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Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Tyrone Taylor, Yonathan Daza, Tanner Scott (2022)

Jun 25, 2022
Tyrone Taylor

When you review your team in H2H Roto leagues, are you still on track with how you drafted? Have you abandoned all hope and gone a different direction? Are you, like me, wondering what exactly happened to Trevor Rogers, the lefty you were sure would anchor your dynasty staff for years to come? Those of us in that boat have started a grief group on Twitter – hit me up at @thewonkypenguin if you need support.

In many of my leagues, the waiver wire has become a wasteland, particularly with starting pitching. The good news is that there are a couple of “OK, I guess?” guys available as we wait for our IL slots to open up. Chances are high you’re not going to find anyone who hits all the categories, so it’s all right to plug-and-play for specific targets.

This is the month to live and breathe fantasy baseball, as so many of your league mates go on long, internet-free vacations or begin to ignore the waiver wire in favor of mock football drafts. You can win your leagues in July. Trust me.

Filling in for the great Austin Lowell means I follow his rules, so I’m offering only players rostered in 50 percent or less of Yahoo leagues. Each should provide some help in the category under which they are listed, and a few will check off more than one box.

RBI

Tyrone Taylor (OF – MIL) – 5%

Taylor is one of those “better in fantasy than real life” players, at least for our category analysis purposes. His Statcast page might be the most average-looking on the site as he sits in or around the 50th percentile in almost every category. His slash line is .226/.275/.426, and he only has eight home runs. So what is he doing here?

Well, he has 30 RBI in fewer than 200 at-bats, and he bats fifth in a lineup that should score in bunches during their four-game series against the hapless Pittsburgh pitching staff (with heartfelt apologies to David Bednar). While he would be a better option against a run of lefties, he still should have plenty of opportunities to fill the RBI sheet for you in the upcoming week and beyond.

Runs

Cesar Hernandez (2B – WAS) – 12%

The Nationals seem bad. Are the Nationals bad? <checks stats> Ah, yes. Washington is last in the NL in ISO and 13th in SLG and runs/game. But they do hit for average and strike out the least, so I guess we can give them a medal for that. Or we can roster Cesar Hernandez and take advantage of his run-scoring prowess.

There are fantasy baseball strategies focused on collecting leadoff hitters who can get on base in front of exceptional players. There aren’t many on the exceptional players’ list above Juan Soto. Unless there is an injury we don’t know about, Soto has some positive regression in his future, which means that his unsightly .214 average will come back up near his career .289 at some point.

And when it does, Cesar Hernandez’s run total (already high at 39) should increase along with him. Sure, it would be nice if Hernandez could notch his OBP up a few levels to get closer to his career .343. But in Week 12, the Nats are at home for seven games against the Pirates and the Marlins (and they are scheduled to avoid Sandy Alcantara in that series), and teams can score at will against those two clubs. Now is a great time to nab Hernandez.

Home Runs

Christian Walker (1B – ARI) – 41%

I’m not a mother, but please hear me, in the most nagging mother voice available, when I say: Why haven’t you kids gone outside and played with Christian Walker yet?

I’m not sure what else Walker needs to do to get the other 59% of Yahoo players hip to his tune but look at his Statcast page. It’s like a little parade of stop signs.

Walker is in the 98th percentile in xSLG. His current slugging is .490, a respectable above-average number. But his expected slugging is .619, a number that would put him between Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper. Goldy and Bryce aren’t rostered in only 41% of leagues.

It’s time to start inviting Walker to your parties, everyone.

Taylor Trammell (OF – SEA) – 1%

Trammell bats at the bottom of a weak Seattle lineup, but he has been on fire in the last week and has made the most of his 71 at-bats, homering three times with 13 runs, nine RBI, and two stolen bases. He faces Baltimore and Oakland for the next seven days, so feel free to ride the hot streak.

Stolen Bases

Miguel Rojas (SS – MIA) – 2%

The Marlins are second in all of baseball with 56 stolen bases, behind only the speedy Texas Rangers, who have 59. Rojas hasn’t done much offensively this year, slashing an ugly .239/.294/.353, but he has 13 hits in his last 10 games, and, more importantly for our purposes here, he has stolen three bases. He will not light the world on fire in this category, but he plays for a team with free reign to take off when they want to. With teammate Jon Berti running at will, I expect Rojas to follow suit and be on base more as he continues to heat up.

Of note: If you’re looking for steals on a week-to-week basis, target whoever is playing the Rangers, Angels, or Twins. All three teams allow over 83% of baserunners to take whatever base they like.

Batting Average

Yonathan Daza (OF – COL) – 4%

The Colorado Rockies are tied with the New York Mets for first in team batting average at .261. Daza is holding his own here with a current average of .320 and an expected average of .315, which puts him in the 98th percentile in the league in this category. He hits all over the lineup but has recently been slotting in second more often than not.

On top of that, you want him in your lineups for Week 12 when he gets seven games at home and four against lefties. He is batting an astronomical .436 with an OPS of 1.003 against southpaws, so you may collect some counting stats to go along with his stellar batting average.

Saves

Tanner Scott (RP – MIA) – 32%

Apparently, my job this week is to talk you into Marlins players (and here I was afraid I’d go prospect crazy and suggest nothing but Pirates). Tanner Scott is up to seven saves, having converted six of seven opportunities in June, and has a 2.79 ERA and 18:4 K/BB ratio in the same time frame. With a 36.6 K% in the upper echelon of the league and an xERA that suggests it should continue trending downward, the only knock on Scott is an unseemly 13.0 BB%… and the fact that he plays for Miami.

Strikeouts

Jon Gray (SP – TEX) – 47%

Josiah Gray (SP – WAS) 50%

The J. Gray movement is here. Jon is striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings, and his xFIP suggests he has been unlucky, and some correction is on its way. Josiah’s K/9 is 9.6, and his xFIP isn’t as friendly as Jon’s. But again, we’re attacking one category at a time, and both will boost your strikeout tally better than everyone else available in over half the leagues.

Nick Lodolo (SP – CIN) – 14%

Lodolo is scheduled to make one more rehab start this Wednesday, and if all goes well, he will rejoin the rotation. Before his injury, he struck out 19 batters in 14 2/3 innings. Chances are good that batters won’t continue to see a .401 BABIP against him, and his fastball routinely sits above 94 mph. Grabbing him off waivers now will save the rush following his Wednesday session and will add some strikeouts to your team’s totals in the future.

ERA

Tyler Wells (SP – BAL) – 13%

Tyler Wells isn’t going to help your strikeout numbers at all, so if you’re in a K/9 league, beware. He does, however, have a nice 3.34 ERA with an xERA of only 3.65. It may seem impossible for this to be true given his presence in the AL East, but I verified with three different sources. (We are required by law to do that when we’re recommending Orioles.)

One interesting note on the advanced metrics for Wells is that his category percentile improvement from 2021 to 2022 is staggering. Last year, his K% was in the 84th percentile; this year, that number drops to the ninth. But not trying to mow down lineups has resulted in weaker contact and, subsequently, an improvement in these areas.

He also comes with a 1.10 WHIP, so if you need ratio help, look no further.

WHIP

Griffin Jax (RP – MIN) – 11%

Here’s a quick look at Griffin Jax’s Statcast page:

Jax has been a stellar option in the Minnesota bullpen and has collected four wins and two saves as a result. While he struggled mightily last season as a starter, it seems he has found a groove in relief. In holds leagues (and anywhere you need a reliever), Jax will provide good numbers with a high strikeout rate. With Cleveland hounding down the Twins for first place in the AL Central and the closer situation in Minnesota being fluid, Jax isn’t going to hurt you and might provide more than just WHIP help in some cases.

Wins

Ross Stripling (SP – TOR) – 31%

Stripling is 4-2 on the season with the least flashy numbers in the league, but they aren’t atrocious either. In his case, the elements around him are set up for future wins.

The key to chasing wins is to find pitchers who like to go five innings on winning teams with good defense and a bullpen that doesn’t destroy everything its starters do.

Well, Toronto is 39-30 and averages 4.68 runs per game. ✅

In his last five starts since being stretched out into a starter, he has gone five or six innings save for one where he went 4 2/3. ✅

Toronto is third in MLB in defensive runs saved, which is perfect for a guy who throws to contact. ✅

And the Blue Jays’ bullpen ranks…

Well, three out of four will still get you some wins.

Thanks for letting me fill in, and if you have any feedback, I’m happy to discuss it anytime. And, as always, good luck!

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Kelly Kirby is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from her, check out her archive and follow her on Twitter at @thewonkypenguin.

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