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NFBC Hitting Guide Week 21: Shea Langeliers, Brett Baty, Franmil Reyes (2022)

by Heath Capps | Featured Writer
Aug 21, 2022
Shea Langeliers

Good morning, gamers. We are officially heading into Week 21 at the NFBC, which spans from Aug. 22-28. Time is dwindling to make up ground, so let’s get into the analysis without delay.

This week, the Cubs and Cardinals each play eight games, while a whopping five teams play just five — ARI, DET, SD, SF, and WAS. Everyone else falls in between. The Rockies play two games at home in the first half of the week, but then travel to face the mighty New York Mets’ pitching staff in the second half. So with just six games on tap for Colorado, they aren’t must-starts for the duration of the week.

We’ll get into more scheduling things as we wear on. But in general, if you’re thinking about 15-team viability with the players mentioned below, you’re on the right track. Where there is shallow-league viability, I will make a mention.

Catcher

Shea Langeliers (C – OAK)

Langeliers was the most noteworthy prospect that Oakland received in the Matt Olson trade. The 24-year-old backstop projects as a starting catcher long term, and could eventually make the incumbent Sean Murphy expendable. In the short term, there should be enough at-bats between backup catching duties and the DH spot for Langeliers to make his mark in 15-team leagues. The profile here is swing-and-miss but with some in-game power. That’s just fine for a second catcher given that he should get a solid number of at-bats. The Athletics also catch seven games in Week 21, albeit against the power arms of the Marlins and Yankees. Still, there’s some solid volume ahead, and the upside of youth. We’ve seen that work out before, and the DH spot means he won’t always have the stress of managing a big-league game. I like this play for some power, so long as you can afford a potential batting average hit. That said, aren’t you already enduring such a hit with most of your second catching options? I thought so.

Nick Fortes (C – MIA)

Fortes is quietly up to six homers and five steals this year, while serving as Jacob Stallings‘ backup. Thing is, Fortes has outproduced Stallings offensively, at least from an overall perspective. Fortes has slashed .248/.326/.446, and his 5-for-7 performance on the basepaths is notable. Fortes’ 27.8 ft/s sprint speed ranks in the 64th percentile, too, so this isn’t a complete mirage. He’ll probably keep splitting time over the short term, as Stallings has actually been good over the last month (.349/.414/.492). Still, as Fortes is producing while splitting time, this is a cheap stab at second catcher production if you’re desperate. The Marlins only have six games for the week ahead, but there’s some suspect pitching on tap during the early part of the week against the Athletics.

Last week’s plays: Brian Serven, Austin Nola

Corner Infield

Joey Meneses (1B – WAS)

The 30-year-old is batting either second or third every day for the Washington Nationals, and therein lies the bulk of his value to you. He’s slow, and he’s never stolen more than two bags at any minor league level, so don’t expect steals. He has, however, contributed a couple of 20+ homer seasons and hit for average. So far in the bigs, he’s making contact at above-average rates and showing some power. It may not last forever, but it isn’t a stretch to see it continuing. The downside is just five games on tap for the week ahead, so you’ll probably want an alternative in the first part of the week, with just two games against the Mariners. However, with three games against suspect Reds pitching for the weekend half and his pathway to everyday playing time, he’s worth rostering.

Brett Baty (3B – NYM)

Baty is a 22-year-old physical beast, and he has started all five games since getting the call-up earlier in the week. He also homered in his first big league at-bat, and his ability to hit the ball hard has already shown up in games. This is a power play, make no mistake. A strikeout rate in excess of 25% seems likely given his minor league track record, but some loud hits should also follow. The Mets have some suspect opposing pitchers on tap for this week, namely the visiting Rockies in the second half of the week. Load up on Baty in all formats.

Last week’s plays: Vinnie Pasquantino, Elehuris Montero

Middle Infield

Jose Iglesias (SS – COL)

Speaking of Rockies, Iglesias is an unheralded one with some use as a middle infielder. You won’t get much in the way of homers or steals, but if you’ve been using Iglesias in a pinch, you are certainly enjoying the .313 batting average and the ability to rap out hits with regularity. Add in a partial Coors Field week and that Iglesias sees some time atop the Colorado order, and that’s enough for MI viability in 15-teamers. Just know what you’re getting. It’s late in the season, and if you can afford to risk your batting average for a player who will offer more power or speed, you should do so. But if you need to inch up the standings in batting average or if you’re just desperate, Iglesias can help you in a pinch.

Bryson Stott (2B, SS – PHI)

Stott has almost certainly lost a few fans given his absurdly slow start to the MLB season. I’ll confess to drafting him aggressively in multiple formats, souring, dropping him, and then adding him back again. It has been a journey. Ultimately, though, Stott has offered some decent power and speed. He’s up to seven homers and six steals, and his batting average is climbing steadily despite his uninspiring .222/.283/.343 overall slash line. However, that’s mostly the March/April (.133 BA) and May (.116 BA) months dragging him down. Whew, those months were lean. There were zero homers or steals during that stretch, too. As I said, Stott likely lost some fans. Since that time, though, he has given us months of .238, .226, and .317. Put differently, he struck out in excess of 30% in his first two months. Over the next three months, he has strikeout rates of 14.6%, 6.5%, and 17.5%. Stott has shown growth, and he’s elite in some plate discipline metrics. A 5.8% swinging-strike rate is super, and his 28.6% chase rate is in the 75th percentile. Stott marries that with 90th-percentile sprint speed, and the ability to also hit some home runs. Don’t jump ship just yet. The Phillies have a great slate of hitting for the week ahead, with a robust four games versus the Reds in the first half of the week, followed by more suspect pitching from the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend. Stott has shown power against RHP and the ability to hit for some average against LHP. Get him into those MI slots where you have a need for a little bit of everything.

Last week’s plays: Vaughn Grissom, Paul DeJong, Michael Massey

Outfield

Manuel Margot (OF – TB)

Margot returned yesterday (Saturday) from an extended absence due to a right patellar tendon strain. He returns to a .301 batting average, with three homers, and five steals in 52 games. We’ve seen Margot operate at a 10+ homer, 20-steal pace before. And this year is arguably his best, as he is setting career marks in batting average, OBP, slugging, wOBA, and wRC+. The Rays might move with some caution given that he just returned, but Tampa also has a pretty full seven games on tap for the week ahead. They are also projected to see three lefties (out of four games) in the first half of the NFBC week, so Margot would appear to be pretty safe. He is batting .378 against lefties this year, with a minuscule 9.6% strikeout rate, .404 wOBA, and 174 wRC+. His not being in the lineup for that slate of arms would be fantasy baseball blasphemy.

Franmil Reyes (OF – CHC)

We are back to the Franimal. Much like Bryson Stott, Reyes is a guy I drafted in multiple places, relied on, soured on, and then wended my way back around. As noted in the beginning, the Cubbies play a whopping eight games this week. The second half against the Milwaukee Brewers’ stout staff looks like a spot to avoid. However, the first half of the week features a five-game set against the Cardinals, with a doubleheader on Tuesday. That’s a lot of volume, folks.

Yes, Reyes’ 35.6% strikeout rate is of grave concern. However, the .230 batting average is not, especially not if it continues to be joined with the power production we’ve come to know and love from Reyes. This could be a classic case of a change of scenery doing a player some good. It’s anecdotal, but I can’t imagine there’s a ton of pressure as a member of the Cubs, not with that 52-67 record. I’ll also mention that the March/April split is by far the worst of Reyes’ career, with a .219 BA and a pedestrian .304 wOBA during those months. But did you know that Reyes has strikeout rates of just 28.9% (July), 28.7% (August), and 29.3% (Sept./Oct.) over the course of his career? Also, for his career, he has batting averages in excess of .262 during the final three months of the season, and with all of his usual power production. He’s sluggish out of the gate, sure. But the summer and late summer are the times when he typically gets going. Let’s say you have a slugger with a K-rate under 30% and an ISO in excess of .200 for the rest of the year, while batting above .240. Does that make you happy?

LaMonte Wade Jr. (1B, OF – SF)

Wade is worth mentioning given his status atop the Giants’ order when they face right-handed pitching. He’s yet another guy whose overall slash line is ugly, but he has continued to not strike out much this year, and he continues to show power against right-handed pitching. He is the fantasy baseball embodiment of “you had one job”. Wade’s job is to bash right-handed pitchers, and on the year he has all eight of his home runs in said split — including five homers in the month of August alone. That comes with a .184 BA this month, but that doesn’t jive with his 20.9% strikeout rate and his .083 BABIP is destined to rise. His .215 xBA isn’t stellar, but it’s far better than his current .183 batting average. Wade is a career .230 hitter, though. You’ll need to manage him, but the weekend half that’s coming looks promising, as it is a string of three right-handers. If you’re digging deep for a little power, he’s a good one to add on the cheap.

Last week’s plays: Jake McCarthy, Lars Nootbaar, Oscar Gonzalez

That’s it for me on this fine rainy morning. As always, I’d love to chat fantasy baseball with anyone. Find me @HeathCapps on Twitter and tell me who you are rostering at the NFBC for the stretch run!


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