The Trade Deadline is two weeks in the rear-view mirror and September callups are more than two weeks away. The waiver wire is not flush with exciting options right now, but fantasy owners who want to win their leagues need to continue to find productive players. Here are some options to bridge the gap until difference-makers arrive next month.
Catcher Travis d'Arnaud (Mets): The 25-year-old is holding down a heavy workload, and he is starting to show some notable power, with three homers in his past five games. The young backstop maintains a better walk-to-strikeout ratio than most catchers, so his .230 batting average could rise down the stretch.
First baseman Adam Lind (Blue Jays): Lind returned from the disabled list earlier in the week, and he assumed his usual spot in the heart of the team's lineup vs. right-handers. The lefty slugger is hitting .319 and has shown plenty of power in previous seasons.
Second baseman Josh Rutledge (Rockies): It takes courage to pick up a player who has gone 1-for-24 in his past eight games, but Rutledge is worth the leap of faith. He can offer some power and some speed, and he should have a regular job as Troy Tulowitzki's replacement for the rest of the season. At age 25, this may be his last chance to prove himself.
Shortstop Jordy Mercer (Pirates): Mercer is not going to win anyone a league title, but he can fill a void at a weak shortstop position. He will not hurt a team's batting average, and he can offer a bit of power at a position that is populated by light hitters.
Third baseman Emilio Bonifacio (Braves): The speedster can be a valuable fantasy option when he is receiving regular playing time, and the Braves have kept Bonifacio in the lineup more often than not since picking him up at the end of July. Atlanta is looking for an offensive spark, and Bonifacio's wheels make him an excellent candidate to contribute.
Outfielder Nori Aoki (Royals): Aoki was a consistent fantasy performer during his time with the Brewers, but he took a while to get adjusted with Kansas City. However, he has four multihit efforts and four steals in his past seven games, so he could be ready to rejoin mixed-league rosters.
Outfielder Carl Crawford (Dodgers): Most fantasy owners remember Crawford's glory days as an elite outfielder. But wait: The 33-year-old may not be over the hill, and he has collected 10 hits in his past four games. Expectations should not be too high, but Crawford could be a high-average hitter who swipes some bases down the stretch.
Outfielder Rymer Liriano (Padres): The 23-year-old should get a long look from the rebuilding Padres down the stretch. He has shown the ability to hit for average and swipe bases at all levels of the Minors, so he should be added by mixed-league owners who seek speed.
Starter Chase Anderson (D-backs): Anderson has quietly become one of the NL's most consistent starters, as he has allowed two runs or fewer in his past five starts, with at least six innings pitched in each outing. The 26-year-old will have to work on the road against the Nats next week before he can return home to face the Padres, who rank last in baseball in runs scored.
Starter Vance Worley (Pirates): Fantasy owners should give Worley a pass on a rough start against the Tigers last time out, as he likely will not face another tough American League offense this season. He will make two starts against National League clubs next week and, in his past four starts in the Senior Circuit, he has allowed three runs across 28 innings.
Starter Tsuyoshi Wada (Cubs): The 33-year-old has allowed more than two runs in just one of six starts since joining the rotation on July 8, and a 30-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio suggests that his success is not a fluke. Wada will face the Mets at pitcher-friendly Citi Field next week before returning home to take on the Orioles.
Starter Trevor Bauer (D-backs): Use of Bauer is not for the faint of heart, as his performances have been all over the map in recent weeks. But he looked great during his last time out, and he has two manageable matchups next week: on the road against the Twins and at home vs. the Astros.
Starter Brett Oberholtzer (Astros): Oberholtzer will work on the road twice next week, but his recent consistency makes him a viable option on its own. The lefty has allowed just 10 runs in his past five starts, and he has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his past nine outings. His low strikeout rate is not a concern in a two-start stanza.
Starter Jason Vargas (Royals): The lefty took some time to return to form after a July DL stint, but he certainly looked great in a shutout against the A's during his last time out. Vargas will pitch on the road twice next week against manageable offenses: the Twins and Rangers.
Starter Bartolo Colon (Mets): Colon's stellar walk rate has helped produce an impressive 1.15 WHIP. Because he surrenders some homers, the 41-year-old is much better in pitcher-friendly venues. He will have that luxury twice next week, when he is scheduled to work at home against the Cubs before heading out to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers.
Reliever Jeurys Familia (Mets): Closer Jenrry Mejia has been battling injury and ineffectiveness in the second half. Familia has taken advantage of the opportunity, picking up two saves his in past three appearances. His walk rate could be a problem in the closer's role, but Familia owns a 2.09 ERA this season, and he warrants a roster spot in deep formats.
Reliever Dellin Betances (Yankees): There has been little recent fantasy movement at the closer's position, which makes this a good time to note the value of Betances. The 26-year-old is on pace for nearly 150 K's to go along with a 1.52 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. He is a rare setup man with value in shallow formats.
Fred Zinkie is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.