Here’s a brief look at who to add right now to your fantasy baseball leagues. No frills, just digging in. Let’s do it.
C Omar Narvaez, Milwaukee Brewers (35% listed)
He is still not owned enough. He is the number 10 catcher in 5×5 leagues right now, mainly due to the shiny .361 batting average. Since the beginning of April, he mainly moved from seventh in the order to fifth – but on Monday night he beat others for the offensively challenged Brewers. As a unit, Milwaukee is in 28th place on average (.209) and 28th in SLG (.349). They need help to score races, and Narvaez seems to be working his way into the circle of trust. Early drafts of the season’s playing time are (so far) unfounded – his 47 PA ranking is 11th in the catch position. He’s a solid second catcher in your fake leagues, and has a chance to finish as a top 12 option due to his ability to beat for batting averages.
C Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks (29% Rated)
Kelly is the No. 7 catcher in 5×5 leagues, he is there because of .400 BA and the three homers already. He has also taken up the line-up. Here are his slot machines since April 7: 7, 8, 8, 7, 2, 7, 5. There is a general trend there that we like to see. There are also some lost games, as he does not watch as long as we would like. His 41 PA ranked 17th in the position. Until he gets more time, I think you’ll look at him as another catch option. Kelly pulls a lot of fly balls, so he will be prone to falls in the batting average. However, right now he is sticking the ball, so good things are happening. His Statcast page is mostly blood red – right now he’s 90th percentile or better in hard hit, xwOBA, xSLG, fat rate and walk rate. I like him for power, if that’s what you need.
1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (34% list)
The last couple of years have been a disappointment, but an early return on his stroke quality is encouraging. He is in the top 10% of the league in xBA, xSLG, xwOBA and maximum exit speed. Right now, I think you need to treat the veteran as a solid alternative on the corner. He has two or more hits (and one homer) in the last three games.
1B / 3B Travis Shaw, Película No Mires Para Abajo(25% listed)
He’s going to be owned much higher than this at some point this season. The double qualification is fine, as is his opportunity to strike in the middle of the order in a first-class hitters park. So far he is 0-for-9 against southpaws, so his performance against right-handers carries him. It’s been typical over the course of his career, though, so it’s not a big deal – and he’s obviously going to be on that board soon in that split. I’m waiting for the next block for the home to come, and I bet we’ll see his ownership jump up in a hurry. You can come in now, while the cost is minimal.
2B Nick Madrigal, Chicago White Sox (46% listed)
The midfield is disgusting below the 50% threshold. Madrigal is a safe game to beat the average – he has a strike through 52 PA so far – and SHOULD be a safe game for double-digit stealers during a season. If there is help from the midfield you need, I prefer his stroke average and speed over the next guy …
2B / SS / OF Kiké Hernandez, Boston Red Sox (24% listed)
In basic leagues you can not consider this piece. But if it’s a league of mowing and you need some power, you can add Hernandez and hope for something in the area with an average .250 and decent power – maybe even sneaky stats. He has scored two races in each of his last three games, and he has done enough with the stick to stay in the leadership role so far. I do not think it will last, but you can ride the wave and pray.
OF Zach McKinstry, Los Angeles Dodgers (43% listed)
He hits sixth or seventh for the Dodgers while Cody Bellinger (left fibula fracture) is on the shelf, and with Bellinger expected to be out longer than expected, he will have some ties. Bellinger is considered worse than “day-to-day”, as far as we know. It’s also the fact that Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts compared McKinstry to Chase flipping Utley, which is pretty darn high praise. So it seems that his role is currently secured. He is known as a tough nose, who never takes a play, and we know that leaders love these types – even if they lack certain tools. McKinstry never showed juicy category juice in minors, but he should offer decent power while given this opportunity. And despite the fact that he does not run much in minors, he is entitled to the 70th percentile for sprint speed, so it is not as if he is slow. I love to take a chance on guys like this and see where the show goes. Even if Bellinger returns, it’s just another real injury to another player, and McKinstry can stay longer.
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OF Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets (46% listed)
He does not have a home run yet, but he has been a hit machine, and he already has a couple of steals. He has scored three hits in three of his last four games, and has his early season batting average up to .447. In the course of a year, I think he’s a 15/15 kind of guy, with all the counting statistics you expect from a guy who has the lead role pretty well in hand. He’s a glue guy for many of my outfields this year, and I’m still “inside” him.
SP Anthony DeSclafani, San Francisco Giants (39% Listed)
Although he stumbles against the Phillies this week, he has done enough to guarantee ownership in all but the shallow leagues. The Giants are fast becoming the place where pitchers go to rebuild value, and why should we not be more “in” on a guy like this given the friendliness of the home environment? I have “Tony Disco” on many teams this year, and he has done nothing to make me believe that I will not continue to keep him – even if the Philly start is not the smoothest.
SP Taijuan Walker, New York Mets (38% Listed)
Walker managed only 4 1⁄3 innings in his last turn, but he still knocked out eight hits. Like DeSclafani, I love his home park, although NL East is not the biggest place to get the strength of the opposing offenses. Walker is still only 28 years old, although it feels like he has been around much longer. He was able to rebuild somewhat in 2020 due to his 2.70 ERA, although he threw himself a little over his head (4.56 FIP, 4.82 xFIP). So far this year, his strike is up, and I hope he can stay healthy long enough to capitalize on the early turn-and-miss he shows. His fluctuating strike rate of 12.0% is one of the better grades in his career, and so is his hunting rate of 31.3%.
RP Kendall Graveman, Seattle Mariners (40% listed)
Graveman seems to have the role locked in Seattle, and that’s enough for me. I know, hashtag analysis. I took some early arrows on him this year, so I’m definitely holding on to him now!
P Tejay Antone, Cincinnati Reds (29% listed)
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You can go for a guy like Greg Holland if you need to save, but I think he has borrowed time this year. Antone represents tons more