After about a month of the season, there are only four catchers offering edge (Yadier Molina, Gary Sanchez, Yasmani Grandal, and Francisco Cervelli) plus J.T. Realmuto played well in his 34 at-bats since returning from the DL. When looking at your team, it’s easy to get frustrated with the position and try to force a move that may not help your team.
The top catcher over the last week that may be in the free agent pool in 12 -league or smaller looks to be Alex Avila. He has four hits in his last 11 at-bats with three runs, one HR, and two RBI, but most of this production came in one game on April 24th (3-for-4 with two runs, one HR, and two RBI). His 23 Ks in 46 at-bats won’t earn more playing time, and the Diamondbacks will sit him against lefties. Avila has power, but his batting average invites downside risk due to his K rate.
Francisco Mejia has been quiet at AAA over his last six games (3-for-27) with relatively no production (one run). After 84 at-bats, Mejia is hitting .190 with tw0 HRs and ten RBI. Francisco remains the best out in the free agent pool at catching for a Fantasy owner, but he doesn’t have a clear opportunity in the majors at catcher. Just a player to follow at catcher, but he needs an injury at catcher in Cleveland to create a window to prove his worth. Mejia will need to play ten games at catcher in the majors before becoming catcher eligible.
With Eric Thames expected to miss a couple of months of the seasons with a torn UCL in his left thumb, Jesus Aguilar will be rewarded with a bump in playing time. Milwaukee still has an extra outfielder, and Ryan Braun will slide over to first base in some games. On the year, Braun played five games at first base putting him a week or so away from qualifying at the position. Over the last week, Aguilar has started at first base in three of seven games despite hitting .381 in 42 at-bats on the year with a home run and eight RBI. More of a bench player in shallow leagues with his best opportunity for at-bats coming against LH pitching.
In one of the 12-team leagues that I’m in, Josh Bell was launched into the free agent pool last week. Over his last 54 at-bats, Bell doesn’t have a home run while hitting .204 with nine RBI. He’s a much better player than he’s shown highlighted by his growth in power and production in 2017 (26 HRs and 90 RBI). Last year I drafted Josh in a 12 -team league and similarly released him. The team that picked him up was rewarded with a nice end of the year. Love his upside and his power and batting average will be corrected as the season moves on.
Yolmer Sanchez tends to get overlooked by Fantasy owners based on his low upside in power and steals. With the right team structure, he can add value to a Fantasy team at second base. Over his last nine games covering 36 at-bats, Sanchez hit .306 with four runs, no HRs, five RBI, and two SBs. Buy him as injury cover while understanding he may surprise in his counting stats. At the very least, Yolmer will be in the lineup on most days.
With Joe Panik placed in the DL with a left thumb injury that may require surgery, Alen Hansen will battle Kelby Tomlinson for playing time at second base for the Giants. Tomlinson started the last two games while hitting .306 on the year over 36 at-bats with no HRs and three RBI. His skill set tends to be boring with his best chance of helping a team coming in average and speed. Hanson smashed a three-run homer in a pinch-hit role on Saturday, which may be a sign of more at-bats. He has 30+ SB upside and double-digit power if given the green light on the base paths and everyday at-bats. Alec could be a sneaky short-term out in speed.
Most Fantasy owners expected Eugenio Suarez to miss a couple of months of the seasons with a thumb injury leading to him being dumped by some owners in shallow leagues. Surprisingly, Suarez returned to the starting lineup after only missing 17 days of the season. He has four hits in his first 14 at-bats since returning from the DL with two runs and one RBI. Excellent free agent pickup if he’s sitting in the waiver wire this week.
Ryon Healy found his way to the free agent pool as well due to an injury. He returned to the Mariners’ lineup on Thursday. Healy has three hits in 12 at-bats since returning from the DL with two runs, one HR, and two RBI. He has a 20/80 skill set while his minor league resume points to an edge in batting average.
Over his last nine games, Eduardo Escobar has 12 hits in 36 at-bats with seven runs, two HRs, and five RBI. His bat is rounding into form, and the Twins will have him in the lineup on most nights with Jorge Polanco expected to miss another two months of the season with his suspension. Eduardo won’t offer any value in speed, but he has enough power to produce 20+ HRs with a starting job.
Adeiny Hechavarria played well over his last ten games (15-for-38) while delivering nine runs, two HRs, and seven RBI. He has a hit or more in nine of his last ten games. Hechavarria is at best a 55/10/50/5 player, so he works only has an injury cover.
The Diamondbacks gave Jarrod Dyson the last six starts in the outfield with Steven Sousa on the DL. Surprisingly, Dyson hit a pair of HRs over the last week. In his career, Jarrod now has 14 HRs in 1,780 career at-bats in the majors. His calling card is speed, and they will come with regular at-bats. Possible short-term flash player in speed if your team needs a quick boost in steals.
My boy, Joc Pederson, may finally get a chance to see semi-regular at-bats for the Dodgers with Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp banged up. Pederson started the last four games for LA leading to seven hits in 13 at-bats with a run and five RBI. His approach at the plate has been excellent this year (11 walks and nine Ks over 55 at-bats) pointing to an explosive run in the near future.
The Giants expected to have Hunter Pence back in the starting lineup early next week after missing about two weeks with a thumb issue. His start to the 2018 season looks rather boring (.172 with no HRs and three RBI over 58 at-bats) especially with 22 Ks added to his stat line. His best days look to be behind him, but Pence should be in the lineup on most nights.
The Pirates will give Nick Kingham his first major league start on Sunday. Over four starts at AAA, Kingham has a 1.59 ERA with 27 Ks over 22.2 innings. His 2017 resume AAA (4.13 ERA over 113.1 innings with 933 Ks) doesn’t paint a high upside picture. In his minor league career, Nick has a 3.37 ERA with 617 Ks over 721.2 innings. He features a low-90s fastball followed up by an upside changeup and league average curveball. His value/window will be determined his success in his first start.
Tyler Glasnow is the starting pitcher to own in Pittsburgh. He may even get a start next week after Steven Brault pitched his way out of the starting rotation. Over his last three appearances, Glasnow allowed three runs and six hits over 8.2 innings with five walks and 12 Ks. He still needs to clean up the walks, but he’s tough to hit with high upside in Ks. Excellent buy and hold if your team has some bench space.
The Mariners decided to drop Andrew Moore down to AA in 2018 after struggling in the majors in 2017 (5.34 ERA over 59 innings). His struggles were tied to 14 HRs allowed. Over five starts in the minors, Moore has 2.96 ERA with 34 Ks over 27.1 innings. He may get the call to be the fifth starter in Seattle if Erasmo Ramirez continues to struggle.
Over four starts at AA, Stephen Gonsalves is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA and 25 Ks over 20.1 innings. Batters are only hitting .167 against him in 2018 (.201 in his minor league career), but Gonsalves needs to clean up his walks (ten). Possible fifth starter for the Twins this summer.
Michael Kopech allowed one hit over six innings in his last start at AAA with eight Ks. Over 21 innings pitched in 2018, Kopech has a 2.14 ERA and 29 Ks with batters hitting .189 against him. He’s coming soon to a mound near you.
The Phillies are expected to give Drew Hutchison a start next week after Ben Lively landed on the DL with a back issue. Over his last 8.1 innings in Philadelphia’s bullpen, Hutchison allowed two runs and eight hits with nine Ks. Drew did show some upside in 2014 with he had 184 Ks over 184.2 innings with the Blue Jays, but his ERA (4.48) was out of line compared to his WHIP (1.26). I don’t expect more than five innings in his start this week. Possible double starter the following week (SF and NYM) if you want to buy him a week early in deep leagues.