For those of you who play in competitive leagues, where recommendations to add players 40-60% owned just doesn’t cut it; this weekly article highlights 10 players who are more likely to be available in your league. The parameters are simple: any player owned in less than 10% of Fantrax leagues and has a stock trending up. I’ll try to get a mix of different positions and mix pitchers and hitters, but understand that we are digging a little deeper with this list and we’ll take the value where we can find it.
Dylan Covey (P - CWS) - 7% owned
The 26 year old Covey has found himself firmly entrenched in the White Sox rotation and has pitched really well his last two starts: 11.1 IP, 11 Ks, 4 BBs, and 2.38 ERA against the Orioles and the Indians. Covey sports a .285 xwOBA in those starts and has earned himself a few more turns in the rotation.
Pablo Sandoval (3B - SF) - 3% owned
Back from the grave, Pablo Sandoval has been mashing this past week and is worthy of an add in deeper formats. Still only 31 years old, Sandoval is batting .273/.333/.318 in his past 24 PAs and earned himself a starting gig at first base with Brandon Belt out with an appendectomy (expected to miss around three weeks). He’s swinging the bat well and should get consistent playing time in San Francisco.
Matt Skole (1B/3B - CWS) - 2% owned
This list is peppered with White Sox players and Matt Skole is maybe my favorite on the entire list. Skole has been DH on the South Side for only four games but has made quite an impact and could be a power bat on the waiver wire that can be rosterable the rest of the year. In an extremely limited 13 PA sample size, Skole has a .424 xwOBA with a home run and .273/.385/.545 slash line. This has been Matt Skole’s MLB debut, so until we see him falter at the MLB level I’m happy to speculate on his power.
Andy Suarez (P - SF) - 11% owned
I’m fudging the numbers a bit to include Suarez on this list because he deserves to be way higher owned than 11%. In eight starts this year, Suarez has a 3.90 FIP and 42 Ks in 43.2 innings. He has a great home ballpark in SF and is firmly entrenched in the Giants rotation. Pick this guy up while he’s still around.
Blaine Hardy (P - DET) - 8% owned
A repeat from last week, Hardy has continued to pitch well and deserves to be well over 10% owned. In his three starts since rejoining the rotation, Hardy is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA and .291 xwOBA. The strikeout numbers aren’t great at only 18% K% but he’s inducing plenty of weak contact.
Luis Guillorme (2B/3B - NYM) - 1% owned
Guillorme has come out of nowhere for the Mets and could be a sneaky add as his production hasn’t caught up to his early peripheral numbers. Guillorme has a .356 xwOBA in the past seven days, but only a .230 wOBA in the same time frame. He’s making excellent contact with a median exit velocity of 87.6 mph is third on the team in the past week. He has MI and CI eligibility on FanTrax and is a great speculative add in NL-only formats.
Joey Rickard (OF - BAL) - 4% owned
The Orioles are struggling to find a leadoff hitter, and Rickard is the one with the latest crack at it with his leadoff appearance on Saturday. Rickard owns an xwOBA of .318 in the last week, which when paired with a spot at the top of the Baltimore order is worthy of a flier. Trey Mancini is struggling with a .191 OBP in the last 14 days and Jace Peterson is Rickard’s only other competition for the leadoff spot. I’m placing my bets with Rickard and hope to catch a few weeks of good play in an advantageous lineup spot.
Kyle Crick (P - PIT) - 7% owned
If you’re in need of long relief or holds, Kyle Crick has been excellent in the Pittsburgh bullpen this year. In his last 10 appearances Crick owns a 0.79 ERA, a .190 batting average against, and a .302 xwOBA. He doesn’t rack up the strikeouts, but he is an excellent candidate for reducing ratios in your fantasy bullpen.
Emilio Pagan (P - OAK) - 6% owned
If you do need strikeouts, Pagan is another awesome relief option who has been dealing lately. Pagan hasn’t surrendered a run since being promoted in May and has 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings pitched in that same time frame. It might be a little too early to speculate on this, but with only a few veterans in front of him in the bullpen, Pagan could emerge from the trade deadline with a much more fantasy-friendly role. Still too early in my opinion with the Athletics only 6.5 games back, but something to start keeping in mind with teams that might fall out of contention in the coming weeks.
Omar Narvaez (C - CWS) - 3% owned
Catcher is the most difficult position to find replacements for in deep leagues, so I will prioritize catchers on this list when I see one playing well enough. That’s the case for Omar Narvaez who is hitting as high as sixth in the lineup for the struggling White Sox. He’s only competing with Alfredo Gonzalez for the next month and a half while Welington Castillo is serving his 80-game suspension so the opportunities will absolutely be there. This is a pure opportunity play with Narvaez, but with a .270 xwOBA in the past seven days it sniffs relevance in AL-only and 20+ team leagues.