Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Harrison Bader, Robbie Grossman, Daulton Varsho
There’s a lot to digest with so many players on the move. There has already been a whirlwind of trades, and the deadline is still a few hours away. Despite all the chaos, it’s our job to sift through all the latest transactions and still discover those forgotten diamonds in the rough.
Before we even get into this week’s category additions, let us review a few players highlighted over the past few weeks who are still deserving of your attention. For the sake of presenting you with new names weekly, I try not to repeatedly harp on players you should be adding unless I feel it overwhelmingly necessary. That said, many of these players still belong on this list, and if they are still available in your leagues (I only list them if they are rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues), then add them now.
Avisail Garcia, Mitch Garver, Ranger Suarez, Kyle Muller, Didi Gregorius, Max Stassi, Austin Hays, Brendan Rodgers, Tarik Skubal, Jon Gray, Jameson Taillon, Tanner Houck, Jordan Montgomery, and Scott Barlow are just a few names that should still be considered.
With those players previously highlighted, it’s time to turn our attention to the (nearly) all-new crop of underappreciated stars. These 12 players are surprisingly rostered in 50 percent or less of Yahoo leagues and can help you in at least one of the major categories.
Jorge Soler (OF – KC): 50%
It was difficult to hold onto Soler after such a miserable first half, and if you did drop him, who could blame you? The man was hitting under .200 with just six home runs over three months! But for those who held onto him (or those in just really deep leagues), Soler finally rewarded his managers by clubbing six home runs in six games. If there was any doubt regarding his health or his ability to drive the ball this season, this should squash it.
Soler is still only hitting around .225 for the month, but he is eight for his last 30 (.266), with seven of those hits going for extra bases. He won’t help your stolen base total or aid your batting average in any way, but if you’re on the prowl for home runs, Soler should be someone you target immediately. Take a shot at the streaky Soler, who crushed 48 bombs in 2019, and hope for more of the same.
Rowdy Tellez (1B – MIL): 8%
Rowdy Tellez is having fun crushing baseballs. Since moving into an everyday role, Tellez has produced four home runs, 11 RBI, eight runs scored and collected 12 hits in just 24 at-bats. The massive first baseman had a forgettable first half but has found new life since moving to Milwaukee, which he can hopefully maintain. It wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see the home run barrage continue for Tellez after he crushed 33 bombs in his first 553 ABs for Toronto. Add Tellez now if you need help boosting your home run totals. He’s a solid replacement for those rostering Rhys Hoskins if he’s forced to miss any time.
Daulton Varsho (C/OF – ARZ): 42%
Honestly, you could put Varsho under any category, but since he’s a catcher who will actually steal bases, I’ll put him here. Everyone’s favorite fantasy sleeper heading into the season is finally hitting like they hoped he would. Currently riding a torrid hot streak over the last ten days, Varsho has gone 11 for 28 (.392 BA) with four home runs, 10 runs scored, nine RBI, and two stolen bases. With regular playing time the rest of the way, he should be a heavy contributor in all five categories.
Varsho gloriously qualifies at catcher and could easily be a top-five player at the position for the duration of the season. And just in case you’re worried his current hot streak is a fluke, Varsho hit nine home runs in just 18 games in Triple-A this season and also stole two bags there. Add him now and put him in your outfield if you already roster Perez, Posey, Realmuto, or Smith.
Robbie Grossman (OF – DET): 50%
Robbie Grossman is a run-scoring machine! The switch-hitting outfielder is up to 56 scores on the year and contributes handily across the board. He is even more valuable in OPS leagues, but if you’re simply looking for runs, he is your guy.
Grossman is not only scoring often (nearly a run per game over the last two weeks) but has already accumulated an impressive 16 home runs to go along with 12 stolen bases for the season. The Tigers are finally winning ball games, and Grossman is in large part why. Claim him everywhere he is available.
Harrison Bader (OF – STL): 50%
What has gotten into Harrison Bader? The Cardinals’ center fielder is hitting like a man with his hair on fire. Not only is he consistently producing multi-hit games and driving in a colossal amount of runs, but he’s also doing it with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. His attitude screams, “I can’t believe you guys ever doubted me,” and the defense-first moniker that has followed him for most of his Major League career suddenly seems to be not so fitting.
Bader showed flashes of offensive brilliance early in his career (especially against lefties) but was then overcome by the swing and miss, and his production plummeted. Dealing with a multitude of injuries surely also had a hand in his demise along the way, but now that he’s fully healthy and has a few years under his belt, the dynamic Bader has significantly decreased his K-rate.
Bader went from striking out nearly 30 percent of the time to an admirable 15.3 percent this season. He had always been a power/speed threat but was never really consistent enough for fantasy purposes. Well, I can safely say he is absolutely a five-tool player right now in both real life and in fantasy leagues. Add Bader now while you still can and ride the ridiculous hot streak.
Brian Anderson (3B/OF – MIA): 14%
At the start of the year, I highlighted Anderson as someone who could quietly earn you a hefty amount of RBIs and home runs. Shortly after, however, the Marlins’ third baseman suffered a plethora of injuries which kept him playing hurt or on the IL for quite some time.
His return to the lineup this week came as a welcome addition for fantasy managers and Marlins’ fans alike as he registered six hits over 16 at-bats. Anderson also crushed two home runs, scored three times, stole a base, and drove in four in the four games he played.
I’ve always been a fan of the underrated Anderson for fantasy purposes, and he’s starting to prove me right once again. Add Anderson now, and hope he stays healthy the rest of the season.
Tylor Megill (SP – NYM): 40%
What seems to be the hesitation with Megill? I featured the lanky right-hander two weeks ago after watching him strike out 22 batters over his first 13+ innings. Going by that and his overall metrics and minor league numbers, he is undoubtedly a must-add in all leagues.
Not only has he found success, but Megill now holds the second-lowest ERA in Mets’ history for a rookie in their first seven games (2.04), behind Nolan Ryan (1.99). He has only walked two batters over his last 17.1 innings and has surrendered a total of three runs over his last five starts. The Mets are going to need Megill over the final two months, and so are you. Add him now.
Kyle Finnegan (RP – WAS): 5%
Anthony Bender (RP – MIA): 14%
I like both him and Anthony Bender. It’s a really tough call, but I’d probably go with Kyle Finnegan over Bender if I had to choose one. The Marlins’ young righty hasn’t been great this month, surrendering 14 hits and seven earned runs over 13.1 innings. Whereas Finnegan not only has closing experience in the minor leagues but also has been great lately, pitching in four of the last five Nationals’ games and six of the last nine.
Over those last six appearances, Finnegan has held the opposition to just four base runners in 6.2 innings and zero runs. He performed admirably last season for Washington as well, where he registered a 2.92 ERA and a 9.85 K/9 over 24.2 innings. His numbers for this season are quite similar, and he features a decent pitch mix while limiting home runs.
You can’t go wrong with either Bender or Finnegan. Both will likely be involved in some sort of committee-style role, but for my money, with Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson traded, I’m rolling with Finnegan at the current moment.
Patrick Sandoval (SP – LAA): 46%
Sandoval is getting K’s. I wasn’t completely sold on him as a shallow league contributor, but after nearly no-hitting the Twins last Saturday, it is time to pick him up. Yes, I did feature him last week for K’s, and he made me look good by striking out 13, but seeing as he is still rostered in only 46 percent of leagues, I have no choice but to highlight him again.
For the season, Sandoval has struck out 81 batters over 71.1 innings with a .282 wOBA. That may not sound like a lot, but he has only started 11 games where he’s pitched much better than he did out of the bullpen. The Angels’ starter has averaged just about seven K’s per start, which would place him in the top 25 percent in that category. He relies heavily on a fading changeup that has produced a microscopic .113 BA and a .134 xBA (expected batting average). With all the whiffs and weak contact he gets, Sandoval is worthy of your consideration and should be added in all leagues right now.
Domingo German (SP – NYY): 37%
German is back, and he is ready to win games! German, you say? Noooo. Yes! German finally figured out how to pitch without the sticky stuff and was dominant against a fierce Boston lineup in Fenway. German’s fastball has been getting crushed all season long while his off-speed stuff has been downright dominant. Well, that looks to be in for a change.
German’s MO was to throw his off-speed pitches early and often and hope for weak contact or a swing and miss. However, hitters wouldn’t always fish early in the count, and when German was forced to groove a fastball, the batter would rarely miss. Well, by throwing more first-pitch sinkers and staying ahead in the count, German was able to throw his breaking stuff later (while also mixing in the fastball), resulting in a beautiful no-hit bid lasting nearly seven innings and striking out 10.
With the Yankees ridiculously overhauled lineup, they should be able to run up the score more often than not. Add that to German’s new approach, and he could be looking at quite a few victories down the stretch. Add the Yankees hurler now for the juicy matchup against the Marlins.
Austin Gomber (SP/RP – COL): 47%
Austin Gomber is a stud. I’ve wanted to feature him in this column all season long, but he always seems to be hurt or facing a tough matchup when I’m about to write about him. But not this week! It is finally his time! Even as a Rockies’ starter, he continues to pitch well.
On the year, Gomer has registered a fine 1.05 WHIP to go along with eight wins and nearly a strikeout per inning. He looks for the moment to be staying put in Colorado, but even if he were to be dealt, that would only help his value. Gomber was a nice surprise last year in St. Louis (1.86 ERA 1.17 WHIP over 29 innings ) and was someone I was targeting late in drafts this season. Even if he stays put, he is worth adding to your roster. Pick him up if you need help lowering your WHIP.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.
Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.