The Padres will call back up Austin Hedges over the weekend. His bat looks ready to make an impact at the C2 position in deep leagues. Heading into Friday night, Hedges has ten hits in his last 22 at-bats with six runs, two HRs, and seven RBI. Over his first 75 at-bats in the majors in 2018, Austin had 30 Ks, which invites played of down nights and batting average risk. Last year he flashed upside power (18 HRs over 387 at-bats). Solid power out for a weak position.
Francisco Mejia won’t qualify at catcher for a few weeks, but his swing is trending toward the majors in June (.421 over 57 at-bats with six runs, three HRs, and 16 RBI) highlighted by his last seven games (14-for-29 with three runs, two HRs, and eight RBI). His ticket to the majors may come in the outfield after starting 20 games at AAA in 2018.
The Mets suffered a couple of injuries in the outfield leading to them pushing Dominic Smith to the OF four times already in his first 11 games. Wilmer Flores started the last five for the Mets with four hits in 18 at-bats with two runs, one HR, and three RBI while batting in the middle of New York’s lineup. Flores has power upside if given enough playing time. For now, a short-term cover while possibly developing into a buy and hold in deep leagues.
The Orioles benched Chris Davis for eight games after a brutal start to the year (.150 with four HRs and 15 RBI over 207 at-bats with 86 Ks). In his first game back in the starting lineup, Davis responded with a home run in two at-bats with two RBI and a walk. A bottom-feeding team desperate for power may need to take this dance while the price point is free.
A Fantasy owner will need to keep an eye on Isiah Kiner-Falefa going forward. His bat hasn’t been anything special so far in his major league career (.255 with two HRs, 21 RBI, and five SBs over 207 at-bats), but Texas gave him a start behind the plate this week. In 2017 at AA, Kiner-Falefa hit .288 with five runs, 48 RBI, and 17 SBs over 513 at-bats. Isiah has a five-game hitting streak (7-for-9 with four runs and four RBI). With regular at-bats and a catcher qualification, he’ll offer speed at catcher with a volume of at-bats helping his value in the counting categories.
Devon Travis found his rhythm over the last week leading to five starts in six game Travis has seven hits in 18 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, and four RBI. Fantasy owners once consider him a 20/20 type player, but speed has been none factor since 2014 in the minors (16 SBs over 396 at-bats). Bridge player who may surprise going forward.
I’m sure Fantasy owners dumped Maikel Franco into the free agent pool in shallow leagues after starting just one game over an eight-game stretch. Franco gets a reprieve for playing time with J.P. Crawford landing on the DL for six weeks after getting hit with a pitch. Franco smashed a home run with four RBI over the last week, which shows his explosiveness if given a run over regular at-bats. His K rate (16.0) suggest a correction in batting average going forward.
The power is starting to emerge in Johan Camargo’s swing. Over his last 81 at-bats, Camargo hit .259 with 12 runs, five HRs, and 17 RBI with most of the production coming over his last four games (6-for-19 with two runs, one HR, and nine RBI). Runs will be a problem based on his slot in the batting order, but Johan may move up in the order with a continued hit streak. More of a play in deep leagues.
Vision is a vital part of winning in the high-stakes market, and it’s easy to lose sight of an upside opportunity. Last week Matt Chapman landed on the DL for the A’s with a hand injury. No one in the high stake’s main event concluded that Franklin Barreto was going to be reward with starting at-bats and provide winning at-bats. His bat was relatively quiet at AAA (.231 with seven HRs, 20 RBI, and two RBI over 156 at-bats). Over his last three games with Oakland, while playing second base, Franklin has four hits in 13 at-bats with four runs, three HRs, and nine RBI. His success pushes his name to the top of the free agent list in most leagues this week. Barreto has a 20/20 skill set with batting average risk early in his major league career. Ride the hot hand for a week to see if his power continues with speed expected to follow.
The Royals finally called up Adalberto Mondesi from AAA. Over 120 at-bats in the minors, Mondesi hit .250 with 19 runs, five HRs, 21 RBI, and ten SBs. He started four of five games for Kanas City with empty results (3-for-14 with two runs, one RBI, and one steal). His attraction is the possible upside in speed while offering developing power. Mondesi will have batting average risk at the major league level until he gets his strikeouts under control.
There’s a fine line when filling out the back-end of your starting lineup in the Fantasy games. Sometimes a team needs power. Other times, a team is looking for speed. On occasion, a Fantasy owner just needs good at-bats. Well, Jason Heyward falls into the good at-bat category over his last 19 games (.370 over 81 at-bats with ten runs, two HRs, and eight RBI). He would be on a pace for about 75 runs and 75 RBI if he had 550 at-bats while digging a hole in power and speed. Heyward is a big guy, and he may surprise in all areas with a couple of hot weeks to push him in the right direction. Only a flier in deep leagues until more balls go over the fences, and he finds the roadmap to second base via steals.
Fantasy road kill lies in the Angels’ outfield by the name of Kole Calhoun. Over his first 173 at-bats in 2018, Kole hit .145 with 14 runs, one HR, 11 RBI, and three SBs. After 17 days on the DL an oblique issue, Calhoun returned in a big way. In his first four games, he has four hits in 12 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, three RBI, and one stolen base. Worth a ride in deep leagues for sure as his base skill set should lead to steady production going forward.
Stephen Piscotty played well over his last 18 games (18-for-61 with 11 runs, two HRs, and 13 RBI) to push his batting average to .243. In 2016, Piscotty showcased a steady bat (.273 over 582 at-bats with 86 runs, 22 HRs, 85 RBI, and seven SBs). He’s tending forward with a nice potential run in the cards over the last three months of the season. His mother passed away in May, which may have the reason for his early-season struggles.
It appears the Cardinals will turn to Daniel Poncedeleon next week after Michael Wacha landed on the DL with an oblique issue. Over 13 starts at AAA in 2017, Poncedeleon went 5-3 with a 2.45 ERA and 80 Ks over 66 innings. Daniel has 30-16 record over five seasons in the minors with a 2.73 ERA and 366 Ks over 409.1 innings. His walk rate (4.8) has been a problem in his two seasons at AAA, which will lead to risk early in his career in the majors.
The Diamondbacks have Shelby Miller penciled in to start on Monday after four rehab starts. Miller has a 5.00 ERA over 18 innings with 28 Ks. His only poor showing came on June 10th at AA when he allowed eight runs, 11 baserunners, and one HR over three innings with four Ks. His success is padded by two elite starts at High A (0.77 ERA over 11.2 innings with no walks and 18 Ks) highlighted by his last appearance (no runs over six innings with no walks and ten Ks). Intriguing arm going forward, but he’s going to have some downside over the next month until he builds up his arm strength and confidence.
The Braves placed Mike Soroka back on the DL this week with a right shoulder issue. His injury should clear the way for Kolby Allard to find his way to the majors. Over 13 starts at AAA, Allard has a 2.44 ERA with 59 Ks over 81 innings. Just like Soroka, Allard is only 20 years old with a plus minor league resume (21-16 with a 2.88 ERA and 295 Ks over 324.2 innings). His K rate regressed with each step up in the minors, which points to a developmental curve with the Braves. Possible short-term value even with 150 innings under his belt at AA in 2017.After a drop back down to AAA in mid-May, Freddy Peralta may be ready to keep a major league job for the rest of the season. Over his last three starts at AAA, Peralta allowed three runs and eight hits over 15 innings with 25 Ks. His success translated into another electric outing in the majors this week (six shutout innings with no walks and seven Ks). Over his 74.2 innings between AAA and the majors in 2018, Freddy has a 2.65 ERA and 109 Ks. Peralta lines up for double starts next week against Kansas City and at Cincinnati. Great buy and hold while understanding he may need a short leash if he’s not throwing strikes.