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Clearing Bases with Contreras

William Contreras

William Contreras

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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Ramon Urias, 3B, Orioles -- Available in 97 percent of Yahoo leagues

Urias had a great week at the plate, going 11-for-30 with three doubles and a homer. While his season line sits at a disappointing .231/.281/.347, he’s picked it up in May, hitting .263/.315/.450 with nine extra-base hits, including three homers. And there’s plenty of reason to think the 27-year-old infielder can keep it up. Urias’s 50.5 percent hard-hit rate ranks among the top 93rd percentile in baseball. That hard-hit rate paired with a 26 percent line-drive rate gives him a .279 expected batting average via Statcast. He put up similar numbers last season when he hit .279/.361/.412 with seven homers across 296 plate appearances. There’s a good chance he can be that kind of hitter going forward and makes for a decent addition for teams looking for a batting average boost at an infield position.


William Contreras, C, Braves -- Available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues

Contreras is off to an absolutely blistering start this season, hitting .281/.369/.702 with seven homers across only 65 plate appearances. The batting average and power output are supported by an elite 17.5 percent barrel rate and 47.5 percent hard-hit rate. The 24-year-old backstop got his opportunity with the Braves earlier this season after Manny Piña suffered a season-ending wrist injury. Contreras has certainly taken advantage of his playing time. The Braves have rewarded him by keeping his bat in the lineup at designated hitter and outfield. Given his power potential going forward and his playing time, Contreras has a legitimate chance at finishing as a top-ten catcher and should be added in all mixed leagues.


César Hernández, 2B, Nationals -- Available in 88 percent of Yahoo leagues

After seemingly selling out for power in 2021, Hernandez has gotten back to his contact-oriented ways at the plate this year. The 32-year-old second baseman is hitting .287/.339/.361 with 29 runs scored and a pair of steals while hitting leadoff for the Nationals. He had a particularly good week at the plate, going 10-for-28 with four doubles and six runs scored. Look for Hernandez to keep it going this week when the Nationals play three games in New York against the Mets before taking on the Reds in a four-game series in Cincinnati.


Tyrone Taylor, OF, Brewers -- Available in 93 percent of Yahoo leagues

Taylor flashed some interesting power/speed potential last season after hitting 12 homers and six steals across 271 plate appearances for the Brewers. A sleeper pick coming into the year, he got off to a slow start in April before picking things up in May, hitting .280/.329/.480 with four homers and a steal in the month. With multiple hits coming in five of his last ten games, now is the time to take advantage of the hot streak with eight games on the schedule for the Brewers. Four of those games are projected to come against left-handed starters. Taylor has hit cleanup against southpaws recently and sixth against right-handers.


Michael Harris II, OF, Braves -- Available in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues

With the Braves lacking production in the outfield, the team turned to Michael Harris II, recalling the 21-year-old top prospect from Double-A on Saturday. Travis Demeritte was optioned to Triple-A after hitting .162 with a 37 percent strikeout rate in May. And Adam Duvall has yet to get going, producing just a .527 OPS on the year. Meanwhile, Harris II had gotten off to a hot start in the minors, hitting .305/.372/.506 with five homers and 11 steals across 196 plate appearances. The speedster also stole 27 bases in 2021. Teams looking for a boost in the steals category should make a speculative pickup on Harris II.


Mitch White, SP, Dodgers -- Available in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues

White is coming off his longest outing of the season Thursday in Arizona. He tossed four scoreless innings with two hits and two walks allowed while striking out two batters. It was his second start as White continues to get stretched out with Andrew Heaney and Clayton Kershaw on the injured list. He’s a good bet to go at least five innings on Wednesday as we target his matchup against the Pirates in Los Angeles. Fantasy managers in 10-12 team leagues will likely have better options, but White could be a decent streaming option in deeper leagues for teams looking to pick up a win.


Jeffrey Springs, SP, Rays -- Available in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues

Springs has been excellent for the Rays since he was thrust into the starting rotation one month ago. On the season, he’s put up a 1.62 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts over 33 1/3 innings. Since joining the rotation on April 28, he’s produced an impressive 2.05 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and an excellent 20.6 percent K-BB rate across 26 1/3 innings. Where the 29-year-old left-hander has excelled is keeping runners off the bases with an elite 4.1 percent walk rate. And his 12.8 percent swinging-strike rate in that span could be an indication of more strikeouts to come. Springs went six innings against the Yankees his last time out, giving up two runs while collecting six strikeouts. This week, he gets a decent matchup against the Rangers, who have managed just a .693 OPS against southpaws this season.


Jakob Junis, SP, Giants -- Available in 92 percent of Yahoo leagues

The Giants have seemed to find some success with yet another reclamation project. Junis has produced a 2.76 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts across 32 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old right-hander entered the starting rotation earlier in May with Anthony DeSclafani on the injured list as he recovers from an ankle injury. Junis hasn’t been quite as effective as a starter, putting up a 3.97 ERA across 22 2/3 innings, but he’s still managed to yield a low 1.01 WHIP by walking just 4.4 percent of the batters he has faced. And leaning much more heavily on his slider and changeup has led to a significant increase in his ground ball rate, up to 49 percent. Junis lines up for two starts this week as he faces the Phillies and Marlins on the road.


Aaron Ashby, SP, Brewers -- Available in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues

Ashby was a popular sleeper pick coming into the season, but doubts about his role kept his draft price in check. As these things usually go, Ashby has found his way into the starting rotation with Freddy Peralta shelved for an extended time with a shoulder injury. The 24-year-old left-hander carries a 2.91 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and 39 strikeouts over 34 innings. This drop-off has been minimal as a starter, with a 3.26 ERA across 19 1/3 innings. You’d like to see a walk rate better than his 13.5 percent, but he’s been able to limit the damage by generating an impressive 65.9 percent ground ball rate. Ashby will get two starts to rack up the strikeouts, starting with matchups against the Cubs in Chicago, followed by the Padres at home in Milwaukee.


Art Warren, RP, Reds -- Available in 94 percent of Yahoo leagues

The Reds situation hasn’t been all that different than last season as we speculated on the closer all year. With Lucas Sims on the injured list, Warren, Alexis Diaz, Tony Santillan, and Hunter Strickland have mostly operated as a committee. But Warren picked up two of his three saves in the last week. He was in line for his third save chance Sunday when he entered the game with two runners on and two outs in the eighth. A misplayed ball in the infield extended the frame before Evan Longoria put the Giants ahead with a three-run homer. Diaz has been the most impressive reliever, with a 1.25 ERA and 29.5 percent strikeout rate. But the team seems to want to use him as the fireman in high-leverage situations. Teams desperate for saves could look to add Warren with the chance he’s allowed to take the ninth-inning role.