Hey there friends. We are past the quarter pole of the season. It’s starting to get serious out there. Let’s see who we should be adding to take our fake teams to the next level. Note: most of these statistics are pulled on Saturday morning, so Saturday night’s box scores may alter some of them slightly or significantly, depending on what goes down. There’s no need to get upset if that happens, okay?
Devin Mesoraco, Mets (20% owned)
Travis d’Arnaud is out for the year (Tommy John surgery) and Kevin Plawecki (.214 BA, 0 HR) is now the backup. Mesoraco appears to be regaining his 2014 form, when he posted 25 home runs in only 114 games. He is barreling balls 8.1% of the time, which is above the MLB average of 6.0%. His 87.4 mph average exit velocity is right at the 87.3 mph MLB average, which is significant for the trashy catcher position. His 19.8 degree launch angle is far above the 10.8 degree MLB average, and it’s a tad higher than Yonder Alonso’s 19.4 degree angle when he joined the fly ball revolution in 2017 (and smacked 28 home runs). I like referencing Alonso’s launch angle since it was talked about so much—Mesoraco is right above that mark.
A healthy 20.3% line drive rate and 33.8% hard contact rate point to better days to come in the BABIP department (.221 right now). His .224 ISO ranks fifth among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances in 2018, ahead of positional stalwarts Salvador Perez, J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, and Willson Contreras. I love me some dingers from the catcher spot, even if Mesoraco may drain your batting average somewhat. Guys like Gary Sanchez (.211) and Mike Zunino (.210) aren’t a plus in BA either, but we like them because they hit bombs. Mesoraco is a recommended addition in all formats. Bombs away.
Honorable mention: Max Stassi, Astros (15% owned)
Yonder Alonso, Indians (42% owned)
He’s still not owned enough. His launch angle is down five degrees from 2017, but his current 14.4 degree angle is still above the 10.8 degree average. He’s barreling balls at an excellent rate, as he’s tied for 12th in the MLB at 9.7 Brls/PA. He’s not hitting tons of line drives, but he’s getting plenty of lift (42.7 FB%) and is making a lot of hard contact (36.8%). All of this has resulted in a .247/.316/.462 slash and 11 home runs already. He’s the No. 11 first baseman in the fake game, but he’s not even owned in half of Yahoo leagues. Add this man as your CI bat already. Last week he was 25% owned, so people are finally getting wise to him. Today’s waiver run might be the last chance for most of you.
Honorable mention: Yuli Gurriel, Astros (22% owned)
Ian Kinsler, Angels (42% owned)
Another guy who isn’t owned enough, but it’s changing today. Over the last two weeks Kinsler is the No. 9 man at the keystone. His .255 average over that stretch isn’t exciting, but he has three home runs and two swipes over that same time. Kinsler has hits in six straight games, with four of those of the multi-hit variety. It’s time to add the man who sits in the catbird seat in front of Mike Trout.
Honorable mention: Derek Dietrich, Marlins (13% owned)
Jurickson Profar, Rangers (20% owned)
This is more of an opportunity play than anything. Profar has average speed and hits more line drives than our honorable mention, but it’s his run-producing spot in the Rangers offense that I like most of all. That may not seem exciting, but it doesn’t help anyone if I tell you to add Tim Anderson or Marcus Semien, okay? Profar has shown signs of heating up with regard to average in recent weeks, and if he can keep it going batting in the five-hole he’ll contribute in runs and stolen bases. He’s tied for fourth in runs scored at the shortstop position over the last two weeks, and he has a home run and a pair of swipes during that same time. You could do worse than a guy with his opportunity, and there’s still room for improvement from this former No. 1 overall prospect.
Honorable mention: Amed Rosario, Mets (10% owned) and Johan Camargo, Braves (4% owned)
Jeimer Candelario, Tigers (28% owned)
Candelario’s breakout is unknown to some due to his injury smokescreen. That, and the Tigers’ un-exciting offense. Still, he’s hitting .281 over the past two weeks and is the No. 10 ranked third baseman over that time. He has four home runs over that stretch and is up to nine on the season. His overall slash of .274/.363/.531 should play in just about any format. He has a healthy 10.3% walk rate, a tolerable 22.5% strikeout rate, and is making a lot of hard contact (36.8%). He’s mostly batting second in the order for Detroit. I love him as an underrated corner infield bat.
Honorable mention: Ryon Healy, Mariners (29% owned)
Brandon Nimmo, Mets (54% owned)
I’ll get to some lesser-owned options in a tick, but Nimmo deserves some love. It’s not my fault his ownership has spiked 39% over the last 24 hours, okay? I had him in this space last week and he was only 16% owned. You better hurry up if you want to acquire this underrated leadoff man’s services. He is the No. 4 outfielder in the fake game over the past two weeks, behind elite draft commodities Christian Yelich, Mike Trout, and George Springer.
Gorkys Hernandez, Giants (20% owned)
He’s the best center fielder the Giants have, so it’s a no-brainer to ride his hot bat right now. Over the last two weeks he is the 17th-best outfielder in the fake game. He’s hitting .340 with three home runs and a stolen base over that time. His 29.3% strikeout rate and 5.3% walk rate are not ideal, but the healthy 23.5% line drive rate and 35.6% hard contact rate say the .388 BABIP might not be completely smoke and mirrors. If you need some help at the back end of your outfield, I’d ride the hot streak.
Franmil Reyes, Padres (15% owned)
Reyes gets the San Diego smokescreen, much like Franchy Cordero before him. Anyway, Reyes smacked 25 home runs in 135 games of Double-A ball in 2017. This year he had 14 home runs in only 36 games at Triple-A before getting the call to the bigs. He’s currently sporting a .182/.234/.455 slash, but his .190 BABIP is going to positively regress given the 20.0% line drive rate and the whopping 40.0% hard contact rate. If you need cheap power, this guy is the epitome of your desires. Reyes is hitting a more tolerable .242 over the last two weeks, for what it’s worth. He comes with a gargantuan 38.0% strikeout rate, but also carries 70-grade power. If that’s what you’re looking for, knock yourself out.
Ross Stripling (68% owned) is likely long gone in all competitive tilts, but if you happen to be lucky enough to snag him still, that’s where you should start. I feel similarly about Jack Flaherty (63% owned) and Eduardo Rodriguez (56% owned). But if you’re more desperate than that...
Trevor Cahill, Athletics (40% owned)
Some of this may seem redundant, but if a guy isn’t owned enough I’m going to keep on speaking on the topic. He doesn’t have the cushy confines of San Diego at his disposal anymore, but he’s faring just fine in his new Oakland digs. The 25.0% strikeout rate and low 5.9% walk rate are very good, and he has a Keuchel-esque 60.2% ground ball rate. That’s a great floor (pun intended) to pair with his healthy K-rate and low walk rate. What’s not to like?
Vince Velasquez, Phillies (39% owned)
Another head-scratcher for me. I picked up “Vince V” (that’s what I call him in my brain) in the TGFBI when another owner dropped him. Over the past month he is the No. 10 ranked starter in the entire MLB, as 45 strikeouts in 33 2⁄3 innings will do that for you—especially with a 2.14 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The time to grab him is now.
Honorable mention: Kyle Gibson, Twins (20% owned)
Kyle Barraclough, Marlins (44% owned)
To all those who drafted Barraclough expectantly, I salute you. I’d never draft a reliever on a bad team who didn’t close, but that’s just me. Anyway, that’s in the past now, as it appears Barraclough may finally be getting his shot to close in Miami. Good luck with that.
Seranthony Dominguez, Phillies (35% owned)
He’s not getting regular save opportunities, but he has siphoned away a pair of saves from the embattled Hector Neris. Until he fully takes over you can live with the phenomenal 34.9% strikeout rate, right? He also has a healthy 55.6% ground ball rate and hasn’t issued a free pass yet. There’s a lot to like here.
Honorable mention: Jose Alvarado, Rays (22% owned)
And that’s all for me, ladies and gents. Hit me up on Twitter @HeathCapps or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, arguments, etc. Happy trails.