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Oscar Gonzalez, OF, Guardians -- Available in 98 percent of Yahoo leagues
Gonzalez earned a promotion after hitting .282/.308/.506 with nine homers over 182 plate appearances in Triple-A. He’s gotten his major league career off to a hot start with the Guardians, going 13-for-36(.361) with three doubles and just five strikeouts. The contact skills are encouraging after he had just a 14.3 percent strikeout rate in the minors. Gonzalez has made contact on 90 percent of pitches in the zone. And he’s hitting the ball hard, with a 55.2 percent hard-hit rate. Aside from the impressive contact ability, there’s plenty of power potential in his bat. He tends to hit the ball on the ground too much but still managed nine homers in a small sample in Triple-A. Gonzalez also launched 31 combined homers across Double-A and Triple-A in 2021. This week, the Guardians get a four-game home series against the A’s, who have allowed a 5.71 ERA over the last two weeks -- fifth-worst in baseball.
Anthony Santander, OF, Orioles -- Available in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues
The team with the worst ERA in baseball over the last two weeks is the Kansas City Royals, who the Orioles will get for four games in Kansas City to end the week. Santander is a widely-available slugger that can take advantage of these matchups. He’s up to nine homers this season with a .228/.330/.396 triple-slash line across 226 plate appearances. It’s essentially the same pace he was on last season when he hit 18 homers over 438 plate appearances in 110 games. He could hit 25 home runs by the end of the year as long as he can stay on the field. But whether you need a Santander for the long haul or not, this could be an ideal week to stream him in most mixed leagues if you’re light on power.
Matt Duffy, 1B/2B/3B, Angels -- Available in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Taylor Ward on the injured list nursing a strained hamstring, Duffy has taken the leadoff spot for the Angels over their last two games. The 31-year-old has been on and off the injured list himself, but he’s performed when on the field, hitting .300/.356/.325 across 87 plate appearances. With no home runs or steals, Duffy leaves much to be desired when it comes to production across multiple categories. But as long as he can continue to hit for a good average and get on base, he should be in line to score some runs hitting ahead of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, especially this week with seven games on the schedule for the Angels.
Frank Schwindel, 1B, Cubs -- Available in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues
Schwindel had a rough go of it to start his campaign, even earning himself a brief demotion to Triple-A. Before he was optioned on May 8, he was hitting .209/.250/.308. The team needed depth shortly after and recalled Schwindel a day later. That might have been what he needed. Since May 9, the 29-year-old first baseman has hit .275/.330/.520 with six homers and 20 RBI over 27 games. Schwindel has been hitting fourth in the lineup for the Cubs over the last week. And should continue to do so as long as he’s producing.
Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs -- Available in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hoerner has had trouble getting consistent playing time with the Cubs. Hopefully, a hot stretch can change that. The 25-year-old shortstop has hit well while running wild on the bases over his last nine games, going 12-for-35 with four steals. On the season, Hoerner is hitting .294/.324/.412 with three homers and six steals over 142 plate appearances. His 93 percent zone contact rate, 21 percent line-drive rate, and 39 percent hard-hit rate are great signs that he’ll continue to hit for a good batting average. So teams looking for some speed that won’t kill their other categories should consider Hoerner.
Spencer Strider, SP, Braves -- Available in 62 percent of Yahoo leagues
Strider has made two starts since transitioning from the bullpen. After getting hit for three runs over 4 1/3 innings in his first start against the Diamondbacks, he faired much better against the Rockies, giving up one run with five strikeouts over four. The strikeouts have been there for the Strider, but he’ll need to start limiting the walks to find sustainable success in the rotation. We’ll look for him to put together a strong start and go five innings for the win this week when he takes on the Pirates in Atlanta. Pittsburgh has produced the fourth-highest strikeout rate as a team at 24.4 percent and the fourth-lowest WRC+ at 87.
Jon Gray, SP, Rangers -- Available in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues
There were high hopes for Gray coming into the year as he was finally freed from pitching his home games in Coors Field. It’s been a mostly disappointing season on the surface, with a 4.83 ERA across 41 innings. But looking a little closer, Gray might have just been unlucky through the start of the year. His 3.76 FIP and 3.53 xFIP sit over a run below his ERA, indicating he’s pitched much better than the surface stats show. Some regression towards those better numbers started with his last outing. Facing the Rays on Wednesday, he struck out 12 batters with one run allowed over seven innings. Gray gets two starts this week to keep it rolling. He’ll get a middle-of-the-pack Guardians team on Monday, then finishes the week against the White Sox, who have mostly underachieved. Chicago is especially vulnerable against right-handers, with a .622 OPS -- third-worst in baseball.
Graham Ashcraft, SP, Reds -- Available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite not having much strikeout stuff, Ashcraft has been impressive over his first three major league starts, allowing three runs across 17 2/3 innings with an 0.96 WHIP. The 24-year-old right-hander has been able to dodge trouble by limiting walks with a seven percent walk rate and limiting hard contact with a 62.5 percent groundball rate. He’s also allowed just one barreled ball across his three starts. Pitching to contact can be dangerous in today’s game and often leads to volatility. So Ashcraft is best left for deeper leagues until he can generate a few more swings and misses. He’ll get two starts this week, with the Diamondbacks at home and Cardinals on the road.
Edward Cabrera, SP, Marlins -- Available in 67 percent of Yahoo leagues
Cabrera’s dominant season debut was all the Marlins needed to see to keep him in the rotation while sending Elieser Hernandez to Triple-A. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out nine batters while allowing one hit and four walks over six scoreless innings in Colorado on Wednesday. Despite issuing the four walks, his stuff was just too overpowering for the Rockies to take advantage of the free passes. Cabrera generated 17 whiffs on 94 pitches, including ten on the changeup, a changeup that touched an incredible 96 miles per hour. Fantasy managers looking to improve their pitching should not hesitate to add Cabrera. He’ll get two starts to collect the strikeouts this week, starting with the Nationals in Miami, then the Astros in Houston.
Tanner Rainey, RP, Nationals -- Available in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues
Rainey may be the most widely-available closer out there with a secured role. Since the start of the season, it’s been no question who the Nationals’ closer is. The 29-year-old right-hander has seven of Washington’s eight saves. Rainey has pitched well despite not getting the most save chances on a struggling Nationals team, with a 2.60 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 20 strikeouts over 17 1/3 innings. He collected three of his saves in the last week. In comparison, veteran closer Mark Melancon has 11 saves, but they have come with a 6.87 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, and only 11 strikeouts. And he’s rostered in over 70 percent of Yahoo leagues. Melancon could be rostered in too many leagues, but, given the state of saves out there, it’s more likely that Rainey isn’t rostered enough.