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Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Nathaniel Lowe, Akil Baddoo, Tony Gonsolin (2022)

Apr 5, 2022
Nathaniel Lowe

Nathaniel Lowe is in line to help fantasy teams rack up RBIs.

Yessss!! The season is finally upon us! It feels like six years dragged on while the MLB brass hammered it out with the MLBPA. With all that behind us now we can finally focus on what’s important, Fantasy Baseball!

With Opening Day just a few hours away, and most drafts having already come to a close, now is the time to turn your attention to the waiver wire. Before the season actually gets underway, it is the prime moment to snag those forgotten players who will likely surpass their projections. Once they start performing to their abilities and the word gets out, it’ll be too late! Now is the time to add them, especially if your roster is lacking in any category.

To make it easier for you I’ve broken down the 10 main categories in Roto and highlighted one player for each who can help you in it. I’ll be doing the same every week with a new list so make sure you check back every Sunday.

These 10 studs are rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo Leagues, but won’t last long. Add them now if you need help in any particular category.

CTAs

Home Runs

Randal Grichuk (OF – COL): 49%

Every year, fans of Grichuk’s current team plead for a replacement. They complain of strikeouts or bad baserunning and want the former first-round pick regulated to bench duty. Then, despite the negativity, Grichuk quietly goes about his business and consistently delivers a 25 to 30 home run season with nearly 80 RBIs. Not bad for someone the fan base can’t wait to get rid of.

Well, he may have finally found his calling.

The Rockies faithful are going to love Grichuk. The recently acquired outfielder is a perfect fit in Colorado where his heavy flyball rate will cut nicely through the mile-high air. The ex-Blue Jay is a strong candidate to start 145-150 games in his new home and barring injury, should have no problem reaching 30 bombs again this year. His average won’t be great but it likely won’t hurt you either. If you’re kicking yourself after the draft for missing out on significant power, don’t wait to finish this article, add Grichuk immediately.

RBI

Nathaniel Lowe (1B – TEX): 44%

Lowe was an absolute monster to start the season last year. The 26-year-old crushed all month, knocking in 22 runs over his first 100 at-bats. He also launched six dingers. His pace dramatically slowed after that, but much of the blame can be placed on his teammates for no longer getting on base. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem this year with Texas’ new elite bats atop the lineup.

Just the additions of Corey Seager (SS – LAD) and Marcus Semien (2B – LAD) alone should do wonders for Lowe’s RBI totals. Lowe is a 6’4″, a left-handed hitter that hits lefties better than righties, possesses decent power, draws walks, and even steals a few bags. He absolutely should not have gone undrafted this year. Pick up the Rangers’ first baseman now and secure those 95 RBIs.

Runs

Enrique Hernandez (OF, 2B – BOS): 39%

Likely to be the BoSox every-day leadoff hitter, Hernandez has a decent chance at attaining 100 runs this season. He probably won’t reach the milestone, but it’s definitely within range with so much firepower in the Sox lineup and Hernandez’s ability to get on base. He also won’t hurt you in the power categories as the former Dodger launched 20 home runs last season. Without another great fit to leadoff, look for Hernandez to stick in the role and score a ton of runs all year long.

Stolen Bases

Akil Baddoo (OF – DET): 45%

Baddoo is projected to swipe 20 bags on the season, tying him for 13th overall. That would put him on par with last year’s production where he stole 18 bases in just 124 games. Baddoo also crushed 13 long balls on the year setting him up nicely for a possible 20/20 season. The former Rule-5 pick also exhibits a great eye at the plate helping him reach base and attain those steals. Baddoo ranked in the top nine percent of sprint speed last year and may look to run even more often with a year of experience under his belt.

It’s surprising to see the electric outfielder still available in so many leagues when he can contribute in all five categories. Add Baddoo everywhere available.

Batting Average

Nick Madrigal (2B – CHC): 12%

Madrigal already looks like his old-self recording an impressive zero strikeouts over six spring games. While many hitters are still searching for their timing and whiffing at balls in the dirt, Madrigal seems to have no issue with anything thrown his way. With so many balls in play and many of them being of the line-drive sort, Madrigal routinely hits for a terrific average. The once highly touted prospect should have no problem holding down the 2B job for the Cubs this year, where a .300+ BA again is almost a guarantee.

Moving from the North Side to the South Side shouldn’t affect Madrigal’s value much, if at all. So if you’re in need of a batting average boost, Madrigal’s throw-back/contact-first style should fit your roster nicely.

ERA

Nestor Cortes Jr. (SP/RP – NYY): 24%

Am I the only one who is in on Cortes this year? Yes, he’ll give up bombs, but he limits walks, doesn’t give up many hits, and strikes out better than a batter per inning. Last year over 14 starts and eight relief appearances the amusing lefty (have you seen some of his wind-ups?) gave up more than two runs only four times. In three of those outings, he allowed just three earned runs, while in the fourth he gave up four. Plus, he qualifies at RP wherein many weekly leagues that can make a huge difference.

Naysayers will point to a lack of track record and the advanced metrics that say he got a bit lucky, but if Cortes was a guarantee, he wouldn’t have qualified for this list! I’m willing to give a shot to the Yankees southpaw who when facing some of the league’s best lineups; the White Sox, Blue Jays, and Red Sox in his final few starts, gave up a total of five runs in 16.1 innings.

The Yankees open with Toronto and Boston, so maybe leave him on the bench for this week. But after that, New York takes on (in order): the Orioles, Tigers, Guardians, Orioles again, and then the Royals. I’m adding him now for that stretch run.

WHIP

Bailey Ober (SP – MIN): 34%

If you work a walk against Bailey Ober you must have fouled off more than a few pitches. The 6’9″ behemoth simply doesn’t issue free passes illustrated by his lowly 19 base on balls in 20 started games. With a better than 5:1 K to walk ratio you have to love Ober’s ability to not only keep his WHIP dramatically low but also the strikeouts he gets you. He’ll give up his fair share of long balls (like pretty much everyone else), but with such great control, the Twins righty can improve your WHIP while adding to your strikeouts.

Strikeouts

Tony Gonsolin (SP, RP – LAD): 37%

The Dodgers’ homegrown, diamond in the rough, has earned a spot in the starting rotation once again where he should garner a hefty amount of strikeouts. Gonsolin features a few nasty offerings including a high-velocity slider and a splitter that falls off the table. He also regularly touches 97 with his heater although his average is closer to 94.

Last year, he lost control of his fastball a bit but was still able to strike out over 27 percent of the batters he faced. His opponent’s batting average has never surpassed .200 in a season and if he puts it all together, he could be in for his best year yet.

Fully healthy to begin the campaign, Gonsolin could easily average nearly 7 K’s a start. Wins shouldn’t be much of a problem either with the Dodgers’ ridiculous supporting cast. Pick up Gonsolin in all leagues if you are short on strikeouts.

Saves

Cole Sulser (RP – MIA): 29%

Sulser was traded to Miami on Sunday, where he may or may not become the full-time closer. Although his role becomes a bit clouded, it could actually work in his favor. With Dylan Floro dealing with arm soreness, the organization obviously felt they needed to make a move. It could just be for added depth behind arguably their best reliever, Anthony Bender, but judging by Mattingly’s former comments, it seems as though the club’s more comfortable sending the young righty out in the eighth. When given the shot to close last season, it didn’t go well. The Marlins also roster Anthony Bass, but his best days are behind him and at best he’s a seventh-inning guy.

Going from the cellar-dwelling Orioles to a fringe team like the Marlins, Sulser’s value slightly increases, offsetting the questionable closer status. He’s still worth an add in most leagues.

It’s also not a bad idea to grab Bender if you have the room. He’s only rostered in 44 percent of leagues and has lights-out stuff.

Wins

Chris Flexen (SP – SEA): 31%

Sinkerballers who don’t rack up a ton of K’s, always leave fantasy players feeling a little ho-hum. While there is obvious value to the high strikeout guys, players like Flexen who consistently put up zeros and pitch deep into games also play an important role. By keeping pitch counts low and allowing very few home runs, guys with Flexen’s type of repertoire can secure more than a few wins.

Having one of the best bullpens in baseball will also help, just as it did last year when Flexen racked up a sterling 14 victories. He’s not someone to start in every matchup, but he’ll rarely take a beating and will more often than not come out on the winning side of the competition. Add Flexen now for the Mariners opening tilt with the Twins.

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

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