“Stats you need” is a weekly article that goes through each category in a 6x6 league and picks out one player that can help you in that category for the upcoming week. Each player is 30% owned or less in Yahoo leagues.
Hitting Categories: AVG, OBP, HR/Slug, RBI, Runs, SB
Pitching Categories: Wins, QS, ERA, WHIP, Strikeouts, Saves
Batting Average: Outfielder Alex Verdugo, Los Angeles Dodgers (26% owned)
It might just be the hitting landscape as a whole, but its been weird to me that the season Alex Verdugo is having has been largely unnoticed. He hasn’t been amazing, but he’s on about a 15 HR/10 SB pace with an .831 OPS. He very rarely strikes out (9.9%) and the BABIP is extremely reasonable at .306. Verdugo has the upside of being a multi-category contributor long-term and has the ability to help with batting average in the short-term.
OBP: Outfielder Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds (25% owned)
Jesse Winker came into the season with a lot of industry hype. He was considered fully healthy coming off his shoulder injury that ended his short (but exciting) 2018 season. To say he’s been disappointing in 2019 would probably be a bit harsh, but he hasn’t been the full on breakout some hoped he would be. However, this week should be a big one for him. He gets six righties on his schedule and he has mashed against righties on the season with an .861 OPS and all 12 of his home runs in that split. Winker also gets six home games this week. While home/road splits are oftentimes more noisy than anything else, Winker’s production has been significantly better at home (.940 OPS, 8 HRs) than on the road (.663 OPS, 4 HRs). This has a chance to be a huge week for Winker.
HR/Slugging Percentage: First Baseman Rowdy Tellez, Toronto Blue Jays (3% owned)
The Toronto Blue Jays have a seven-game week and in four of those games Rowdy Tellez will face off against Andrew Cashner, Gabriel Ynoa, Jimmy Yacabonis, and Glenn Sparkman—which on its own should have Tellez help you in the home run department. Tellez has also been a bit unlucky in 2019. Both his XWOBA and and XSLG are higher than his results oriented wOBA and slugging percentage. He also ranks in the 76th percentile of hitters when it comes to exit velocity. Tellez isn’t going to help you in average, but as a power source with good matchups and some regression to his expected stats, Tellez could have a nice stretch coming soon.
RBIs: Outfielder Willie Calhoun, Texas Rangers (12% owned)
Go add Willie Calhoun if you’re reading this. Yes, you. Honestly he could’ve filled the spot for any of the above categories, but I’m going with him for RBIs because he gets a seven-game week and he’s just a super-talented hitter. He has above average power and has a chance to be a guy who walks almost as much as he strikes out. At his peak he will help you in every category except stolen bases, but for now he’s going to be in the back half of a very good lineup. That lineup has solid matchups this week against the Angels and Twins, but honestly he’ll probably be in this article every week until he’s 30% owned. Go add him!
Runs: Shortstop Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates (16% owned)
Kevin Newman entered the season behind Erik Gonzalez in the Pirates’ pecking order at shortstop. The former top-100 prospect has broken out and has become the leadoff hitter for the team’s last 24 games and has produced a .311/.351/.425 slash line with 12 runs and a 7:11 BB:K ratio. The Pirates have a seven-game week, and with Newman getting consistent reps from the top of the order he should have a good opportunity to supply some run production.
Stolen Bases: Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays (20% owned)
When Kevin Kiermaier is healthy he can be a very helpful baseball player from both a real life and fantasy perspective. For the first time since 2016 he has stayed mostly healthy this season and is currently on pace for a 20/20 season and his 97th percentile ranking in sprint speed shows off his steals upside. A seven-game week with three games against Baltimore and four against the Yankees should give him plenty of opportunities to swipe some bags.
Wins: Chase Anderson (13% owned), Milwaukee Brewers (@ Cin, @ Pit)
Since Chase Anderson re-entered the Brewers rotation April 20th, he has been a very streamable starting pitcher. In 10 starts he has thrown 47.0 innings with a 48:18 K:BB ratio and a 4.40 ERA. There’s not a lot of upside and he won’t go very deep into games, but pitching behind a very good lineup in two games where the Brewers will be favored gives Anderson a chance at racking up a couple of cheap wins.
Quality Starts: Eric Lauer (19% owned), San Diego Padres (vs. SF)
Normally I would go with a two-start option here, but none of the under 30% options really stuck out as having a chance at two quality starts due to lack of upside or bad matchups. Lauer has quietly been very solid in his recent stretch of starts. In his last seven starts he has four quality starts and a 2.88 ERA. He faces a Giants team he has done very well against in his brief career, with three quality starts and a 3.86 ERA in five starts against them. He’s a very good one-start streamer against a bad offense this week.
Strikeouts: Trent Thornton (5% owned), Toronto Blue Jays (vs. BOS, vs. BAL)
I really wish that he could have Clayton Richard’s matchups of the Royals and Orioles, but alas. His command hasn’t been good this season, as shown by a 1.45 WHIP, but Thornton has shown off some solid strikeout upside throughout the season with his 9.5 K/9. The Orioles rank 10th in strikeout rate as a team on the season and Thornton should give you about 12-15 strikeouts this week. As I have said, the two-start options at under 30% are very low this week so Thornton’s marginal upside will have to play when it comes to strikeouts.
ERA: Reynaldo Lopez (7% owned), Chicago White Sox (vs. DET)
Reynaldo Lopez’s season long numbers of a 6.12 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP may understandably scare you away, but when looking a bit deeper at Lopez he hasn’t been as bad as he seems. In nine starts this season against the bottom 10 teams in baseball in wOBA—which is what I use to represent whether or not a team should be streamed against—his numbers are significantly better.
9 GS, 6 Quality Starts, 53 1⁄3 IP, 4-2 record, 3.04 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
He gets a one-start week against Detroit and those numbers show a very streamable SP if you play him against the bottom teams in baseball.
WHIP: Adam Plutko (10% owned), Cleveland Indians (vs. KC)
Across 47 1⁄3 innings pitched in Triple-A and the majors this season, Adam Plutko has a 41:7 K:BB ratio. Plutko has been fine since joining the Indians rotation with a 4.26 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 25 strikeouts across 31 2⁄3 innings. While the dubious 6.18 FIP points to some big time regression coming, Plutko should be able to keep his luck going against a Royals lineup that ranks in the bottom ten in baseball in wOBA, BB%, and WRC+.
Saves: Scott Oberg (24% owned), Colorado Rockies
This one is pretty simple. Wade Davis since coming back from the injured list in 9 1⁄3 innings has a 11.57 ERA, 2.36 WHIP, 6:6 BB:K ratio, and has blown three saves. Scott Oberg picked up a few saves in Davis’s last absence and he’s been very good this year with a 2.04 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 9.8 K/9. While Bud Black has typically been very loyal to his closers, this is a case where Oberg has to be close to getting a look at the closer’s job for Colorado.