Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Fantasy Baseball and How to React
Lately I’ve been getting more and more questions regarding “points” leagues rather than rotisserie formats. My home league is points based and I enjoy it. Rotisserie leagues are still by far the most popular in Fantasy Baseball. They force you to build an actual team. One based on speed, power, and pitching. In a points-based league you can win just by dominating in one category and racking up an obscene amount of points. Personally, I have no preference. As long as I know the rules, I’m good to go. Points leagues are a little easier to manage, you just need the best players regardless of position. In Rotisseries leagues you need a more well-rounded team. In points-based leagues I tend to load up on power and starting pitching. In rotisserie leagues you need to find that speed which in today’s game can be very difficult to find as more and more teams don’t want to take a chance on giving up an out just for a base. When I make my weekly recommendations in this space, though, I am keeping both formats in mind
- David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks: Peralta is taking advantage of the playing time being afforded to him lately due to several injuries in the Arizona outfield. He has three HRs in his last five games and could be a cheap source of power for the immediate future. Peralta is not a long-term play but is someone you can start while he’s starting every day and playing well.
- Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels: When you think about the Angels pitching staff, the first thought that goes through your mind is probably Shohei Ohtani, possibly Garrett Richards, or maybe even who will close for the team that night. You’re not thinking about Heaney and his 3.12 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Heaney doesn’t possess a mid-90s fastball that will light up a radar gun, but he’s still striking out almost a batter per inning. He’s a pitcher, not a thrower, and someone who can help your Fantasy team.
- Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers: The best hitter on Detroit is no longer Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez, it’s Castellanos. He didn’t get the love at draft time that he deserved, as his ADP had him taken after the 10th round in most leagues, but his .336 AVG tells us he should’ve gone much higher than that. Sure, he only has six HRs, but the power will come now that the weather has finally turned, and he should finish somewhere in the vicinity of the 26 bombs he hit last season.
- Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves: What a difference a year has made for Swanson. Last season he looked overmatched at the MLB level and there was talk that the Braves promoted him too soon. This year, he looks like the top prospect he was supposed to be. Swanson has three HRs in his last five games and has helped Atlanta make up for some of the offense lost when Ronald Acuna went on the disabled list. Swanson has still only been in the majors for a little more than a year, the best is yet to come.
- Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays have nothing but bad luck when it comes to starting pitchers this season. They lost Brett Honeywell and Jose De Leon for the year before the season even began. Jacob Faria is expected to be out until August and Chris Archer was placed on the DL on Monday. So far, Snell has been immune to the injury bug and is having an All-Star type of season, what could be the first of many.
- Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins: Buxton is once again on the DL with a toe injury, but Fantasy owners should be happy about this. It’s really addition by subtraction. Now Fantasy owners won’t feel forced to put Buxton into their lineup. His biggest value was in his ability to steal bases, but a player can’t steal first, and when his OBP is .183, he is not helping anyone. This looks like a lost season for Buxton.
- Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox: Devers has nine HRs this season, so the power is what we thought it would b,e but that power seems to come with a price, a .223 AVG. I’m preaching patience with Devers, but I can see why Fantasy owners are ready to move on. Third base is deep and in some leagues, there may be a 3B on your waiver wire that you can use to replace Devers, especially if you need to protect AVG.
- Jay Bruce, New York Mets: The entire offense for the Mets could be placed on this list. Bruce only has three HRs this season and is batting .229. Reports state that Bruce is dealing with both a back injury and plantar fasciitis and neither one may be going away soon. Bruce signed a three-year $39 million contract with the Mets in the offseason, a contract that seemed like a bargain at the time, but one that might allow the Mets to trade him by the deadline should they continue to fall out of the race. This doesn’t help Fantasy owners, though, as a change of scenery isn’t likely to help heal his back or foot.
- Michael Taylor, Washington Nationals: Adam Eaton is hoping to return from the DL when he is first eligible on June 8. This means that one of Eaton, Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, or Taylor can’t play every day. Well, we know Harper is going to play. Soto is one of their top prospects and playing well so his job is likely safe. While Taylor could platoon with Eaton for a short time until Eaton is completely healthy, it should just be a matter of time before Taylor and his .206 AVG hit the bench.
- Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves: Inciarte has struggled of late and it may have to do with an injury. Since coming out of a game on May 20 after crashing into a wall, Inciarte is 11-63 (.175 avg) with no HRs and more importantly, no SBs. He just doesn’t seem to be running anymore as he has only been caught stealing twice during this time frame. You have to wonder if he suffered a leg injury that allows him to play but not to steal a base. I’d keep him out of your lineup until he starts to prove that he is once again 100-percent healthy.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Andrew Heaney Featured Image: (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)