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Fantasy Baseball Category Targets: Week 7

May 10, 2018

It’s Week 7 for Category Targets and as always, I’ll be using ownership percentages from ESPN leagues to give you mostly available options who can help in each of the 10 standard fantasy baseball categories. If you’re desperate for steals or saves, there’s no need to waste time, go ahead and scroll down to see my recommendations in your category of need this week.

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Batting Average

Alen Hanson (SF): 14.6%
This has probably been the toughest week so far this season for me to find someone in this category. The waiver wire is thin this week. I couldn’t bring myself to recommend Alex Gordon, who is hitting .313, or Jorge Soler, who is hitting .321 with a BABIP over .400, here. Instead, I went with Hanson, who is off to a good start and will see regular playing time as long as Joe Panik is on the disabled list. Hanson had hits in seven of eight games while going 9-for-25 at the plate before going 0-for-6 over his last two games. He can help at multiple positions as Hanson has eligibility at second base and outfield.

Home Runs

Jorge Soler (KC): 44.8%
Soler has five home runs on the season, but three have come in his last eight games. While his .321 batting average is unlikely to last, he’s sporting a .224 ISO and it looks like the power bat is heating up. Soler also has a better approach at the plate this year as he has 21 walks in 32 games. The average probably isn’t real due to his high BABIP, but the breakout could be sustained because of his approach and power.

RBI

Mitch Moreland (BOS): 14.4%
Moreland doesn’t play every day, but Boston’s best lineup is with him in it and he always seems to find a way to knock in runs. He has eight RBI in his last five games and 19 RBI in 25 games this season. Last year for Boston he knocked in 79 runs in 149 games and three years ago he knocked in 85 in 132 games for Texas. With Jackie Bradley not producing offensively, Moreland could end up seeing more playing time as the season goes along. It might be the time to add him before it’s too late.

Runs

Ian Happ (CHC): 47.8%
Happ is striking out a ton, which is why he’s hitting .231 and only has 11 runs scored. The Cubs offense has only just begun to wake up as notable contributors such as Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo among others have struggled. Happ has certainly struggled as well, but he still has power and takes his walks. If he could just start to perk up a little bit at the plate and cut his strikeouts to an acceptable level, then he could score a lot of runs in what should be a productive Cubs lineup the rest of the season.

Stolen Bases

Delino DeShields Jr. (TEX): 48.5%
Deshields has seven steals in 19 games and has only been caught stealing once this season. He’s also hitting .297 with nine walks and a .381 OBP at the top of the Rangers lineup. He’s also scored 16 runs. In a recent game against Detroit, DeShields walked four times, scored twice and stole a base. He doesn’t have much power and he’s not going to drive in runs, but he’s good in the other three categories. He seems like a guy who should be owned in all leagues, but especially if you need steals go pick him up.

Wins

Domingo German (NYY): 18.6%
German allowed no hits in six innings in his first career start against the Indians last Sunday. He also struck out nine batters in the game and has 27 strikeouts and a 2.66 ERA in 20.1 innings on the season. German is filling in for the injured Jordan Montgomery, who could be out for up to two months. The Yankees are 17-1 in their last 18 games so it’s safe to say that German could start to rack up some wins if he continues to pitch well while Montgomery is out. His next start comes at home against the Oakland Athletics.

Strikeouts

Caleb Smith (MIA): 32.1%
I mentioned Smith briefly last week and his ownership percentage has risen from single digits, but he’s still someone who needs to be added. All he’s done since last week is beat the Reds while striking out seven and walking one in 5.2 innings. Smith has 26 strikeouts in his last three starts and 48 strikeouts on the season. He’s shown that he can miss bats in the majors and his control is improving as his WHIP is 1.17 this season.

ERA

Fernando Romero (MIN): 30.5%
Romero beat the Blue Jays in his first start and was even more impressive in his second start as he struck out nine in six shutout innings against the Cardinals. That’s 11.2 scoreless innings to start his career, making him an easy choice for this category. Romero will give up runs at some point, but like German, he’s a good young pitcher with strikeout upside on a good team. That’s a lot to like.

WHIP

Francisco Liriano (DET): 30.1%
Liriano’s numbers still look pretty good through seven starts as he has a 3.35 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He hasn’t had a blow-up start as he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any appearance. His control faltered in his last start in Texas as he walked four batters for the second time this season and only lasted four innings. Liriano has walked 20 batters in 40.1 innings and has walked multiple batters in every start, but he’s been tough to hit as he’s allowed more than four hits just twice in seven starts. His next start comes at home against Cleveland.

Saves

Tyler Clippard (TOR): 6.9%
Clippard got the first save in Roberto Osuna‘s stead. Osuna figures to miss a lot of time as he’ll have to wait for the pending investigation before likely serving a suspension. Other candidates for the closer role, John Axford, Seung-Hwan Oh and Ryan Tepera, were used earlier in the game, but this could still be a situation where Toronto uses a committee. However, if they let Clippard run with the job then he figures to have value and he’s worth adding as he has good numbers and got the first save chance.

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Nick Shlain is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nick, check out his archive and follow him @electricsnuff.

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