Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Franmil Reyes, Brett Baty, Shea Langeliers (2022)
I hope you guys were able to collect some of those rookies last week. A few of them had monster showings, while one or two others lost out on some playing time. Most of them still hold plenty of value though, so if they are still available in your league, you may want to double back and swoop them up.
This week, we’ll be featuring some more newcomers as well as a few glossed-over veterans. A few of these guys had terrible first halves but seem to have found their stroke of late. Keep in mind that the season is starting to wind down, making any player on a hot streak that much more valuable. If any of your middle-of-the-road guys are slumping, they should have a much shorter leash with only seven weeks to go.
If you do need a replacement, look no further than these 13 studs who can help you in at least one major category. They’re organized by where they’re most likely to contribute, but many of them will aid you in more ways than one.
All players listed are rostered in under 50% of Yahoo leagues but could be well above that mark by week’s end. So don’t miss out!
Franmil Reyes must like Chicago a heck of a lot more than Cleveland. No offense to those Ohio natives out there, but since Reyes left the Buckeye State, he’s gone 14-for-38 (.368 BA) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and six RBIs. He did face some weaker competition, but that shouldn’t completely cancel what he’s doing at the plate. The Cubs’ new DH has been hitting fourth or fifth in the lineup daily and has looked like a completely different player since being DFA’d.
Reyes has been productive in the past, and after dealing with an injury earlier in the year, the Dominican slugger may just now be feeling like himself again in the South side of Chicago. Add Reyes ASAP if you need help in RBIs.
AJ Pollock is as streaky as they come, but when he’s right, the hot-and-cold veteran can often lead your team. Currently batting leadoff for the Chi Sox, Pollock has raised his OBP to .328 this month. He’s cooled off over the last few days, but as long as he’s hitting atop the order, the 34-year-old should continue to be a strong candidate to score runs.
Pollock offers decent pop and can hit for average, but you need to snag him during a hot streak or he can drag you down. With KC, Baltimore and Arizona on the horizon, it might not be a bad time to take a chance on the wily veteran.
The Future Game’s MVP this year looks capable of going yard with every swing. Coming over as the headliner in the Matt Olson trade, the Braves’ ninth-overall pick in 2019 should be a staple in the middle of the Oakland order for years to come. They’ve already moved him up to fifth in the lineup despite playing in just three Major League games.
Langeliers’ power stroke does lead to a hefty amount of strikeouts, but as a catcher who’s going to play every day (will DH mostly), he deserves attention. The backstop’s average is only .200 at the moment, but his slugging sits at .523 thanks to two doubles and a homer he clubbed in his first three games. The 24-year-old Baylor star also has three RBIs to his credit.
Langeliers hit 22 home runs in 329 at-bats last year for the Double-A Mississippi Braves and hit 19 homers this season for Triple-A Las Vegas. He likely won’t blow you away with his numbers, but hitting every day in the middle of the Oakland order, Langeliers could break into the top 12 for catchers over the final seven weeks and hit plenty of homers.
Wade Jr. is also capable of hitting long balls in bunches, but he sits versus lefties and has an average below .200. He also doesn’t steal bags and obviously doesn’t qualify at catcher. However, if you’re in a deep enough league that allows daily lineup changes, then Wade and his five home runs since August 6th could be a nice fit.
The only question surrounding Baty is what category to put him under. While his batting average will likely be his biggest strength, he’ll also score runs, hit some balls out, drive in a few and even walk. The speed is lacking, but other than that, the second-ranked prospect in the Mets system and 26th overall in all of baseball according to FanGraphs can contribute across the board.
After putting up solid numbers over three years in the Minors, Baty finally got his chance this week and didn’t disappoint. In three tightly-fought, meaningful division games, Baty went 3-for-10 with a home run and four RBIs. He has taken over the everyday third base job with Eduardo Escobar likely to spend significant time on the IL with an oblique injury. Not that he was hitting the cover off the ball anyway, but he won’t stand in Baty’s way nonetheless. Luis Guillorme is also expected to miss nearly a month.
With everyday playing time opening up for the Mets’ future star, now is the time to obtain his services before he continues to rake and garner more attention. He hit .315 in the Minors this year, and while the strikeouts are to be expected, an average above .285 is not out of the question.
Haggerty’s playing every day, stealing bags and scoring runs. Acting as a secondary leadoff hitter at the bottom of the lineup, the Mariners’ right fielder has stolen three bases over the last five games while scoring four runs. He’s got nine swipes on the season in just 51 games while also maintaining a robust .310 batting average.
The Yankees’ recent call-up has the speed to burn, but if he can’t get on base then what’s the point? If you’re desperate for steals and are in a very deep league, you may want to take a flier on the center fielder while he’s getting playing time, but he’s going to need to turn it around quickly.
With Carlos Carrasco down for the count, it should be Peterson who finds his way back to the starting rotation. With a 3.30 ERA on the season and a 10.37 K/9, the Mets’ gigantic lefty should be added back to rosters in leagues where he was dropped.
He did have a few bad games where he lost control of his fastball, but overall Peterson has been quite valuable to New York and fantasy players (6-2 record with 91 K’s in 79 innings). With a filthy slider that generates a ton of swings and misses, Peterson deserves a roster spot on those teams lacking strikeouts.
Ross Stripling is back and he made quick work of Baltimore, pitching nearly a perfect game through 6 1/3 innings. He rarely walks any batters and has flirted with a 1.00 WHIP all season long. The Blue Jays will lean heavily on the ex-Dodger throughout the remainder of the season with a few of his fellow teammates struggling.
Stripling is a no brainer at this point, especially if you’re struggling with WHIP. His changeup’s been masterful and he belongs on rosters in all leagues.
Wacha Wacha! This dude’s been incredible. After sitting out games for over six weeks, the 6-foot-6 righty returns to blank the Yankees over seven straight innings. I’m cheating a bit by allowing him to make this list but if you’re one of the players in the 45% of leagues he’s available in, run, don’t walk to pick him up. As long as he’s healthy, Wacha has shown he’s back to being the dominant pitcher he was earlier in his career.
Since Wacha is rostered in over 50% of leagues it seems only right to supplement him with someone who isn’t. Austin Voth is usually someone I get excited about when my batters get to face him, but since coming over to Baltimore, the coaching staff has been able to improve his performance as they have with nearly the entire staff.
Over the last seven games (six starts) Voth has allowed just eight runs, including his latest outing where he only gave up two hits and no runs over six innings against Toronto. His ERA during that span, dating back to July 10th, is 2.27. He’s 3-0 over the impressive run and has struck out nearly a batter per inning.
Voth is still a scary name to roster because of his past, but he did produce one excellent season (although just nine games) back in 2019. With new coaching, he seems to have found his way again and can be gambled on in deeper leagues.
The Cubs southpaw has looked great since returning from the IL earlier this month. In three games since his activation, the oft-injured veteran has allowed only two runs over 17 innings. The matchups weren’t impressive but the movement on his pitches was, bringing hope to future success. Smyly’s ERA for the season stands at 3.67 and he’s already racked up a palatable 65 K’s over 76 innings.
He’s got some tougher competition ahead but he did perform well against the Phillies and the Mets before going with injury. It’s a risky move to start him against the Cardinals this week, but if you’re back in the standings it may be worth the gamble.
The Rangers haven’t had a lot to celebrate this season, culminating with the firing of their manager and GM, but if there’s been a bright spot, it’s the bullpen. Headlined by a group of mainly unknowns, Texas’ bullpen ranks near or in the top 10 of most statistical categories (and they’ve had to pitch a lot with their starters producing so poorly). With Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez back from injury, they’ve got a solid five or six arms that can shut down any offense.
Even with all the competition, it’s been Hernandez who’s been handling the closing duties of late. Earning four saves since the end of July, Hernandez has cemented himself as a fantasy-worthy closer. His ERA is 2.45, his ground ball rate is 71% and he strikes out nearly a batter per inning.
The Rangers don’t win half of their games, but when they do, Hernandez should be the one to close it out. Add the Rangers stopper now if you’re in a tight battle for saves.
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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.