Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Adbert Alzolay, JP Feyereisen, Jonathan Schoop
How are we already a third of the way into the season?! The first two months seemed to have zipped by, and while it’s time to move on from some players, it may be wise to be a bit more patient when it comes to guys with a strong track record. After all, we all remember Jose Ramirez’s second half of 2019.
With injuries continuing to mount and the league replete with underachieving veterans and rookies, many fantasy players are in desperate need of roster improvements. Before you go looking to trading away any of your productive players, look to the waiver wire, where you can find an abundance of undervalued players on the rise.
I’ve explored the free agents and after extensive consideration, and these ten players rostered in less than half of all Yahoo leagues stand out. Many of these guys will add to a multitude of your totals, with their primary contributions coming in the category under which they are listed.
Don’t sleep on these highlighted few or you’re sure to miss out. Past players reviewed in this series were singled out when they were rostered in as low as five percent of leagues just to see their ownership jump to over 60 and on to eventually 90 percent in just a matter of days.
Without further ado, here are this week’s undervalued players who deserve your attention now.
Ty France (1B/2B/3B – SEA): 37%
France is back, and he’s doing what he does best: punishing baseballs. Since his return from the IL, France has 13 hits in 38 at-bats (.342 BA) with only six strikeouts. He started the season almost identically before spiraling into a rare cold spell prior to his injury. The young slugger produced a .309 BA last year in San Diego and continued his hitting barrage after getting sent to Seattle (.302 BA). His average currently sits at .254, which will doubtlessly continue to climb. Buying a healthy Ty France at his low point is a no-brainer. Take advantage of leagues in which he was dropped and add him now.
Ryan Mountcastle (1B/OF – BAL): 41%
Mountcastle seems to have turned his season around after an awful start. The second-year pro is now up to 25 RBIs on the season, including five in his last three games. His average hovered below the dreaded Mendoza line over the first month, but he has picked it up in recent weeks. He is now slashing a more respectable (in today’s game) .238 aided by a fine .908 OPS versus LHP. Expect the batting average to keep rising as Mountcastle is hitting nearly .330 over his last nine games. He also hit .333 last season over 126 at-bats. Add him now and hope the young Orioles DH will continue to rake against lefties and improve his production again right-handed pitching.
Jonathan Schoop (2B/1B – DET): 19%
Has anyone noticed what Jonathan Schoop has been doing these the last few weeks? The Schoop of old has reemerged, and even before he hit two home runs in Wednesday’s game, the Tigers’ second baseman has been crushing it at the dish. When I watched his at-bats against one of the league’s best in Corbin Burnes, Burnes looked overmatched, not Schoop. The infielder nearly hit two home runs off the Brewers’ star hurler and ended up going two for three with a go-ahead, two-out RBI.
Schoop has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games and is now 24 for his last 68 at-bats (.353 BA). During that span, he launched five homers, four doubles, and drove in an impressive 13 runs. His Statcast numbers have been stellar, but it’s the eye test that really does it for me. He looks like a superstar these days and has consistently been a tough out. There’s no doubt he’ll cool off eventually, but add him now while he’s raking.
Donovan Solano (2B/3B/SS – SF): 13%
Solano is another player whose start wasn’t as productive as many had hoped. After his slow beginning, the Giants’ infielder injured his calf and spent nearly a month on the IL causing many fantasy combatants to forget all about him. Well since his return, Solano has been extremely effective. Over the last week, Solano has hit two homers, scored seven times, and knocked in six runs.
After maintaining nearly a .330 average over his first 400 at-bats in San Francisco, Solano is now up to .258 on the year. He has a history of being a tough out and getting clutch hits. Don’t let the slow start discourage you, pick up Donnie Barrels now and start him as your MI in deeper leagues.
Kolten Wong (2B – MIL): 37%
Kolten Wong is on a tear, and he has even been stealing bases. With the Brewers’ complement of starters finally healthy, expect Wong to be the table-setter who continually gets on base, scores runs, and steals the occasional bag. The Brewers’ leadoff hitter already has seven three-hit games and has stolen five bases on the season. He’ll do a little bit of everything for you and qualifies at the toughest position to fill. Add the back-to-back Gold Glover now.
Also, Victor Robles returned to the Nats’ lineup this week, and he can help you find some steals. He has been fool’s gold over the past few seasons, however, but for those desperately in need of steals, you could take a flier on the speedy (and struggling) outfielder.
Luis Severino (SP – NYY): 50%
Last week I highlighted Tony Gonsolin as his return to the active roster draws closer, and this week, it’s finally time to set your sights on Luis Severino. You simply can’t wait to add a player of Severino’s caliber until he gets activated, and judging by his daily increase in rostership, it’s now or never to land the Yankees’ ex-ace.
Severino is set to begin his rehab assignment this weekend, and after a simulated game earlier in the week, it looks as though it’ll be all systems go for the highly touted hurler.
The Yankees are sure to handle their prized right-hander with kid-gloves, but it’s late enough in the season where an innings limit shouldn’t be much of an issue. He’s likely to start at a low pitch count, but you could be looking at ace-type production for the second half of the season.
Adbert Alzolay (SP – CHC): 48%
If you haven’t been tracking Adbert Alzolay, you’re a little late in the game. Since the start of the season (and even dating back to his final two games of last year), the Cubs’ young righty has started a total of 12 games and has allowed a WHIP over 1.00 in just two outings. His “worst” game, in terms of WHIP, came against the Reds, where he gave up five hits and three walks in five and two-thirds innings (1.41 WHIP). He also gave up no runs in that game. His other outing with a WHIP above 1.00? It came in his Opening Day start in which he allowed four hits and two walks in five innings (a 1.20 WHIP).
To Alzolay’s credit, he also has yet to give up more than three runs in any game outside of that Opening Day start, and he has consistently struck out opposing batters as well (9.55 K/9). He does give up a fair share of long balls, but overall, he is an above-average arm that will help improve your WHIP. Don’t miss out on the Cubs’ most reliable pitcher so far in 2021.
Marco Gonzales (SP – SEA): 46%
Gonzales is back. And while he was atrocious in his first two starts of the season, he has bounced back nicely with a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts. The Mariners’ ace won 16 games in 2019 and followed that up with a seven-win season over only 11 games last year.
Pitching in his first game since his return from the injured list, Gonzales only lasted four innings, but he should see his pitch count increase as the year progresses. He has the propensity to keep his team in every ball game and when given an early lead, he tends to keep it. The Mariners’ bullpen has been fairly consistent, too, which should help him garner plenty of wins as well. Add Gonzales now that he’s healthy and throwing his signature sinking fastball down in the zone.
Tarik Skubal (SP – DET): 17%
Don’t look now, but Skubal has had three productive outings in a row, and he has compiled 26 strikeouts through that span. He shut down the Yankees in his latest start, in which he generated a season-high 15 swinging strikes and finished with an outlandish 36 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) rate. Skubal has looked downright nasty since ditching his split-finger fastball and has 35 K’s in his last 27 innings. The high CSW rate has resulted in very few runs scoring granting him a 2.67 ERA in those five games.
Skubal may still give up the occasional bomb and walk a few too many batters, but look for the young righty to continue his plethora of whiffs and strikeouts. He is worth a speculative add in all leagues.
J.P. Feyereisen (RP – TB): 43%
While Tampa Bay’s bullpen tends to be a nightmare situation for fantasy players, the newly acquired Feyereisen has recorded three saves over the last week. He owns a mid-90’s fastball and a decent slider, but it’s his changeup that has recently pushed him into elite status. Out of 92 changeups thrown (52 against lefties, and 40 against righties), opposing batters have just two hits against the pitch as opposed to 15 strikeouts. He has earned an incredible 54% whiff rate and a .147 wOBA (weighted On-Base Average) against the pitch.
The Rays, highly engulfed in analytics, no doubt recognized the weapon and have been putting it to full use at the end of games. While Diego Castillo could easily be given the next save opportunity, Tampa Bay seems to be favoring the changeup specialist at the moment.
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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.