Last week was a smashing Soler success. Since then, Jorge Soler’s ownership has increased by 27% in the Yahoo pool. Let’s see if we can get ahead of the fake game again this week.
Also, I was drinking my second cup of coffee and perusing Fangraphs on Saturday morning, and this is what came out. Strange things are afoot. Find out what’s up with Bryce Harper, J.D. Martinez, Matt Carpenter, and a pair of others. Also, vote for your favorite Stranger Things character. I can’t believe Steve Harrington DOESN’T HAVE A SINGLE VOTE.
Anyway, Week 6 wraps up today, so let’s look at who we should be pursuing to round out our fantasy baseball rosters.
Welington Castillo, White Sox (53% owned)
It’s time to consider Beef Castillo, as he’s the No. 5 backstop in the fake game over the last week and the No. 16 catcher overall. Another home run or two and that ranking changes quickly. Castillo’s 57.4% pull rate is is higher than ever, and he is making hard contact 36.1% of the time. His .286 BABIP is a three-year low, no doubt aided by hitting fewer line drives and more ground balls. Perhaps Castillo is still adjusting to his new digs, but whether he evens out or not some of those hard hit balls are clearing the fence at Guaranteed Rate Field. Castillo’s a safe bet for 20 bombs as long as he’s healthy.
Honorable mention: James McCann, Tigers (27% owned)
The 12th-ranked backstop, McCann’s .278 average is paired with three home runs and modest counting statistics. He won’t light the world on fire, but he’s serviceable.
Yonder Alonso, Indians (32% owned)
I continue to buy that Alonso’s body of work will help him rise above the mediocre crop of back-end first basemen. He’s already the No. 13 first baseman in the game, and part-timers Matt Adams and Mitch Moreland are ranked ahead of him. Brandon Belt and C.J. Cron are two more ranked ahead that I like Alonso to eventually surpass. Alonso’s 37.8% hard contact rate and 42.9% fly ball rate are a recipe for home runs, especially as a left-handed bat in Cleveland. Alonso isn’t owned in nearly enough leagues. Plug him into your corner infield slot and enjoy the power.
Alen Hanson, Giants (16% owned)
The keystone is a thin position, and Hanson has four home runs over his last four games. Joe Panik (thumb surgery) is out for at least six weeks, which means Hanson will get a chance to continue this sort of production. Our own Mark Abell wrote about Hanson’s chances for a breakout year just last week, so I’ll direct you there. Note: Hanson is day-to-day with a left hamstring injury, so pay attention to that in case it lingers.
Marcus Semien, Athletics (54% owned)
Still too low for Semien. There are 23 shortstops in the Yahoo game with a higher ownership percentage. That’s nuts to me. Semien is the 12th-ranked shortstop in the game, and should be considered a starter in leagues of at least 12 teams. Over the last week he is batting .308 with a stolen base, and his 29 runs at the shortstop position rank behind only Francisco Lindor (33). His three homers and three swipes so far are an indicator of what he can do—he’s a 15/10 sort of guy AT LEAST if he stays healthy.
Honorable mention: Wilmer Difo, Nationals (19% owned)
Like Matt Adams, Difo is benefiting from injuries in Washington. Since Daniel Murphy doesn’t have a timetable for his return, feel free to add the Nationals’ No. 9 hitter. That doesn’t sound amazing until you consider that he’s hitting in front of some dude named Bryce Harper. You could do worse as a fill-in if you need some speed in your MI slot.
Ryon Healy, Mariners (44% owned)
His ownership percentage continues to climb because he has raked over the last week. During that time he is the fourth-best man at the hot corner and the second-best at first base (he qualifies in both spaces in Yahoo). The only knock on him is his batting order slot—he generally hits seventh in the order behind Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger. The good news is Haniger is the GOAT and he’ll have more opportunities for counting statistics than your average seven-hole hitter.
Franchy Cordero, Padres (21% owned)
Cordero hasn’t hit a home run over the last two weeks, but he’s still hitting 14-for-45 (.311) with five runs and three stolen bases during that time. The insertion of Travis Jankowski into the leadoff role means that Cordero is currently the cleanup hitter for the Padres. As the bottom end of this lineup is very weak, it’s safe to assume that Cordero will have a prime spot in the upper third of the order for the foreseeable future. He does have a sizeable 32.5% strikeout rate, but he is walking 10.3% of the time and making loads of hard contact (49.3%!!!). His 27.7% line drive rate is also a good sign. He may not maintain the .269 batting average, but he is a useful guy to round out your outfield ranks if he can keep it around .250 or so. I love me some cheap, toolsy players.
There are a lot of free agent pitchers that I really like right now, so I’m going to list all four.
Tyler Skaggs, Angels (52% owned)
Skaggs induces a lot of ground balls (52.0%), doesn’t walk many (7.1%), and strikes out plenty (25.0%). That’s a recipe for success. There are injury concerns, sure. But right now you pick him up and ride the wave.
Tyson Ross, Padres (42% owned)
Ross has been in this space for weeks now. Last night he twirled a gem against the Cardinals (6.0 IP, 7 SO, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP) and his season ERA is down to 3.40. That’s backed by a 3.27 FIP, too. Ross has endured some tough matchups against Colorado (twice) and the Nationals. But he is bullying the lesser competition and deserves to be considered at the back of your fake rotations. He should definitely be over 50% owned.
Jack Flaherty, Cardinals (21% owned)
What a roller coaster for Flaherty. I keep starting him whenever he gets the call. I never wish for injuries, but man it sure would be nice if St. Louis found a way to keep him in the rotation instead of trotting out the ghost of Adam Wainwright.
Trevor Cahill, Athletics (17% owned)
Cahill (elbow) should return from the 10-day DL when first eligible. He has a 31/6 K/BB ratio and a corresponding 2.25 ERA (backed by a 2.40 FIP). I’d stash him now or grab him the day before he starts if the rest of your league is asleep at the wheel.
Tyler Clippard, Blue Jays (50% owned)
In the absence of Roberto Osuna, Clippard nailed down the first save chance and followed that up with a scoreless inning two nights ago. He’s now the guy in Toronto, and odds are he’s not available in most competitive formats. But if your waivers run tonight (like mine do in the TGFBI) then get ready to pony up the dough.
Brad Ziegler, Marlins (23% owned)
Dont’ look now, but the worst closer in baseball has nailed down a pair of saves this week. He’s only allowed one run over his last four outings, too. That’s something, right?