Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 13
Don’t play scared. If you’re playing fantasy baseball, you can’t be afraid to make a bad deal or add/drop move. That’s the biggest piece of advice I give to new fantasy players. It’s OK to look at a trade, hit submit, and think that you might be losing this deal on paper. This game is about taking chances and putting yourself in the best position to win.
Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski wrote about this recently regarding the Blue Jays’ Eric Sogard. I won’t rehash everything he wrote, since you can read it here, but his main takeaway was don’t be afraid to look stupid by picking up Sogard. Yes, we know he’s been bad his entire career. So was Tommy La Stella.
Eric Sogard lags at 14 percent for two common, flawed reasons:
– I know better; we already know what he is
– I don’t want to look stupid
I reject these angles. You have to look for the La Stella-ish types, see what’s possible. Don’t have to be right all that often. Blog TF.
– scott pianowski (@scott_pianowski) June 25, 2019
It’s a good reminder to fantasy players of all experience to take a shot on a hot streak regardless of the player’s past performance. I’ve tried to include a few of those players in this week’s edition of category analysis. They may be on the waiver wire when the All-Star break hits, or they may just be legit enough to stay on your roster for the stretch run as we march toward the fantasy playoffs.
Here as some guys who can help you out in the traditional roto categories who are owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues or fewer.
Brian Dozier (2B – WAS): 37%
Forget, if you can, Dozier’s dreadful start to the season. When Washington called up Carter Kieboom following Trea Turner‘s injury, there was speculation that he’d take the starting job at second base if Dozier didn’t turn his season around. Kieboom didn’t work out in his first big league stint, but Howie Kendrick is absolutely mashing for the Nats.
Quietly, though, Dozier has turned his season around of late. In June, he is slashing .277/.338/.585 with five home runs, 13 runs, 12 RBIs, and a 131 wRC+. He’s upped his fly-ball rate to 60.0 percent on the month while cutting his ground-ball rate from 35.4 percent to 22.0 percent.
It’s been a rough two years for those with Dozier shares, but he’s worth giving another shot to at second base.
Harold Ramirez (OF – MIA): 4%
Ramirez was always a fringe prospect with a limited ceiling. To give you an idea of how he was viewed, the Pirates sent him to the Blue Jays, along with Reese McGuire and Francisco Liriano, three years ago as part of a salary dump.
He’s now an everyday outfielder for the Marlins. While the Marlins aren’t attractive outside of their amazing pitching staff (weekly mention, folks), there is value in regular playing time for bad teams. In 38 games this year, Ramirez is hitting .315 with 20 runs. He does have two steals and two homers, but he’s basically an empty average player. If you need to catch up, you could do worse than Ramirez in deeper five-outfielder leagues.
Bryan Reynolds (OF – PIT): 37%
It’s probably time to take Reynolds a little bit more seriously, folks. With Gregory Polanco back on the injured list with a shoulder injury, Reynolds is continuing to get regular at-bats for an offense that could use a punch.
He’s produced thus far in every category except stolen bases, and to give you an idea of just how good he’s been, take a look at what Pirates announcer Joe Block dug up.
Highest BA, #MLB rookies, since 1931:
Bryan Reynolds, .355, in 2019
Willie McCovey, .354, in 1959
Dan Gladden, .351, in 1984
Ichiro Suzuki, .350, in 2001
Wade Boggs, .349, in 1982
(min. 200 PA, via @StatsBySTATS)
— Joe Block (@joe_block) June 22, 2019
Is anyone tired of seeing Bryan Reynolds stats yet? No? Good, because here’s another:
Is anyone tired of seeing Bryan Reynolds stats yet? No? Good because here’s another…
— Pirates of the Allegheny (@OfTheAllegheny) June 20, 2019
Chris Taylor (2B/SS/OF – LAD): 40%
Since Corey Seager went down with a hamstring strain, Tayor has been the Dodgers’ regular shortstop, and boy has he produced. Since May 1, Taylor is hitting .291 with seven home runs, 28 RBIs, 22 runs, and five stolen bases in 47 games.
Even with Seager due back shortly after the All-Star break, you have to think Taylor has earned steady playing time going forward. Well, at least as steady as one can get with the Dodgers.
Eric Sogard (2B/SS – TOR): 16%
Ah, the poster boy for this week’s article. I’ve liked Sogard ever since Oakland fans got behind him in an All-Star push a few years ago.
When the Jays sent Lourdes Gurriel down a few weeks into the season, Sogard was called up to be a temporary stop-gap until Gurriel got over his yips. Well, Gurriel is back and on fire, but that hasn’t stopped Sogard from producing for an anemic lineup.
In 52 games, Sogard is slashing .301/.369/.495 with eight home runs, 32 runs, 23 RBIs, and six stolen bases. That’s a five-category contributor, folks.
Is it fool’s gold? Possibly. He has improved his launch angle, exit velocity, and barrel percentage from last year, though, so it’s not a total fluke.
Dinelson Lamet (SP – SD): 5%
I wrote a lot about Jorge Polanco coming into this year. He had all kinds of helium coming into the 2018 season, but he got suspended 80 games for a PED violation. He came back after the suspension and was the same Polanco. Heading into 2019, though, the hype wasn’t there. I wondered why not.
The same holds true for Lamet. Yes, it’s Tommy John surgery and not a suspension, but Lamet was a big breakout pick heading into 2018 drafts. He’s due back within weeks for the Padres, and he needs to be owned in more than five percent of leagues
Trent Thornton (SP – TOR): 6%
I found myself in a deep Thornton hole this week. I received an offer of Thornton for Brandon Nimmo in a 20-team points dynasty league, where pitching is impossible to come by. I was watching his clips on Baseball Savant, and out of the 11 random ones played, he missed his spot in nine of them by a substantial amount.
He is, though, in the 92nd and 90th percentile in spin rate on his curveball and fastball, respectively. He made easy work of the Red Sox and the Astros in his past two starts heading into Wednesday’s game with the Yankees, and he’s averaging more than a strikeout per inning.
You won’t get a lot of help in your ratio categories, but Thornton is a deep-league target where you need strikeout help.
Brendan McKay (SP – TB): 2%
I usually don’t like to write about players in back-to-back weeks, but I made an exception this week with Yahoo releasing the pitcher version of McKay Tuesday.
He’s worth spending one-third of your remaining FAAB budget on if Jesus Luzardo is gone. If not, he’s my top pitching prospect stash.
Tyler Glasnow is shut down for three weeks, which could mean a promotion soon for McKay. There is a chance, though, that the Rays use McKay in a variety of roles, including as a starter, opener, or as a long-relief pitcher to maximize his two-way ability.
Dylan Bundy (SP – BAL): 13%
Like Dozier, Bundy has been quietly good of late. He had a 3.46 ERA since the start of May before surrendering five runs to the Padres on Wednesday. What’s more, he has lowered his walk rate since a rough April, issuing 17 in 56 innings along with 56 strikeouts. That’s good for Bundy.
There are some signs here as a matchup streamer in deeper leagues.
Liam Hendriks (SP/RP – OAK): 42%
It looks like my wish of Carlos Martinez becoming the closer for the Cardinals is happening, but it’s unfortunately at the expense of Jordan Hicks. Instead of talking about Martinez again, let’s pivot to Hendriks, who is taking over the role after Blake Treinen hit the injured list with a right shoulder strain.
Hendriks hasn’t been good in his career as a starter, but like Ian Kennedy recently, he’s taken off in the closer’s role. With a 1.42 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, Hendriks is someone to pick up for ratio and saves help as your RP2.