Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 12
When I write this each week, I write about 10 different players. They vary from guys who need to be owned in 10-team leagues, to guys who are really only viable options in deep leagues. I try to mix it up to give options for players in all types of leagues. But this week, I really wish I was just writing about one player: Oscar Mercado. You’ll see Mercado listed below as an option for stolen bases, and he’ll provide those for you. But honestly, he’s been a five-category player as of late.
It’s fun looking back at the big prospect surge a month ago, when guys like Nicky Lopez, Keston Hiura, Nate Lowe, Michael Chavis, and others were going for tons of FAAB. Quietly – and on the cheap – Mercado was available, and has had quite a bit of staying power compared to the others.
Mercado is hitting at the top of the lineup, and he’s playing every day finally. In 15 June games, Mercado is slashing .311/.344/.541 with three homers, 13 runs, nine RBIs and four steals. That all is good for a 126 wRC+ on the season. If qualified, the wRC+ would be the same as Matt Chapman and Whit Merrifield, and would make Mercado more valuable than Francisco Lindor, David Dahl, Justin Turner, Gleyber Torres, Rafael Devers, Mookie Betts, Trevor Story, among many others. A wRC+ of 100 grades out as a player who is average. A 126 is really, really good. Mercado should be owned in all leagues going forward.
Here are some other guys, in addition to Mercado, who can help you in the traditional roto categories who are owned in 50 percent of leagues or fewer on Yahoo.
Carson Kelly (C – ARI): 4%
I still expect Paul Goldschmidt to turn it around and just have a slow, graceful decline. But right now, the trade that was scrutinized by many is looking pretty good for Arizona. With Alex Avila on the IL, more playing time has opened up for Kelly, who is running with the job and producing. Assuming playing time, he looks like a top 10 catcher moving forward.
Willie Calhoun (OF – TEX): 13%
Calhoun put together a nice, small stretch earlier this season before getting hurt, and he picked up where he left off Tuesday with a home run in his return. Joey Gallo is supposed to be back next Tuesday, but the Rangers have made getting Calhoun’s bat in their lineup a priority earlier this year when they were healthy. With Hunter Pence down, there should be no reason he doesn’t play nearly every day.
Cavan Biggio (2B/OF – TOR): 26%
All it takes is one hot streak to change the perception. Biggio didn’t deliver right away when he got called up, and all he was offering was help in on-base percentage with his high walk total. But two multi-homer games later, Biggio is opening up more eyes. He’s playing daily, and hitting atop the Jays’ lineup, he should continue to rack up runs.
Jake Lamb (3B – ARI): 15%
Lamb is on his way back, and he’s playing first base in his rehab stint. The most likely scenario is that Kevin Cron gets sent back to Triple-A, Lamb starts against righties, and Christian Walker is now on the weak side of a platoon. Lamb can’t hit lefties to save his life, but he’s thrived against righties throughout his career. He’s worth owning as a corner infielder.
Oscar Mercado (OF – CLE): 36%
Read the intro paragraph where I just gush over Mercado.
Brendan McKay (SP/1B – TB): NA/4%
McKay is an interesting case study about what is wrong with Yahoo fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, I use the platform, and it’s great for the day-to-day management of your team. But they didn’t learn their lesson with Shohei Ohtani, who they have built out as two separate players – a hitter and a pitcher. Now McKay, who is also a two-way player, is given the same treatment by Yahoo. As of now, he’s only a 1B in the system, despite dominating the minors as a pitcher, while struggling as a hitter. Yahoo says they will be adding the pitcher version, but there was no timeline given. When he is added, though, it’s worth grabbing him, as it’s only a matter of weeks until he debuts. Just make sure you grab the right version.
Zac Gallen (SP – MIA): 14%
To be completely honest, I had Gallen’s teammate Elieser Hernandez here before word got out that Gallen was getting called up today to make his major league debut with Pablo Lopez (sad face emoji) going on the injured list. Gallen has video game-like numbers in the minors, and like the other Marlins pitchers, while he won’t help in wins, he’ll help you with ratios and strikeouts. With Jose Urena on the 60-day IL and the status of Lopez unknown, Gallen is a must-add option.
Aaron Bummer (RP – CHW): 3%
I didn’t realize what Bummer was doing in Chicago before Derek VanRiper pointed it out on The Athletic. He would be in interested closer option if the White Sox move on from Alex Colome, but even without a trade, you’re looking at a great WHIP option, as Bummer’s currently stands at 0.71. The peripherals back it up, too, as VanRiper points out.
Jesus Luzardo (SP – OAK): 29%
Luzardo is making another rehab start, his third, in Triple-A this Saturday. From there, it’s just a matter of time before he enters the A’s rotation. The best part about Luzardo coming up now instead of starting the season with the A’s is that he won’t face the hurdles that pitchers like Mike Soroka, Caleb Smith, and Chris Paddack will with innings counts. We are at a point in the season now where, if he starts on regular rest, he should be on track to make it to the end of the season without being shut down. The upside is enormous with Luzardo.
Michael Lorenzen (SP/RP – CIN): 9%
Now, it seems like it was more of a matchup play with Lorenzen this week, but it’s a situation at least worth monitoring as he’s snaked a couple of saves from Raisel Iglesias this week. It doesn’t look like he’s the closer, but he’s at least in a shared role for now.