Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 4

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Apr 25, 2019

Grab Ty Buttrey in light of the Angels removing Cody Allen from the closer’s role.

If you want to look important or popular throughout the day, I suggest you subscribe to notifications from @MLBRosterMoves on Twitter. Given the number of injuries we are seeing across the league, your phone will blow up all day.

With your team likely without at least one key contributor — or dealing with an underperforming player — working the waiver wire is a good way to find solid replacement value. Check your league for players who were prematurely dropped, and give them the top priority.

But if your league is active and patient, you may have to dig a little bit deeper.

Here are some guys owned in 50 percent of leagues or fewer who can help you in traditional roto categories.

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Batting Average: Nick Senzel (2B/3B/OF – CIN) – 41%
Senzel has been freed! Well, at least for Triple-A games, as he’s recovered from his ankle sprain that he suffered after the Reds laughably sent him to minor league camp to manipulate service time. With April 13 passed and Scott Schebler not producing in the outfield, not to mention the injuries to Matt Kemp and Scooter Gennett, Senzel’s path to playing time is clear. He’s just a phone call away.

His ownership should be up around 70 percent right now. Senzel has the best prospect profile besides Vladimir Guerrero Jr. His hit tool is his calling card, and he will contribute power and steals, too. Think of a pre-breakout Alex Bregman and expect an immediate impact across all categories.

Home Runs: Rowdy Tellez (1B – TOR) – 3%
One of my favorite deep-league guys heading into drafts this year was Tellez. He was my pick to find playing time and break out like Jesus Aguilar in 2018.

I mean, Aguilar isn’t even this year’s Aguilar, so someone has to be. Tellez is a big beefy baseball player who has out-of-this-world power. It may not be 505-foot power, but it’s still impressive.

His Statcast data is impressive with a high average exit velocity, barrel percentage, and average home run distance. Tellez is a perfect player to own in a daily lineups league where you can slot him in against right-handed pitching as a corner infield option.

RBIs: Jorge Soler (OF – KC) – 19%
Soler may never be what we expected him to be, but he’s proven a usable fantasy option when healthy over the past two seasons. Although he isn’t going to help you with average, he’s hitting for power in the cleanup spot. The Royals are far from an offensive stalwart, but Soler has already tallied 15 RBIs in 25 games. He’s a good own in five-outfielder leagues.

Runs: Leury Garcia (OF – CHW) – 8%
This is one for those in deeper leagues. If you’re in a 12-team league, don’t even read this section. But if you’re in leagues larger than 12 teams, Garcia could be a nice guy to grab to see if he can sustain his pace.

He has 17 runs so far to go along with four stolen bases. If he can stay in the leadoff spot, the runs will keep coming. Mind you, he has a .316 OBP, which could lead to the White Sox exploring other options at the top of their order.

Stolen Bases: Delino DeShields (OF – TEX) – 7%
Speaking of leading off, DeShields has been going back and forth between hitting first and ninth for the Rangers. He has a slightly higher OBP when hitting ninth, but his average is significantly higher when hitting leadoff, if that means anything to you.

It’s hard to find a low-owned speed resource who can pop 30-35 steals, but that’s what you have in DeShields. He has elite sprint speed, as he clocks in at 29.2 feet per second, which ties multiple players for the 12th-best mark in baseball.

Wins: Jerad Eickhoff (SP – PHI) – 7%
Eickhoff may not be up for good, but it’s important to play this game week to week instead of just looking at long-term success.

While Nick Pivetta figures things out in Triple-A, Eickhoff gets his shot in the Phillies rotation. Despite being in the middle of the road as far as runs scored are concerned, the Phillies are a top-10 offense with top-five potential. Wins are hard to predict, as you can see by the wins leaders heading into Wednesday.

I want a guy who is on a good team to increase the probability of racking up wins. I’m taking a chance on Eickhoff.

ERA: Luke Weaver (SP – ARI) – 48%
The fantasy community really has a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mindset. Weaver was a top-50 starter heading into 2018 drafts, and after a bad season, he was barely drafted this year. It looks like he has found his magic again, as he’s put together a string of excellent starts for Arizona. Weaver has upped his K% while lowering his walk rate and barrels against. He’s also having better success with his cutter and curve than he had a season ago.

Weaver should be owned in at least 75 percent of leagues. He’ll help you in ERA and WHIP.

WHIP: Jeff Samardzija (SP – SF) – 19%
Shark’s performance has flown under the radar this year, but he’s looking like a reliable pitcher once again after a nightmarish 2018. He’s not going to get you a ton of wins with the Giants, and he’s averaging less than a strikeout per inning (8.0 K/9), but you could do worse if you’re looking for ratio help.

Strikeouts: Brandon Woodruff (SP/RP – MIL) – 26%
The results haven’t been pretty for Woodruff so far. His ERA is 5.81. He has thrown six innings in just one of his five starts. The Brewers just signed Gio Gonzalez. Why are we still talking about him?

Well, his FIP and xFIP (3.91 and 3.81, respectively) are a lot lower than his ERA. Also, he’s still striking out a lot of batters.

I feel more secure in Woodruff keeping his rotation spot than I do Freddy Peralta or Corbin Burnes for this year. Regression to the mean will happen soon for Woodruff. Don’t miss out on it, and at least enjoy those strikeouts until it happens.

Saves: Ty Buttrey (RP – LAA) – 12%
Owners who can afford to speculate on a closer should grab Buttrey now. Cody Allen struggled big time in the role, so it was only a matter of time before the Angels looked at another option. They have officially removed him from the ninth inning, but have yet to name a replacement. Buttrey, who was the frontrunner for saves before the Allen offseason acquisition, is now the pitcher to own in the Angels’ bullpen.

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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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1Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
2Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
3Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
4Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
5Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
6DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
7Davante Adams (GB)WR
8David Johnson (ARI)RB
9Le'Veon Bell (NYJ)RB
10James Conner (PIT)RB
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11Julio Jones (ATL)WR
12Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
13Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
14Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE)WR
15Travis Kelce (KC)TE
16Michael Thomas (NO)WR
17Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
18JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)WR
19Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
20Antonio Brown (OAK)WR
21George Kittle (SF)TE
22Mike Evans (TB)WR
23T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
24A.J. Green (CIN)WR
25Marlon Mack (IND)RB
26Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
27Amari Cooper (DAL)WR
28Derrick Henry (TEN)RB
29Sony Michel (NE)RB
30Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
3Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
4Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
5J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
6Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
7Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
8Trevor Story (COL)SS
9Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
10Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
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11Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
12Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
13Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
14Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
15Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
16Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
17Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
18Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
19Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
20Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
21Chris Sale (BOS)SP
22Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
23Trevor Bauer (CLE)SP
24Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
25Trea Turner (WSH)SS
26Blake Snell (TB)SP
27Rhys Hoskins (PHI)1B,LF
28Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
29Adalberto Mondesi (KC)2B,SS
30Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
1Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
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11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (HOU)PG
16Jimmy Butler (PHI)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
26Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
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