Hitters to Target in Deep Leagues (Fantasy Baseball)

by Andrew Gould | @andrewgould4 | Featured Writer
Jul 15, 2019

Since the start of June, Margot has notched a .376 OBP with more walks (15) than strikeouts (14).

The second half is when the real fun begins for devoted deep-league managers.

When Hunter Dozier and Christian Walker went bananas in April, everybody quickly noticed. That’s often not the case late in the season, as call-ups and hot streaks get lost in a sea of information. Football and sunshine are clamoring for the competition’s attention, and some gamers might have slipped into complacency during the All-Star break.

Let’s dive back into the deep end with four hitters available in more than 90 percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues, as gauged by FantasyPros’ consensus rates from Sunday. While one has been around far longer than the other, two of them are 24-year-olds who arrived with plenty of shine. The other two … not so much. Even active gamers who don’t studiously track the minors probably had never heard of them until a few days ago.

Import your team to My Playbook for season-long advice >>

Manuel Margot (OF – SD): 8% Rostered
Here’s a not-so-fun fact noted by Rotoworld’s Drew Silva: Wil Myers last started a game on July 4. Can anyone blame the Padres? Although a great fantasy source of power and speed, he’s also hitting .215/.314/.398 with a gargantuan 36.1% strikeout rate. Instead of playing him out of position at center field, the Friars have turned to Margot.

Hitting a humdrum .239/.312/.365, Margot isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire either. He at least offers better defense up the middle, which is especially crucial with big bashers Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe not covering significant ground at the corners. While he won’t replicate Myers’ power, he has swiped a dozen bags in 2019 despite spending chunks of the first half riding the pine.

He’s also quietly performing well at the plate. Since the start of June, Margot has notched a .376 OBP with more walks (15) than strikeouts (14). He has already drawn six free passes in three games after the All-Star break, a highly encouraging development for a speedster who owns a career .302 OBP. The strikeout normalization, meanwhile, offers a sigh of relief after tallying an uncharacteristically high 30.2% punchout rate in May.

Despite these positive trends, Margot is unlikely to ever match the hype sparked from a strong end to 2017. Dominating lefties (157 wRC+) while floundering against righties (60 wRC+) leaves him vulnerable to an unfavorable platoon, and he continues to drastically underwhelm in the contact department. He’s still fast, though, so the steals could come in bunches if Margot keeps starting and walking regularly.

Robel Garcia (2B – CHC): 8% Rostered
Nobody in a 30-team, 50-round preseason draft would have thought to draft Garcia. Nobody would have had any clue who he was.

Upon clubbing two doubles, triple, and two homers in seven games for the Cubs, fantasy players flocking to his player page undoubtedly noticed the wide gap in his resume. Signed by Cleveland out of the Dominican Republic at age 17, Garcia hit .207 across two Class-A levels in 2013. Released by the Indians, he played in Italy before making his way back to the U.S.

He clearly returned a new hitter. Garcia, who never offered more than six home runs in a season from 2010-2013, belted six homers in Double-A and 15 more in Triple-A. He batted .285/.365/.594 across both Chicago affiliates, earning one of this season’s most improbable MLB debuts.

Perhaps this feel-good story has already reached its climax. It’s not exactly a hot take to say something will have to give between his .333 batting average, .500 BABIP, and 42.9% strikeout rate. Yet with Ben Zobrist away for the team and Addison Russell reeling, the Cubs have plenty of motivation to keep testing Garcia’s magical run. Eric Thames, Miles Mikolas, and Merrill Kelly have all returned from international tours as profoundly improved players, so a productive second half is at least within the feasible range of outcomes.

Nate Lowe (1B – TB): 8% Rostered
Mike Brosseau (3B – TB): 5% Rostered
Tampa Bay’s lineup is going to get awfully crowded when Brandon Lowe returns from a shin injury. While not activated after the minimum 10 days as originally hoped, the All-Star may not be far away. That could squeeze Mike Brosseau and/or Nate Lowe out of the lineup.

Highlighted last week, I won’t go overboard selling the healthy Lowe. Yet the rookie clearly has no interest in going back to Triple-A, as he has already crushed five home runs in eight games — three during Saturday’s doubleheader — since his latest promotion. The 24-year-old is now batting .299/.360/.567 in 75 plate appearances, and it’s a good sign that he stayed with the Rays when Ji-Man Choi returned from a 10-day IL stay Saturday. The two lefties both started over the weekend, swapping seats between first base and designated hitter. Managers burned by Lowe’s previous short-lived promotion may be more reluctant to pounce this time around, giving forgiving gamers a longer window to scoop him up even in deep mixed leagues. He’ll keep starting as long as he keeps hitting.

Brosseau, who is not a player I just made up to fill this column, is in higher danger of losing his spot. As a 25-year-old rookie who went undrafted in 2016, he doesn’t come with the same prospect pedigree as either Lowe. He has, however, raked all year. The 5’10” infielder worked his way to Tampa by hitting .317/.408/.590 with a career-high 15 home runs in Triple-A. He has since batted .395 (15-for-38) with four doubles and four home runs in 12 major league bouts.

At full strength, Brosseau could find himself in the short end of a platoon. For now, his versatility and hot hand should at least keep the righty in the lineup as a super-utility piece. Brosseau also stole 11 bases in 2018, so he’s worth a short-term flier in AL-only leagues and mixed formats of 15 teams or larger.

Import your team to My Playbook for instant Waiver Wire advice >>

SubscribeApple Podcasts | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | TuneIn

Andrew Gould is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @andrewgould4.

What's your take? Leave a comment

1Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
2Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
3Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
4Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
5David Johnson (ARI)RB
6Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
7DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
8James Conner (PIT)RB
9Davante Adams (GB)WR
10Julio Jones (ATL)WR
 View All Rankings 
11Le'Veon Bell (NYJ)RB
12Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE)WR
13Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
14Travis Kelce (KC)TE
15Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
16Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
17Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
18JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)WR
19Michael Thomas (NO)WR
20Mike Evans (TB)WR
21Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
22Antonio Brown (OAK)WR
23Aaron Jones (GB)RB
24Kerryon Johnson (DET)RB
25Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
26Damien Williams (KC)RB
27Derrick Henry (TEN)RB
28Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
29Amari Cooper (DAL)WR
30Chris Carson (SEA)RB
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
3Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
4Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
5Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
6Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
7J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
8Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
9Trevor Story (COL)SS
10Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
 View All Rankings 
11Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
12Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
13Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
14Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
15Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
16Trea Turner (WSH)SS
17Anthony Rendon (WSH)3B
18Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
19Xander Bogaerts (BOS)SS
20Starling Marte (PIT)CF
21Walker Buehler (LAD)SP
22Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
23Juan Soto (WSH)LF
24Pete Alonso (NYM)1B,DH
25Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
26Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
27George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
28Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B
29Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
30Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
1Anthony Davis (LAL)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (BKN)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (HOU)PG
 View All Rankings 
11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (LAC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (LAC)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (OKC)PG
16Jimmy Butler (MIA)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (BOS)PG
18Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
19Kyrie Irving (BKN)PG,SG
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
26Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests