Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 2

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Apr 11, 2019

Jorge Polanco offers a stable source of batting average while contributing in other categories.

As the season grows longer, your opportunity window to gain points in a 5×5 league gets smaller and smaller. Truthfully, it’s not worth looking at your standings page yet, but it is worth adding players to improve your team’s weak areas, or just approve across the board.

Each week, we will look at players owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues or fewer who can help you in each traditional roto category.

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Batting Average

Jorge Polanco (SS – MIN): 26%
No, Polanco isn’t going to hit .375 for you all season, but his bat is his calling card. He has hit at least .282 in two of his past three seasons. Even with high BABIPs both years, the batting profile is something to buy into with Polanco. Expect a similar average going forward, and as a bonus, he’ll contribute elsewhere, too.

Home Runs

Jorge Alfaro (C – MIA): 24%
There are a lot of players I thought about going with here, but let’s look at a catcher since the position is such a wasteland. If I have a catcher who is off to a hot start, and there happens to be a market for the position, I’m OK flipping them and picking up someone like Alfaro off the waiver wire. He’s not going to give you much else besides power — he’s taken one walk and is striking out 38.2 percent of the time — but he won’t totally drain your average either. (Expect it to hover around .250.) The ballpark change hasn’t made a huge difference for Alfaro and his 94.2-mph average exit velocity.

Runs

Luis Urias (2B – SD): 6%
The cup of coffee Urias received in 2018 didn’t go well, but in the prospect world, the lackluster results set up a post-hype buying opportunity. While the Padres started the season with Fernando Tatis Jr. breaking camp, they sent Urias down with no everyday position for him to occupy. With Ian Kinsler‘s slow start, the Padres called up Urias to start the week, and he led off for San Diego in his first game back. Granted, he went 0-for-5, but the opportunity is there for Urias to hit leadoff regularly for the Padres, which will result in a ton of runs.

RBIs

Jay Bruce (1B/OF – SEA): 41%
I wish I had more exposure to Bruce this year. In fact, I thought the whole industry would leading up to the season.

His line has been … weird so far, to say the least. Batting .204, seven of his 10 hits are home runs. Bruce looks to be a fixture in a surprising Mariners offense, which, all things considered, looks legit. His ability to move to the outfield, first base, or designated hitter should keep his bat hitting fourth or fifth in the lineup regularly. It’s looking more and more like plantar fasciitis is what caused his downfall last year.

Stolen Bases

Manuel Margot (OF – SD): 19%
Most of the true steals guys are already owned in the majority of leagues, so let’s look at someone who can get you 15 steals and is widely available. Despite San Diego’s crowded outfield, Margot has played in every game so far as the only true center fielder. That’s really big for his potential fantasy value.

There was breakout buzz surrounding Margot heading into the 2018 season, but he failed to come through for fantasy owners. While he’s still not a guy worth owning in three-outfielder leagues, he’s a cheap contributor across the board in five-outfielder formats.

Wins

Domingo German (SP/RP – NYY): 47%
Wins are hard to predict, but you put yourself in a better position to rack them up by owning pitchers on good teams. The problem is, everyone else has the same idea, so you’ll be owning some back-of-the-rotation arms in hopes of them picking up some cheap wins.

That’s what German can do, and he actually has really good stuff for a No. 5 pitcher. With the setback for Luis Severino, German is locked in the Yankees rotation for the foreseeable future.

ERA

Trevor Richards (SP – MIA): 30%
The Marlins’ pitchers are still under-owned, and I apologize in advance, but they’ll probably appear here weekly until we can get them each above 50 percent. Richards is my favorite of the bunch still, and with his good arsenal, elite strikeout pitch, and home ballpark, he’s a safe ERA bet. The opponents in his division are brutal, but a 3.60 ERA is achievable.

WHIP

Trevor Williams (SP – PIT): 45%
2018 seemed to be smoke and mirrors with Williams, who I’ve compared to the modern-day version of Jeff Locke. But here we are in 2019, with Williams repeating his late-season success. I’m still hesitant to buy in on him, but he’s producing one way or the other.

Strikeouts

Caleb Smith (SP – MIA): 12%
Smith may not go deep into games, and he may have a fly-ball problem, but you can bank on getting tons and tons of strikeouts. Again, he’s the poor man’s Robbie Ray.

Saves

Jeremy Jeffress (RP – MIL): 34%
As expected, the closer’s landscape is a complete mess right now, with more teams using a committee approach and not having one true ninth-inning option. In Milwaukee, with Corey Knebel out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Josh Hader has been filthy as the primary closer. That could end soon, as the Brewers have shown before that they prefer to use Hader in a high-leverage situation instead of closing out games.

Enter Jeffress, who is wrapping up a rehab assignment and should join the team soon. Jeffress should get the majority of save chances with Hader spelling him every now and then. Think of an 80/20 split. That’s enough to make him a top-15 option at the position.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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