Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 4
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.
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.
I like the call. Mine is Rowdy Tellez for this years Aguilar
– Michael Waterloo (@MichaelWaterloo) February 16, 2019
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.
– Michael Waterloo (@MichaelWaterloo) April 24, 2019
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.