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Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Nick Solak, Adam Ottavino, Carlos Hernandez

Sep 3, 2021

With the baseball season winding down, it’s now the perfect time to favor obscure players on a hot streak over slumping household names. You shouldn’t make any drastic roster decisions, but you no longer have to worry about moving on from a proven player and regretting it later. Also, now is the time (if you haven’t already) to take a closer look at the standings and discover the categories in which you have the best chance of making up ground. Once you’ve got that figured out, turn to this list and add the appropriate players!

Luckily for you, I have found 10 studs who are rostered in less than half of Yahoo leagues who can aid you in at least one of the major categories. Throughout this series, I have featured quite a few players whose rostership percentages shot up in just a few days or even hours, so it would be wise to act quickly.

Many of these guys will probably help you in more ways than one, with their primary contributions coming in the category under which they are listed. Add these players now to take the final steps toward a fantasy championship!

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Home Runs

Bobby Dalbec (1B – BOS): 25%
Sometimes it just takes a little extra motivation to get the job done. After Boston signed Kyle Schwarber and rumors of him taking over at first base started spreading, the young incumbent went on a hitting spree. Since the signing, Dalbec has gone 26 for 77, good for a .338 batting average. He has hit eight home runs and owns a ridiculous 27 runs batted in.

The Red Sox first baseman is still sitting out on occasion against tough righties, but he plays most of the time and has been a consistent home run producer over the last six weeks. We all saw what kind of finish he is capable of last season when he clobbered 15 long balls to wrap up the season. Add the young slugger now and hope for another fantastic September out of Mr. Dalbec.

Batting Average

Nick Solak (2B/3B/OF – TEX): 34%
Solak took it personally after getting sent down (as he should have been), and he has been on a tear ever since his return. Since his call-up on August 21st, the infielder has gone 14 for 39 (.359 BA) with two home runs, two doubles, and only four strikeouts.

Solak is heralded as one of the key building blocks in the Rangers’ organization, and he is finally hitting like he was expected to. Yous should take advantage of this in leagues where his resurgence has gone unnoticed by picking up the Texas infielder now to help boost your batting average.

Runs

Bradley Zimmer (OF – CLE): 4%
Zimmer has been a run-scoring machine over the past week, and he currently bats fifth in the Cleveland lineup. He has scored six times over his last seven games, and he has recorded eight hits, two steals, and even a home run. He can help you in every category, but he runs the bases extremely well, so runs scored and stolen bases should be his greatest contribution.

RBI

Colin Moran (1B/2B/3B – PIT): 11%
It is an absolute no-brainer to pick up Colin Moran. The Pirates’ first baseman not only qualifies at multiple positions, but he is extremely productive when healthy and has been fantastic over these last few weeks.

From the beginning of 2020, Moran’s wRC+ has been 10 percent better than the average hitter. Also, he knocked in 80 runs for the hapless Pirates in 2019 when no one was getting on base. Now with Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds hitting in front of him, Moran should continue to see, as he has all season, a hefty dose of RBI chances. He has knocked in seven over his last seven games and has hit in nine of his last 10 games.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised to see his rostership so low. But he is on the Pirates, after all, and he did miss a large portion of the season. Forget that his team is in last and add Moran now for some steady production.

Stolen Bases

Leody Taveras (OF – TEX): 8%
Taveras was finally called back up to the majors in August, and he has been an absolute blur on the bases ever since. He managed to steal five bags and even hit two home runs just last week! It’s the type of performance that fantasy managers were hoping for all season when they drafted him in the late rounds.

A popular sleeper to begin the year, Taveras is finally showcasing his combination of power and speed, and he should stick in the starting lineup. Pick up the speedy Taveras now to get those much-needed steals as we draw closer to the finish line.

Wins

Carlos Hernandez (SP/RP – KC): 28%
Wow, this is quite surprising. Yes, he is scheduled to take on the scary White Sox lineup in his next start, but there is no reason for Hernandez to still be available in nearly three-quarters of leagues. The hulking righty out of Venezuela has a 3.38 ERA as a starter with a WHIP just north of 1.00. His fastball can reach triple digits, and he is an intimidating presence on the mound. He has also been pitching deep into games, lasting for six-plus innings in four of his last six starts, coming up just short in his other two appearances.

The Royals have an easy schedule after Chicago, allowing Hernandez to pick up some valuable wins. Add him now before it’s too late.

WHIP

Bailey Ober (SP – MIN): 16%
Ober shows impeccable control for someone of his stature. His surprisingly accurate approach has led to a rock-solid 1.21 WHIP. He hasn’t issued more than a single free pass since July 10th (nine starts), when he embarrassed himself by walking a whole two batters.

He has limited hits over his last three starts by surrendering only 14 of them over 17 innings. He even averages more than a strikeout per inning.

The Twins look like they’ve found a reliable arm for the foreseeable future. Scoop up the 6-foot-9 righty to lower your team’s WHIP.

Strikeouts

Luis Patino (SP/RP – TB): 21%
Patino has had an up-and-down season, but the young righty out of Columbia is finally living up to his billing. His lack of a proven track record may scare some managers away, but the quality of his “stuff” is enough for me to buy into.

In a farm system known to develop young pitching, Patino started the season ranked third. Obtained in the offseason as the headliner in the Blake Snell trade, the Rays had high hopes for the 21-year-old, even for this coming season. After a few hiccups, Patino seems to have righted the ship after defeating the White and Red Sox in back-to-back starts.

He is now up to 58 strikeouts on the year, averaging just over one per inning, and he will look to continue that ratio when he takes on Minnesota this Sunday. Add him now while you still can.

Saves

Adam Ottavino (RP – BOS): 46%
Matt Barnes’ fate was sealed when he gave up 10 runs while getting just 13 outs over eight consecutive appearances. Then to make matters worse, he tested positive for COVID-19. Talk about a rough couple of weeks. However, even before the positive test, the Sox had moved on to their slider-slinging setup man in Adam Ottavino.

He has answered the call with seven straight scoreless games and three straight saves. He’s the man in Boston now, and he probably won’t qualify for this list come Monday. Add him ASAP if you need saves.

ERA

Antonio Senzatela (SP – COL): 12%
Don’t look now, but Antonio Senzatela is absolutely dominating. Well, maybe not dominating, but he has allowed three or fewer earned runs in seven of his last eight games. He has given up just three runs in his last 20 innings, including matchups against division foes, the Dodgers and Padres. Senzatela features a hard diving sinker that keeps most balls struck on the ground and out of the stands. He isn’t the most exciting pickup because of the lack of strikeouts and run support, but you could do a lot worse. Add Senzatela now to help lower your ERA and hopefully earn you a couple of wins down the stretch.

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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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