We have unearthed some notable names in this space during the early part of this MLB season. You could have added the guys below when they were at minuscule percentages (to the right you can see current percentages):
Jed Lowrie (30%) - 86%
Joey Lucchesi (32%) - 72%
Marcus Semien (38%) - 60%
Jose Peraza (27%)- 59%
Nick Pivetta (20%) - 42%
Daniel Robertson (2%) - 40%
There are more names, and a couple of those will still be on the list for this week due to not still not getting enough love. I know Pivetta has stumbled recently, but I’m still holding onto him as a back-end starter and loving his strikeouts on my TGFBI squad. Let’s scour those waivers, y’all.
Robinson Chirinos, Rangers (14% owned)
His percentage is slowly creeping upward (up 3% the past week). I’ve been recommending him all year, expecting the power to show up. He’s no spring chicken at 33 years old, but he’s the main man in Texas. The Globe Life locale was the 2nd-best place for runs in the MLB last year, as well as the 9th-best spot for home runs. Arlington also ranked 2nd in hits, 2nd in doubles, and first in walks. In short, this was/is a great spot for offense, and the starting catcher for the home team is basically free. As the weather warms and the Rangers lineup gets healthier, Chirinos’ outlook will only improve. Of note is a the recent pickup of Carlos Perez—some thought that meant Chirinos was DL-bound—but if we get through Saturday with no news I think it’s safe to grab this guy at backstop as your C2 or as a back-end starter.
Ryon Healy, Mariners (21% owned)
Healy missed over two weeks of the season with a right ankle sprain. Since his return about a week ago he ranks as the No. 2 first baseman in the game behind the scorching-hot Matt Adams. Healy gets the nod over Adams due to more consistent playing time. He’s 7-for-23 (.304 BA) with four home runs over the last seven days. Still only 26 years old, Healy has a career .197 ISO and .278/.309/.475 slash line. So long as walks aren’t a thing in your league, he’s a great addition as a corner infield bat. He’s mostly hitting seventh for the Mariners, but this offense is sneaky-loaded—as evidenced by Mitch Haniger being relegated to the sixth spot.
Howie Kendrick, Nationals (16% owned)
This one is a shorter-term rental, and not one to get overly excited about. But second base is a cesspool and Daniel Murphy (knee) is still on the shelf for a few weeks at least. Kendrick is slashing .293 with four home runs, 12 runs, and 11 RBIs. He’s even chipped in a stolen base. Normally I’d say you could expect him to primarily contribute in the BA and runs categories, but since he’s batting 5th for Washington his RBI counts should be solid as well. He is a decent middle infield option while Murphy remains out.
Kike Hernandez, Dodgers (6% owned)
I don’t know why I feel so alone in this. Hernandez has a known skill (lefty-bashing) and currently has a chance for semi-regular at-bats in center field (in lieu of Joc Pederson starting every day). He can also spell Chris Taylor at shortstop when necessary. In the Yahoo game, Hernandez qualifies at every hitting spot except for catcher and first base. He just took southpaw Joey Lucchesi yard on Friday night. Two of his four home runs this season are against right-handed pitching, too. So far, Kike isn’t making loads of hard contact, but his career numbers suggest he’ll be over the 35% threshold against lefties and should still be around 30% against right-handed pitchers when it’s all said and done. You need to manage this guy a bit, as he’ll have some DNPs against RHPs along the way. But against lefties he is rock solid, and he’ll have more opportunity against right-handed pitchers this year due to the Dodgers not wanting to trot out Joc Pederson all the time in the outfield. Corey Seager (elbow) is out for the season and Justin Turner (broken wrist) still isn’t ready for rehab games. Yasiel Puig (hip, foot) and Logan Forsythe (shoulder) are also sidelined. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Dodgers made a move to cover shortstop, but until then I’m taking a chance on Kike—especially in leagues with daily transactions.
Honorable mention: Johan Camargo, Braves (3% owned)
Camargo will fill the spot of Dansby Swanson (wrist) for the time being. Right now there’s room for he and Bautista in the starting lineup. When Swanson returns I’d expect Camargo gets the short end of the stick while Bautista gets the starting nod. For now Camargo is a safe add at a weak position, though (and he qualifies at 2B and 3B, too).
Joey Bautista, Braves (18% owned)
It was either Joey Bats or Jeimer Candelario (who I still like long-term). However, the recent loss of Miguel Cabrera dings Candelario’s outlook a bit, and Bautista offers more upside in that upstart Atlanta lineup and in SunTrust Park. I don’t know what Bautista has left in the tank, but the hot corner is a hot mess. It wouldn’t take much pop for Bautista to be relevant as a corner infield or utility bat, and it looks like he’ll bat fifth or better in the Braves lineup. We’ll see what manager Brian Snitker has in store, but I could see Joey Bats moving into the cleanup spot if he’s productive, which would let Atlanta alternate lefty and righty bats all the way through the order if they wanted to do so. Either way, he’s slated for the heart of the lineup. There are worse dart throws to make.
Jorge Soler, Royals (30% owned)
He’s pretty hot right now and is now batting second in the Royals lineup on a routine basis. On Friday night he kept it going with a two-run single in the eighth inning, allowing the Royals to push ahead and come from behind to beat the Tigers 4-2. Soler is now slashing a robust .309/.429/.526 with four home runs on the year, and is the top outfield add in fake baseball at the moment.
Franchy Cordero, Padres (17% owned)
There are an abundance of outfield bats to be had, it seems. Outfield remains a position to punt in your fake drafts, especially after you get outside of the top 20 options or so. After that, there’s a lot of similar production to be discovered. I’ve added Cordero everywhere I can, and I’ll ride the wave until the Padres get healthy and we see what sort of logjam awaits in the outfield.
Leonys Martin, Tigers (14% owned)
Martin may be the first quality bat we see get dealt to a contender this season. The Tigers (13-18) are without Miguel Cabrera and are now reduced to trotting out the ghost of Victor Martinez as their cleanup hitter. Not to mention trotting out the ghost of Miggy when he was healthy. Anyway, Martin has value as the current leadoff man for Detroit, but there’s a chance his value could increase if he moved to a contending team. Either way, he offers a little pop and speed to go along with a plus batting average. He’s a great way to round out your outfield or fill a utility spot. I still expect the stolen bases to come, though he’s only snagged one so far.
Tyson Ross, Padres (39% owned)
He’s still not owned enough so I’ll keep touting. He had that bad start at Coors (big deal) that hampered his ownership for a week or so. Coming off of a strong outing against the Giants, though, expect his number to rise again this week and to creep near that 50% threshold. Better hop aboard before it’s too late (see Lucchesi, Joey).
Caleb Smith, Marlins (21% owned)
Smith keeps striking folks out, so I’m interested. Over his last 13 innings he has 19 strikeouts, against the Brewers and the Rockies, respectively. He’ll be volatile for sure, but so long as he plays half of his games in Marlins Park and keeps striking folks out, he’ll be a viable streaming option if you are in a deep league. Obviously you aren’t banking on wins here, but those are crazy to try for, anyway.
Jeremy Jeffress, Brewers (18% owned)
Corey Knebel (hamstring) is nearing a return, but every little bit helps, right? This Brewers squad can score in bunches and should provide a few more save opportunities before Knebel gets called back up. Until such time, Jeffress and Hader look like the two best options. And with Hader filling more of the stopper/multi-inning role, that means Jeffress might snag another save or two in the interim.
Darren O’Day, Orioles (12% owned)
O’Day is actually the better pickup of these two, I think. He has a more secure role as the favored closing option, but the problem is he won’t get a ton of saves opportunities on a bad Baltimore squad. Still, if I’m chasing saves over the short-term I like both of these guys right now. Give me O’Day if I need to think long-term.
That’s it for me today. I’m off to crawl around my attic and check for a possible leak. Good luck out there.