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By The Numbers: Joey Meneses, Vinnie Pasquantino, Justin Steele (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

by Taylor Tarter | Featured Writer
Aug 19, 2022
Joey Meneses

With the fantasy baseball playoffs approaching, some fantasy managers are working towards earning a playoff spot, while others are planning for next season.

Many leagues have passed their fantasy trade deadlines, so managers have to resort to the waiver wire for their needs.

Today’s column is designed to help fantasy managers identify widely available players who could be helpful adds down the stretch and could add value in the fantasy playoffs as well. Some may even earn a bump-up in value for next year’s draft season as well.

Below are three players to target for the next few weeks for those in need of a boost.

Joey Meneses (WAS – 1B) 16.7% Barrel Rate

Joey Meneses is a 30-year-old rookie that has caught fire for the Nationals since his call-up on August 2 after the MLB trade deadline.

He has played five games at first base and four in the outfield while entering the game as a pinch-hitter once. In those 10 appearances, Meneses is 14-for-35 (a .400 AVG) with five homers and seven RBI.

He has limited competition for playing time in a Nationals team bereft of top-level talent, which has resulted in Meneses seeing time in all but two of 12 possible games since he joined the team.

In his 10 appearances, he has gone hitless just once. It is limited time, but he is showing signs that some of what he is doing is sustainable.

The .360 BABIP is unrealistically high for a player like Meneses, but with a line drive rate of 23.3%, a higher BABIP than most other players is not out of the question.

Meneses also hits the ball extremely hard. His 16.7% barrel rate would be the highest among first basemen, the fifth-highest among outfielders, and the seventh-highest in baseball if he qualified.

Additionally, his 47.6% hard-hit rate is higher than that of Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto, and Pete Alonso – good company to be in for hard contact.

Meneses could be a sneaky add for teams looking to make a playoff push in fantasy leagues, and if he manages to stick with a team into next season, he could end up as a late pick in drafts.

Vinnie Pasquantino (KC – 1B) 50.4% Hardhit Rate

“Vinnie-P” is another player who should be added for those in need of offensive help who are looking to make a playoff run.

The first baseman has shown elite hard contact skills in 41 games with the Royals this season. His 50.4% hard-hit rate would be the 11th highest in baseball if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

His main competition for playing time at first base is fellow rookie Nick Pratto, but Pratto has been struggling while Pasquantino has flourished.

With his elite hard contact ability, the “Italian Nightmare” has managed seven home runs in 41 games, which would put him on pace for about 28 home runs over the course of a full season.

Pasquantino has also shown impressive discipline for a rookie, with a chase rate of 28.5%, a swinging strike rate of just 5.9%, and a contact rate of 86.7%.

He is available in a number of leagues and should be added immediately for teams in need of offensive depth. If he can continue to produce at his current rate, he should easily make it into the top 200 players for next year.

Justin Steele (SP – CHC) 9.38 K/9

One widely available pitcher that fantasy managers should add for the rest of the season is Cubs starter, Justin Steele.

Perhaps he is off fantasy managers’ radars because he plays for the Cubs, but those that have rostered him over the course of the season have benefitted from his output.

The lefty is better than league average at K/9, HR/9, GB%, and ERA. His BB/9 rate is .69 walks per nine innings, worse than the league average. It is one of few flaws hindering Steele this season.

Steele has also suffered from a below-average 69.8% LOB rate, something that has been somewhat of an issue for him throughout his time in the minors.

One piece of good news for fantasy managers is that his BABIP is higher than usual and likely ready for some positive regression, which should result in a lower ERA. His 3.63 ERA is higher than his 3.55 xFIP, which suggests good things are on the horizon.

Over the rest of the season, the Cubs face the Brewers, Reds, Giants, Marlins, and Pirates – all of which are in the bottom half of the league in batting average against lefties.

The Brewers, Reds, Giants, and Pirates are also in the bottom half of the league in terms of strikeouts versus lefties, along with the Mets, Rockies, and Phillies, whom the Cubs will also face in the remainder of the season.

This all bodes well for Steele, who has also likely earned consideration as a top 75 pitcher heading into 2023.

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