It’s risky, but Fantasy owners should roll the dice on Rob Refsnyder
Rob Refsnyder – New York Yankees
Highly debated and highly touted prospect Rob Refsnyder made his debut for the New York Yankees earlier this week. Refsnyder played in the two games preceding the All-Star break. Refsnyder batted two-for-seven, with his first career home run—a game winner over the Green Monster against the rival Boston Red Sox. A lot of great baseball minds have varying and polarizing opinions on Refsnyder. However, pretty much across the board his offensive ability is acknowledged and praised. His defense is also ranked consistently low. What’s up for debate is how valuable his bat truly can turn out to be. Refsnyder has shown that he can hit for contact and power in both the minor and major leagues. Obviously a player so young and with so little Major League experience is a risk for your fantasy team. But, he has a spot on the Yankees—at least for now. He should see at bats and could be the next big thing, at least for a few weeks. Your fantasy team could benefit from that explosion. Refsnyder is only owned in about 6 percent of leagues. Get ahead of the curve, before Refsnyder is batting it out over Major League fences.
Nick Hundley- Colorada Rockies
Hundley has appeared on this list before, and he will continue to until he gains the respect he deserves. Hundley is still only owned in 33 percent of fantasy leagues. He’s batted well for a catcher and plays very consistently. The Rockies’ backstop also has the highest WAR of any catcher not named to the All-Star team this year. He may not be a flashy name, and may not play for a flashy team, but he could certainly play for yours—and help it to a championship.
Carlos Rodon- Chicago White Sox
Miraculously, Rodon is still only owned in about 27 percent of leagues. However, 66 innings this season have proven enough for a spot in your rotation for the second half of this year, and years to come. He holds a 3.80 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP, not great numbers but expected for a young pitcher. He has struck out 68 batters, a good number for the innings he’s thrown. The 22-year-old has a wealth of promise that could carry your team in the future. He deserves a spot on your team.
Martin Prado’s flexibility makes him a good grab for standard leagues
Martin Prado – Miami Marlins
Martin Prado is expected to return to the Marlins after the All-Star Break after his rehab assignment with Class-A Jupiter. He’s officially expected back on Friday and could be a real difference maker for your fantasy team. Before Prado went out, he was batting .272 with 24 runs and 24 runs batted in. These statistics are enough to warrant a roster spot, but his flexibility is the biggest draw. Prado is eligible to play third base and second base for your team. That is huge for daily locking leagues where you can constantly be changing your lineup. Now is the time to grab Prado as he is expected to return next Friday.
AJ Pierzynski- Atlanta Braves
Pierzynski has been playing much more lately for the Atlanta Braves. His increased playing time has given the veteran a bigger opportunity to shine, and he’s taking full advantage. He’s batting .280 on the season with five home runs and 27 RBI—in only about 200 at bats. If you’re struggling to find an answer at catcher, Pierzynski might be the perfect fix.
Marcus Stroman- Toronto Blue Jays
As the halfway point in the season approaches, it is becoming important to be honest with yourself and your team. If you are completely out of the race, or imagining a situation in which you are, it may be time to start focusing on next season. Stroman could be the ace that pushes you to a championship next year. He is available in nearly every league, and would be easy to stow on your bench until keeper time rolls around. If you’re in a rebuilding phase, do so around Stroman.
The cast is off and Wil Myers should provide real late season value
Wil Myers- San Diego Padres
I know what you’re thinking. Wil Myers is injured and is definitely on the DL, but his cast is off and he should back in about a month. And more importantly, he is a fantastic keeper in dynasty leagues. His value will only continue to increase in the coming years. If Myers is available in your league (which he is in nearly 50%) It only makes sense to grab Myers and stow him away on your bench. He can be a key piece for fantasy teams heading into the playoffs.
Steven Souza Jr.- Tampa Bay Rays
Souza Jr. (involved in the same trade as Myers this offseason) is also available in 50% of leagues. Coming up on the halfway point, he hasn’t played as well as expected. But that should also change, for the better. His batting average is low, but the 14 home runs warrant enough value for a spot on your roster this year. And, more importantly, he again has great keeper value for the future. Nearing the All Star break, he would be a great addition to your team.
Ivan Nova- New York Yankees
Nova is still only owned in 28% of leagues. That is miraculous. Nova has pitched well so far since returning from Tommy John surgery. He has certainly pitched well enough to deserve a spot on your roster. He may fly under the rally, but he could be the key to your playoff push. A solid middle of the rotation arm is often the difference, and Nova is just that.
Chi Chi Gonzalez has only two wins, but sports an impressive 2.27 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP
Chi Chi Gonzalez- Texas Rangers
Even after getting knocked around by the Athletics on Tuesday, Rangers starter Chi Chi Gonzalez needs to be a priority if he’s currently sitting on your league’s waiver wire. The 23-year-old sports a wildly impressive 2.27 ERA, even though he doesn’t ring up too many strikeouts. His command is often suspect, having allowed 13 walks, but that doesn’t erase the fact that he’s allowed only 9 runs in in 35 2/3 innings. Gonzalez has been very impressive, yet is only owned in about 50 percent of fantasy leagues. He deserves a spot on your team.
Yunel Escobar- Washington Nationals
Escobar is now batting .331 on the season. He has hit four home runs on the season, half of them coming in the last 15 games. If you’re looking for a high average batter, the Nationals infielder is your guy. I’d love to se him steal more bases but that likely isn’t going to happen. If you can accept that and need average, grab Escobar. He is available in over 40 percent of leagues.
Francisco Cervelli- Pittsburgh Pirates
Cervelli is batting .308 on the season with two home runs and 19 RBI. He’s a stud behind home plate and a solid piece of the Pirates lineup. There are health questions surrounding the backstop, but if he can stay 100%, or even near that level, he is a force. I’ll say it again; catcher is the hardest position to fill in fantasy baseball. If you can get lucky enough to claim Cervelli, do so. You won’t regret it.
Yankees are looking for Ivan Nova’s curveball to come around
Ivan Nova – New York Yankees
Nova hasn’t thrown a MLB inning this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery nearly a year ago. But now Nova is running through rehab starts and looking healthy. His curveball has been slow to come around, but the Yankees coaching staff believes it’s almost there. Once Nova’s breaking ball is breaking again, the Yanks will likely shift Adam Warren to the pen. Nova is scheduled to throw just one more rehab start before rejoining the Yankees team. The relief comes at a perfect time for the Yankees, with Andrew Millers injury and Michael Pineda’s rising inning count. The Yankees are hoping for Nova to eat up solid innings and get back to the pitcher he has previously been. Nova shows a lot of promise and could be huge for your fantasy team. He is currently owned in only six percent of leagues.
Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants
I’ll stick with the theme of injured pitchers for number two on the list. Cain is a more obvious addition when coming off of the DL, but is still available in nearly 65 percent of leagues. He also hasn’t tossed an MLB inning this season. But, Cain has previously been huge for the Giants and may be the same for your team as we near the halfway point of the fantasy season. He threw a rehab start on Monday with no setbacks, but gave up three earned runs over 3 1/3 innings.
Ken Giles – Philadelphia Phillies
Over the Phillies last 15 games, Giles has pitched 5 2/3 scoreless with nine strikeouts and only three hits. On the entire season he holds a 2.00 ERA with 30 strikeouts and two wins. The reliever market is often heavily picked through in fantasy, but this may be a diamond in the rough. Giles is owned in only 24 percent of leagues, and could make a difference for your fantasy team.
Clay Buchholz is NOT setting the world on fire, but he can help your fantasy team
The curious case of Clay Buchholz has become even more interesting of late. The pitcher owns a 4.22 ERA on the season and had mixed results in yesterday’s no-decision against the Blue Jays. Buchholz fanned seven in six innings, but also gave up four runs on eight hits. The soon to be 31-year-old has been wildly inconsistent, but is still actually worth a roster spot on your fantasy team.
During his previous four starts before he got knocked around by the Athletics on June 7th, Buchholz had not allowed more than two earned runs in an outing and lasted longer than seven innings each time out.
Buchholz has been hot and cold, but is still the best pitcher on the cellar-dweller Boston Red Sox. He leads Boston with 81 strikeouts and sports the team’s lowest ERA.
Buchholz is NOT a must-own pitcher and certainly not a definite fix for your fantasy team. However, if your squad needs an upgrade at the pitching position, he could be a great pick up. After all, it’s often these mediocre, seemingly meaningless waiver wire procures that win championships.
Chris Young recently hit a rough patch, but should snap out of it this week
Chris Young- Kansas City Royals
Chris Young is a former relief pitcher who is making a major fantasy impact as a starter for the Royals. Young boasts a .99 WHIP and a sub 3.00 ERA, with four wins to show for it. He’s only pitched 45 2/3 innings on the season, but it doesn’t look like he’ll slow down any time soon. He’s been roughed up in his past two outings, but he should rebound Tuesday night when he takes the hill against the Twins. If you’re looking for a quick steal to bolster your rotation, Young may be your saving grace. The right-hander is owned in only 32% of leagues.
Jaime Garcia- St. Louis Cardinals
Though he has only pitched 27 innings on the season, Garcia has done enough to earn a spot on your fantasy roster. He’s another pitcher with a sub 3.00 ERA and a WHIP of 1.00. He has walked five batters on the season, though all of them came in his first start of the year on May 21. In his following three starts he has struck out 15 batters and walked none. The left-hander is getting hot at a great time for the Cardinals, and quite possibly you. Garcia is available in 31% of leagues.
Mike Pelfrey- Minnesota Twins
Pelfrey’s ERA looks good at 2.28, with a decent WHIP of 1.22. He’s won five games on the season as well. But, his last few starts are what should draw you to Pelfrey. His last time out he went eight innings without allowing a run and only walking one batter. In his four starts total he’s only allowed three earned runs. The upward trend is there on Pelfrey, and it is a perfect time for you to become a part of it. Pelfrey is available in almost 70% of leagues.
Celebrations surrounding Joey Gallo’s fantasy prowess might be a little premature
Joey Gallo lit up the baseball world last week with his promotional appeal and impressive debut after he smacked home runs in each of his first two major league appearances. His MLB fantasy value spiked through the roof, but the excitement might be a bit premature. However, in just 16 at-bats in four games, he has already registered a dizzying 10 strikeouts. TEN!!! That’s a boatload of K’s that is sure to drive potential fantasy managers crazy.
Gallo certainly has a fair amount of MLB fantasy value, but he is the baseball definition of feast or famine. After his breakout power display during his first two games, he’s struck out six times in two games including four in a row last night against the Royals.
Gallo’s regression arrived a littler earlier than adventurous fantasy owners were anticipating. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Gallo is not worth a spot on your fantasy team, but he might be a more attractive option in keeper leagues.
If you grab Gallo, you must understand what you’re signing up for. You’re not adding a player who will bat .400 and hit a home run a game. You’re getting a young, streaky player who is only on the team because of Adrian Beltre’s injury. Gallo is worth a spot on your team, but temper your expectations because he is a work in progress.
Jung Ho Kang has what it takes to bolster your fantasy lineup
Jung Ho Kang- Pittsburgh Pirates
Kang has quietly put in a solid rookie season this year and has tangible MLB fantasy value. Kang didn’t see much playing time to open the year, which allowed him to fade out of the forefront, but he is definitely shaping up as one of this year’s fantasy baseball sleepers. He’s coming off a bad week which ate into his numbers, but he’s still batting .280 with three home runs and 17 RBI. The shortstop is traditionally a tough position to fill offensively and this year is no different. Kang may be someone to look at for your fantasy team as he is currently owned in only 34% of fantasy baseball leagues.
Javier Baez- Chicago Cubs
Yes, Baez hasn’t seen any time in the Major Leagues this season. But, the Cubs have an interleague series next week against the Detroit Tigers. It is believed that Baez is a candidate to be called up for at bats in the designated hitter role for the American League venue games. It would be quiet hard to send down a player if he plays excellent in that series. Now may be the perfect time to snag Baez and store him on your bench. If there were a time for his breakout on the horizon, it would be now. You just have to decide if it’s worth the risk for your team. Baez is owned in less that 9% of fantasy leagues.
Mike Bolsinger is still carving a path through major league hitters
Mike Bolsinger suffered his first loss of the season, but is still the man to own for fantasy baseball team owners. Bolsinger is sporting an astonishing 1.15 ERA over 31-plus innings in five starts. He has 25 strikeouts against only 9 walks, but there are serious concerns about his velocity.
Bolsinger’s fastball doesn’t even touch 90 MPH on the radar gun. On average his fastball hits 86 MPH with his changeup at 83 MPH and curveball at 80 MPH. History will tell you that this lack of ball speed has to catch up with you and the losses will follow.
His contact rates are also high, which will eventually lead to balls finding gaps. This doesn’t mean he won’t have sustained success, just not to the level he’s set thus far this season. Bolsinger should hold down a spot in your starting rotation, but beware of the regression to come.