Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 8
We are just past the quarter point of the season, and we are getting to a point where we think we know what we can expect out of players going forward based on the data that we have at this point.
After last week’s fun-filled prospectpalooza edition of the category analysis report, we get back into identifying players that can help you the rest of the way in your category-based leagues.
These players are a little more under the radar than last week’s players by default, but at the end of the day, it isn’t about the name attached the stats, just the stats that they give you.
We are a quarter of the way through, but there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played.
Here are some players who can help you in the traditional roto categories and are owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues or fewer.
Runs – Jarrod Dyson (OF – ARI) 26%
In case you missed it, Dyson it playing regularly for the Diamondbacks, and he’s doing a damn good job at the top of the lineup. He’s already matched his career high in home runs in a season, albeit just three, but he’s stealing bases, which is where his big value comes from. But getting on base at a .371 clip doesn’t hurt his case to rack up the runs from the leadoff spot, either. The Diamondbacks are third in the National League in runs scored.
Home Runs – C.J. Cron (1B – MIN) 50%
Cron could wind up having the quietest 30-homer season of anyone this year. The Twins just mash and score runs left and right, and Cron has been one of the key additions that Minnesota brought in during the offseason. His 12 home runs trail teammate Eddie Rosario for the most on the team, and his .263 ISO is 23rd in baseball. He won’t help you in batting average, but if you are in need of power, that’s Cron’s calling card.
RBIs – Marwin Gonzalez (1B/2B/SS/3B/OF – MIN) 40%
Keeping things in Minnesota, Gonzalez had a lot of hope when he signed with the Twins that he would be able to replicate his 2017 season in Houston instead of his 2018 season. Gonzalez had a dreadful April, but as of late, he’s started to find his groove. In the month of May, Gonzalez is hitting .358/.427/.552 with 15 runs, nine RBIs, and three homers. He’s getting regular playing time, and his biggest contribution, besides racking up counting numbers in a loaded lineup, is that he is eligible everywhere except for catcher. He’s a perfect bench bat in a weekly league to plug in for injuries or great matchups, and he’s a must-own in daily lineup leagues with his position eligibility.
Stolen Bases – Mallex Smith (OF – SEA) 38%
Smith has been one of the bigger busts of the 2019 season so far, but he seems to have figured things out after he was demoted to Triple-A. You want Smith for his speed, and he stole seven bases in 10 games. Smith is now back with the big-league team, and he should work his way up to the top of the lineup in due time.
Average – Christian Vazquez (C – BOS) 35%
With the state of catcher being a wasteland, you’re looking for any glimmer of hope that you can find. So far, Vazquez is off to quite the start for the Red Sox. He’s played himself into not only an everyday role for the Sox, but also as a must-start catcher in even one-catcher leagues. It hasn’t just been an empty average, either. He’s provided some pop and counting stats in a great lineup. He’s my 10th ranked catcher going forward.
Strikeouts – Dylan Cease (SP – CWS) 5%
The White Sox aren’t contending. They know that. We know that. So when Carlos Rodon went down and it was known that he would require Tommy John surgery, the Cease chatter started up. For Cease, it’s just a matter of when the White Sox want to give him a taste. It’s what’s right for their organization, not a move that will be given to Cease because of an injury. That time should and could be coming soon for Cease and the White Sox. His K/9 is down from a season ago, but he’s still striking out more than a batter per inning at 10.85. He’s one of the top pitching prospects that you can stash right now.
Wins – Jesus Luzardo (SP – OAK) 17%
One pitcher who you can argue should be coveted more than Cease is Luzardo. He was a lock for the rotation before suffering a Spring Training injury. The good news is that Luzardo will be facing live hitters this weekend, and if all goes well, he should begin a rehab assignment soon. He has ace potential, and he should make a big splash for your fantasy team across the board in the second half of the fantasy season.
ERA – Anthony Kay (SP – NYM) 0%
Kay doesn’t have the hype around him that Luzardo, Cease, or Forrest Whitley do, but he has a chance to make a difference for your fantasy team if the Mets give him the call. In Double-A this year, Kay has a 1.07 ERA in 50.2 innings pitcher. His strand-rate is 89.6%, so expect some regression. He’s worth a stash in deeper leagues as a backend pitcher for your fantasy rotation. He strikes out more than a batter per inning, and he’s advanced for Double-A. At 24, the Mets are wasting his prime if they keep in him Binghampton all year.
WHIP – Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 8%
I continue to put Lopez on this list pretty frequently, and I’m still shocked he’s owned in so few leagues. Typically, he’s in the strikeout section, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Lopez was tied for 21st in baseball with his 1.17 WHIP. So not only do you get the good strikeouts and what we think will be a good ERA if you look at his FIP and xFIP, but you get a good WHIP, too. Pick him up, so I can stop writing about him.
Saves – Hunter Strickland (RP – SEA) 17%
Strickland has started throwing again, and he’s hoping to return in mid-June. Remember, he was the first big pickup when the season started after the Japan series. He’s the guy to own for saves in Seattle.