a massive difference in fantasy leagues by compiling 66 homers and 111 steals. If the 29-year-old finds his groove down the stretch, he could be a major contributor.
Albert Pujols, first baseman (Angels): A potential future Hall-of-Famer, Pujols tipped the scales in many fantasy leagues when he hit .303 with 13 homers in the month of June. The 35-year-old came crashing back to Earth in July when he hit .224 with six round-trippers, and he has homered just three times this month. While we may have already seen the best that Pujols can produce this season, his outstanding work in the first half is a reminder that he still has the talent to make a massive difference. On an Angels squad that is trying to claim a postseason spot, Pujols will be highly motivated for a strong finish.
Mike Trout, outfielder (Angels): There may be no player in baseball with more buy-low potential than Trout. The first overall selection in virtually every 2015 draft, the outfielder has stolen just four bases since May 1, and he has hit .176 with one homer and five RBIs this month. When playing well, Trout is still the consensus choice as the top fantasy asset. However, some of his owners may be willing to trade Trout in return for a hitter who has less potential but is currently wielding a productive bat.
Jay Bruce, outfielder (Reds): Known as a streaky slugger, Bruce hit .287 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs across June and July. The outfielder has slumped badly this month, hitting .139 with one homer and nine RBIs across 79 at-bats. If he gets back on track in short order, the 28-year-old can reach the 25-homer mark for the fifth time in the past six years. Like the previously mentioned trade candidates, Bruce is the perfect target for an owner with nothing to lose and everything to gain on a risky investment.
All statistics are accurate through the completion of Saturday's games.
Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.