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Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 15

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jul 11, 2019

A.J. Pollock is set to return from the IL.

What a show.

Maybe it’s recency bias, but that was the most I’ve been into the Home Run Derby in a long time. I was playing MLB The Show and had to pause it to give the Derby my full attention.

Ninety-one home runs by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Are you kidding me? 

Now, say what you will about the baseball and the rise in home runs throughout the league, but it was still exciting watching Guerrero and Joc Pederson go head-to-head in overtime. Not to discredit Pete Alonso, because his power is legit as it gets, but sign me up for a Guerrero and Joey Gallo faceoff next year in Los Angeles, please.

Now that we are unpacked from the break, it’s time to make that playoff push. Next week, I am going to look at players you should add to help in different categories who may be affected by the trade deadline. But for this week, I am sticking to the script with 10 players who can help you in each of the traditional 5×5 roto categories who are rostered in 50 percent or fewer leagues on Yahoo.

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Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF – MIN): 3%
I’m very, very interested in Arraez and his profile for future purposes. With Jonathan Schoop on a one-year deal, I think Arraez takes over as the everyday second baseman in 2020. For this year, however, he’s more of an empty average guy, which is more than useful in deeper leagues. He’s hitting .393 through 26 games so far, but with a .413 BABIP. Although it will come down, expect a .300-plus average going forward.


A.J. Pollock (OF – LAD): 47%
Remember Pollock? He’s on his way to Boston to meet up with his teammates after completing his rehab assignment. Now, you never know what the playing time will look like with a Dodgers player, but he was the team’s big offseason free-agent acquisition. With Pederson playing more first base, Pollock looks like a regular going forward.

It’s hard to value Pollock since he struggled in 28 games before going on the IL and hit only .077 (1-for-13) in his five-game rehab assignment. In this lineup, though, you have to think he will at least provide counting stats.


Jose Martinez (1B/OF – STL): 25%
Martinez really needs a trade to an American League team. With that said, he’s playing every day for the Cardinals. While the power hasn’t been there like it has in the past couple of years, he’s still hitting .285 with a .343 OBP. The Cardinals are sliding, and while their players locked into long-term contracts seem cringe-worthy, Martinez is one bright spot for this year and beyond.

Home Runs

C.J. Cron (1B – MIN): 48%
Cron is on the IL now, which is why his rostered percentage is less than 50 percent. The Twins lead all of baseball in home runs, and Cron is a big reason for that. He is on pace to match his 30-homer output from 2018, and he’s doing it with a better batting average (.266) and lower strikeout rate(19.3%). 

He’s the perfect corner infielder or utility player for your category-based squad.

Stolen Bases

Luis Robert (OF – CHW): 6%
Quietly, Robert was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte. If you’re a step away from getting to the majors in Double-A, you’re a knock away from debuting in Triple-A. Robert has crushed the minors this year to the tune of .349/.401/.618 with 16 dongs, 53 RBIs and, most importantly, 29 steals. 

His teammate, Eloy Jimenez, is the more impressive long-term asset for dynasty owners, but Robert isn’t far away. The speed can make him a big difference-maker in fantasy, even as early as the second half of this season.


Sam Dyson (RP – SF): 7%
I know we are going to be looking at #TradeSZN next week, but it’s worth getting out ahead of your league mates on players who are about to become big-time assets. Will Smith is as good as gone from San Francisco, which means either Dyson, Mark Melancon, or Tony Watson will get the ninth-inning duties.

My money is on Dyson, who is sporting a 0.88 WHIP in 43 innings pitched this year. Saves and WHIP help? Sign me up.


Danny Salazar (SP – CLE): 21%
Now, Salazar may not help in ERA as a specialty, but I couldn’t put him anywhere else on this list. With the Indians aggressively looking at offers for Trevor Bauer, a rotation spot could be open soon enough for Salazar. He hasn’t pitched since 2017, but he had two straight seasons of a sub-4.00 ERA in 2015 and 2016. 

He’s worth monitoring at this point and stashing if you’re in desperate need of pitching. 


Sean Manaea (SP – OAK): 8%
Speaking of working their way back, it looks like Manaea is making good progress from his shoulder surgery. Shoulder injuries, especially labrum injuries, always give me pause with pitchers, so I’m not fully buying back in yet. The fact that he is on track to return this year, though, is encouraging after 2019 initially appeared to be a lost season for him.

With Jesus Luzardo‘s status unknown after his lat injury and Frankie Montas suspended for the majority of the season, Manaea could be a sneaky addition to the A’s and your fantasy roster barring any setbacks.


Dinelson Lamet (SP – SD): 20%
We never know how the Padres are going to use their pitchers, but it’s safe to expect many five-inning outings and few two-start weeks for Lamet as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery. He had a lot of buzz heading into the 2018 season before going under the knife. 

In those five innings, Lamet may give up three to four runs, but he’s going to get you seven or eight strikeouts, too. That’s how last week’s return went against the Dodgers. If you need to catch up in strikeouts and can afford to take a slight hit in ERA and WHIP, add Lamet now.


Emilio Pagan (RP – TB): 37%
With Jose Alvarado out longer than expected (six-eight weeks), Pagan and Diego Castillo will compete for ninth-inning work. The Rays haven’t committed to one player as a true saves source this year, but I favor adding Pagan, who has been lights out with a 1.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 47 strikeouts in 36 innings.

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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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