Hitters with Opportunities

Rich Schultz

Some guys are getting at-bats, but haven't quite made the most of their chances. One or both of those factors could change, which could make for some hot properties in fantasy leagues.

Fantasy baseball is unlike any other fantasy sport for a lot of reasons. One of those is that opportunity doesn't necessarily lead to production. A played can get 1,000 at-bats, but they still have to do something with them. In fact, if they don't do anything it will hurt your fantasy team -- unlike receivers dropping balls in fantasy football or players getting minutes in basketball.

If fantasy owners are aware of players squandering ABs, then the braintrusts of the MLB organizations are likely mulling over the possibilities. If they haven't pulled the plug on a player from everyday at-bats yet, they're probably willing to stick with him. Today we're going to examine which players have been letdowns and their ownership in fantasy leagues is low, but that could change since they're getting regular playing time.

Shallow

Michael Brantley- It doesn't make any sense that Brantley isn't 100 percent owned. He is hitting .301 with a respectable OPS of .745 considering he only has one HR this year. The Indians' bats are heating up, but they might be going south in the next two games against Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Brantley should be owned in all leagues.

Andrelton Simmons - Simmons spent some extra time with Justin Upton in practice to work on his swing and it's paying some huge dividends lately. In the past week, he's slugging .840 and boasts a .440 batting average. He moved up to the second spot in the lineup and he's had some success there. In his 20 ABs in the two hole, Simmons hit .400 and struck out just once. Justin Upton hasn't been able to get guys on base in front of him, so maybe Simmons is the answer. He should continue to get plenty of ABs and has huge upside.

Marcell Ozuna - He tore up the minors this year with a monster triple-slash line of .316/.355/.684 and hit five bombs over 42 ABs at AA. Ozuna wasn't really expected to get a huge amount of chances to hit with the Marlins. The Marlins as a team don't really give all over their players five at-bats in a game and Ozuna was expected to platoon, but he hasn't slowed down at all. Ozuna should be busy this weekend with the Marlins taking on two lefties in Ryu and Capuano while also getting Matt McGill on Friday.

Jedd Gyorko - He was one of the hottest names in spring training and he's finally coming around. Gyorko has 28 ABs so far in May and he's made good on them with a great OPS of 1.081. The Padres scored five runs from Monday to Wednesday. The Padres rank a respectable 12th in ABs in May as a team and their offense isn't as bad as we've usually seen. His eligibility at 2B and 3B

Standard

Dan Uggla- He ranks second in the NL in strikeouts and he finally cleared the Mendoza line on Wednesday for the first time since April 10. Uggla is a nightmare to own some of the time and he's hands-off material in leagues that punish for strikeouts, but since he punches in bunches. He could be coming around. Uggla has 11 hits in his last six games, so it's not a bad idea to pick him up and ride him out for a few days.

Zack Cozart - It's hard to believe that someone getting regular ABs with Joey Votto behind him can't do anything with them. Despite a lot of people dropping him, Cozart really hasn't been that bad. He only had 19 Ks in his 129 ABs and his five homers ranks third among MLB shortstops. Of course, his .217 average explains a lot and as long as he's still getting chances to hit, owners needing a shortstop might want to stick with him.

Seth Smith- Smith is getting regular ABs now that the A's are banged up in the outfield. He's been racking up the ABs and over his last 10, he averaged 4.8 per game. Of course, he did have an eight-AB game in that marathon against the Angels, but it's still a big number. He's been batting in the two spot and should put up numbers that are worth starting just about all leagues while Coco Crisp and Chris Young are on the mend.

Deep

Adeiny Hechavarria - The Marlins are going to miss Donovan Solano for a while with a broken wrist, so there will be plenty of chances for the taking at the top of the lineup.Hechavarria hit leadoff and in the two hole for the last two games. The Marlins aren't going to put up big numbers, but this guys could be worth watching.

Robbie Grossman - Another guy that is at the top of the lineup of a bad team. Grossman has been given a vote of confidence with Rick Ankiel out of town. He also hasn't even had a day off since he was called up. The 23-year-old is getting it going with a .367 OBP in May, but the three runs in that span aren't exactly encouraging. He can steal a little bit and is a nice low-end option for owners that are waiting for their injured OF to return.

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