Who’s Hot and Who’s Not, and How to React in Fantasy Baseball
The 10-day DL is causing havoc with Fantasy rosters. By my count, in my home league, there are 45 players currently on this list. This is not a shallow league, but not a deep one either. I’m a supporter of unlimited DL slots for various reasons, but it certainly stretches the available talent on the waiver wire. It’s for this reason, however, that you should be watching your waiver wire constantly. Players not only seem to go on the DL daily, but also come off of it daily. This means that possible talent could be yours for the taking.
- Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox: The release of Hanley Ramirez has opened up a full-time role at first base for Moreland. He hit 22 HR with 79 RBI in 576 at-bats last season for Boston and although he is unlikely to reach that many ABs again, the power is legit. Moreland should once again surpass 20 HRs and can help you in that category, but his current .315 AVG will almost certainly come down, so make sure your Fantasy team can take that hit.
- Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins: Kepler doesn’t look like he will ever reach the high expectations that were once put on him, but he can still be a useful outfielder on your Fantasy team. It’s the position that makes him valuable. We start five OFs in Fantasy and with all of the injuries going around MLB, every starting outfielder has value. Kepler isn’t going to help your AVG but is on pace to set a career high in HRs.
- Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets: How many Fantasy owners realize that Cabrera has 10 HRs, 34 RBI, and a .315 AVG? I didn’t, at least not until he hit two HRs on Tuesday. Cabrera is eligible at 2B, SS, and 3B in some leagues. This positional flexibility alone makes him valuable, but add in the unexpected power numbers and you get a player who is a must-start right now. Is he going to hit 30 HRs? No, but 25 isn’t out of the question and if the Mets were to fall out of contention, there is even a chance he is moved to a team with a more hitter-friendly home ballpark.
- Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals: Does anyone want to take a guess as to which National SP has the lowest ERA? It’s not Max Scherzer (2.13). It’s not Stephen Strasburg (3.13). It’s Gonzalez with a 2.10 number. Think about that for minute. Gonzalez has always had the “stuff” to be an elite SP but has always seemed to have trouble with control. Fantasy owners were wondering if last season’s 2.96 ERA was an aberration, well, apparently not. What is amazing is that his average fastball is a tick above 89 MPH. That’s down four MPH from is career high. He has become more of a pitcher than a thrower.
- Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers: If you’re looking for a SP that very well might be available in your league, then Stripling is your man. He’s only starting because of injuries to Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but it still looks like he’s guaranteed a spot in the rotation for much of June and if he keeps pitching to the tune of a 1.74 ERA, then he won’t be removed from the rotation unless he is the next SP to suffer an injury.
- Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees: It’s fair to wonder if the defensive deficiencies of Sanchez behind the plate are starting to affect his hitting. While the power is still there, with 12 HRs, he is only batting .208. No one is saying that Austin Romine is going to replace him, but Romine is a much better defensive catcher and is currently hitting .353. Combine the poor defense, terrible AVG, and Romine’s offense and you can see where manager Aaron Boone may not see a need to push Sanchez into being the team’s DH on days when Romine catches. You can also see where Romine could pick up an extra start or two, or gasp, replace Sanchez for defensive purposes late in games.
- Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees: If you watch Stanton’s at-bats, he seems lost versus right-handed throwers right now. Stanton has an extremely closed stance. which makes you wonder if he’s picking up pitches on the outer half of the plate. His feet also seem to be moving quite a bit as the pitch approaches. The bottom line is he just doesn’t look comfortable at the plate right now, especially in Yankee Stadium. where he is batting .202. Like Sanchez however, there is little you can do but grin and bear it.
- Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays: It seems eons ago that Sanchez almost pitched a no-hitter versus Baltimore. In the month of May Sanchez has an ERA of almost six (5.96). Fantasy owners had some hope as in April his ERA was 3.66, but those have been dashed. It’s not the finger problems from last year that are bothering him, he’s just not pitching well.
- Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers: A recent hot streak for Odor has seen his AVG climb above .200, but he still only has a single HR and 14 RBI. There was even some noise that he could be sent back down to Triple-A if he didn’t start to hit. Odor only batted .204 last season, but he saved his Fantasy season but hitting 30 HRs, driving in 75 runs, and swiping 15 bags. He’s not doing any of that this year.
- Hanley Ramirez: Yeah, Ramirez was released and hasn’t been claimed by anyone so obviously he’s a cold player, but it won’t be long before he signs with someone. Let’s not kid one another, the Red Sox released him because of the player option for next season. Sure, he was slumping in May, but it was the $22 million they didn’t want to pay him that caused Boston to move on. He can still hit, but it’s unlikely he will go to a team with a home ballpark anywhere near as friendly as Fenway Park.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Max Kepler Featured Image: (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)