I’m not sure I even care about fantasy baseball anymore now that the NFL Draft has occurred.
I’m joking, but the NFL sure does have some staying power throughout the year. #BroadwayBaker to the Browns, Saquon saves Eli, the Browns passed on Chubb—the fireworks happened instantly. Crazy stuff.
Anyway, let’s check out some guys who can help you over the short-term in fantasy baseball, and perhaps even have a little staying power.
Look, catcher is trash, man. It’s tough to recommend a whopping TWO names here. I’m thankful I invested in Realmuto in most places, and backed him up with Grandal (who was free in many leagues post-draft). That said, here’s who I would look for if I was desperate:
Robinson Chirinos, Rangers (11% owned)
Chirinos is battling a bit of a wrist injury, but it’s not considered to be serious. Last night’s pair of home runs should make everyone feel a little better. Chirinos isn’t a perfect player by any stretch, but if I don’t have one of the seven or so productive starters at this crummy position, I like taking a chance on him in Texas. The home park is nice, and I think he can hit enough home runs to be relevant—say, one of the best 15 catchers when all the dust settles.
Tyler Flowers, Braves (4% owned)
If you aren’t getting excited about this Braves offense for 2018 and beyond, I pity you. Last year the Braves had a pair of top-end catchers, as Kurt Suzuki finished 10th and Flowers finished 12th. I like the guy who is two years younger and the better pitch-framer (Flowers). Suzuki will still get his fair share of time, but I like Flowers to produce in an underrated Atlanta lineup and at home in SunTrust Park. Flowers (oblique) was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday and should mostly bat fifth or sixth in the order moving forward. He had 370 PA in 2017 compared to Suzuki’s 309. I actually think both catchers will have value this year. In daily leagues where you can do a bit of managing, I think you could do far worse than scoping out Atlanta’s backstop. Flowers was 1-for-4 in his return to the lineup on Saturday evening.
Yonder Alonso, Indians (29%owned)
He made Week 2’s edition of waiver pickups, back when he was ice cold and slashing .186/.286/.349 to begin the year. He was 37% owned at the time, so apparently a lot of people got too frustrated to hang on. Over the past seven days Alonso is batting .308 with four home runs, though—good for the third-best production at the first base position. I still think he is a legitimate corner infield or utility bat for your squad. He has home runs in three straight games, people. Add the man already.
C.J. Cron, Rays (25% owned)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or consumed by the NFL Draft) you know that Cron’s bat has come alive in recent days. Over the past week he is the ninth-best first baseman in the game. He is 7-for-24 (.292 average) with four home runs and 10 RBIs over that time. Cron has totaled exactly 16 home runs in each of the past three seasons, but he has done so in part-time duty (never exceeding more than 116 games). He is on pace to shatter career totals in every significant category. I don’t love the home park and wouldn’t be dying to add him (I much prefer Alonso) but if you’re hurting for a decent bat in a large league, Cron might be your guy if you need some power.
Cesar Hernandez, Phillies (67% owned)
He’ll be the highest-owned player on this list, but he’s still under-owned so I’m not leaving him out. Hernandez made my DFS overview for second basemen, as his walk rate and speed stood out due to comparing favorably to the position’s elite. So far he has successfully fended off Scott Kingery, as he is slashing .293/.421/.402 with a pair of home runs and five stolen bases. Of note is a very healthy 18.4 BB%, as Hernandez has 21 walks against 26 strikeouts. He’s also making more medium and hard contact this year, as his soft contact rate is a paltry 14.9% so far. I like the on-base skills and the speed. For reference, only three players have more walks than Hernandez right now—Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and Rhys Hoskins. He’s too underrated with his speed.
Jose Peraza, Reds (27% owned)
Peraza has some speed and that’s what we generally search for with middle infield options. He was a perennial 25+ stolen base guy in the minors, and in the MLB he’s posted 21 (72 games) and 23 (143 games) over the last two seasons. It appears Peraza might have been unlucky in 2017 with a .293 BABIP, one year after posting an inflated .361 mark. Peraza’s career BABIP is .311, but for a dude with wheels I could see him settling in closer to .320. He’s making more hard contact (26.6%) than he has before (generally around 21% previously) and he’s pulling the ball 5% more than before. He’s still not living up to the hype from a few years ago, but he has pretty much been a decent MLB regular this year (94 wRC+). If you need speed, you could do worse at the MI spot, especially if Peraza stays batting second. We’ll see how that shakes out with Eugenio Suarez back in the fold, though.
Before I start, why is Didi Gregorius only 93% owned in Yahoo leagues? A travesty, son.
Daniel Robertson, Rays (30% owned)
I had him in this space last week and I used him in the TGFBI due to an injury to Eugenio Suarez. He rewarded me with a home run, his third of the season. He’s batting .345 and has chipped in a stolen base to go along with his three home runs. You could do far worse at shortstop, and Robertson has the added ability to play three positions (2B, 3B, SS).
Eduardo Escobar, Twins (24% owned)
Escobar is slashing .297 with three home runs already, after popping 21 HRs last year in only 129 games. That should raise some eyebrows at the middle infield position. Obviously you like him more as a MI option, but we’re digging deep here. Beggars can’t be choosers. Escobar has tons of opportunity to produce this year given Jorge Polanco’s 80-game suspension for PEDs.
Matt Davidson, White Sox (48% owned)
It’s too low, man. Sure, he’s going to swing and miss. But he’s the No. 6 third baseman in the game, and this is actually something of a weak position. Nine home runs will do that for you. Davidson can play either corner infield spot and calls a hitter’s park home. If you need pop in your lineup this is a great way to give yourself a shot in the arm.
Jeimer Candelario, Tigers (30% owned)
Another repeat of last week, but waivers are pretty thin for the hot corner and Candelario keeps hitting second for the Tigers in front of Miguel Cabrera. He’s up to .270 with four home runs already. All four of those home runs are against right-handed pitching, so consider benching him against southpaws if you have an option with more punch.
Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays (48% owned)
He’s batting .296 with three bombs in only 54 at-bats so far. Randal Grichuk is fading into obscurity (unfortunately for my TGFBI squad). You might be late to this party, but not too late given that he’s not even 50% owned in Yahoo.
Leonys Martin, Tigers (14% owned)
Another Tigers option who bats atop the lineup. The difference is Martin should offer you some speed to go along with solid counting statistics. I love him as a deep outfield play.
Tyson Ross, Padres (34% owned)
He made this space last week and then he had to start at Colorado, which didn’t end up great (4.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 7 SO). I’m not holding that against him, though. Definitely buying what I’m seeing and love his home park. Ross is back—don’t hold a Colorado start against him.
Jarlin Garcia, Marlins (32% owned)
That owned percentage crept up in a hurry after a pair of solid turns. He has a 1.00 ERA after two starts, and obviously Marlins Park is a great place to pitch. I like that he has a three-pitch mix (FB, SL, CH) unlike a lot of two-pitch guys that we have to rely on at times. You wouldn’t be chasing wins, obviously, but if he can be decent in that home park you might have someone you can play matchups with.
Adam Ottavino, Rockies (56% owned)
I’m weary of the saves carousel already. Ottavino is the 10th-best PITCHER in the fake game. Three wins, 28 strikeouts, a 0.60 ERA and 0.47 WHIP will do that for you. If you have a struggling starter that you don’t trust, consider cutting bait and getting some ratio and strikeout help from Ottavino.
Joakim Soria, White Sox (40% owned)
He’s the main guy for Chicago, it seems. Saves are really the only statistic we care about, right? Soria has four of those already, and we know even bad teams can support a 30-save closer. Be leery of later in the season if you start to hear some trade chatter regarding Soria’s services, as he’d probably be relegated to a setup role if that happened. But until that time if you need saves help it appears that Soria is the man to own in Chicago. He’s carrying a 10/2 K/BB ratio right now. You could do worse (you know, like with any of the Brewers options).
That’s all for me. Hope this helps someone, somewhere. Let’s get those FAAB budgets ready!